I have been “blogging” since what I guess people now call “the early days” – I’ve been through at least 10 urls and have an archive of posts going back to 2002. Back in those days, you could still claim some anonymity. Or you could spill your guts and not really need anonymity because only a few small handfuls of people were watching. Back then, I was definitely a spiller of guts – something I cringe to think about now, especially with the ‘net being as pervasive as it is in present times.
I spilled my guts and I made some friends and was even on the edges of a small clique of “personal bloggers”. It’s true, we old people still wax poetic about the days of sharing and writing for the sake of it, no paid content, no ads. I never wanted to make money off my “blog” and I never wanted to be popular or famous – quite the opposite. I wanted to keep my air of anonymity and be able to keep spilling my guts.
Times have changed, entire lives are lived online and everything is curated for posterity. I like to think I present things honestly and authentically but the very nature of sharing distorts perception, no? I go back and forth between wanting to be online and then wanting to remove every trace of myself online. I think that after nearly 15 years of “blogging” and being online (I remember the very first days of AOL Instant messenger and chat rooms!) I have found a fairly good balance and have some simple rules for myself: Now that he’s older, I keep pictures of my kid away from public viewing for the most part (identifiable images where you can see his face, anyway). I avoid politics and “hot button” issues. I try to keep things generally light and thoughtful. And, most importantly, I keep in mind that anyone and everyone can see what I put online – before hitting ‘publish’ here, I ask, “Am I ok with employers, teachers, etc seeing this? Is there anything here I would rethink and want to hide later?”
I haven’t written or “blogged” much over the years. As of late it’s been mostly photos. However, thanks to some revelations and stirring-up of old passions (writing, observing, being creative) through school, I’m feeling inspired to start tapping away at the old keyboard again. As I refresh this site, I’ve found all the old .xml files for all my old urls and blogs – I’ve been sorting through them somewhat gleefully (and often cringing!). So many posts I’ve been surprised to read, thinking, “Oh my god! That’s still so true!” or just enjoying my first impressions of places I’ve traveled and languages I’ve encountered. It’s fun to look back on my own naivety and wide-eyed amazement, first impressions on Amsterdam and Prague. (I am so very jaded and “old hat” regarding travel now!) I was reminded of the time I took a solo trip to Amsterdam for a birthday and stayed in a beautiful little hotel behind Museumplein. There was a girl outside in the street who kept me up for hours and hours and hours from 1am onward and rather than be angry, I was fascinated. I was several stories up and I sat at the window looking down into the dark, cobblestoned street wondering what her story was. She was standing in the street, outside one particular building yelling and crying and then whimpering, “Isobel!” (Too bad I didn’t have an iPhone back then in 2003, I could have taken a video. *snort* Somehow I think having only my words as memory make it more poignant.)
I used to have lots of paper & pen journals that I would carry around with me and write in, feverishly, at random moments. I recall being drunk and sitting in the corner of bars, hunched over a journal and scribbling down notes before shoving it back into my bag and ordering another round. I got rid of all those journals – burned some, tore apart and tossed others. I’ve always been kind of a “bridge burning” kind of person. So it’s all the more interesting to still have these blog remnants. These remnants reminded me of spotting the Real World cast all over town when they were in Philadelphia in 2004 (they were deeply despised by the city in general but man, did I envy them the building they lived in). I was reminded of the very brief couple of weeks when I waitressed at a Japanese Restaurant on Germantown Ave in Chestnut Hill, trying to save more money for my move to Prague. And I had forgotten about a really delicious espresso poundcake I used to make – for which I tracked down the recipe and made again last week.
So I’m continuing to carefully sort through these posts – most of them will remain in the past but lots of them (the non cringe-worthy ones!) will be refreshed and posted back here. They’ll be listed under the category “Ancient History” or, if you look through the archives, they’ll be the ones dating back to 2003.
Just for a little retrospective fun and inspiration as I move forward.