It’s either awesome or pathetic. Let’s go with awesome!
On October 18th, my blog turned eight years old.
Long-time readers will remember the photo above, which emblazoned my right-hand nav for about 5 years before I re-designed the site. She was omnipresent. That photo was taken years ago, but it expresses, for me, how beautiful life can be when you let yourself feel that beauty. Something I still struggle with, and that photo, taken on one of the best days of my life by my boyfriend at the time, reminds me. It’s one of the “reasons” for my blog as well. What do I love? I want to share it. I want to talk with other people who feel passionately about things, whatever they may be.
I started the blog, randomly, on a day when I was home from work for some reason. I was living in this crazy apartment I shared with my good friend Jen in Hoboken, and we had moved into it on September 4, 2001. It was in a slum-like tenement building (seriously, the outside of it looked horrendous), and we were on the 5th floor, a walk-up. When our moving guys moved us in, I thought one of them was going to have a heart attack. I have 4,000 books and as my father always said, “Nothing heavier than a bunch of books.” I remember one heaving sweaty moving guy tromping up the stairs for the 50th time, holding the 25th box of books, saying to me in a warning tone, “There had better be some Stephen King in these boxes!” Best comment of the day. Thankfully, I could reassure him on that score.
The apartment was wall to wall white linoleum, even in our bedrooms. The ceiling looked like that of a grade school, and you could put push-pins into it if you wanted to have a Valentine’s Day party and have dangling red hearts everywhere (which we did). It had a big open living room and kitchen and two bedrooms. We were struggling actresses, with big school loans, so this was the apartment we could afford. Our bedrooms were both on the east side of the building. Jen’s was a better bedroom, with huge windows on two walls, but we were happy enough with our weird linoleum palace. We both could see the World Trade Center out of our bedroom windows, for the brief seven days we lived there before the 11th came. We hadn’t gotten around to getting Internet hook up, TV hookup, or phone hookup in the seven days we lived there. Or, it was in process, but nothing had happened yet. Those were in the days when we still had land-lines. I don’t have one anymore. This would have been merely a minor annoyance, it happens all the time when you move, but because of the timing it had a huge impact on us, and it would be months before the phone company and the electric company could spare anyone from the tragedy in downtown Manhattan to help us get hooked up. I think it was December when we finally got a phone.
Blogging is so much a part of my life now, a ritual, that it is hard to remember a time when I wasn’t doing it. September 11th was intense, and my Middle East interest (which goes way back) suddenly became a passion. I remember going to The Strand and seeing empty shelves, EMPTY, in the Middle East history section in the months after September 11. I had obviously witnessed September 11th with my own eyes, I’ve written about it before (there are a couple of incidents from that day and afterwards related here, in this larger post about crowd behavior), and it changed everything for me. I know it changed everything for a lot of us, but I’m only speaking for myself now. I altered. I was in a manic state for what seems like months, and I can’t really remember it with any clarity now. My heart throbbed up in my throat, and I couldn’t seem to catch my breath. I couldn’t exit that world. Many of us couldn’t. I am not sure what it was like out in the provinces, but here in New York, we talked about it all day, every day. As a matter of fact, when I meet someone new who is also a New Yorker, inevitably in our first conversation, “What happened to you on September 11th” comes up.
In the aftermath, late 2001, and 2002, I discovered “blogs”, and I know that that is true for many people out there. That wasn’t the tipping point moment yet, they were still rather strange and it wasn’t quite clear what they were, but I started reading Andrew Sullivan’s blog (when it used to be the dark midnight-blue page with the white rounded writing), and I would follow his links, and then would find other blogs, and then would read their links, and so on. I think much of the time I was probably confused about where I was on the Internet. Were these people journalists? Authors, like Andrew Sullivan? Or were they just …. regular Joes who now had a microphone? I had no idea. Some were awful, some were hilarious, some were as angry as I was, some were not. Suddenly, in those early months of 2002, life became like being part of a huge ongoing conversation. I could dip into it, and then close the screen – but the conversation went on behind my back as well. My experience of “voices” was like most of us at that time: there were news shows, and anchors, and op-ed columnists I read (when I bought a newspaper, I was still heavily into the Print world at that time) – and I’ve never looked to anchors to tell me what to think or feel. I’ve always been opinionated and follow my own way, in politics/taste/lifestyle … but in general, the voices I heard in my life were my family members, my friends, coworkers, etc. Not, like, EVERYONE AND THEIR MAMA. Life became very LOUD then. It would be like getting into political debates with your bus driver, the dude who sells you coffee, and every single person you rode with in the elevator. Every day was this ongoing Town Hall meeting.
This wore thin pretty damn quick, I have to say, and I got very tired of hearing everyone chattering, but in 2002 it wasn’t only invigorating, it was important to me. I wasn’t ready to “step out” of the September 11th experience. I couldn’t have if I tried. I didn’t read fiction for two years. I stopped being interested in anything that wasn’t “real”. It was quite exhausting, but it was out of that insomniac alert energy that I created my blog.
Well, there were other factors, and what the hell, I will share them here. After all, I’ve shared about the linoleum. Why leave anything else out?
In the midst of the maelstrom of voices, chattering and screaming away at high decibel levels in the late months of 2001 and early months of 2002, I kind of fell madly in love. I say “kind of” because the whole thing was like a fever, or – more appropriately – like a flu bug, or a stomach virus – that took hold of me and shook me until I screamed for mercy and then the whole thing passed, and I looked back on it with baffled fear about what had happened. I had met the guy before at a party a couple years back and it was love at first sight, something I had never believed in until it happened to me.
I do NOT recommend it.
A couple years passed. I happened to run into him again on September 9th, 2001, at a bar. Two days before. I wrote about that here. Months passed after that encounter, in which our entire world as New Yorkers had changed (the point of that post, really). He then reached out in March or April of 2002 and invited me to his birthday party which would be taking place at Bellevue. Not the mental hospital, but the dive biker bar on 9th Avenue. The difference between the two places is minimal. I went. There was alcohol. Lots of alcohol. I don’t get drunk that much, but I was very drunk that night. There was Metallica blasting so loud you had to shout at the person standing right next to you. There was straight-porn from the 1970s playing on televisions above the bar. And there was a meeting-of-the-minds encounter that went on between the two of us at the end of the night, when we both were drunk, and he shook me like a rag doll (literally – he took me by the arms and shook me. I had bruises the next day) telling me that I was the woman for him and how he would do whatever it took for me to get whatever I wanted in life. Nice, right? Not so fast. It was impulsive on his part (and not all that surprising: we had been drawn to one another like magnets the first time we ever said Hello to each other a couple years before) but he recoiled from me in the days following. He apologized, saying he was drunk, he was sorry, he was already dating someone.
Context is important for stories such as this, although I can be a bit, how you say, fragile, when it comes to stuff like this. If you’ve read me for a while, this will not come as a surprise. I take things hard. Always have. His recoiling from me after the bombardment of love he had given me at his birthday party cut me like a knife and sent me into a tailspin. 2002 will go down in the books as one of the worst years of my life. It is difficult to write about such things. You open yourself up for criticism. So be it. If I had to come up with an image for what happened after that birthday party (when, if you think about it, all that happened was that two people who had long-standing crushes on one another declared themselves in a drunken display of impulsive behavior with unintended consequences) it would be: a string or a wire, pulled very very tight and taut – withstanding pressure from both sides for months, maintaining a balance, but not without some sense of strain – and then, finally: Snap. Into a freefall. The depression that took over four or five months of 2002 was a grey fog the likes I had never experienced before and please God will never experience again. I cried for about two weeks, and then … ominously … silence and stillness. Nothingness. That lasted for four months. I don’t want to go on with this section, because, like Carrie Fisher wrote in her book Wishful Drinking, to try to give a name to an experience like this is akin to “summoning” it. Suffice it to say, I got help. I got pills to help me with sleeping. Once I started sleeping again, some of the other things that had been swirling in my head like a swarm of angry bees calmed down.
But those months – April to September, really – were horrifying. By October, I was starting to feel like myself again. Interested in my life and the things around me. The first September 11th anniversary had come and gone. I was interviewed by the New York Times. I started to be able to grieve, I guess. I hadn’t been able to do a thing as long as I was stretched taut as a wire.
And without planning ahead, I sat down one day, home sick from work, and created a blog on Blogspot in about 10 minutes. I hadn’t been thinking for months that I wanted to join my voice to the cacophony. I am not new to writing. I’ve been keeping a journal and writing stories since I was 8, 9 years old. I have always expressed myself well through language, and had many artistic outlets (I always do), so I wasn’t feeling “backed up” or anything like that. But somewhere around that time, late 2001, early 2002, I stopped writing in my journal. I just couldn’t talk to myself anymore. I had nothing to say. At least not to myself. A shift was going on. I was still reading Andrew Sullivan and others like him. My main reading at the time was political. It was feeding something in me that needed to be fed, Seymour. Some of those bloggers that I first encountered in 2001 and 2002 are still going strong, something that amazes me because I burnt out on that aspect of it (the political aspect) pretty fast (much to DBW’s everlasting chagrin. Love you, DBW!! I’ll talk about politics with you in private ANY time). But at the time I set up my site, I had no idea what I wanted it to be. I had no plan. I just started.
That original blog doesn’t exist anymore. Or maybe it does out in the web somewhere, but I kept that Blogspot blog for a year before transitioning to Movable Type. There were no comments on the original blog. I just expressed myself in a strange vacuum, feeling important, of course, but also exhilarated. I put up book excerpts, I wrote about my day, I did bullet-point posts about my life (something I continue to do with Snapshots). I started to get readers. I couldn’t believe it. I mean, I had told my family about the site and my friends. They all read me. But somehow – it all was still a mystery to me – other people started reading me. Strangers. Some of these people have become good good friends in real life. Others have disappeared into the mists of time. It was a new form then. Being “linked to” was a huge deal, and being “on someone’s blog-roll” was very important. I would get emails from people saying, “Hi, I just blog-rolled you – will you blog-roll me?” Like, it was supposed to be quid pro quo. Sheila don’t play the game that way. I believe in meritocracy, baby.
But it was all new then. Traffic was a huge deal. I got a Sitemeter account. I felt very excited. Once I moved to Movable Type in June of 2003, and my blog now had comments, the game changed a bit. At first it’s thrilling to have comments. Actually, it’s still thrilling. I’m serious: any time anyone makes a comment on my site, I get a small buzz of adrenaline. I love conversation. I love hearing from people. I have a great group of people. Some of you have been reading me from the beginning. I am truly grateful. But boy, having comments also lets the FREAKS into your house, and, if you’re not careful, into your mind. It took me some time to get used to it. In many ways, I am still not used to it. It’s hard to get used to some random guy showing up and saying, “You’re a stupid cunt”, which happened once. You know the guy is a loser. Only losers behave that way. But it’s still tough to not take it personally. There were a couple of hairy situations in those early years, 2003-2004, when guys (two in particular) became obsessed with me in a way that eventually freaked me out. I reported one of them to his ISP for stalking and harassment. I still have a couple of enemies out there. One guy was so angry that I “left things out”, like – he wanted a complete picture, and was truly angry about how my “blog was full of red herrings”. He actually wrote that. This was years ago. I took it far more personally then than I would now. My Red-Flag-Detector is always at Defcon One. You have to take care of yourself. You have to set your own boundaries with commenters. If someone gets frustrated because he has some kind of crush on you, and he wants more from you than what you are willing to give in this public forum, then that person is clearly a freak, and the Red Flags need to go off. I can be quick on the trigger now with what I sense to be hostile comments, but that comes from experience. You just get to know the signs. Does this person suddenly show up, out of the blue, and make a derogatory remark? Does that same person then leave a comment on the same day using a different name? But the IP is the same? Freak. End of story. It happens a lot. No second chances with stuff like that, and usually the freaks go away. They get sick of being ignored. There was also, on the flip side, the “TMI brigade” (my name for them). Boy, did they love to leave that acronym in my comments section. I would post about my personal life, and someone inevitably would crow, “TMI!”
I am more confused by these people than annoyed. If you don’t want to know me, then don’t read me. I am not a robot. I am a human woman who puts herself into her words. If I mention something personal, I do it deliberately, because I think it’s interesting, and also, in general, people seem to like personal posts. The good ones do, anyway. I personally like to read writing from people I find interesting. We don’t need to intersect in any way. I read blogs that have nothing to do with my life because I like the writing. I read craft blogs. I read black-women-empowerment (BWE) blogs. I read political blogs. Book blogs. Photo blogs. I am discerning. I like to read engaging writers. You would have to put a gun to my head to have me say to someone, “TMI.” It seems to be a failure to communicate. My blog is eclectic, which is one of the things I (personally) like about it. But there are those who balk and don’t seem to understand how to SCROLL past content you do not find interesting. So I would get people getting offended by me suddenly devoting my blog to Bloomsday. How dare she be interested in something I don’t find interesting? WEIRD. Or, if I wrote about sadness, or grief, or health, I would get the TMI Brigade telling me they didn’t want to know that about me.
My response? I don’t care. Learn how to scroll. It is a very important skill. Use it well.
But that first year was really strange at times, getting used to all of that. I let everyone in. This was even more difficult once I started getting some big people linking to me. The Wall Street Journal chose me as Best of the Web one day. I think I still have readers reading me who came to me from that original link. The traffic spike was so frightening I almost wanted to turn off my computer. But you always wince when the “big” guys link to you. For every good and awesome reader who arrives, there will also be hordes of freaks. You have to be on your guard. Especially as a woman who sometimes writes about her personal life.
My blog is purposefully full of “red herrings”. It is that way by design. Not to be frustrating on purpose, but because I think the writing is more interesting, and I also have a sense of protection over things that truly matter. Last year was terrible for me. I still haven’t written about it. Wait, that’s not true. I wrote about it here, in a context that I felt freed me up. It was the context of writing about Pixar that allowed me to write about last year. But here on my personal site, I can tell, looking back on the posts from June to October, that I was suffering deeply – but I didn’t sit down to “share” what had happened. It’s just not that kind of site. This is fine for the best kind of readers. This is infuriating to the freaks who feel entitled to have it all.
Because I had started out blogging with a political bent, I got those readers who shared my views. This is only natural. At first it was thrilling. I’m not a political junkie. I don’t like to sit around and talk about politics for hours on end. I’d rather talk about books, films, life. But that was why I originally set up the blog: so I wouldn’t have to bore my friends, or my own journal, with my meaningless opinions about politics. Why not just put it up on the Web, add my voice to the clamor, and let off steam that way? It was great. But the landscape soon changed. I didn’t fit in politically, and while that has never been a problem for me before (I am, after all, a private citizen), it was a big problem for some of the people reading me. Many of them lacked irony. Not to mention humor. Many of them sneered about Hollywood and artists, and, yeah, that’s what I’m all about. I’m an artist and a movie-lover before I’m a political junkie, and there was a huge disconnect at times. Not with everyone, but with a few loud hold-outs, and unfortunately, those people can tend to dominate a comments-section. Many of these people “squatted” on my blog. I would post something, and within 30 seconds one of these people would have commented. It was alarming. Do I read anyone that way? I honestly don’t. I browse about, visiting my favorites, but there was a fixation on me – the pesky political girl who wasn’t quite in line with the party goose-step – that made them want to leap on whatever I wrote. Their company soon bored me to tears.
I was having fights on my own blog on a daily basis. It’s hysterical to me now, looking back on it. By “fights”, what do I mean? I would write about the Oscars, and the comments section would fill up with sneering contempt for Hollywood and the “libtards” and the political speeches made by actors. I have little to no interest in talking with people who talk like that. I’m not saying I’m right, but what I am saying is that I am paying for the bandwidth and how on earth have I gotten myself into a situation where the majority of the people reading me have contempt for my interests? Someone send help!! I’m being held captive by my own blog!
Much of this content is gone. I don’t even like looking at it. There were times when I thought, “Oh forget it. I need to scrap this whole thing and start again under an assumed name.”
I would post things about my acting class, and one guy would show up and say, “See this is why people like me hate actors.” (Yes, because he had a vast knowledge of actors and probably knew many of them on a personal basis. Uh-huh.) He would go on, “You think what you’re doing is more important than what other people are doing. Do you honestly believe that actors blah blah blah?” He was one of the “squatters”. I made the mistake of letting that situation go on for far too long before getting him in hand and banning him for good. I do ban people, although it really doesn’t happen often now, but someone like that needed to go. I said to him at one point after one of his condescending comments, “You seem to be confused about where you are on the Internet. I am an actress and a writer. I revere those art-forms. I am here to express me, not you!” It was very strange, and I stopped trying to understand the bizarre mindset of someone who kept visiting a blog he found tremendously irritating. But he was just one of many.
I don’t want to paint this with too broad a brush. For the most part, the commenters were amazing. But comments like that one tend to draw all the conversation towards them, as opposed to what I was originally talking about, and it was very annoying.
I finally made some sort of announcement, like a Queen on her balcony. “No more politics allowed on this blog.”
I meant it. I still mean it. There has got to be a way to talk about politics that doesn’t sound like what it sounds like on political blogs. I basically refuse to participate in that kind of conversation. I have friends who are blazing partisans for both sides. To quote my father, “I see no problem.” I do not demonize one side or the other, although I certainly have my opinions about what “should be done”, and I vote based on that opinion. This is what the partisan bloggers could not stand. I wasn’t writing in the way they were used to. It drove them BATSHIT. Many of those people just got sick of being bludgeoned to death on a daily basis by some redheaded blogger-chick, and they faded away. Many stuck around. Once I stopped writing about politics and devoted myself to writing about actors (Humphrey Bogart was the first actor I explored in an in-depth way on my site), I got a whole new crowd showing up. People who loved movies. Who had seen everything. Who knew how to talk about movies without sneering about Hollywood and the tarpit of liberals who live there. Thank you, Jesus. I certainly think there is a conversation to be had about politics and entertainment, but as long as it was that sneering crowd, I refused to engage. Not because I was annoyed or flustered or afraid of getting into a fight, but because I was bored.
I can tolerate many things but I cannot tolerate boredom, especially not on a site that I have created. Why bother?
Once I put the kibosh on politics, things got so much better. I felt free on my own site again. I didn’t have to worry so much about the nitpicky squatters who were no fun and who seemed irritated that my blog wasn’t, oh, Little Green Footballs, although that just shows you how delusional these people were. What had I written that would make them expect that I would be Little Green Footballs? Just because The Wall Street Journal or Glenn Reynolds links to you doesn’t mean that the content will always be identical. Strange. I guess I read such a variety of sites that I am not surprised and offended when one site isn’t like some other site. An example of the freedom I feel here, and how nice it is when reflected in the comments section, is the tribute I wrote to Charlton Heston when he passed away. I would have felt anxious about posting that in 2004, 2005. I would know what the response would be. “Now that’s a REAL actor,” someone would sneer. (Why? Because he votes the way you do? How boring!) The predictability of it was what tired me out. Can’t we talk about his FILMS, for God’s sake? Can’t we talk about Humphrey Bogart without sneering about the Hollywood Ten and how he supported Democrats for office? Good God. But look at the comments to that Heston post. Just beautiful.
Once I strong-armed my own blog back into my control, I could just follow my obsessions to their fullest potential. Which, yeah, I do. Repeatedly. Not to mention the fact that I felt I could write freely again, without wincing in anticipation for the sneering. I can see why some bloggers have comment moderation. It nips the entire situation in the bud. But I have always liked the free-for-all aspect of my site, and I refused to give it up just because there were a couple of bad apples dominating my comments section. I wrestled to get it back under my control. I am glad I did.
If I have made it sound like I had nothing but sneer-ers in my comments section, I have over-stated the case. I have made really good friends through blogging, people who have been reading me from the start, people I consider to be kindred spirits – even though I haven’t met some of them. But as anyone who has a blog knows, one contemptuous commenter can ruin the feel of a site. Can make others not want to comment. Can also start to dominate your mind, as in: you are writing for them. Even if you are writing just to piss them off, your consciousness is turned towards that one nay-sayer. And this, my friends, is bad writing. It would be like writing a term paper and starting off your thesis statement with,
Moby-Dick is a great book and all you douchebags out there who don’t agree are morons.
Aaaaaand scene. But lots of bloggers write that way, and I was definitely in danger of going down that path. I hated myself when I wrote that way. I didn’t even know who I was TALKING to.
Blogging about film and books became, through trial and error, the main thrust of my site. Because both of those things are endlessly interesting to me, and it’s a challenge to write about them well. It’s a challenge to say, “Now. I just saw/read that. What do I think about it? And why do I think that way? And now … how do I express it?” That kind of challenge is really fun for me.
I am amazed at the people who have shown up over the years. I am high up on Google rankings for the oddest things, and so I get tons of comments and emails from people out of the blue, emails that I cherish. I have struck up correspondences with people from all over the place. Some people reach out to me about my posts about Joyce’s Ulysses. My posts have helped them feel courage to tackle the book. Beauty! Others love it when I write about the Founding Fathers, an eternal passion of mine. Others love it when I write about screwball comedies. Or Iranian film. (I am very proud of the fact – and yet it is pride chastened with chagrin – that my blog has been banned in Iran because of my posts about their vibrant film industry. I hear from film students in Tehran and other places, people who have hacked through firewalls to get to my posts. Dear Iranian regime: You are not enough to combat your wily and intelligent public. Give it up.) There’s an American soldier I correspond with on occasion, he is stationed in Afghanistan, and although I love John Wayne to death and could write about him forever, pretty much every time I put up a post about John Wayne, it is in some way “for” that soldier who is a friend of mine, far from home, a friend I have never met, who loves John Wayne movies, has seen them all, and has something interesting to say about every single one of them. He always notices something I haven’t. “How about the one short look he gives to Ward Bond at such and such a moment …”
With Facebook and Twitter, blogging has gone to a whole other level. Before everyone was online all day on Facebook (well, not everyone, but most everyone), blogs would be daily pit-stops. My traffic definitely decreased when Facebook hit a tipping-point. Everyone was spending their time online looking through their friends’ vacation photos. But things regularized. I now use Facebook and Twitter as another way to promote my stuff, and have gotten so many new awesome readers that way. I STILL get excited when I see someone has commented.
The film-blogging community is wide and deep. I am proud to fit in in a small way with that group, and that I have gotten to write for House Next Door, Noir of the Week, and now Fandor. I’ve even gotten paid for it on occasion. I am so glad that people like my posts about actors. I get emails about them all the time. People coming out of the woodwork to sing the praises of Bruce McGill or Bruce Davison or Brad Davis … people who may not be A-list (or even alive), but who are beloved. I love talking about these people. It enriches my life.
So except for the squatters and the stalkers, I love every single one of you for showing up here on occasion, and giving me things to think about, movies to see, books to read, or just adding to the conversation that is going on here in whatever way. All of your recent comments on my surgery post is a great example. You have no idea how much that stuff can mean. Or who knows, maybe you do.
We’re all just human, after all.
We are more alike than we are different. And I have found that to be true here. I do not know what many of you look like. I have been corresponding with some people for up to 8 years now. I am looking at you, Lisa, and DBW, and Tommy, and De and Tracey, and Cara and Dave E. and Emily. And SarahK and Cullen and Nightfly and Carrie. Ugh. There are many many more, and you should know who you are. Consider yourself included. And now I have the newer batch of readers, just as cherished. George and Bruce Reid and Todd Restler and Jake Cole and Tony Dayoub and Jason Bellamy and the Siren and Kim Morgan, and the whole wide community of film bloggers who come to see what I have written.
But even if you read and don’t comment, I feel you out there and I am grateful that you want to visit my small corner of the web.
My site has gone through many upheavals. When I first started I called it: Sheila A-Stray: Ramblings Of a Redhead. Whatever, I didn’t think it through. I love the story of Mad King Sweeney, and I love Flann O’Brien, and that was where that unwieldy mouthful came from. I had a couple of friends say that they always thought of my blog as “Sheila Ashtray”, which is not quite the effect I was going for. When I switched to Movable Type, I bought my own name as the domain name, and although I have often wished for anonymity, I am glad now that I made that choice. It helps me to not hide, actually. It helps me to write in the way I WANT to write. Of course, what I present here is a half-story. I do not divulge all the details. I am not an open book. I don’t want to be an open book. But I do try to put a little bit of myself into everything that goes up here, and I always have. The political rage-girl of 2002 and 2003 served her purpose. I needed to let her express herself. When it was time to stop, I knew it as clearly as if a stop-watch had wound down.
Time to let that go, and write about things to celebrate them, rather than to criticize them. I like positivity. Not because I am naturally positive. On the contrary. I struggle with negativity. I can be fragile. In many ways, I am broken. But this gives me all the more reason to decide, by force of will, to focus on things I love. The things that I believe make life worth living: books, movies, actors, art, and, hell, pictures of the sunrise.
Funny: It still excites me to “show up” here every day. My father was who I was writing for in the beginning. My breath still catches when I go through the archives and see his comments. My recent posts on Irish poets are really all for him, and I struggle with grief every time I hit Publish, because the one person I want to be reading them will not, cannot. But I continue on. I suppose everything I do is somehow a tribute to him, as horrible as that can sometimes be. There’s a loneliness now that wasn’t there before, but I have gotten into the “habit” of posting here, and I won’t be stopping any time soon.
Thanks, all, for reading.
Eight years. Unbelievable!