Saturday, August 28, 2010

Self-indulgent meta-blogging

Over the summer, I’ve watched with bemusement—and understanding—as various bloggers sign off from the blogosphere, or merely threaten/contemplate doing so. I’ve thought of signing off myself. No big announcement—simply drifting off into silence, a chapter closed, the original purposes of blogging having changed, over, done.

I can’t do it, though. Busy weeks pass; I’m happily absorbed in life, but too long without writing and I start to get antsy.

And in writing this I’ve broken one of my sacred personal blog-rules: no blogging about blogging! Then again, I think I’ve probably already broken that rule somewhere in my sordid past.

When I first started this blog over three years ago, I was in the midst of transition. I had recently left academic science and was adjusting to my new role as full-time stay-at-home mother. I had a brand new mewling infant daughter and a sweet-faced toddler. I was struggling with transitions of many kinds, on different levels. This blog was mostly a chronicle of my children’s growth. It was also a way for me to deal with the changes of motherhood and career, and it became an outlet that probably saved my sanity. Over time, to my welcome surprise, it also brought me a rich sense of community.

I’m not a stay-at-home mother anymore, and the infant and toddler are both gone, replaced with a head-strong three-year old and confident first-grader. The original intentions that drove the start of this blog are also gone, replaced with—well, with what? I still want to record stories about my children, but the Bean-girl is getting older, and whether she yet knows it or not, she is starting to deserve more privacy. I feel no inhibitions about posting Legume’s ridiculous preschool comments and antics (not that I’ve done it in a while), but the day will come when I no longer feel free to do that. There is always science, of course. When I started my new job this spring, I looked forward to participating more fully in science conversations online. But I feel inhibited, there, too. Like many of you, I feel restrained by my anonymity, but afraid to leave it. I would like to post more openly about my research. I don’t want to resort to coy pseudonyms to describe my work (however clever and cute those pseudonyms may be). I would like to dish about all the crazy characters and antics that occur at my institute, to make you gasp with disbelief and horror, simmer with envy at some of the cool shit that we do have going for us, and laugh out loud at honest-to-god real events. I would like to blog openly about my geographical location, an underrated town that I have truly come to love. But (1) I don’t want to get into any trouble (2) I would just die if anyone from my institute stumbled upon this blog and recognized me. And if they work at my institute they will recognize me (trust me on this).

So where now with The Bean Chronicles? I’ve flirted with the idea of changing the name. Shifting focus. Finding focus. But I’m a creature of inertia who is too lazy to even update my blogroll, let alone decide on a new masthead. I’m not reliant on this space for the privilege of community; having found you, I can continue to greet you in the comments sections of your blogs, and I even know a few of you on Facebook. But even with my self-imposed restraints and inhibitions, this particular blog-space means something to me. Maybe not what it once did, but still. . . Scratch-pad, verbal doodle pad, personal journal, place to blow off steam, place to indulge in navel-gazing until I twist myself inside-out. Maybe just a spot to jot down a line I read and liked, or a place to comment on the local weather. And maybe a place where, perhaps, I might ever so delicately write now and then about science and motherhood.

No promises, though. This place is evolving, like all of us. I might not be here as much, but I continue to follow you all.

End of navel-gazing meta-blog. As you were.