Saturday, May 21, 2005

Phone free weekend

I'm on a long train ride today (Friday), going from DC to Raleigh. As soon as I got on the train, I realized that I left my cell phone at home. This is nuts because I live an eight minute walk from the train station, I got there an hour and half early (so I could get coffee and a snack) which left me plenty of time to go back home and get it--if I'd noticed earlier that I'd left it. I didn't panic or get upset. When things are completely out of my control like that, I tend to stay calm. I felt a little dumb, but I know how it happened (I put it to charge last night and simply forgot that it wasn't in its usual place). The nice young woman I'd struck up a conversation with in the waiting area offered to let me use her phone if necessary. I'll take her up on the offer if the train is late. I think what is striking is how little I'm going to miss it. There are only two calls I have to make on this trip: one to tell KJ if I'm late and the second to coordinate my ride to the wedding with CN. I can just use a regular phone to call CN when the time is right (sometime tomorrow, I suppose). And that's about it. I might have called Princess, just to chat, if I have time, which I probably won't. I could expect calls from Mom and Dad, which I might not have taken anyway. And that's about it. No one is calling me and there is no one I need to call. I'm sure I'll check my voice mail once or twice, but it's not that big a deal. Even though it's especially nice to have a phone when traveling, there isn't much I need to coordinate, so I think it will be just fine (aside from the feeling dumb part).

You'd think I'd be pissed that the train will be over an hour late getting into Raleigh, like the lady sitting behind me, complaining loudly into her cell phone, "The train is late and I've just had it. And I just put cream in my coffee and it curdled. And the dining car is like six cars up." Well, it's only about three cars up because this entire train is only six cars long, but whatever. I mean, I could be pissed. I would like to be in Chapel Hill at my friends ultra-casual, take-out Chinese rehearsal dinner by 7:00 and that is almost guaranteed not to happen. (I just heard the conductor say our ETA in Raleigh is 6:00 pm. Only one and a half hours late!) But the train is super comfy--no one in our car has to share a seat. We have a new car, with power outlets at every seat, so I can type and listen to music for as long as I like. The only thing I might complain about is a slight touch of nausea, but I'm drinking tea and eating pretzels (purchased in the oh-so-distant café car), so I've got that under control. This is the forth blog piece I've started, all of them much too long. By the end of this trip, I'm going to have an entire week of raw material ready that will only need fine editing. I suppose this is what they call "writing ahead." I suspect it's what must be done if you are a newspaper columnist. A weekly column would be easier than this daily business. But, in a paper or magazine there are constraints on length and content. I believe constraints are good. If I had a word limit--it would force me to make some harder editing choices. And making the posts stand-alone and easily accessible, the way a column would be, that is a challenge.

I'm building a larger regular readership--but that means there are more "drop-ins" and if I want the drop-ins to come back, I have to make the front page accessible. (A question I should probably be asking myself right about now is: why do I want more readers? I have no idea. I have always wanted an audience, but why? Approval? Reassurance? Am I like a dysfunctional actor who needs the whole world to love her? I don't think so!) For whatever reason, I want more readers. Actually, I think I would like to be respected and well-regarded as a writer. I like to make people laugh, though I've never been a clown (I'm too damn serious). I do a little bit of that here. So, whatever my reasons for being here, and whatever your reasons for reading, I'm seeing this very small and steady up tick in visits and returning visits.

When I go to a new blog, I read the current post and then I go back in the archive and read the very first post. I read the "about me." If there's a "100 things" list, I usually skim it. If I can't get grounded from that, I give up. I think my first couple posts explain the blog pretty clearly. My "about me" section sucks. It tells you nothing and I don't have a list (at least not that kind of list). B1 said he thinks it's kind of coy when bloggers don't have a real "about me" section and I agree. But I don't know what to say in mine. If you read the archives you know all about me. Maybe too much. I suck at this anonymity thing. I don't bother keeping many secrets about myself. But who has time to read the archives? I've read a few archives that went over years and it's pretty exhausting--but fun. Like reading a serialized novel--but without the serialization. Those pressed for time, however, can't do this. And I want them to feel welcome too.

Perhaps that's enough blogging about blogging for now. I'm sure there is more to come.

Grateful for: blogging

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