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This Blog is for Tracking the Flux

It doesn’t seem like it much from the amount of writing that makes it out of Draft to Published, but I think about this blog a lot. I think about the blogs I read, by people I respect, the things I want to write on it, and what it is that stops me from writing here on my own blog, which sees slightly fewer regular updates than my Tumblr. An interesting observation, in light of the theory that Twitter has helped revive the long-form essay.

Who I’m inspired by right now is Matt Webb, because he identified earlier this year that he was not blogging, and therefore writing, as much as he wanted to, and he’s been going whole-hog on changing that since then. I don’t always get to his posts in a timely fashion, but between the Kindle, the iPhone, and the Google Reader, some of my best weekend afternoons are spent catching up.

I’ve endeavoured to feel safe to speak in my own space of this blog; up until this point I have failed. I have lamented the naivete of some of the posts I’ve written here. I’ve been nervous that speaking with my true voice has cost my job opportunities with people and groups doing work I’d really like to help with. I’ve also become scared to the core that my blogging voice has infected and irreversibly damaged whatever it is I use for my academic writing, leaving the latter soaked under hailstorms of red ink from my profs, ever generous in their feedback to help me do better (and upholding the standards befitting a master’s program).

There was a dark period of time where all I could see, in fact, were people being nice to me with an agenda in their hands, intending to make off with my ideas and asking me for help with their well-funded projects, even as I was finding it challenging it just to scrape rent together, and despairing that this would always be the case. That road is still possible — either that I become that jaded and focused only on loss, or that I leave my economic sustainability completely vulnerable that way in some well-placed but misguided desire to generous.

Watching Sarah Kay’s TED Talk this morning has been a revelation. Most of all, it reminded me that I do know things, and that it might even be less important to be right than to understand the deeper insights that come from being wrong.

That’s what I need this blog to be, more than anything else — not just a showcase of me trying and succeeding, but a home to the painstaking process of unpacking those times I tried and failed. That’s the place where the craft matures. Or at least it is for me — even if others find it completely easy and are capable of having things spring forth fully-formed from their mind, that’s not where I am, and that’s a fact, not a problem.

If I’m cursed to be Canada’s Sarah Baskerville, the blogger in the UK who had her blog and Twitter dissected by the Daily Mail and painted as a loose cannon and a problem for the government — maybe that’s better than the cowering in the corner afraid to speak, as I sometimes feel I am now (save for the few other places I’m given permission. Like this mostly-mine post on wayfinding kiosks at the Vancouver Public Space Network I banged out on a whim last week. Personally satisfying (and, OK, a little indulgent) and prompted some great questions.

This is not solved yet and, for all I know, might never be; but this post stands here as a commitment to continue working to get this solved both personally and with any organization I give my time to; to find others who have figured it out; and maybe even to share any answers I get.

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