Apr 3, 2017

Ten

London on a spring day
Hello, friends. I didn’t intend to be silent on here for over two months. It’s been an eventful year — not only in the sense of reeling from current events, much like so many of you, but also in the sense of having a lot happen in my personal life. I hesitate even as I draw this distinction, and think, as I have so often lately, of Adrienne Rich: “But the great dark birds of history screamed and plunged / into our personal weather”.

In short, there has been some space for defiant living, despite everything — I’m just sorry that I haven’t written here more. I’m still reading, even if at a slower pace. This year, so far, it was especially important to me to revisit The Dream of a Common Language (I can’t think of another book that I read three times in the space of eight months) and to read Sarah Schulman’s The Cosmopolitans, which Cass very kindly sent to me. There’s a lot more I could say about both of them, and hopefully I will.

Although I’ve been quiet on here, the past two months haven’t been a time of silence. I’ve been writing a lot of long letters, making sense of myself and of the world around me in the context of dialogue. I was thinking recently that when I was younger, I used to feel anguished if I wasn’t writing privately — journaling, I guess, which is what I did the most at the time. I felt that I was being subsumed by the self I was with others, that I would drown without that very private space where it’s just me and my words. I still care about that space, but I really don’t feel that way anymore — don’t believe in the primacy of my private self as opposed to my relational self; have become more interested in who I am and can be in collaboration, in dialogue. This interest is personal, but it has, I find, political implications. Again, the distinction feels arbitrary.

All this to say that this blog’s tenth anniversary, which came and went last week, feels like as good a time as any to dust off the cobwebs and jump back in. I like how writing here balances the personal and the conversational. This, by the wonderful Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, expresses why I keep doing it:
I write in order to stay alive. I write because it’s the way that I can understand myself and express all the contradictions, hope, tragedy. It’s how I think. I’ve been writing so long. It’s how I engage with the world. It’s how I find my place in the world. It’s one way I’m able not to feel hopeless all the time. Because, I feel hopeless a lot. I’m able to write about it, which makes me feel less hopeless. And, it’s my creative expression. People I may not know choose to connect with it. I search for connection or possibility. So, in a way, I write not to give up. Also, things that mean something to me, that do not exist generally in the world, especially in media.
My life would be very different today if a decade ago I hadn’t started doing this, alongside all of you. Thank you so much for reading.

16 comments:

  1. Oh Ana, thank you for writing. For sharing. For conversing. My life would be very different today if a decade ago you hadn't started doing this too. The overwhelming truth and breadth of that sort of floors me. <3

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  2. Happy tenth birthday to this blog. I may not have known of it (and you) for most of those ten years, but I'm looking forward to the next ten!

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  3. Happy bloggiversary Ana! It's been a pleasure following you along all this time!

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  4. Ana I'm so happy that you started doing this 10 years ago! You are amazing and your words are also amazing and you have led me to so many great books, and through so much personal learning. Happy blogiversary and thanks for being you!

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  5. Happy 10th. Always love to hear from you.

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  6. I've been finding that, more so than usual, I find the need to work the pen across the page, to let ideas take shape differently (as they used to, years ago). As though it is no longer enough to work it (an idea, a way of being, a way of striving?) through with keys and text on a screen; I have to scramble deeper. (Which ironically is messier, but maybe that's part of it, and where the truly personal can truly dance with the politics we inhabit every day, in and out of various intimacies.) Maybe you're feeling something similar, over there across the pond, where you find squirrels delightful too. In any case, raising a cup to you and wishing you all the words you need, as your tenth year begins to unfold!

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  7. Happy tenth bloggiversary! I feel like the bookternet would be very different without you, so thank you for writing <3

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  8. Happy tenth for Things Mean a Lot! I feel like the blogisphere is getting quieter and quieter, as an older generation of bloggers slips away.

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  9. Love you and miss you, Ana! As someone who never would have met you and known you without this blog, I am eternally grateful that you started it :-)

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  10. I'm always sad when a blogger shuts their blog down permanently because coming back to it can be a lovely experience. I'm glad you're back again and that you've made it to your tenth anniversary. Your thoughts have always been inspiring and your voice unique. Thank you for being you!

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  11. <3 <3 <3 Thank you for being here. I'm so glad you are.

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  12. Thank you Ana! Continuing to write is the thing, however and wherever that happens. Happy ten years!

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  13. Well this got me all teary, friend. It's wonderful to see you around these parts, and I hope I'll see more of you in this space in the future. It seems very tidy and nice that we're meeting in the year of both our ten-year blogging anniversaries, doesn't it?

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  14. Ana I'm way behind on visiting but just wanted to say happy 10th anniversary. It's wonderful to have you here in blogland! Hope you are doing well!

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  15. Wonderful Ana. Thank you so much for continuing to write. And to touch our lives. *hug*

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  16. Happy tenth - mine as well this year - we've been at this a long time. I know what you are saying about writing, privately and not; it's important, and I'm glad you're back here as well as finding ways to explore dialogue & connection.

    I love the quote you've used from Adrienne Rich; it says so much about where many of us are at right now, so much influence from the greater world on our personal lives and states of being.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment - interaction is one of my favourite things about blogging and a huge part of what keeps me going.