A great story of the British Broadcasting Corporation in television’s infancy is that as the war broke out, television operations were suspended. That was on Sept. 1, 1939; a presenter was speaking on camera when word came down and the telecast was cut short.
It wasn’t until June 7, 1946, that the BBC resumed telecasting. The same presenter appeared on camera and began with, “Now, as I was saying when I was so rudely interrupted…”
And with that, my fall interruption is over. I’m back on the blog.
Although I didn’t publish, I did write some blog posts. I had shot several cameras during September and I didn’t want to forget my impressions of them. So when the film came back from the processor I wrote up those reviews right away. Also, I worked on this post little by little all through October, and I wrote a couple other posts because the words came to me and I didn’t want to lose them.
But I did put the time to non-blog use: I completed a new book of my photography, which I’ll announce on Monday. Hint: Éire dubh bán.
I also took up journaling. I’ve had some challenging things to sort out and I do it best when I write out my thoughts and feelings. It put me back in touch with some creative energy I’d been overlooking while I’ve been so busy with Operation Thin the Herd and keeping my publishing schedule going. I’m sure I’ll rework some of those journal entries into posts and share them with you.
But at no time was the blog far from my thoughts. Even on hiatus, I checked my stats, thought of topics I could write about, and made photographs I intend to share with you.
The blog had become a treadmill. It’s a lot of work to post six days a week! I started that schedule several years ago because I wanted to practice daily writing and I knew publishing pressure would help me stick with it. But I kept that schedule well beyond the point daily writing had become a solid habit.
But pageviews went way up with my frequent posting, and that was addicting. A part of me really wants to be Somebody Well Known And Loved, and rising pageviews felt like lottery tickets to stardom.
My pageviews dropped by a third while I wasn’t publishing. It was a shock, as new posts generate far less than a third of this blog’s daily pageviews. New posts must create an energy that brings readers to the archives. Ceasing to post was like abandoning a house — shortly, the gutters start to fall, mice get in, the roof leaks, and after a while it’s easy to see the deterioration from the street.
But like neighbors checking in on that homeowner they haven’t seen for a while, a few of you told me how much you missed the blog. It reminded me that good neighbors are better than celebrity any day.
To try to fill that gap for you, I started sharing old posts on the blog’s Facebook page and on Twitter every day. It put me back in contact with some work I love from long ago, and let many of you read them for the first time. This gave me the idea for another book, which I’ve also been working on during my break — a collection of stories and essays from this blog. I know that many of you didn’t read this blog in its early days; those stories will be new to you and I think you’ll enjoy them. I have much more work to do on this book. If I’m lucky, I’ll publish it before Christmas.
My break reminded me that while I’ll never be famous from blogging, I’ve built something valuable here that I want to keep. I feel so fortunate that anybody at all wants to read what I think and look at my photographs. After all, I’m just an ordinary middle-aged man from Indiana.
But it’s time for me to stop posting things just to fill an open slot. If I don’t have something to say or show that’s I think will be interesting or valuable to you and me, I won’t post.
And with that, I’m back. Posts are queued for the next couple weeks, starting tomorrow with my roundup of blog posts I enjoyed this week, and then Monday with the official debut of my new book.
to get Down the Road in your inbox or reader six days a week!