Seven-and-a-half years ago I began writing this blog called “Salvageable.” It was a chance to share my thoughts with the larger world and to try out some ideas on a smaller audience before moving on to publishing them in book form. Over time, I published several books through the Kindle/Amazon connection, and much of what I put into print had first been read in this venue. Also, over that time, I met many interesting people, some of whom I now consider close friends.
But this year writing is more difficult. I don’t know why. I can only assume that my muse has taken a break. Maybe I have said all the thoughts in my mind that are worth saying. Maybe I want to dedicate more energy to creating books without the discipline of the blog format. Maybe age is catching up with me. Maybe I’m just tired after all the turmoil of world events and national politics over the last several years.
Whatever the reason, I am admitting to myself what has no doubt become evident to others: my place in the blogoverse is no longer comfortable and secure. For the time being, I am setting WordPress aside, hoping that removing one energy drain might focus my thinking and writing in another place. Meanwhile, I leave you with two final thoughts that were meant to be individual blog essays but that failed to develop and form into full bloggable material.
- Last month two of us were in another city at lunchtime, and we trusted an out-of-date GPS device to lead us to a place to eat. The GPS device sent us to a shopping mall that should have had several affordable eateries in a food court. To our amazement, the place was nearly deserted. We sensed the problem when we arrived, since the large parking lot was nearly empty. Indoors, the place was equally deserted. Most of the stores were shuttered and empty. A couple still had merchandise—one displayed outfits for weddings, while another appeared to be conducting brisk business in used DVDs and game cassettes. The food court had no restaurants; the seating space had been converted into Pickleball courts, and some people were engaged in the games, their clunks of ball upon racket echoing through the open space. Signs advertised upcoming events—a craft show one weekend, and something else a few weeks later. The grand shopping malls from the second half of the twentieth century are shells of their former selves. Our useless search for a place to buy and eat lunch became a visit to a ghost town. Some of these malls might be repurposed; many will fall to pieces and eventually be razed. No doubt this experience can be made a metaphor for something. For me, though, it persists only as an emotional experience of change, of loss, of decay.
- The holiday season is upon us, and I am prepared once again to play the curmudgeon. It began at work with the effort of other staff to arrange a holiday gathering which they chose to call “Friendsgiving.” I excluded myself from the event, reminding the staff that my status (not fully vaccinated and boosted) kept me from joining gatherings at work, even as I must be fully masked while at work. But my real reason—if they had bothered to dig for it, which they didn’t—is my growing conviction that Thanksgiving and Christmas belong in the church and in the home, not in the workplace. I will celebrate the holidays with people who share my understanding of the meaning of these holidays. I will try to avoid bland celebrations, those that try to include everyone by offending no one. The very effort to conduct a Christ-less Christmas celebration offends me. I cannot stop others from celebrating in whatever manner they prefer, but I will remain apart from their gatherings, even as I do not expect them to be attending church with me on Thanksgiving or Christmas. Holidays are holy days. I appreciate my employer for giving me paid vacation days to observe them with my family and with fellow believers. I neither want or need to take time off at work to observe the seasonal traditions of other people who are not of my kin.
That is all. Good night. J.