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  • Barrie Kreinik

Hello, again...again

My journey through the blogosphere.

Photo by Barrie Kreinik: Glastonbury, UK.

Hello, readers! Long time no see. I know it might seem like I’ve been neglecting this blog, but the truth is I’ve attempted to write a new post several times since January, only to come up empty. I tried writing about astrology, about theatre, about identity. I tried staring at a blank page and a blinking cursor until my brain cried out for distraction. I even cheated and posted a revised version of an old essay, figuring it was better than nothing. But I couldn’t seem to come up with anything new to say.

I blame my apparent writer’s block, at least partly, on the state of the world. I mean, let’s face it: things are pretty awful out there. I’ve noticed people using the phrase “during the pandemic” in the past tense, but we all know the pandemic hasn’t actually ended yet. In fact, pulled under by the new wave of cases soaking the Northeast, I tested positive for Covid two weeks ago. (It was a coldlike experience from which I’m now fully recovered. But still.) Add to that the ongoing war in Ukraine, the baby formula shortage, the heat waves and wildfires plaguing the planet, and the Supreme Court’s recently leaked bombshell that might push women’s rights backward by five decades, and pretty much everywhere you look there’s a disaster happening.

It’s enough to make me want to crawl under a flat rock and stay there for a while.

Or at least move to Canada.

Northern Canada, in fact. Where it still gets properly cold.

In counterpoint to the low hum of depression that underscores my every reading of the news, I’ve also been experiencing an odd sense of urgency. After two years of lockdowns and precautions, of tests and results and maybe and wait-and-see and nobody-knows, I’m ready, like so many people, to take a baseball bat to all these restrictions and have some real fun. Travel, dine, dance, theatre-go, explore, socialize—you name it, I want to do it all. And for a while there, it had begun to seem possible—until Omicron 2.3.14 (or whatever they’re calling it now) swept in and started canceling plans once again.

Yet, for all my desire to go and do and be, I sometimes find myself paralyzed by indecision. Maybe it’s because the past two-plus years have contained so much in the way of risk-benefit analysis, my brain short-circuits in the face of too much choice. Should I go to the party, or stay home? Dine indoors or outdoors? Wear a mask, or leave it off, or loop it around my wrist just in case?

Some days I even get decision fatigue just trying to watch television. With literally thousands of options to choose from, I’ll spend fifteen minutes wallowing in uncertainty before giving up and flipping to whatever episode of Law & Order happens to be on.

Why is this happening? Well, one of the reasons I haven’t tried to write about it before now is because I don’t know. I’ve drawn no conclusions. I’ve figured nothing out. I feel I’m in the midst of a mammoth life transition, gargantuan in size and glacial in speed. At the start of the pandemic, I had the sense of retreating into a cocoon. Now I want to emerge, but I’ve changed and the world has too, and I don’t know where the door is.

Two years ago today, I hit the Publish button on this blog for the first time. I had no idea if anyone would read it, but I decided I didn’t care: if nothing else it would be an exercise, a way to hone my prose writing skills. At the time, I was recording audiobooks in my mother’s cedar closet, going for long walks around our neighborhood, scouring the New York Times cooking app for new recipes…and that was pretty much it. Life had taken on a simplicity that I’d never experienced before—because there was literally nothing else I could do. So I dove headfirst into a major writing project (which I am still working on). And in my abundant spare time, I started this blog.

I had so many ideas brewing, I thought I’d never run out of posts. But I lost steam as soon as I returned to New York full-time, abandoning my closet recording booth to resume working in professional studios. I wrote fifteen posts in 2020, but only six in 2021. Now 2022 is almost half over and I’ve spent most of it unable to think of anything more to add.

Why has my mental well run dry? Some might say it’s because this blog doesn’t have a theme. It’s not about cooking, or baking, or parenting, or dating, or exercising. It’s just my own little corner of the internet, a place to try to articulate my views on society, on relationships, on experience, on memory and loss. It’s not a lifestyle blog—it’s a life blog. Perhaps the very idea that I could write anything here is what has led me to write nothing for so long. There’s so much noise out there, so much posturing and opinionizing and argument. I don’t want to add to the cacophony. I want to carve out a little space inside it, fashion myself a comfortable seat, and linger awhile in peace.

So, here I am: in liminal space, in process. I don’t cope well with either. But maybe that, after all, is what this blog is for. I’m learning as I work on long-form writing that it’s important to create a fully crafted narrative—to draw your conclusions, sew up all the loose ends, and carve an arc that readers can easily follow. But life isn’t like that. Life shows all its seams. So perhaps that’s the purpose of having a life blog: to discuss it as it happens, to articulate the peaks and valleys, to share the process.

If you’re still reading this, perhaps you agree.

Thanks for coming along for the ride.

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2 comentarios

23 may 2022

I always appreciate your honesty Barrie. We are living in jarringly disconcerting times, where society is dis-integrated at so many levels. We have lost so much trust in our institutions and even in ourselves for being so powerless to change them. But we are not powerless. The smallest act of kindness for its own sake is restorative. And so is a single paragraph about your blog. Keep it up Barrie - you are an amazingly gifted artist and I look forward to your book. If you feel inclined, in light of several of your audio books relating to the holocaust, please share your faith journey.

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Barrie Kreinik
23 may 2022
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Thanks, Duncan! So glad you're enjoying the blog.

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