"Yeah, well, you know, that's just like, uh, your opinion, man."

Distant Socializing

05:20 Saturday, 28 March 2020

Well, it's nearly the end of the month and I haven't posted anything here, so I want to at least make the effort to get something up. It may be the apocalypse, but one must keep up appearances.

How about a little "cheese sandwich" post? Cheese sandwich posts are the kind of blogging disdained by the cognoscenti. It derives from the, "Today I had a cheese sandwich." observations of daily life that often went into many blog posts, which seem to have been replaced by Instagram nowadays. But I'm old school here, so no pics with this post.

When I was most prolific in my blogging, almost twenty years ago, I lived alone and didn't have a dog. Later, when I had Bodhi, I was living in a condo and all of my blogging was done up in my loft, where Bodhi couldn't go because the spiral staircase proved too difficult for him to navigate. As a result, I was seldom interrupted, save for the occasional head call.

Today, I'm married and we have a little dog that will not tolerate a closed door, and her super-power is a wagging tail that can lift a 200+ pound man out of a chair. So if I want to write something, I have to get up early and get busy. It's 0531 as I write this, and in about 29 minutes, Schotzie is going to start licking Mitzi's face, she's going to put her on the floor, and about 20 seconds later she's going to be jumping on the side of my office chair and that will be the end of that in terms of writing anything today.

I'm much more prolific on Twitter. I can usually muster the three minutes or so that it takes to write a tweet, maybe a little longer if I have to look something up to make sure I'm not embarrassing myself. Not that that's ever stopped me.

Twitter is less demanding, especially given the constraints of the format. I have done some long "threads," where one repeatedly replies to oneself in order to complete a thought or an analysis. It's not my favorite thing to do. I find my thinking gets "chunked" by the tweet, and nothing flows and it's often riddled with typographical errors that make me look even less semi-literate than I really am. But I can write tweets on my phone, in the odd intervals between interruptions; and they're almost always motivated by something I've read on twitter, so there's the urge and urgency to write something. And so, much of whatever it is I do that might be said to be "writing" is done on Twitter these days.

I'll occasionally be able to do a long-form Facebook post, the kind where it opens in a separate page because it's so long. Those typically happen because I'll read something online and have an immediate reaction, a "hot take," in the parlance of our times, and so I'll "share" it on Facebook along with my reaction. I don't care for that because it puts too much of my writing on Facebook's platform. Not that I'm the author of deathless prose or anything, I'd just rather have any record of my thoughts be on something I control, like the Marmot here.

But it's interesting, to me, the differences in the processes. This is harder. When I write here, I'm mostly inclined to ruminate. There's an itch I want to scratch. Something I want to kind of work out for myself, or explore whatever it is I seem to think I believe. Sometimes I don't manage to convince myself and those posts seldom go up. I don't write many of them anymore.

The "cheese sandwich" posts are the exception.

So when I get started here, I sometimes have no idea where I'm going to end up. I'm making it up as I go along. I enjoy that process, but it does require a certain amount of concentration. Hopefully the journey is at least a little entertaining for you as well. I know I've often let you down.

The long-form "hot take" on Facebook is less demanding in terms of the creative effort involved. It's a quick analysis of something, often motivated by an emotional response, and therefore I already know where I'm going. I just need to add enough structure to hopefully demonstrate that my conclusion holds up; and that's usually just citing precedent, historical events, conventional norms and so on.

But I do enjoy this. It's just far more resource-intensive in terms of time and concentration.

Well, it's 0557. In a few minutes, there's going to be an old dog in here who knows nothing about what it is I'm trying to do, only that I'm the guy who gets her the treats. This tiny bit of insignificant fluff has taken me nearly forty minutes to write.

(Update: It's 0624, and I've been uninterrupted, which is both amazing and welcome, because I've spent the last half hour revising this!)