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Keep Smiling Through

Here’s the big news this week, gang: 317am will go on an indefinite hiatus after Kaze’s valedictory post tomorrow. Call it a sabbatical, call it a vacation, call it what Mark Twain would call an extended period of letting the tank full up.  No fresh posts are planned – though the 317am archive will stay live online, a free resource for desperate term-paper writers the world over.

Why are we shutting down? In recent weeks Kaze and I — each in our own way and independent of each other – have had a minor epiphany. Much as we’ve enjoyed 317am, the blog was beginning to get in the way of other kinds of writing we want to try. For both of us it was draining off time and a bit of precious creativity.

“In almost every case the glory days of a small literary or intellectual review,” the poet Adam Kirsch has written, “come at the beginning, fueled by the editors’ need to make a point, or a name, or both.” I have a suspicion that the same could be said of blogs. Kirsch puts the natural life span of little magazines at five or 10 years. In blog years, that’s two to five. Here at 317am we’ve been rolling for more than two-and-a-half years now, and a certain midlife restlessness has set in.

Photo of Texas BBQ joint sign

DC's Texas BBQ joint - font of 317am.

I’ve enjoyed this project immensely and have learned a huge amount about blogging by bumbling through it. Probably the thing I’ll miss most is the back-and-forth with our faithful readers, many of whom seem to get the spirit of playfulness that is the essence of 317am. I’ll not name names here because I don’t want to leave anyone out, but you regulars know who you are, and you can be sure that Kaze and I have appreciated your attention, your comments, and your opinions.

One of the presiding spirits of this blog, Michel de Montaigne, once asked the famous question:  “When I play with my cat, who knows whether she is not making me her pastime more than I make her mine?” It was this kind of unresolved cat-plaything relationship with readers that I treasure.

I also expect to mourn the diminution of my own hyperalert vigilance for the next new thing in the worlds of literature, writing, and new media. There’s nothing like a hunger for blog fodder to make all manner of ideas, news, and trivia meaningful, downright fascinating even.

What I’m quite ready to set aside is the need to have opinions, so, so many opinions. A blogger with wishy-washy thoughts is providing no entertainment and little else of value to his readers. But the burden of thinking up opinions and articulating them gets to be wearying after a while. The corner of my brain that generates chutzpah, the part of my psyche that enables me to believe others may care what I think, is wearing down as well.

Photo of two dogs sleeping

Metaphorical image of Kaze and Ras next week. (Photo courtesy Suzanne Adams)

Will there be a second act for 317am? The best answer is probably that all-purpose hunk of Buddhist wisdom: “We’ll see.” No promises, no expectations on our part, one way or the other.

One of our basic tropes here at 317am has always been to quote greater artists than ourselves, liberally. In that regard the great Stanley Kubrick’s ending to Dr. Strangelove can’t be topped for conveying my emotions at this moment. Check it out here. I’m a word man in my bones, but thank heavens for YouTube.

19 Responses to Keep Smiling Through

  1. Three reactions:
    Sh*t! … because I will miss 317am terribly and it will be hard to kick the daily habit, but also:
    HURRAY: because I think that both of you have so much to offer where it comes to writing and the blog must, indeed, have taken up too much of your valuable time
    and
    Thank you, RasoirJ, for all your great posts (even if I did not always agree with you, yack yack) and Good luck, Happy Writing and Kill ‘m dead, RasoirJ. Off you go. WRITE, man, write. This here ole’ lady will be keepin’ an eye on you.

    • Thanks, RDR, the most faithful of the faithful. I delight in your delight, and I wish you well in all your endeavors. Also appreciate your observing the 317am anti-four-letter-word convention to the very end.

  2. Washington Buckeye May 1, 2012 at 8:03 am

    It’s been like sitting in the shadows of the Roseland Ballroom listening to Bix Beiderbecke and Fletcher Henderson, each of them at the top of his game.

  3. AS a relatively new “regular” I was so happy to find this gem of a site. I wish you both all the best as you apply your wonderful talents to further projects. It makes the world a better place having you guys in it as artists.

    • Thank you too, Glenn. Coming from one who’s out there hustling online in the music biz, this means a lot to me. I’ll always rememebr your conversion from commenter on 317am to guest poster. Few greater gifts hath any man than a guest post.

  4. We’ll miss you, but let creativity flow! Good luck to both of you.

  5. Spot on description of what is so exhausting about this hobby. I had never been able to put it in words. Thank you.

  6. Adios Amigo. You are to be applauded for all the great work the two of you did. How you will be missed. But, nothing runs forever (not even taxes if we believe in campaign promises), so the best of luck to you in your future endeavor. I hope to read about it in the Times.

  7. Even though I often felt out of my league, I did always enjoy your posts. I will miss reading what catches your attention but I am glad to know that you’re still writing…as for farewell, I think see you later, might be more fitting. All the best! PS I love the puppy photo metaphor!! BTW, You still haven’t met Logan!!

    • Thanks, Suzanne. We did get off into some esoteric obsessions, but I’m delighted to know that you were one of our regulars. And thanks again for the sleeping dogs photo. I suspect Logan is a bit larger these days than in that photo.

  8. My hat is off to both of you. I have no idea how you kept up the pace of your daily, intelligent, provocative topics for as long as you did. Pull off to the side now, fill up the tank, and enjoy an RC Cola. See you somewhere down the road.

  9. Reader comments used to appear here, but since we shut down, it’s all spam. Please ignore this stuff.

  10. it’s a excellent weblog and that i enjoy it very much!

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