February 13, 2017

In Japan neglected or abandoned blogs are called ishikoro, pebbles.
— Sarah Boxer, b. 1958
American nonfiction and graphic fiction writer

Today is my blogaversary. Eighteen years I’ve been online with these musings, these markings, these ishikoro. In my first post, which you can read here, I said that “I want to keep and hold the rapture and (sometimes) the torture of being almost 52, a suburban wife and mother, a writer in search of recognition.”

That was 1999, when there were only a few dozen blogs, according to Sarah Boxer. I considered myself late to the party when I joined the community by way of an email discussion list I blundered upon from a search for a term I have now forgotten. We called ourselves “journallers” (to distinguish ourselves from “journalists”), our creations “OLJs,” or “online journals.” Some of the friends I made in those early days are still my friends, and we are now more active together on Facebook than we are with our blogs or our mailing list, although that still remains important to me.

When I wrote that first piece, I did not mention that it was my mother’s birthday. She’d have been 88 that day. I did write about her, and her birthday, in subsequent years, as in here and here. In many of the blogaversary essays, I lamented the fact that I’d been writing less and less, that I needed to shake myself out of the doldrums, that, contrary to appearances, I didn’t want Markings to become one of the ishikoro of the blogosphere.

In 2010, I wrote:

I have a friend whose life is dominated by the striving that any ambitious twenty-something must face, particularly one who wishes to achieve in a creative field. He has periods when everything works for him, alternating with periods when his best work does not produce the results he had hoped for. He suffers, as we all do, from periods of self-doubt, but they don’t last forever and when they are over, he picks himself up, squares his shoulders, and begins again. “DG is back,” he says then. “Back back,” he sometimes adds, and I know he’s not just stepped into the next big thing, he’s charged into it.

Dan Good is now an ambitious thirty-something, a journalist at a New York newspaper, as well as a husband and a father, none of which he was then. I’m an almost seventy-something, no longer hesitant about describing myself as a fiction writer, although still a suburban wife, mother, and, now, grandmother.

I have a deadline looming. By Wednesday, February 15, my fifteenth annual application for admission to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference must be uploaded. They’ve moved the deadline up two weeks, and made it clear “February 15” ends at midnight Eastern Standard Time, not whatever time zone is the last to change.

It occurred to me as I worked today that this will be sixth different manuscript that involves the same set of characters. Several years ago I had an idea about them that would take place when they were 36 years old. Because the timeline has been fixed by a reference to the events of September 11, 2001, I figured that the scenario I envisioned could not be written until 2020. I joked that I had to keep writing until at least then, in order to use my idea.

We’re almost there. And I’m not joking anymore.

Forward motion. Let’s get busy.


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