Saturday, February 28, 2009

No rules, just right

So in restarting this blog, I realize right off the bat that I have to lay some ground rules. Or, at least, one ground rule. And here it is: There are no ground rules.

In its earlier incarnation I posted to this blog virtually every day -- weekdays, weekends, always in the mornings. I followed a pattern, posting one short entry and one or two photos each day. Those were my rules, at least in my own brain.

I liked that consistency, but part of what grew tiring was the sense of obligation -- a feeling that I had to be here every day and fit my format.

So I’m pledging herewith to lighten up, for cripe’s sake, and just post when I have something to say. It may very well wind up being every day, and in the morning. Maybe even twice a day. Or once a week. But at least perhaps I won’t feel quite so much like I have to post, and more like I want to.

Let’s see where that takes us, shall we?

(Photo: Front entrance of the historic Vander Ende-Onderdonk house, Ridgewood, Queens, February 2009)

Back again, apparently

Well, I just couldn't stay away. Rejoice or mourn, as you wish!

Three months ago, I really intended to end this blog. In fact, I eventually deleted the whole thing and packed it away on my hard drive in an .xml file, archived for my eyes only. On the "Internets," it was no more. "Shadows & Light" was a dead link.

But recently, a couple of things made me think maybe this wasn't the best idea.

First, I missed the wisdom and camaraderie of my blogging pals. I tried to keep up with their blogs, but it's just not the same when all the communication travels one way. You lose that collegial bond.

Second, I undoubtedly missed having an outlet to record and reflect on the stuff going on in my life. I have had a crazy couple of months! The newspaper industry is imploding, making my career look like it could go slip-sliding away at any moment. At the same time, I took a terrific two-week trip to India and also had a good long stay in Florida for the holidays. Ups, downs, the minutiae of daily existence, and nowhere to tell my tales.

Third, I had a very compelling exchange with a blogger pal of mine about the wisdom of deleting a blog. I argued that in my case I felt I'd outgrown my blog, that it didn't really reflect my life, blah blah blah. My friend said quite wisely that NO blog could completely reflect its writer's life, but blogs are still valuable chronicles of what rises to the surface. "The things we humans create gain meaning and context through time and distance," he said. "We often can't judge them ourselves, or immediately ... and that goes for something even as seemingly innocuous or silly as a blog."

I got to thinking about all the work I'd put into it, and all the people who said they enjoyed it.

Fortunately, Blogger offers a handy tool called "Import," with which you can upload your archived .xml file and, basically, recreate a deleted blog. So here I am, realizing that I'm the "blogger who cried wolf" and I've probably alienated all my readers. All I can say is, let's start fresh! More about that later...

(Photo: A discarded bouquet on the sidewalk in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India, January 2009)