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potholders

And so I start blogging again. Who knows why, exactly? All I know for sure is that I don’t really care if anybody actually reads this thing or not. This is the part of the trip I’m on now–the part where I realize that I just happen to like weaving potholders (my usual metaphor for making “art”), and that’s the end of it. I don’t really see the need to set up a stand on the sidewalk and advertise those potholders to passing motorists. No, only the weaving matters, and in fact once I’ve “finished” the things, I hardly even look at them again. I’m restless to move on. I seem finally to have learned this about myself.

Every other Sunday morning, I co-host a two-hour radio show on a tiny local station, and for days beforehand I find myself working crazily hard on the themes and playlist, because the planning, for me, is the fun part. Learning new songs, resurrecting old ones, dipping into the histories of genres and the lives of pioneers. Then Butch (my friend and co-host) and I do the show, play songs and talk about them, and all that’s fun and fine–especially when it’s my turn to work the sliders and buttons! But it feels more like aftermath than goal. For one thing, I’m pretty sure that on any given Sunday, anywhere from zero to maybe a dozen people are listening to us at all. It’s soothing and freeing, that anonymity. It’s a lot like the feeling right here and now, in fact, as I type this. There are so many, many blogs out there that only a tiny, mostly accidental group of people will ever glance at mine.

So I’m free. Forgive me for saying so, but it doesn’t seem to matter to me whether the reader (that’s “you,” by the way) exists at all. It’s actually more useful, in fact, to imagine myself alone. After all, I’ve served a lifetime as my own favorite and most loyal witness. By now, I can be “you” just as easily as you can. I ‘m finally learning that, for me, the best joys lie in practice, not performance.

From today’s diary:

I’m getting better at seeing who I am, and being a witness to myself instead of a judge. To throw away the judge, you know, you first have to have an impeccable confidence that you don’t need him anymore, that his absence won’t inspire some personal spiritual crime spree. I think I can safely say that much, for now. And anyway I’ll never really lose that judge, and probably I’m built so that I can’t. So I’ll be witness to this too; I’ll listen to my daily self-chastisements, and wonder how the part of me who still believes they’re true gets through the day.

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