wednesday night

Until midnight, it’s still Wednesday and my day. For a long while, I have been debating how to write this post, fighting against post-holiday ennui and logistics, fighting for words. It’s super hard.

Toward the end of last summer I started feeling ambivalent about writing here. It coincided with a major upheaval on my end, and so I thought that it would pass as the hardship wore a groove into my life. The good parts of writing here are so good, and I mean seriously so good, that I counted the hard parts as growing pains and waited for my feelings to change. It didn’t happen. By the time fall was in full swing, I knew I had to change something, because I was starting to dread having a post “due” twice a week. I told myself that I would catch fire again during December for Reverb. That didn’t happen, either.

This is just my side of it, how it was for me. I just looked back on our backstory page and read the line where I said if it fails, it’ll fail gloriously. The thing is, I don’t think it failed. I think it is marvelous. But I need a break, and Heather agreed with me when I talked to her about it months ago. I have lots of lovely daydreams about what we might do here in the future, and if the stars align again, I would love to have you with us.

In the meantime, the domain will be redirected over the weekend to a new site where Heather and I will keep up with the photo Friday tradition for a while. You might experience some downtime if you try to view the site then, but eventually things should straighten themselves out. I will be starting a site of my own for more occasional writing when the mood takes me, but it won’t be as consistent as The Deep Old Desk has been. I’m okay with that, and I hope you are, too.

I want you to know that it has been a singular joy to get to know so many of you, and to be invited into your lives by means of this site. And as for Heather, I stand by a statement I made in this post last year:

It’s not the usual thing, to share a website. You can’t do it with just anyone. I could not have mixed up a better blog partner in a cauldron with Dumbledore at my side to give me tips. Heather zeroes in on the beauty and ephemeral moments of this life with a way that I want to read every day. Besides the great content and photography that will always give me the hand-on-my-heart gasps, she is great to work with. She is professional in the extreme, always wants the best for this site, and is always in good taste. I’m really lucky in this respect, and I know this site would not have found its footing without Heather.

What this site was, and will hopefully continue to be, is all possible because of Heather, her work, and the love I have for her that continued to drive me to write those two posts a week even when I would rather have scrubbed a hundred bathrooms. She is the brains behind #soupweek and the source of incredible strength, and the world would be a better place if we all viewed it the way she does. I wouldn’t trade a moment, Heather, not a single one.

writing about writing

Here I am, writing. In another Notepad window, I’m writing about writing. And in that Notepad window, the subject matter—the writing I’m writing about—is about writing about things other than writing. I swear, it really does make sense. Hopefully, it’ll turn into an article for writers who blog about point of view and royalties, but never themselves. I think that’s a mistake.

I’ve mentioned before that Heather and I have both written online for many years before we started this site, and I know that some of our commenters have done that too. Years of experience talking between us. Anyone who does this for more than a few months before quitting, especially anyone who gains a following, has a sense for what engages readers and what doesn’t. What keeps people coming back, what makes them delurk and comment.

A chunk of one of my nonfiction shelves. Forgive the blur. It is SO dark and rainy today. Later on today I’ll name them in the comments if you can’t read the titles. I think I’ve learned as much from “writer’s lives” books like Amy Tan’s as I have from the craft books.Those of us who have written online during the particular span I’m talking about—speaking of the early 2000s into now—have experienced a massive change regarding online identity and privacy. Screennames were more than just the word we hid behind; they became who we were to the people who read us. Now we show our faces, tell our names. At one time, that was actually against the rules.

So I’m thinking thoughts about how much we share. How much we keep behind. How thrilled I am when I see a picture of Heather’s little girl, and wondering if a day will come when she asks Heather not to do post them anymore. (Hannah, I’m asking you now not to let that happen. Please.) I’m thinking about how I feel about public figures who use social media for good (Neil Gaiman) and… ill (Charlie Sheen). I’m thinking about Roxanne’s wise post about choosing what she shares about the politically charged situations around her, even though I’d bet that there are stories that are begging to be told there every day. I’m thinking about how much the quality of writing affects the impact of communication. 

I can make an article about this. Whether it says everything I want it to is still TBD.

I’m interested in hearing anything you have to say about this. What you share online and general containers of what you keep behind. (For me, I try not to tell what I’d call “other people’s stories.”) I’m interested in public figures that you think do an amazing job with their online presence. I’m interested in what would make you come back to a writer’s website to read in between book releases. (Elizabeth Berg writes an occasionally updated blog that I find interesting. She keeps her comments turned off, so she’s not doing what I’d call engaging with readers, but I still like it.) I’m interested in knowing if you’ve Facebook-liked an author or friended them on Goodreads. (I don’t use Facebook at all, and since I barely update my Goodreads page anymore, I think it’s a little creepy when I get an email saying an author wants to friend me there!) I know it’s a huge topic, but I think almost everyone has an opinion on one corner of it or another. Seriously, I would love to know.