My workplace is about an hour from home on foot. As the day swivels into evening, I button up my jacket and exit the building, my hands jammed in my pockets. My thoughts pour from my mind and drain away into the frigid air. The sky is blue-black and dotted with wispy clouds, like white splotches on frayed denim. Cowgirl pants, I think dreamily. I imagine riding a horse through Tokyo streets; the pink neon of nearby signs reflecting off a sleek, dark equine coat.
Midway through February, another year of web hosting for Conscience Round comes due. I have held onto this domain for thirteen years now. As an online diary, Conscience Round has proven to be arable land, though not always fertile. Mostly, it has helped to keep myself accountable to both myself and my desire to write. I didn’t start with the expectation or hope of readership, though I do treasure the handful of emails from readers who have come upon the blog serendipitously, spontaneously, after plugging in a few keywords (a tender offering from a once-upon-a-time generously-optimized search engine).
In 2008, I was a young teenager mesmerized by the huge expanse of the Web. The ready availability of minds and their words, rendered onto the digital canvas, made me feel like I lived in the Age of Discovery. Now, my impression is that old-school blogging has been largely replaced by monetizable spaces, where any hobby, interest, or cottage industry can be strip-mined for readership. My language there is prickly, but I truly don’t take issue with this new world; I’m resigned to the inevitability of change, and I don’t begrudge the instinct to head to greener pastures. And, anyway, the Web is still so vast that I suspect old-school blogging does remain, somewhere, in some nostalgic, tree-lined corner. The fact that I haven’t found it is not proof that it doesn’t exist.
But these transformations in the blogosphere do mean that I have reason to get existential with this blog. Every year, I toy with the idea of ending it all; I can’t really justify the luxury of paying for server space and a unique domain name for such a tiny, tiny blog, though inertia and sunk cost fallacy feel like enough to prop it up. Come February 1st, I stare at the invoice from my hosting provider and wonder idly: Why do I keep this site up? Why do I continue to post? What do I hope to gain?
This blog has been an anchor, a good luck charm, and a scrapbook of times heartless, tender, depressive, joyful, cruel, loving. I only very rarely show it to others; I’ve always liked that only strangers come upon it. Just recently, after nearly five years of dating, I showed Strawberry a post and he said reading it was like “being in another body.” I was surprised at how much I understood; writing and reading really are like experiencing another body. Running, breathing, expelling; all from within another body. An escape, a confession, a conjuring. That’s enough reason for Conscience Round to exist; because it helps me write, and sometimes writing is the only way I can take in a deep breath.