I fielded a note from a regular reader named Dr. Bop, recently, in response to my Summer 2016 survey. The good doctor writes…
I was gonna do a whole bit about you writing better and more humorously when you were miserable; but now that you have returned to the city, I think things will improve.....by going downhill fast. ;^) (Sorry, I'm just not sure exactly what to do with feeling happy that you're a lot happier.....to paraphrase, "Are you happy? Are you happy? There's NO happy in rock/cultural criticism!"
He’s being facetious, of course, but it does raise a few points.
I wouldn’t imagine anyone regularly reads this blog with an eye for my state of well-being. I mean, that will almost always be reflected in the tone of the content, whether I mean for it to or not. I compose all this stuff from a specific point of personal reference (as I’ve said, if I don’t have a personal association or some anecdotal connection to a specific topic, I’m probably not going to post about it here), but I don’t necessarily mean the blog to be about me. It’s about other things -– music, New York City, idiotic pop culture, shoddy attempts at proper parenting, etc. -– albeit all through my perspective. While I may frame the posts with stories about my experience or interaction with whatever persons, places or things, those are just intended as launching points. The blog is still meant to be about those things, not just my arguably egocentric, self-indulgent perceptions of them. But, I guess they’re all intertwined.
In any case, while I am indeed happier in my domestic and vocational circumstances, that doesn’t necessarily mean my outlook is suddenly universally sunny. And, just to be clear, when I was genuinely miserable, I didn’t post at all (witness my fraught hiatus from a little while back).
Given the pervading, primary subject matter of the blog (the steady dissolution of everything I love about NYC, pretty much), things still look pretty goddamn dire. Which, of course, brings me back to a quandary I’ve wrestled with before (most notably here): Is it healthy to spend so much time dwelling on the past? Is it wise to carry a torch for an iteration of New York City that is never coming back?
This blog is sometimes lumped in with a few select others and tagged with the epithet “nostalgist,” usually employed as a dismissive pejorative. I have no problem with being branded as such –- I mean, by definition, most of this stuff is exactly that: nostalgia. How could I argue?
I’d like to believe, however, that by highlighting the material I do, I’m not simply wallowing in nostalgia -- although you may beg to differ -- so much as shining a light on some lesser-celebrated elements* that get washed over in the grand continuum of things. Given the feedback I get, as trivial as most of my posts are, I gather they’re resonating with some folks. Other folks, maybe not so much, but whatever.
In any case, whether I’m happy or not about the state of proceedings -- be it my personal life, my professional situation, the state of the world or the dwindling doings of interest here in NYC –- I never really have a plan about what I’m going to post. Inspiration strikes when it strikes. Luckily, that usually happens a lot. When it runs out -– regardless of my mood -- I guess I’ll stop.
*Mea culpa: I realize that the arguably hackneyed ghost of CBGB could hardly be counted as “lesser-celebrated,” and but that’s an easy exception.