2019 has come and gone with barely a post on the blog. I spent much of this year living offline, and it turned out rather well. I’m a full-time student, but was never unemployed for more than a week or so in 2019: I bounced from internship to internship, working long hours for part of the summer and most of the school year. As a result, the little free time that I did have was precious to me, and often, I preferred to spend it with friends face-to-face, talking to family on the phone, or just relaxing with a couple of episodes of Frasier in my room. While I still wrote quite a bit–I actually wrote more fiction this year than I have since high school, which was years ago now–I chose not to share it here. What I post on the blog is poked, prodded, and cut down to be marketable and crowd-pleasing. All of the content posted to Books & Bark is, of course, public, meaning that there is no room to produce the terrible pieces of writing which I have realized, are not pleasant to look back upon, but necessary in the development of any writer. All of this leaves little room for me to experiment in this forum, and ultimately has not truly helped me improve in and of itself.
Throughout the year, I have swayed back and forth between wanting to shut down Books & Bark entirely, and wanting to scale it up so that it’s bigger and better than ever before. I finally settled on leaving it as-is and trying not to pressure myself to post mediocre content for posting’s sake. I’ll figure out where this blog is headed in 2020.
I can’t help thinking about the future of my beloved blog, though, and as I do, I am reminded of a conversation between Amy Davidson Sorkin and Edward Snowden that I had the privilege of attending earlier this year. The two, who are both well into adulthood, noted that most adults today did not have their lives chronicled on the Internet; maybe today’s thirty-somethings were on MySpace and Facebook, but my generation (cuspers between Millennials and Gen Z) are the first to truly have our entire adolescence documented and readily available on the Internet. I don’t think anyone wants their embarrassing teen years available for all the world to see. My parents’ generation, while unlucky enough to have to shlep to the library and go through actual books to do research, were lucky enough to have their childhoods recorded only in memory, diaries, and the stray photograph.
Books & Bark has chronicled my life in a very detailed and public manner, and it is because of this that it’s unlikely that this blog will see 2030. I started writing this blog when I was thirteen; I’m now twenty. By the time the 2030s roll around, I’ll be in my thirties, and I doubt that having the same blog that I had in my teens will be a very attractive prospect. I do not want my awful NaNoWriMo snippets from 2014 tied to my essays on The Met from 2018. While it’s nice for me (and perhaps my mother) to go back through my writing and see how it’s evolved, it’s not something that I necessarily want available to future employers, especially if I am ever to affiliate my name with this website of mine.
Books & Bark has offered space to build community, learn new skills, and reflect on my growth as a writer and as a person, and for that I will be forever grateful. But this blog will either have to reinvent itself entirely or start from scratch at some point if it is to continue. Like anything else in the world, it adapts or it dies.
Let’s see if it can survive the 2020s.