It’s bad enough to run out of things to write, but I’m starting to worry that I’ve also run out of things to say.
The other day at work, during a lull, discussion tuned to whale watching. We started sharing stories of whale watches we’d been on, and I found myself telling my whale watch story and saying, “not in any single year of my college career, maybe not even in all four years, did I witness as much puking as I did on that cruise.”
As my colleagues agreed and started in with their own yarns of technicolor yawns, I thought to myself, hey, that’s not a bad turn of phrase. Then it hit me like icy ocean spray: I did say that before. I wrote that before. It’s in the blog. Yep. June, 2009.
I’ve started checking before I tell a story or recount an experience. My thoughts on the Everything Bagel? Blogged it. (“feh“) Stuck on the TGV? Been there, blogged that. (including the French lyrics to Autumn Leaves) Trying to join 100 social networks on a bet? Failed, but blogged it anyway. Four times. (I’ll spare you the details)
Maybe originality isn’t everything. We return to classic themes and plots. The themes and threads are what sets one story-teller’s stories apart but also binds them together. We like remakes and mashups and covers and Jazz standards. We blog by blogging about a post on some other blog that’s blogging about a blog post.
Or maybe I’ve become that guy who tells the same stories on the same themes again and again. Like my father. Only I’ve got written proof that I’ve told them before. And additionally, quantified proof that I have some weird attachment to terms like “turgid” and “estimable.” Isn’t search grand? On the plus side, I can use the blog archive to backstop my flaky memory. Maybe I could save time by just forwarding links instead of telling stories. But that suggests all my best material is behind me, an idea that no author wants to face.
Maybe it’s not as bad as all that. As with family members’ stories, the repetition isn’t so repetitive if it’s your first time. And if anybody but me has read all 600+ entries, that would be scary.
In any case, I’d better get to cranking out some new material before the readers catch up, myself included.