I’ve just finished reading a story about Justin Hall, a 30-year-old man who some consider to be the “father of web diarists” because he kept a weblog that extensively and intimately documented his daily life with text, pictures, and video for eleven years until he quit early this year. Just before he quit, he made a riveting short video called “Dark Night” in which he pours out his anguish at feeling so alone and lonely. How ironic, he laments, that his efforts to connect with people on the web through his blogging art, and in his hands it really IS an art, seems to have made him more lonely than ever in that his sometimes startlingly intimate self-disclosures have not only pushed people away from him, but have also taken up so much of his time that there’s too little left to cultivate close relationships with people in the flesh.
I began this blog with the notion that I would use it to reveal my “naked” soul to myself and the world. But I’ve not really done this, at least not with anything approaching Justin’s level. And even if I were to do it, what would be the result? Would it draw me closer to other people and them to me, or, if I became really candid about my experiences and my deepest thoughts and feelings, would I scare people off? And what is it that I really want to accomplish with this blog?
In his video, Justin anguishes that one of the huge dilemmas he faces is between his art and human relationships. One gets the sense that he loves his art, yet it’s also painfully clear that he feels terribly, terribly lonely and that he believes his art bears large responsibility for this. My “art,” modest as it is, is to clarify mostly my thoughts and some of my feelings in written form to myself and share them with the world, now in my blog and later in a book about credible religion. But I also have a wife and should have a life away from my art, and I wonder if I have the resources to serve both masters at the same time, or if I really must do as Justin, at least for the time being, has done and choose between them. The problem is, I don’t think I can be truly happy without both, or truly happy with both if I can’t give them both my all.
So, what do I do?