It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything than a few stray tweets — & not too many of them.

Blame it on skankthrax. I’m not, in fact, a skank; but skankthrax is what a online friend of mine dubbed the nasty cold-that-wouldn’t-go-away that I was afflicted with in early 2007.  Well, of course, it did go away, eventually.  But the word stuck, & comes in handy for the similar kind of nastiness that took hold of me early last month.  (I had a similar cold in 2008, too, whence cometh the photo below — used to illustrate this part of this post since I didn’t take any self-portraits during this latest bout.)

Skankthrax, stage 4: Sneezing & streaming eyes (075/365)

(I’m proud to proclaim my minor claim to fame: the photo was selected by New Hampshire Public Radio to illustrate an October 2008 story about the common cold. Huzzah!)

I intended at the time I caught the cold to write one of my geekily long, super-referenced political posts in followup to the April 28 gun carry protest on the UAA campus, about which I tweeted the day thereof.  Here’s one of several pics passed onto me by a friend that were intended to illustrate that post (see others in my Flickr photostream) –

Campus carry protest on UAA campus

– but skankthrax sucked all the energy out of me, & I never got around to it.  If I had, it would mainly have been to reiterate in longer form what I’d already said in comments on other people’s blogs on the actual day, & if anyone’s really interested they can follow the links to those posts from my tweets.

But thank goodness for skankthrax. If a nasty cold-from-hell is a crisis of sorts, then it’s also an opportunity; & here along with four days out sick from work was not only an enforced opportunity to rest, but also a voluntary opportunity to pull back & rethink a few things about what I’m doing in my life.  And on this blog, which is a reflection of my life, & on the work I still want to do in it.  (Not, I’m thankful, a period of reflection that required as much time & silence as the cave I dwelt in for a period of 2008-2009.)

Here’s some of what I’ve determined:

Last year, in the midst of the (lost) battle for an equal rights ordinance in Anchorage, & other political goings-on of 2009, I declared myself an occasional political blogger.  But virtually every time I dip into the “occasional”, it distracts & detracts one helluva lot from what I really want to be doing — again again again I must say it, if only to remind myself: writing.  Writing about a local or even state, national, or international political issue is writing, of course — but it’s not the stuff I really want to write.  Important as it is, what feeds my spirit is writing my stuff, which I know darn well what that is.  At the same time, a lot of my stuff is inherently political — just not at that level of “at this very moment in this very place” immediacy such as one can find on, for example, The Mudflats, Alaska Commons, Progressive Alaska, or any of the other progressive (or otherwise) political blogs that I’ve been semi-numbered among for the past year. I count on those bloggers to keep me in the loop on what’s important to me politically — they excel at it, & furthermore they seem to thrive at it.  Unlike me.  So I’ll count on them to do what they do, & count on me to do what I do.

That’s not to say that this blog will become apolitical.  As I’ve already said, a lot of my stuff is inherently political.  Hence, politics will be here; but the emphasis of it will be that which is integral to my work.

My silence over the past month has been in part to give me a break, a distancing from immediate politics, in order to better effect that shift back to my writing & my own direction in life.

Write hard, die free

Other stuff I’m doing too, that will be reflected over the next few weeks & months on this blog.  For my job, I’ve found myself needing to fill in a lot of gaps in my catch-as-catch-can education on website design. The know-how I’m gaining as a result will have a lot of benefits for my website too, which I’ve long intended to play a central role in my writing/self-publishing life.  That’s another part of my silence lately: I’m busy learning (or preparing to learn) in-depth a lot of cool stuff about CSS, PHP, MySQL, & other such stuff.  As a poet, I can’t quite sign onto the meme that “code is poetry” — but I appreciate the beauty of elegant code that makes websites look good & load fast, & it’s pretty darn cool to learn better how to do it myself.  Especially because it’ll help me get some of my stuff out there for people to read.  (I hope.)

I’ve also got a visitor in town right now, my more-than-a-friend-but-not-quite-my-partner-anymore love Ptery (formerly Rozz), who’s up here for another few weeks.  Ptery is going to be doing some guest blogging soon, perhaps then breaking out into his own blog.  I’m looking forward to the conversations we’ll have here — me, him, & anyone else who wants to join in.  I’ll have a more extensive introduction when Ptery posts his first guest post.  But here we are below, on the day he arrived in town.

Mel & Ptery

And now I’m back to blogging. It’s a good thing.

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