Blank Blog

My blog has been blank for months. I was on a roll in May, I had just returned from a trip to Japan, I was loaded with stories to tell and photos to publish. But since that time, I have only posted two articles, and nothing within the last two months. My friends, my readers, and even some complete strangers have inquired about what happened to me, so I guess I should explain. I have ambivalent feelings about doing this, my blog is full of my personal stories, but there is a line I usually don’t cross, I don’t like to get too personal. But it is time to get this off my chest.

I usually have some trouble readjusting back to life in the US after a stay in Japan, but I was totally unprepared for what happened to me this time. My troubles started small. I injured my foot from walking all over Tokyo, and I had to have foot surgery, which is about the most intensely painful surgery you can have. Even the anaesthetic injection before the surgery hurts like you wouldn’t believe. And the surgery failed, so I have to go back for another painful operation in a few weeks.

But of course, someone always has to add insult to injury. And of course, it has to be the one person who is closest to you, who can inflict more pain than anyone else. I should have known something was wrong when I returned from my trip and my girlfriend would not return my emails and phone calls. Finally, weeks after I returned, I received a drunken phone call from her at 1AM, confessing she had betrayed me, she found a new boyfriend the moment I left town, and in fact, she was calling me from his bed at that very moment. I was angry at myself for ever having loved a person who could do something so deceitful, someone who could turn my deepest feelings of love into pure bitterness. I was depressed and in a fog for weeks, I would never again speak to the one person I most loved to tell my stories to, the one person who most loved hearing my crazy tales. I completely lost interest in telling my stories to the world through my blog.

But just when I thought my life could not become any bleaker, of course, it did. My mother went into the hospital and nearly died. The doctors were completely incompetent, to the level of malpractice. It was difficult to get the doctors to give her proper care, she lost so much weight she nearly died. But she pulled through. And then yet another shock came. I took her to a different, competent hospital for followup treatment, where she was diagnosed with advanced ALS, Lou Gehrig’s Disease. So my mother was saved from wasting away and dying, only to be condemned to waste away and die from something else, something far more horrible and tragic than anyone should have to endure.

Life began to look pretty bleak. I could do nothing but sit in front of my altar, and pray to Buddha for enlightenment. But Buddha does not magically grant our wishes, it is all up to me to find a way through my woes, Buddha can only show us the path. And then I remembered some advice from an old buddhist friend, when you encounter troubles, consider how a totally enlightened man would handle the situation. What would Buddha do? He would understand that these troubles are sansho shima, the “three obstacles and four devils” that conspire to undermine our faith and our works, and prevents us from moving ever towards enlightenment.

So I came to a realization. I am an artist and a writer, and if I do not express myself, I might as well be dead. I will not let obstacles, no matter how tragic, deter me from saying what I must say, from doing what I must do. My life will become harder than it has ever been, but this is not a time to wallow in my troubles, it is a time to overcome them. So I must rededicate myself to my work, and resume my blogging.

But some things must be sacrificed in order to focus on the really important things in life. It is at a time like this when we can see what things are really important to us, and what is a waste of time. I decided to completely sever my relationship with the one online community I have participated in most heavily, for over a decade, a forum for discussing Japanese language learning. It was my belief that I owed a debt of gratitude to those who helped me learn the language, and I could only repay that debt by helping those students that came after me. But I finally came to the realization that the forum was no longer useful to students, it was full of ridiculous idiots and flamers; Australian bigots, demented otaku, SCA/Renaissance Faire rejects, agoraphobics, alcoholic expatriates, pathological liars, self-important high-school teachers, and worst of all, law students that treat Usenet flamefests as if they were win-at-all-costs Moot Courts. It is not worth wasting any more of my time on these people, there is nothing to be gained by casting pearls before swine. They need me more than I need them. Separating from this group is their loss, and my gain.

So now that I have more time to devote to what is really important, I will have to figure out how to proceed. Perhaps this confessional message is the first step, I felt I could not resume posting even short, trivial messages to my blog after such a long absence without some sort of explanation. So now that I have this off my chest, I will rededicate myself to the work I enjoy so much. Of course, there will be terrible obstacles here too, the first obstacle will be to upgrade to the new Movable Type 3 system. I need to upgrade my blog’s templates. I need to fix my BlogTV processing system, which all fell apart due to OS upgrades. Oh there is so much work to be done. But I can shirk my duties no longer.

Perhaps this unplanned hiatus is best viewed in light of one of my crackpot philosophies. It is my opinion that the best workers are shirkers. I myself am a shirker. No, a shirker is not someone who merely avoids doing their duties. A true shirker is someone who takes a job so seriously, they avoid taking on a job unless they are convinced they can deal with it as seriously as it deserves. I have shirked long enough, now I am convinced that I can again deal with my blog in the manner it deserves. So I must get back to work. I don’t know how long it will be until my next update, I will have to completely rework my server and infrastructure. But I promise that sooner rather than later, I will be posting new work that will be better than anything I have ever done before.

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