Posted by: zhiv | January 18, 2016

Trying to Start Up Again: Eight Years Goes By Fast

Sigh. Where to begin? And more to the point, how to begin? Keep it simple I guess. That seems to work sometimes. Not my specialty though.

I’m writing and reading. I had stopped writing for awhile, sort of, I guess. And I definitely stopped reading, books at least. I don’t know exactly why, but there are reasons. I was stumbling around and devising increasingly intricate strategies for drinking and getting dazed, watching more television (a golden age!) and movies (my job, more or less), shuffling up to bed and passing out. It’s some sort of long story, and the bad version is boring, and I don’t know how to do the good, shorter one.

But I’ll try to review, and maybe that will help, even though it’s a leap right into the long, bad, boring version I just rejected. This blog started at the beginning of 2008, just less than 3000 days ago, and my goal right now (mid-December 2015) is to have it up and running in January, just in time for its eighth birthday–8 is a lucky number, right? which we remember from the 8-8-8 Chinese Olympics, and that went pretty well, didn’t it?

In the Fall of 07 my daughter started up a high school senior thesis, researching South African literature and art. I had been reading Chekhov, and started reading Coetzee with her. At the same time I started reading Lit Blogs, and I found some that I really liked.

I’ll go back from there for just a second, for no good reason–but this is also background stuff I haven’t talked about here, I don’t think, so why not? I was already fairly deep (for a Luddite old guy) in the blog and internet world before I started reading lit blogs. The lion’s share of it was sports. I was an obsessed LA Clippers fan, and I still am. In 02 or 03 I found the ESPN message boards and eventually jumped in and started to comment there. At the same time the US political situation was rather dire, and I followed a number of political blogs, notably Talking Points Memo and Fire Dog Lake. I remember Marcy Wheeler (Emptywheel) liveblogging the Scooter Libby trial as something of a watershed moment. I even commented on the political blogs from time to time, which is a bit hard to believe at this point. Politics was a primary concern until the tide finally turned back to something that seemed like sanity in the 06 elections, and my political internet engagement slowed down and eventually ceased after Obama was elected. Sadly, it just started up again, for a variety of obvious reason I guess, and I just checked in on the old sites and writers, still going strong and fighting the good fight. But I would never presume to comment now, and it’s funny to me that I checked in on the political blogs just a week or two ago, before thinking about coming back here.

And around that time (05-06) a guy started a blog about the Clippers, two guys actually. One of them was brilliant, Kevin Arnovitz, and his site was a little less democratic for some reason, and he climbed the sports digital media ladder and became an accomplished writer and pundit at ESPN. The other guy, Steve Perrin, was pretty brillliant too and solid and smart and he worked really hard, and his website, ClipsNation, became a place with a lot of interesting commentary and people. I hung out there all the time, for hours on end. So the point here, then, is that I was a fairly serious internet junkie by 07. I stayed strong over at ClipsNation, where I was writing as citizen zhiv (Perrin was originally Clipper Steve). I suppose I switched out politics for literature, with the NBA and the Clippers staying constant. I found some interesting Lit Blogs and did some commenting.

My daughter was doing a thesis at the time, as I mentioned. And almost exactly eight years ago I was bugging her to start a blog as a way to organize her research and reading. She was resistant, for all sorts of good reasons, and it must have been over the holidays that I realized that what I really wanted was a blog for myself. And so I started up here in January 2008.

That was eight years ago today–January 18. I’ve been doing a little typing and writing and I have some posts stored up and some good books to read. So why not try to get things going again?



  1. I’ve missed you and your writing. I too have gone through periods of not reading much but am also just getting back into it. I had a big chunk of time reading all of Wallace Stegner’s work and spoke about him at a Literary festival in East Anglia. Now I’m roving more freely, in terms of books. Have you ever come across Thomas Savage and The Power of the Dog? It was written, no published, in 1967 and is about to be re-printed. There’s a film in it definitely but it’s a fine fine book even if no director were to get near it. I think you’d find it very powerful.

    As for here and now, I’m back potting again after a twenty year pause. Some pause. I absolutely love it and it’s the best cure for restless minds.

    Take care and all the best.

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