Anyone still out there?Re-entering cyberspace, I think, might be more challenging than entering it the first time. Technically though, I never really left, going from the Chicago Tribune to my blog, which kept me sane after being laid off from the Tribune, to ESPNChicago.com, which saved me.
I began my blog in the weepy hours after being pushed out by the Tribune last April and kept writing as I stopped crying and started to see the hope and humor again, through my first months with ESPN. And then I stopped.I still do not know exactly why I stopped. But I am flattered by the handful of you not including those directly related to me, who noticed. I hope you find me again. And though I can’t promise anything, I hope not to take a three-and-half month break again.
For a while, I know I felt that if I was not doing something productive every waking hour that I was a slug and would never be gainfully employed again. Then, when I was gainfully employed again, I discovered the utter sense of comfort I got from taking a few hours off and not feeling guilty.At about that time, I also re-discovered our couch in the family room and how much I loved it – and the furry purple blanket my daughter Amanda brought home a few years ago as one of the truly great bat mitzvah giveaways. And then I remembered why my husband rarely rents movies as I drifted off to sleep each night, a deep, almost drugged-like state in which I could hear myself snoring but I could not do a thing about it.
It also was then that I couldn’t imagine how I would ever find the time and energy to write a blog again.But I did miss it. Like an old friend who you stop calling for no particular reason, then a few weeks turn into months and you reach that uncomfortable stage when you’re almost afraid to call, not remembering who called last and if it’s your fault so much time has passed, I am hoping that as I do start again, I will find that my friend(s) are still there for me.Writing columns again on a regular basis for ESPN has been a joy I thought I might never experience again. I do it now with a light-heartedness, even for the heavy subjects, I have not had in a very long time. Maybe it’s because I am no longer under strict space or time restrictions. Maybe it’s just because it’s a terrific positive atmosphere. Or maybe it’s because no one really writes to me anymore.There is no e-mail address at the bottom of my columns and I have made no effort to correct that. While I have always loved hearing from readers, even critical responses, the advent of blogs and the increase in Internet traffic has lent itself to people who can spontaneously reply from their desks – or dark caves, as the case may be – anonymously, of course, and with spewings of racism, sexism and just general hatred that I really grew tired of reading.I just figured I’d cut down on that a little and it seems to have worked and I feel much better. In fact, e-mails like the one I got this morning in response to my [U.S. Olympic speedskater] Shani Davis column calling me a “barren lesbian freak” hardly ever happen anymore. So things are great.But I do love hearing from people who read my blogs, particularly since they seem only to be nice, normal, literate people who would never think of calling a writer a “barren, lesbian freak” even if somehow that was an appropriate response.The other thing is that I find I am talking to myself much too much without a blog, particularly in the shower when I am a literary savant, every story flowing through my brain with just the right touches of humor. Of course, by the blow-drying stage, I’ve lost it. But where else but here can I talk about Amanda’s turnabout dance (I called it the “Sadie Hawkins dance” recently and she looked at me as if I was wearing a bonnet and hoop skirt), my continued eating problems (I bought a Valentine’s Day cookie cake as if we were having a party – we’re not. Cake is now gone), my 11-year-old son suddenly caring how his hair looks (I can cry), the new Superdawg grand opening (like a drive-thru bar mitzvah), and many funny facets of my life that have been lost forever in this three-and-a-half-month black hole.So I’ll be back, promise.