It’s been six months since my last blog post. That’s probably the longest I’ve ever gone without updating SMTT since it started, and the number surprises me. I could have sworn it had only been a month or two, but here we are.
During those six months, a lot has happened. Most of it I’ll update on the blog in chunks. The short story? The animals and I are well — mostly. Life is hectic and crazy and I’ve put far too much on my plate, but really that’s nothing new. It’s how I roll.
I guess I didn’t realize six months have passed because I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this blog. About what it means to me, and if it should continue or not. I’ll be honest. I’ve thought about shutting it down more than once. In January, I started the year with a renewed vigor for blogging and colloquial writing in general. I had big plans for my year, the blog included.
But then I wrote about flying with Eliot as an ESA dog, and the amount of hate I got in response both surprised and overwhelmed me. I’ve blogged at this domain since 2010, and on my original domain (uptonia.com) since 2001. In seventeen years, I’ve read every single blog comment. That’s no exaggeration. Every. Single. One. The ESA debacle was the first time I deleted the comments from my inbox without reading them. They published to the site, but I had to stop reading in order to protect myself. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m (clearly) deeply flawed, and while I am pretty thick skinned there comes a point when I can’t take it anymore. My blog had never been that point until those posts published.
After that, I spent a lot of time thinking about what this blog is and what it means for my writing. SMTT has had many different roles for me. It started as a silly place of free expression. A little corner of the internet for me to flex my voice and, looking back, I realize it was where I began to practice creative nonfiction on a casual level. Then I tried to make it into the best horse blog I could. Forgive my not-so-humble brag but in its prime, it was one of the best. That is until Tim died, and my life, blog included, couldn’t hold a semblance of normal anymore.
It started before I moved to California for grad school, but my writing now goes in several different directions. There’s my book. This 108,000 word, hunking, messy thing that I am deeply proud of even though it’s still got a long ways to go before it’s fit for publication. Near it, there’s the other literary work I do. Little blips here, essays there. Some of it is about losing Tim and grief, some if it is about other things that entertain me. This year, I hope to start a second manuscript — a collection of personal essays about being an equestrian. For all of these projects, the voice and the tone and the work involved is completely different from this blog. If my book is an oil painting, this blog is barely a pencil sketch.
I also have my professional paid-for-hire writer voice, which now mostly sits at The Plaid Horse. It’s a role I adore, because I get paid to write about horses. I write, find stories, and work with voices other than my own. It’s a treat to work for the organization, but it’s also a real job with real responsibilities. I don’t exactly have a lot of free time to write about ponies on here, and believe that it’s my duty to give my best equestrian-themed blog writing to my employer.
There’s also the minor little detail that my website got deeply hacked, and it took me weeks of tech work and coding to keep the last 8 years of writing from getting completely lost.
So, the blog sat. It sat while I thought about what role I wanted it to serve, and the conclusion I’ve come to is this:
This is not the space for my literary writing. Writing makes me more fulfilled than anything else I do, but it exhausts me. I can’t create little snippets of that world for you here. I can barely proofread my own posts.
This is not the space for global horse blogging, not anymore. For now, you can find all of that delicious content at The Plaid Horse. Some from me, and some from other people far more interesting than I will ever be.
This is not the space for Russian hackers. I booted those bad boys out, and put in some new security software. Boy, bai!
So what’s left?
This is the place where I write about what’s happening in my life. Some for memory, some for sharing. It’s for horse show updates, cute pony pictures, and little stories that I find funny. Maybe one day they’ll turn into amazing feats of literature… but probably not. That is until they give out Pulitzers for Best Nerd Horse Memoir. I’m winning that shit!
Above all, it’s a place for me to enjoy in whatever means I find entertaining at the time.
I’ve also decided it’s not the place for comments anymore. Everything previously published to the site remains, but that function has been removed. This is partially because the ESA incident spooked me, and I am not in a place right now where I want harsh criticism from strangers. I get enough of that in my workshop, thank you very much.
Comments also have become this very insincere popularity contest in the blogging world. Some think of them as a measure of success, and I don’t believe that’s true. I’m a fiercely competitive person, and know I’d hate the idea of so and so getting more comments than me. So… I removed them. If you have a burning comment, you can always interact on Facebook, instagram or my personal email. I really love hearing from you, but I don’t want reading my blog to feel like work. Feeling obligated to leave a comment trail at every corner of the internet is a part time job. I don’t have time for that, and I shouldn’t expect you to either.
So, that’s it. It’s not beautiful or really all that interesting, but that’s the deal. I won’t promise to post daily or fulfill any ambitious blog quest. My goal is to update about Simon and the dogs and the general happenings of this year eventually. Share a good story as it happens. Flex my voice when I have something to say.