Giving direct answers is not my thing, at least not here. What would (creative) writing be all about if its essence can be summarized with precision. I would like as many interpretations as there are heads. Long story short, I was on a sabbatical.
Why? Because I was tired. Why? Because my mind was congested? Why? Because I was (am) disorganized. Why? I don't answer biological questions.
So, I had really grown tired of being disappointed of reading a few (many) people who I thought had shown a hint of a spark.
It was overwhelming. I had thought that blogging is my passion. Fresh out of the academia, and having high (academic) expectations from the company, I did not mind pushing harder when our manager told the entire group that we needed to put 'extra effort' in our jobs and realize the importance of what we were doing. My passion for blogging was still unabated when I returned from office after working extra hours. All I'd do was to do some ritualistic chores like washing and eating dinner, and I'd just roll out my laptop, read blogs and be content with it. Imagine opening up the Google Reader (may it rest in peace) and seeing that you have 55-70 posts to read, it would be intimidating now. But then, I did not care, I just had to read them all. Halfway through, a feeling from the inside tugged at me, asking if I was been gratified with what I was reading? Apart from a few, who seldom failed to please, others just failed me. For example, someone writing on love would write a new post every single day on the same theme. It seemed to me that they were merely cajoling their broken hearts with rosy pictures of what once was given and then denied. I think, you've to be IN love to paint a new picture every day. Broken hearts can draw new art in sorrows and angst of loss, and that'd be just as glorious, but just not a new rosy picture everyday. Or maybe I had started to see patterns in thier posts. We're all broken in some ways, but over exploitation leads to apathy. There were others, which were the mistakes I own, the naivety of youth.
I also had started to write technical articles as a freelancer. I thought I had made my domain of writing explicit, but my editor consistently gave me topics that did not fall in them. (In retrospect, I'm eternally grateful to him for having done that. I now know much more about myself and the craft itself which I could have not known at that juncture had I been doing just what I wanted to do).
Overwhelmed by this kind of work load, and torn by the fact that this is something I liked to do, had to decide what to do. I could stop reading the people I felt were the culprits of my being let down and continue to write. But then it turned to be an ethical issue to me, not reading someone who reads you because they expect that you'd reciprocate. I know that this fear of not being read stems from the apprehension of not being good enough, and compromising with mediocrity as a result, but this is what it was. You never know how good you are, and you can never tell why others read you, because you write good, or because they expect reciprocation. I just felt it was not fair on my part to turn away all of a sudden from their writings once that I had started it. I could not (and even now I cannot) just write to them 'You know what your problem is?', that would be wrong on many levels. I decided to leave, from all sorts of online publishing, be it blogging or freelancing.
It was a kind of rehab for me, and I realized, it is not blogging that I am passionate about, it is reading, and writing, and discussing. I realized I really enjoyed the feel of parchment in my hands, and that I had the capacity to read anything in this whole world. My online reading interests bloomed and became more diverse. A few people did inquire about me, they asked me what was wrong, and thankfully, these were those people reading whom (I think) I can never tire of.
So, why return now?
Simply because I know that I love to read and write (and be read and be provided feedback).
During this sabbatical phase, I spent some time in bed due to illness, and I got plenty of time to think about things in general. An old wish resurfaced. To write in a place I own, to own a writing place. I no longer wanted to return to blogger despite the fact that I really like blogger. Blogger is free, but I don't own it. aestheticblasphemy.blogspot.in is much longer than aestheticblasphemy.com/blog (You can skip the /blog part). I bought my own domain and web hosting in my illness and thought that now I could start. I want this to be the locus of my presence on the web. It would be from this platform I'd share what I know and create like an HQ.
Being from a technical background, I was allured to this possibility of creating my virtual home brick by brick and not using full featured packages to achieve this goal. Some people tell me that I am a complexifier, that I am comfortable in complexity, and partly they are right. I feel crippled when I am presented a black box when I could have known the entire inner functioning of that box. In technical terms, I like to code rather than use a closed source API. But, to make the website, I just had my fundamentals, and no knowledge. By late February, I embarked on a journey to gain this knowledge and create a Web Content Management System that would power my virtual home. I want it to be Open Source so that I am giving back to the community that has helped me gain this knowledge. I had a plan to get it ready by the time Google would retire Reader.
So, it is (was) ready. I thought of releasing an alpha preview and let this website be a showcase of what I was creating, but then retracted. There were a few design decisions made back based on the limited scope of knowledge that I had back then. Today, they seem to be invalid and the code needs a lot of refactoring. So, I'm putting that project in the long term goals category and will complete it in ease, adding to it and evolving it every day and eventually migrating to it (Someday soon). I intend to share its development here itself in a separate section in case like minded people do find it and decide to hop in.
The way ahead?
Criticism of any kind hurts, but so does an effective medicine. I'll deny criticism, but not reject it. I welcome criticism (the constructive ones) and I really look forward to hearing from you people. This website is in its nascent stage and will grow from hence. I sincerely hope it will be a good journey.