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I had to complete the thing I hate at work today, and you know I hate the word hate, but I had to put together my entry of three weekly columns for the Montana Newspaper Association year-end excellence awards. Hate it.

When I reread my stuff, I think anything from “holy hell, I can’t believe they printed tripe like this” to “meh, I don’t dislike it.” On rare occasion, I’ve been known to think “hmmm, some parts of that showed promise.” (I have to throw myself a bone once in a while.)

But when I have to enter my columns in a contest to be judged as the three best representations of my year’s work, they all suck on a profound level of sucky suckness. I struggle to come up with a small pile of stuff that, at least, doesn’t bring on a touch of acid reflux, then I beg John and one person at work to choose the three least suckiest of the bunch. I carefully bundle the suckers together, throw them on the entry pile and walk away, nauseous and heart-attacky from a medical condition called sudden-onset creative crisis.

After I compiled my entry this time, I discovered that this year the judges are the daily papers from an East Coast area where the daily newspapers go out to millions of “local” people who live in places called cities — as in cities with populations greater than my entire state. Oh, yeah, that’s my demographic right? My hicksville shinola is really set to impress there.

So I’ve had this little cloud of despair hanging over me since noon. I don’t like little clouds of despair. Sure they’re better than big, dark clouds of despair, but I don’t handle well feeling in need of hand-holding and nose-wiping.

Then someone — a reader someone whom I don’t even know — wrote me a nice note this afternoon. It was nicer than “I’ve read your stuff and barely detected an odor of suck.” I know, I was amazed, too! (I’ve been assuming it was spontaneous, but if any of my friends or family paid you to write that note, new reader, please wait at least a week to tell me.)

Despair feeling was suddenly hardly detectable.

Then the whole hang-gliding-in-a-storm emotional turmoil of the day reminded me of another thing that’s been despairing me lately: blog.

Neglected blog o’ mine.

Here’s the deal. I totally injured myself the last part of October. Let’s not dwell on it, this entry is already long enough most of you’ve drifted off. Let’s just say that during the worst weeks I wasn’t able to manage socks and underwear without John’s help, and the road to recovery was long, painful and fraught with re-injury.

And, yes, John’s a saint (though he claimed that putting the socks on me was more than enough payment for being able to do the underwear. Guy-perspective isn’t always bad).

November was a bust. I spent December gradually getting better, exercising (no shit, remind me to tell you about that) and building my sit-at-the-computer tolerance.

Then in January, I realized that I felt creatively revitalized writing my column (as opposed to “gads, I have to pull another 600 words out of my ass again this week”), and I was working on my other writing-projects-that-shall-remain-nameless-because-I-don’t-want-to-jinx-them.

It felt good, but I knew I was able to do them because I wasn’t spending time on this blog.

But I don’t want to abandon my blog, either. I’ve made many a mental note on things I want to share here and have started a dozen of them. I’ve missed sharing.

The problem is that I can’t seem to type, or think, any faster or more focused than the average 9-year-old. This is compounded by the fact that I always want to say a lot of blah blah blah, and it takes as much time to edit down the blah blah blah as it does to write it.

Many days, I wonder why I want to keep this up — or, really, do any of the writing.

It’s harder to be me than it would seem on the surface.

I’ve been trying to psych myself up to adding the blog back into my writing mix. It’s a lot easier to think about than actually do — then I get a nice note on a bad day and here I am actually blogging, and declaring that I’ll try to strike some kind of balance to be able keep blogging, without losing the other writing.

I don’t know how — and I still don’t know why I write — but just bear with me, and I shall “endeavor to persevere.”

Yes, we quote “The Outlaw Josey Wales” at pam@viewfromthenorth40.com

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