Child 2 is going to kill me if I don't post - long distance, just with the the sheer force of its personality. Child 2 is not to be trifled with.
See, the thing is that for the past... I don't know, month or two or more I have been feeling a little, well, cramped around here. The title of the blog, the reason I began it - it's not that I felt like I had outgrown it necessarily, just that there wasn't as much scope as I would like.
It's been a pretty damn full year all things considered, with rather a lot of quite major things going on, most of them good, but some of them didn't really have a place here, and more and more it felt as though this little corner of things wasn't quite fitting neatly with everything else.
And then, a couple of weeks ago, someone I work with - two someones really, although I didn't know one of them beyond a smile in the hall - was killed. It was brutal and senseless as all violent deaths inevitably are (although we always have to comment on that fact, to point out that it was a brutal, senseless death) and it shook the place I work right down to the very core. I'm still not sure what will happen there. Most of us didn't find out until two days after the murder, until there was already a headline (without any names) and a camera crew at the door. We spent the day treating each other as though we were all made of terribly fragile spun glass, as though the wrong word at the wrong moment would shatter someone. We smiled at each other and repeatedly asked, "how are you?" only to get a meaningless answer in return.
I have no idea what I said in response, I don't think I really addressed the question but instead turned, as you do, to talk about the person who was gone - the gentle person, the kind person, the hopelessly impractical person, the person who for me was the quintessential academic. What I didn't do, because it was not the time and it was certainly not the place, was talk about how it affected me.
I didn't want to talk about it because it was selfish and because, for all their genuine care and concern, no one there would quite understand, not completely. The paper, when I finally chased one down, had done what papers always do and, being banned from discussing names and details of the victims, it concentrated instead on what was known of the crime and it described, in clear, careful detail, exactly what the police had found. This brilliant, gentle man and his girlfriend had been shot and the journalist calmly described exactly how they were found and it was that, that description that turned me inside out.
I think it's the gun I have trouble with. It sneaks up on me sometimes - in a movie or a television show someone will shoot a gun and, I don't really know why, that moment (rather than the hundreds of others) will hit a nerve and shake me. This did - right down to the core. Shook me hard enough that I spent that day shuffling around the halls at work with my shoulders hunched, the way I had walked in the first few days after Kirk went missing. It shook me enough that for two nights I struggled to sleep and it shook me enough that I realized how much large a part of my life this still is.
So I went away for a week. I kicked through last autumn's leaves, papery, thin, and pale but still satisfying to crunch through. I watched snow come down through dark trees and sugar coat green grass. I walked for miles and drove for many more miles and saw lakes and rivers and deteriorating old houses.
What I didn't do was come even a tiny bit close to making any decisions.
Here's what I know:
This blog, this weird prose chimera, will stay. I don't intend to take it down.
I do like to write, and I love all of you fantastic people who have found your way here.
But something, maybe, probably, possibly, could be, will change.