Here and there and from time to time, ovr th near-five-years I been bloggin, Ive mentiond th topick of retirement -- bringin down th final curtain at The Joey Polanski Show. Fer th longest time, my vision was that a projeckt like th Polanski Show ought, at some appropriate time, to be brought to a end willfully -- that th Shows run in th blogassfear shoud be determind by dcision rathr than by ... yknow ... death, disability, or disintrest. One o my earlyest mentions o this topick was interpretd by some to mean that I had a specifick date in mind, and that in fackt th end was nigh. Subsequently, therefore, I tryd to make it crystl-clear that such mentions were meant more as expressions of a ideal than as expressions of a definite intent.
Such efforts to be clear, ocourse, can seem to imply a kind o open-endedness -- th idea that th Show will go on indefinitely, ending only when insurmountable, unavoidable, and unforseeable facktors make it impossible for it to continue. Ocourse, these two ideals are incompatible; and I nevr held em bofe at th same time. My efforts to deny a definite retirement plan, as I said, only seem to involve embrace o that open-endedness ideal.
But I dont wanna mislead anyone here. As th years went by, and Id publish reflecktive posts on or around my bloggin birfdays, I admit that I felt more and more th "pull" o that ideal that says "Die wif yer boots on," "Be carryd off on yer shield" -- in othr words, "Keep bloggin till ya cant blog no more." I cant say fer sure that my mind didnt at some point eithr shift from embracin th one ideal to embracin th othr, or at least begin oscillatin tween th two -- which I guess woud be th closest thing to a consistent embrace of em bofe.
Suffice it to say that I feel th pull of em bofe -- I see em bofe as legitimate ideals. But in th end, one can at best only postpone choosin btween em -- prhaps until th time when choosin itself bcomes impossible, and ones choice not to choose yet is transformd into ... well ... a irrevokable selecktion -- and to me there seems sompm basickly ... unsatisfacktory in that.
Upon reflecktion, I guess its to be expecktd that I migt give such a unusual amount o thougt to th mattr of retirement, givn that I gots what Ive sadly come to realize is a rathr unusual conception o bloggin. Seein blogging more as a platform fer performin than as one fer netwerkin, I tend to see it as sompm that gotsta be done ackordin to some set o rules, and that these rules set a kind o standard which, tho it may have its roots in th prsonal whim o th bloggr, cannot simply be reducd to th bloggr's prsonal whimsy. Theres a right way and a wrong way to do things while bloggin, and theres a right way and a wrong way to do things when ceasing to blog. (And please keep in mind that these prnouncments are overtly relativistick. Theyre rootd in th model of bloggin as prformance. Fokes who view bloggin as netwerkin woud NOT be bound by such rules. I migt wish to argue that bloggin as prformance is th bettr model, since bloggin as netwerking involves far fewr challenges, requires far less creative effort, has far less entrtainment value, and is thus thoroughly overrepresentd in cybrspace; but I have no doubts that such a argument woud apeal only to th awready-convertd -- all three of em.)
Fer example, when it comes to retirement, Ive always insistd on seein it as bein ... yknow ... final -- when you say yer done, yer done. Th idea of th faux retirement -- th temporary retirement -- has always seemd ilicit to me. I think it too clearly indickates that what moves th bloggr is his / her own affecktion fer th acktivity, rathr than any commitment to prducing what migt be viewd much latr as a carefuly craftd and coherent piece of creativity. Again, what woud work and be prfeckly prmissible on th model o bloggin as netwerkin shoud be anathema to anyone embracin th model o bloggin as prformance.
Fer diffrent, tho prhaps relatd reasns, Ive also frownd upon th retirement tease -- th suggestion that one is contemplatin retirement in th forseeable future. Th way I see it, theres no reasn to ANNOUNCE sompm like that except to try to elicit some kind o outpouring o positive reinforcement from ones readrs. And as bloggrs who pracktice th tease tend very oftn to dcide against retiring just then, I think its reasonable to conclude that this WAS in fackt their reasn fer makin th announcment. In addition to seeming transparently self-absorbd and manipulative, this also tends to cluttr a blog needlessly wif "housekeeping" posts -- posts entirely about th bloggrs current, recent, or impending bloggin-acktivity. Again, its all prfeckly consistent wit th model o bloggin as netwerkin, and wholly contrary to th model I prefr. And so th Polanski Principple implys not only that when yer done yer DONE, but also that when you say youre (thinkin o) gettin out you GET OUT.
Somwhere btween th temporary retirement and th retirement tease is th housekeepin post announcin a hiatus from bloggin. Its one thing, I guess, when some kind o temporary incapacitation will prevent reggalr bloggin acktivity fer a significant period o time; but quite anothr when its just that th bloggr has stoppd feelin th passion fer th game. Announcin that kind o hiatus is what I woud dscribe as "blood in th snow." Any subsequent "comebacks" by th bloggr will more oftn than not be sputtery, haff-heartd, and short-lived. Follow th blogski aftr that announcment, and its all but certain youll soon find th blogski fully Nicholsond a very short way down th roadski. To see bloggin as prformance requires embracin th principple that if ya no longr feel like keepin it up, then CUT IT OUT. When bloggin is seen as netwerkin, well ... as always, "Its ALL good."
So when I pondr th notion of retirement, I see there to be sompm like FIVE important questions to considr. Prhaps th most prominent one is whethr to retire. This question can be viewd eithr as a "local" one or as a "global" one. Viewd locally, its th question o whethr one simply wants to end ones current bloggin career. Viewd globally, its th question o whethr one wishs ones current bloggin projeckt to have a kind o craftd completeness to it.
Inextrickably connecktd wit th question o whethr, ocourse, is th question o why. Here, again, th presumption implyd by th bloggin-as-prformance model is that there are good reasns fer gettin out and bad reasns fer gettin out. Thus, th why-question is realy a mattr o whethr one has what woud be good reasns fer gettin out. See? "Whethr" and "Why" are pracktickly th same question.
Also closely connecktd to each othr, and conditional upon a affirmative answr to th whethr-question, are th questions o how and when. Havin dcided to retire, shoud one announce it at all, or shoud one just quit and allow th fackt to bcome evident wit th passage o time? If a announcment is to be made, shoud it be a announcment that one is now retiring, or shoud it be an announcment that one will be retiring on some specifyd future date? Answrs to these how-questions will affeckt, but not wholy dtermine, th answr to th when-question. Then theres a how-question that aint at all connecktd wit th when-question -- specifickly, th question o whethr th blogski stays open to publick viewing or whethr it eventualy gets removd.
Th fift question to be considerd is what, exackly, "retirement" MEANS. If it means nothin else, it mus surely mean th termination of some current bloggin projeckt(s). But does it also mean complete removal o ones current bloggin persona from th blogassfear? What is it thats bein retired -- th blogski or th bloggr?
Okay. Ive prattld on long enough about theoretickle and conceptual mattrs, about ideals and principples, models and standards. Its time I got aroun to th prpose o th present postski -- which is expressd, in howevr a "coded" way, in th posts title.
Ive dcided to retire. Theres my answr to th whethr-question.
As to th why-question, th answr is, natcherly, more involvd. In whatevr oscillatin I mighta done tween th ideals o craftd completeness and entire open-endedness, Ive come down dcidedly on th side o th formr. A uncompletd work of art can have considrable value, but nevr so great a value attributable to th artist as that which is present in a work that th artist completes himself / herself. So fer theoretickle, artistick reasns, I think its best that th Polanski Show be brought willfully to some apropriate end.
And, ocourse, that aint all there is to it -- as I aint meanin merely to say that I plan on some as-yet-unspecifyd date to end th Show. I mean Ive dcided to end th Show on a specifick date, and relatively soon. Thus, while still considerin th why-question, which is inextricably connecktd to th whethr-question, we lapse into consideration o th when-question, and th present post bcomes a element in th answr to th how-question.
I still get as much of a hoot outta doin th Polanski Show today as I evr have in th past. Nfackt, if anything, I probly get a biggr kick outta it now, since th passage o time has so well establishd th places where true play and cooprative creativity are encouragd and enjoyd. There are too few such places in th blogassfear, but thats been th case as long as I been bloggin. As th years have passd, most o th very small numbr o playrs Ive encounterd have eithr overtly exitd th field o play or have gone full Nicholson; but as I just suggestd, this has had th wondrous effeckt of illuminating more brillyantly th few blogskis where th creative spirit still flourishs, and has intensifyd that spirit and thus more firmly bonded togethr those o us spiritd fokes that are still left in th game.
But th Man Bhind th Curtain has dcided that th creative energy thats gone inta prducin th Polanski Show woud now be more fruitfully channelld into othr projeckts; and that, along wit th fackt that th Show has had itself a good long runski, is what convinces me that its time to put in place a plan to bring down th final curtain. Long-time readrs o th JPS may remembr th resistance I put up when I was bein lobbyd by a friend o th Show to bring some o my game on ovr to some gazillion-contributor mega-blogski. Th main reasn I offrd fer decklining th invitation is, I think, as sound today as it was then. I simply dont have ENOUGH game to be a meaningful contributor at two blogskis. More prcisely, I was facd wif eithr inventing a seprate shtick to contribute at th friends blogski or else simply doin some o my JPS shtick ovr there. Eithr way -- especialy in light o th fackt that I cant think o any shtick werf doin that I WOUDNT be able to do here at JPS -- it seemd to me that Id be agreein to watr down th Polanski Show, shirkin th ONE bloggin rsponsibility wif which I alone am entrustd. Nothin doin, I said. Well ... similar point applys here. Th MBC controls where th creative energy goes, and itll soon be goin primarily inta projeckts othr than th Show. Th Show coud eithr be left to suffr or be put downski. Id rathr see it put downski.
Havin now took care o th whethr and th why (th how bein handld in th very writin o this postski), th when can rathr quickly be addressd. Im gonna finish out my fift year o bloggin, and then close th Show. Fer those o yous who are UP on yer Polanski Show histry, th Show startd on th evning o July 14, 2005. So my plan is to publish my final JPS postski on July 13, 2010. A few o th Show's closest friends have been told (about a munth ago, by jungle vine) of my plan to announce in March my retirment, th dcision to retire havin been made more or less one week bfore they were told. But I think th propr thing to do is to make a formal announcment on th Show well in advance o th atchual end o th Show. So Im annoucing today, wif a third of a year left to go. Th Show's days have always been numberd; but now th numbr is specifyd. Theres lots more I got to publish, lots more fun to be had. Nfackt, my plan is to accelerate posting durin these final four munts o th Show. As always, I hope yall will come along on this final leg o th journey, and you can expeckt th same rollicking play outta me here at th Show and at my othr reggalr haunts durin this stretch.
And this, ocourse, leaves that one othr question: What, exackly does this retirment thing entail -- othr than, oviously, th cessation of posting at th JPS? Will there simply be a final JPS post and nevr anothr peep outta Polanski in th blogassfear? Shoudnt a good host be willin to mix it up wif anyone inclind to coment on th final post? And what about them othr haunts -- them oh-so-rare havens o good, spiritd play? Will they nevr again be visitd substantively by th one guy who woud claim to apreciate their precious gifts to th blogassfear as much as anyone coud? These are all important questions, questions werf answrin. Thing is, tho, I aint sure what th whole answr is, there. I know this much: my plan is to leave th JPS open to publick viewing until such time as it might bcome impossible fer it to remain so. (I have no idea what might make it impossible, but alls I can control is whethr I remove it from publick viewing. My intention is not to remove it.) Its also my plan to continue playin in th coments-secktion(s) at th JPS fer some indefinite period o time aftr th final curtain comes downski. Th play is what its all aboutski, and if fokes are up fer it, I woudnt wanna be th one to deny em flat-out. Its as to th question of continued participation at them othr cherishd places that I aint got a dcisive rsponse. Theres much to be said fer makin th blogassfears "Polanski period" a well-defind chaptr -- Polanski eithr all in or all out. But theres at least as much to be said fer spportin as best I can th few bloggin projeckts thatve helpd make my own experience in th blogassfear th blast that its been. Alls I can say fer sure right now is that I aint sayin my retirement includes th end o th Polanski presence in th blogassfear. My friends and creative partnrs are very important to me, as are their ongoing projeckts in th blogassfear. I may simply be unable to resist continued play wit them fokes, long aftr th JPS is as stiff as Rasputins dickski.
In fackt, I aint evn rulin out th possibility that continued collaboration wif such spiritd palskis coud blossom forth inta a diffrent kind o Polanski bloggin projeckt; but any such projeckt woud hafta be compatible wit th MBC's re-distribution o energy (as well as my earlyer disavowals o things like th faux or "temporary" retirement). I wont say no more here about th maybe-hows, th maybe-whats, & th maybe-whys, since I suspeckt therell be a more apropriate time to go into em as th date o th final curtain approachs.
So, there. Thats it. Weere goin inta th final four munts o The Joey Polanski Show. Ill keep doin my thing throughout that time; and if ya do me th kindness a comin by and playin along, I might be happy to do you too!
Saturday, March 13, 2010