Friday, July 01, 2016

On Being (Un)interesting

Is it still worthwhile writing a weekly essay in a local paper like the Dumaguete Metro Post?** I ask the question because I am experiencing a crisis of doubt -- not of the paper, which continues to be a fine record of the community, but of myself.

I don't anymore remember when exactly I started writing for Metro Post. It must have been around 2000, give or take a year, the time I moved to Cebu. I've been writing for a long time, though in between there have been a number of unannounced hiatuses. I am well and truly an oldie now.

The question comes to mind because the environment now is drastically different from way back when I started. Back then it was really just the paper and a smattering of blogs. There was an audience, not a very big one, but a real community nonetheless. Nowadays, social media and a crap-ton of essay writers, photographers, actors, hosts, and meme makers. Mine is just a small voice among many, and one with a diminishing share.

Mainly, I am no longer interesting. By that I mean a combination of different things. I don't think I was ever that interesting a person -- I am male, cisgendered, middle class, and middle-aged, about as boring as can be. It used to be that I had interesting things to say, but that was when the market was smaller, but now everyone has an opinion. My interests, though still important to me, don't have the wide appeal.

I could write for instance (as I'm sure I will at some point), about how I regained my health after I lost forty pounds, or about how I became semi-fluent in Spanish while learning Mandarin, or about my growing fascination with World War I. Even now as I list them out I am chuckling at how boring I have made them sound.

Unfortunately my banality is now terminal. I have left academe and am working for a software development company. No more meetings, no more conferences, no more students, just lines and lines of code. There's nothing you will want to hear about my work unless you work in the software industry.

But for so long as I get the space, I guess I'll go on writing. And because we're old friends, you might skim the page it's on, perhaps chuckle at a phrase or detail that catches your fancy. And I'll thank you because, despite my being now so uninteresting, you took the time to read.

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