I used to belong to (have?) two communities for my online writing: those interested in education (teaching, learning, educational technology) and those interested in the literary arts.
There turns out to be very little overlap between those two communities.
It doesn’t matter because in both I was an impostor.
In the first case I never really had the mind for it; in the second case I never had the talent.
It would be equally honest to refer to these communities as “audiences” because, while I miss the generosity shown by their interactions, I equally miss knowing that my words would simply be heard.
I’ve (mostly) lost these communities because I’m no longer a maker of the first order: I have nothing to say about education (few do, it turns out, though so many of them keep writing and talking anyway) and I no longer write original creative work.
In the parlance of one of those in a community lost to me, I’m in neither the Garden nor the Stream.
This is the Desert.
At best—and doing my best—I’m a collector and connector of the work of my betters.
That’s what I mean by not being a maker of “the first order.”
Being a connector is akin to being in the service industry…even those who really respect the necessity for such roles don’t want to serve in them.
I’m shocked and ashamed by how much of my life has been driven by a need for recognition.
Is this really any different?
I instinctively want to defend the knowledge working service class, but the truth is no one wants to labor here.
Because here is the no-man’s land, above disdain but below attention.
Here it’s the all downhill side of Charlie Gordon, barely remembering.
I remember a fixture on the educational presentation circuit telling me he had to get out of that game and get back to doing something real.
That was at least 10 years ago and he’s still right there in it, riding the same idea.
Maybe I feel betrayed; maybe I’m jealous.