Dan over at The Daily Dump has closed up shop, collateral damage from some other life's implosion he's suffering. Our blogs are born anonymously, or nearly so, known only to select family & friends, and over time we accumulate audiences large and small and our endeavors take on a certain shape, a distinct arc, a life. And like in life, the end can be gradual and fading and pass unnoticed, or can be an anguished thing, a sudden passing mourned by many. Like in life, these ends are part of blogging, and we must become accustomed to them, toughened to the sense of loss when a favorite of ours fades away. We may have come to know the blogger personally to some degree; maybe we'll know something of the reason for the end, and maybe we won't. (I think of people growing up on a farm having so different a take on the death of an animal than we city people with our pets.) Derek Stubbs's blog just went away a year ago and I hated to see it. I still check every now and then, fingers crossed that he may have resumed. His writing was brilliant.
I was only a sideliner at The Daily Dump, trying to feel less dim by proximity to smart people, brighter in the reflected glow of Dan's comic genius and his commenters' cleverness. He could be counted on for consistently high quality, and he attracted a correspondingly large audience (at last check his farewell message had garnered over 200 comments). One of his commenters had good advice (for him, anyway): "Screw the blog. Write a book." He should, and he definitely could.
I'm fascinated by the great variety of blogs one sees. I suppose it's just a reflection of humanity in general (or something approaching this, since not every demographic is equally likely to blog). On Blogger, anyway, hitting the "next blog" button up top will just take you randomly through their zillion subscribers, and rather predictably one finds about 90% of these blogs to be quite uninteresting (just as many people, according to my sitemeter, stop by for a quick visit to the Journal Wunelle and never return--which I guess is better than they were never heard from again). The other 10% may deal with interesting subject matter, may present an especially fascinating personality, or may just represent extraordinary writing. But even in that 10% there's such a variety.
Though I read most of his posts, I've only left a comment or two on The Daily Dump over the last year, and my efforts must seem plodding and hopelessly earnest to such a tart crowd (not to cry in my beer--"one performs according to one's gifts," and it is what it is). His blog & comments seem to represent a kind of sparring, an exercise in wit, which is not my niche. I've run across several other blogs, some in his commenting circle, who stab at the same thing though with less effectiveness. So on the one hand I love that there are few rules for blogging (except, maybe, the general rules of good writing, and even those may not be sacrosanct); and on the other hand, the lack of an editor / moderator / mediator results in so much noise. I suppose one person's bullshit is another's pearl of wisdom. Life in miniature.
Anyway, it pains me to see him stop blogging, and to lose a favorite place to go for a slice of New York and a good laugh. Here's hoping life is well enough for Mr. Murphy.