Seven years of roughghosts, now on to the eighth

May 31st, 2021. roughghosts is seven years old today. This space did not begin as a book blog, as I’ve said many times. I’m not sure what it began as other than a wildly impulsive fit of increasing mania. About three weeks after I posted my first sketchy musings, I crashed out completely, bipolar disorder effectively destroying my professional career and reputation. Much has passed since that time—cardiac arrest, my parents’ deaths, a dear friend’s suicide, travel to South Africa, Australia and India, depression, mixed moods, and diagnosis of bone loss. Oh yeah, and a global pandemic.

The only constant is the existence of this little blog which seems to sputter along and even grow in followers and visitors regardless of whether I add regular fuel to the fire.

I will confess that the creation of this space seemed to offer me an avenue to writing. I wrote poetry and stories all through my teens, but as I reached my twenties I became aware that I had little to say. I needed to live a little first. Then as I got older, I accumulated life experiences as we all do, yet the more I lived, the less I could channel any of it into writing. I could no more steal from my clients who all had fascinating stories than I could draw on my own. I discovered that I am not the kind of person who can violate the boundaries of others for the sake of writing, nor could I afford to push my own limits. By my forties I had found myself a closeted single parent whose gendered past had to remain a secret. It was not a space my twenty year-old self would ever have expected to be in, but I had a job, two children to support and no way out.

Except madness.

When I lost my job, my kids were in their twenties and I was in my fifties, I had this internet space and, well, I no longer had an excuse. On one level, writing was easy enough. My blog evolved into a bookish space rather quickly, my first essay submission for a queer themed book was accepted, and eventually I was writing critical reviews, occasional essays, and had been invited (recruited?) to edit for online publications. A scant few of these literary ventures paid but I didn’t care. I was writing.

And I was as out as possible under the circumstances.

Over the years I’ve chronicled my attempts to find a space within an LGBTQ identity and my increasing frustrations with the effort. During that period I became increasingly aware that I was stale dated. The trans man I know myself to be is not welcome by today’s trans community. Too old. Too old school. The essays and work I was creating fell on uncomfortably deafened ears when I shared them with people I had assumed were my peers. Not so when I reached beyond the LGBTQ world, but my fear of being either censored or misinterpreted has impacted my freedom to write. It’s like being closeted on the outside. I have, over time, shed all manner of identification with a space where I only nominally belong.

So, over the past few years, my literary ambitions have withered. My critical energies have, under the weight of intense editing responsibilities, all but disappeared. A medication change last summer affected my physical ability to read, a situation which is now slowly recovering. And although this blog has, in recent years, expanded my world and led to wonderful travel opportunities, the pandemic has taken its toll on my hopes for the future.

Now, having run myself into the ground on this, the beginning of the eighth year of roughghosts, there is probably nothing better to do than to start afresh. Find out, once again, where this blog might take me. Coincidentally, this is also the beginning of Pride Month. Something that no longer fills me with guilt and anxiety. It simply is.

So, going forward, I will set no goals, make no promises, and simply see where the next year takes me. Thank you to everyone who has kept me company thus far.

* All the images taken today on the Douglas Fir Trail, my favourite space.

Author: roughghosts

Literary blog of Joseph Schreiber. Writer. Reader. Editor. Photographer.

17 thoughts on “Seven years of roughghosts, now on to the eighth”

  1. I find everything you write compelling Joe, please never doubt what you have to offer here. Your book reviews and critical commentaries are rewardingly insightful but I think more than that it is the ‘voice’ in which you write that draws this particular reader, I hesitate to use the word authentic given its general overuse but – to borrow from Camus – you never try to seem, and that is a rare and valuable thing. Long may roughghosts continue!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. No matter how, or why, it started, start it did, and (more importantly) it’s lasted, too! Here’s to many more years of a forum that I suspect is far more important to you now than you might have imagined it becoming when you created it…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations for making it this far, Joe, especially in what are such strange times. It’s hard to find the place where we belong at the best of times, and I often find my views at odds with the prevailing ones, and my beliefs far from the mainstream. I think we just have to keep on, doing the best we can. Like you, I have found blogging to be a bit of an outlet, although I don’t write as deeply as you. But it helps, and hopefully you’ll continue to find roughghosts the place to be yourself and communicate with others.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Karen. Sometimes I wonder if feeling like one doesn’t belong is a sign, not of age but maturity (which don’t not necessarily go together.) The blog is, in a sense, the space where I belong I guess.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Seven years is something to be proud of. I always enjoy your reviews which probe a little deeper than I dare to venture. I think it’s useful to reset every so often, and wherever you go next I’ll be interested to follow.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I enjoy your blog too, Grant. In fact I have a file of your recent reviews waiting for a closer read! I’m not really going anywhere other than to proceed with no particular expectations. (So the blog will likely look just the same!)


  5. What striking images, although it looks like you are as badly in need of rain as Ontario is. I especially love the play of light and gentle shadow. What a strange sort of wonder, to have this unexpected place-marker to hold the spot in the book of your life, having established your writing here so near the time of unravelling/restitching. Looking forward to reading more in years to come. And glad to know others continue to swell the ranks of your readership, even if you are not posting quite as often as you have at other times…reaching new readers who perhaps share your sense of longing-to-belong-but-not-quite-belonging.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Marcie, for your positive words. And the images are taken in what I consider my “backyard”–an escape that feels like being in the mountains inside the city.


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