A lot has happened in ten years. I wrote a novel and am almost done with my second. I got married to the wrong person for the wrong reasons, met Stephen, divorced and married the right person for the right reasons. I learned to paint. I've seen a fair amount of bereavement but I've gained a nephew, niece and a new extended family. I moved home four or five times, depending on how you count it.
As a result of blogging, my words have ended up all over the place; The Guardian, the BBC, education resources, disability studies periodicals. I got my face on the front cover of The Cambridge City News (along with some rescued kittens - it was a real slow news day). I've been invited to join Where's the Benefit? and the F-Word. I never had any ambition to do any kind of non-fiction writing, so it's been great.
I've also made some very good friends and had some very interesting and important conversations. I founded Blogging Against Disablism Day, which I know has come to mean a lot to many people.
However, this blog is really a gift you give to me, dear reader. I don't imagine I'm providing any kind of public service or useful function - it's really nice when something I write is useful or interesting to someone. But the person who has benefited the most from Diary of a Goldfish is me. It's given me lots of writing practice and helped my writing to improve. It has given me a place to express myself, vent and lecture people on subjects that matter to me without awkward social consequences. And I know you're there, in varying numbers, so I can pretend you're hanging on my every word. I sometimes get lovely comments, here and elsewhere and that stuff is huge to me. At a particularly difficult point in my life, I had an A4 print out of the nicest things people had said about my writing.
My blogging has changed a lot in ten years (as the world of blogging has). Earlier on, I was more or less keeping a diary, which was useful because, at the age of twenty-four, I was still struggling to be the protagonist in my own life story. Later on, some of these posts became downright disturbing. While it was going on, nobody knew about the violence in my first marriage and I rarely had to explain anything - my face was never bruised, I never sought medical attention. However, after my divorce, when I went through my archive in order to completely anonymise my first husband, I found that it was as if I had been compelled to write on days where there'd been violence and instead tell a funny or sweet story where no-one got hurt. I was spinning stories to myself, in public. Sometimes I told abject lies - entirely unnecessarily lies.
I find that baffling and weird, even now. I took all these posts down, by the way. There are plenty of posts where I express ideas or opinions I no longer agree with, but I took down anything I found where I actually lied.
There have been a few points where I thought about ditching the blog, possibly starting afresh, but I'm really very attached to it. If I had thought more about my 10th Bloggerversary coming up, I would have prepared a better post.
Stephen suggested that I should post links to my "Top Ten Posts". I don't know if these are my favourites - there's almost a thousand to choose from and I'm not going to spend the next week reading through my entire archive. However as a fairly evenly spread selection (2005 was just too weak):
- Love is real, Real is love (2006)
- Above and Beyond: Butch's Diary (2006)
- Propaganda (2007)
- I thought I was someone else, someone good (2008)
- How to be a Disabled Villain (2009)
- It Was Thirty Years Ago Today (2010)
- Looking After Yourself as Radical Political Activism (2011)
- Domestic Violence: Why Zero-Tolerance is So Tough (2012)
- How Marriage Became More Meaningful (2013)
- The History of My Adult Life in About 100 Objects (2014)
And now, having skimmed the archive to retrieve these links, I realise I really ought to organise some pages of links to the three or four subjects I keep coming back to.
Thank you all very much for this. Where on Earth are we going to be in another ten years time?