Chicago is a city of neighborhoods and neighborhood bars. Every neighborhood has a name. Every neighborhood bar is like Cheers. People go there because the folks inside, especially the bartender, knows their name. Names are important. They’re the first words we know about ourselves and each other.
When I think of my favorite neighborhood bar, I can’t separate it from the folks who are always there. Over time the people grow and change. Some days all one bartender can talk about is his camera. Other days all he can think of is sports. That’s who he is. That’s part of what makes him interesting.
We have personal jokes. He knows some of what I like. I can tune in. I can have my beverage and hardly talk to him at all. There was a time when he was not a happy guy. He’s a friend. You ride it out. Everyone has phases. . . .
It’s a well-known fact that I think of my blog as my father thought of his saloon. But in one way it can’t be the same. Saloons don’t have RSS feeds.
What difference does that make?
When I change focus for a while — you might do it too, or you might not, but we know I always will — readers can decide the new direction is not their “beverage of choice.” That’s cool. That’s only right. I do the same thing — with the blogs I read, not with the people in my life.
In life when my friends shift gears, I often come back to see what they’re doing later. Most often what I find is that we have plenty in common still. Yet when a blog has changed direction, it’s felt more permanent. I hardly ever go back. I’m rethinking that today.
Over the next week or two, I’m going to check in on blogs I used to read. It will be like visiting the old neighborhood bar to see who’s still there. I’m looking forward to it.
I think I might find some nice surprises. What do you think? What’s your experience? Do you ever go back to the old neighborhood?
–ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz!! Liz understands how people think.