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Saying goodbye to van life

I’ve rarely used my blog as a blog. I use it primarily for posting poems. But in light of some changes I’m making in my life — and inspired by Dave Bonta’s weekly poetry digest — I’ve decided to step out of the ocean of social media and into the sometimes gentle, sometimes rushing stream of blogging.

The first thing I wonder is whether anyone will ever read this? I might send a link to this particular post to my newsletter subscribers. Barring that, it’s hard to imagine many people making their way to this particular post. So, like the tree in the forest, I’m left to wonder whether my fall will make any sound.

For the past year I’ve been living in a series of vans and traveling the United States, covering somewhere around 20,000 miles from Tucson to Massachusetts to Key West to San Diego to Portland (OR) and Acadia National Park (ME) and many points in between. It’s been all of the things you might think it would be: thrilling, terrifying, challenging, enriching, maddening. I tried van life as someone constantly in motion and as someone staying in one place. I emerged from the year knowing it’s time for a change, primarily due to my precarious financial circumstances.

After Christmas I’ll be moving to Albany, NY, where I lived a decade ago and where I have cousins and friends and fellow poets to spend time with. It’s a nice, small city with lots to do and plenty of jobs. It’s not too expensive. Initially I’ll be living in my van and working while I save up for an apartment. Something very small would be fine. Maybe not Gene-Kelly-in-An-American-In-Paris small, but pretty small. A little place for my very few belongings and maybe an old cat or an older dog.

I’ve been writing a lot while I’ve been on the road. Hundreds of haiku and many longer poems. I got on the road after the end of the relationship I thought would last the rest of my life. All this time alone and all these words on the page have been essential to processing that loss and moving … forward? Moving, anyway.

Along with the decision to find a normal job and a stationary place to live, I’ve also decided that the past 25-plus years of living a very public life need to come to an end. I’ve been on the radio and on social media and on podcasts for nearly all of my 20s and 30s and 40s, and I’d like to slide into my 50s with quieter media. I’m going to keep making my current podcast, A Brief Chat, but I’m going to do it much in the style of this blog. I’ll keep putting things out there but not doing much to promote them. If people find their way to what I make, that’s great. If they don’t, that’s just fine, too. I described it to a friend as an attempt to live a quieter life. I think that’s what I mean. We’ll see what unfolds. I don’t have much practice at living out of the public eye. I keep thinking of good Tweets and Instagram photos as I move through each day. I’m hoping that urge will pass soon.

Thanks for being here, however that happened.

Published in Blog

25 Comments

  1. Annalisa Annalisa

    You have my full support, I feel so lucky to have gotten to see you and chat about things. Please stay in touch and take care! -Annalisa

    • Jason Crane Jason Crane

      I will do both. Thanks pal.

  2. Wow. I’m pleased that the poetry blog digest was able to help you clarify your thinking. I would’ve settled down in northern VT of course, but I understand the need for all that a city can provide, especially if you’re looking for an alternative to online networking and you enjoy things like live poetry or jazz. Plus, Albany is next door to Schenectady, the town whose name is just the sound of a train going over a crossing.

    “Moving, anyway.” I relate to that! My current walking regime started in order to fill the vacuum in my life as my own marriage withered on the vine. I don’t believe in progress, necessarily, but there is a lot of truth to the hoary old image of life as a journey, I think. Even if all one’s journeys are quite local, and take one only to a gradual deepening of one’s engagement with the land.

    • Jason Crane Jason Crane

      Thanks so much, Dave. That’s a very useful and welcome perspective.

  3. Right on, Jason. Wherever you end up, you will be a creator (you can’t help it) and will add value to the world.

    • Jason Crane Jason Crane

      Thanks my friend.

  4. we’ve got to keep moving otherwise they throw dirt on you (I’ve been in my house for over 3 years).
    The thing about the electronic media/social media thing is that more people will read your work there than they would have/did back in the day before electronic social media when poets sent their poems to piddling zines with a circulation of 150, most of whom just read their own poems in the zine. Keep at it.

    • Jason Crane Jason Crane

      No, but thank you.

  5. Trina Hawkes Trina Hawkes

    I don’t see a subscribe page on your blog.

    • Jason Crane Jason Crane

      Hey there: There’s an RSS feed link at the top of the site. There’s also a newsletter link and of course you already get my Patreon. Hope that helps. Let me know if you need something else.

  6. Gary Hayden Gary Hayden

    All my best on your new ‘start’, but for one, I will very much miss your videos, and I sincerely hope that at very least you continue to do a Blog or Podcast with updates on your new life. I’ve never bothered to listen to a Podcast yet in my life (with so much stuff up on YouTube and reading online various places for me), but if you do decide that’s the place where your updates will only exist I will HAVE to subscribe.

    • Jason Crane Jason Crane

      Thanks so much, Gary. I really appreciate it. I’ll be blogging here.

  7. Michael Wright Michael Wright

    So, close enough to maybe have lunch, but far enough away to keep your transition to the quiet life.

    Stay hoopy

    • Jason Crane Jason Crane

      We will definitely have lunch.

      Froodily yours.

  8. Samantha T Quinn Samantha T Quinn

    Without question I will miss your videos and instagram posts, but I want only the best for you! You have my full support even though I will miss you! Albany, NY is an old home of mine too, I love that town and I still periodiy listen to WGNA radio on IHeart radio when I’m missing it! Live long and prosper!

    • Jason Crane Jason Crane

      Thanks!

    • Jason Crane Jason Crane

      Thank you!

  9. Good on you!
    Perhaps we will see you @track 32 some Wednesday for Pizza and Posey.
    Dibs on first hugs!
    obeedude~

    • Jason Crane Jason Crane

      You absolutely will. Looking forward to the hug.

      • Mark W. Ó Brien Mark W. Ó Brien

        ???

        • Mark W. Ó Brien Mark W. Ó Brien

          I left a hug. The algorithm does not know what a hug is. This is why we do it in person!

          • Jason Crane Jason Crane

            Hahahaha. Stupid algorithm!

  10. MindyDawn Schmiedekamp MindyDawn Schmiedekamp

    ??
    that is all

  11. Eric Hancock Eric Hancock

    Albany is a great part of the country to find quiet and focus. Best of luck with what is next.

    • Jason Crane Jason Crane

      Thank you!

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