From time to time, bloggers blog about not blogging anymore. According to Technorati, 133 million blogs have been indexed since 2002 (not that I have the slightest clue what indexed means). However, only 1.5 million of those have posted in the last week. Letting go or taking breaks from blogging is obviously more common than not.

Thursday Yesterday This morning Sometimes I think about not blogging anymore, or making my blog private. I started it as a sort of journal, mostly to write up family stories and thoughts for my kids and extended family. So, then, why does anyone else need to read it? I almost made it private upon creation, but left it public because the only other blogger I knew had a public blog (Hi Sam!). In the beginning, my only readers were me, Sam, and Trish. But after I started discovering and regularly reading other blogs, some of those bloggers came over to read mine. It turns out that having readers and reading other blogs comes with unexpected fringe benefits. As if you didn’t know that.

Blogging provides a place to explore and practice our writing. You knew that too, huh? Well, how about this: It was the launching pad for my now well-developed tendency to overuse capital And and But, and annoy even myself with multiple exclamation points. I’ve also learned to spell, to wit: hawt, Gawd, and whatevah. I’ve learned some new vocabulary words, such as homance, and its counterpart, bromance. I’ve even learned that the spelling and use of these words is called “digitally hip.” The thing is, why resurrect trying to be hip from those days of yore in my youth? I wasn’t hip then either. That doesn’t mean, however, that I haven’t spelled and used these so-called digitally hip words myself. I find it amusing when someone else does, and have shown it in comments with a hearty Heh, LOL, or Bwahaha!

Another unexpected benefit of blogging has been the connections that I’ve made with other bloggers, locally and globally. Some I have even met in person. Speaking of people I know in person, reading the thoughts and experiences on the blogs of my close friends and family brings new depth to those relationships too. The bloggers I read remind me regularly in creative, talented, and topically varied ways of our shared human experience. Our shared human experience is beautiful, even when it gets messy.

Blogging connections are developed through shared communications. Bloggers post their thoughts, memories, experiences, feelings, and ideas. In the comment section, bloggers get and give each other feedback. The blogs I visit, and the bloggers who visit here, are typically very supportive of each other’s efforts. I can count on one hand the negative comments here. (I mean to distinguish a negative comment from one in which someone simply voices a differing viewpoint.) I suppose that is mainly because I don’t take on controversial topics very often, although I know someone who now looks the other way when I see her around town, fallout from my same-sex marriage posts. Oh well. Sometimes comments seen around the Blogosphere are downright mean-spirited, and often they come from an a-hole named Anonymous. Trish recently got one on a post she’d written two years ago. Anonymous said, “your a fucking retard 1 billion seconds ago it was 1959.” In addition to being a supreme a-hole for the retard remark alone, Anonymous has potty mouth, bad grammar, and poor math skills. By the way, Laura checked, and Trish’s math was correct.

On posts that provoke thought on social, political, and similar topics, discussions can be informative, healing, and/or passionate. Discussion is always a good thing, and if opinions differ, especially if they differ, it is an opportunity to learn from each other when ideas are shared respectfully. But sometimes, even with the best of intentions, posts or comments go awry. Tone and intent are two things that don’t always translate perfectly in comments. I’ve left comments accusing giveaway winners of cheating, never thinking anyone would take me seriously until someone did. I felt bad. I’m not a sore loser at all, and I’ve won lots of cool stuff myself. I could write a whole post about it.

On a blog that I have followed (back when follow was a verb rather than a widget) since day one of it, I read a recent post about poor (irresponsible? selfish?) financial decisions some guy made about the mortgage on his two-million-dollar house. The blogger asked readers to share their thoughts. I read the NY Times article she linked to hers that said the guy’s wife and daughter had since moved to Beirut, among other things related more to the substance of the article. I thought, “I guess his wife thought he made some bad financial decisions too.”

So I left a comment to that effect, only I have since realized that my comment wasn’t clear as to my intended meaning. My comment referenced Beirut specifically. Another commenter (whom I don’t know) said he didn’t like mine. The post author then said (in her comment section to that post) whether the guy moved to Beirut or Baltimore wasn’t pertinent. She was right about that, of course, but my comment was not intended in any way to have any sort of racist meaning. I would have thought the same thing and made the same comment if the guy’s wife bailed to Kauai or San Antonio or Manhattan. Following the post author’s comment, someone else (don’t know him either) said that my comment was “totally offensive and absurd.” I take responsibility for the effect of my words on someone else, whether the effect was intended or not. I offered an explanation and an apology. I told my friend that when I read her Beirut-Baltimore comment, I was particularly saddened because I thought she knew me better than that. She commented again saying that she wondered what I’d meant, and told me not to feel bad.

They say that if the heat is too hot, get out of the kitchen. Considering that advice and running with the metaphor, what is the source of heat in a kitchen? The stove and the oven, two sources of heat that provide nourishing and filling sustenance. Sometimes they provide delicious treats. Of course, there is the occasional cooking disaster too. I suppose that as long as we are mindful when handling what we’re dishing out, we ought not to get burned. When we aren’t mindful or find that the flame was higher than we’d realized, we can only hope to have a friend or three (Hi Kate, Jamie, and Trish!) standing by with cool water and maybe some ibuprofen.

So I’ve been thinking about not blogging or blogging less (although I only do it twice a week-ish as it is), and, if you’re still reading this God bless you. I haven’t been considering this just because the kitchen got too hot this week, but also because it might be time for me to stop thinking about what I want to do next in my life and start doing it, or make my peace that what I’m doing in my life now is enough, because it has been and it might be still. That’s a post for another day. Heh. In fact, as I was thinking about not blogging any more, I decided to blog about that. But before hitting “Publish” on this post, I went back and cleaned out the capital Ands, Buts, and multiple exclamation points. Well, most of them!!!

41 comments on “Blog THIS Mom!”

  1. You have one of the purest hearts of ANY I have known. Ever.

    I really thought about that before I typed it. We bloggers can throw around some sweet (and sour) comments, but YOU deserve only the sweet.

    I love you from here to Beirut to Kauai to Sri Lanka to San Antonio to JT…and back.

  2. Don’t you dare stop blogging. You’ve got a friend or four or five or twenty or fifty or who knows. And you have a sense of humor and I want to meet you and take a picture of our shoes together, like you do with other bloggers. There, I’ve said it. I’ll be wearing the leopard slides.

  3. I have particularly enjoyed your blog and your comments. 🙂 And I lived in Beirut as a child, so I come highly qualified to make an opinion. Really, I did. It was a magical place.

    I hope you don’t leave the blog. I do understand putting off things or not doing what you really want or say you want…

    Sending hugs!

  4. As an overthinker, I think that overthinking is overrated. 🙂

    My take on it is that it’s OK to feel tired of blogging or nervous about blogging or sick of trolls or of explaining yourself in comments, etc. and want to step away for a bit…but to quit blogging overall…I think (as I recently passed on to a friend who is thinking of leaving her marriage), that you’ll know when you KNOW if it’s over. And not a moment before…

    And I don’t think you know. I think the nature of blogging is such that we re-evaluate what we write or why or for who…and these second guesses will come periodically and it’s OK and if it’s not, we will stop. Because we will know it’s time to stop.

    But you do not *really* know it’s time to stop.

    Am I right?

    I don’t know.

    That’s the beauty.

    Also, you can still do what you want in life and continue to share your voice here, no? In fact, what I think you want to do is write…and THAT’s what you’re doing. Blogging need not replace our lives…(of course it has mine…but I’m working on it).

    In addition, DO NOT STOP BLOGGING.

    I will email more personally shortly. I realize I’ve babbled and nothing I’ve said has come out right.

    Damn Mucinex! It liquefies brains!

    I’m outtie.

    Oh! And I love you!!!!!!
    (with a capital “And” and multiple exclamation points.)

  5. San Antonio? You got something against Texans?

    I hope you’ll keep it up, the blogging, you are an inspiration to me in several ways… but I do know all about the occasional thought, or realization, that blogging is awfully time consuming and can get in the way of doing.

    Still, I hope your misunderstood comment is less a factor than this post denying it is a big factor, suggests. This written format is so ripe for misunderstandings, whether the misunderstoodee has a hair trigger or not. I hope you won’t let this influence unduly.

  6. I hope with all my heart you won’t stop blogging. I’ve learned so much from you. You’ve enriched my life and my days in ways that you may not even realize.

    But if you do stop (and God I understand the desire to stop!), I will just have to show up at your house every once in a while so we can connect!!!

    I get this. I really do. I wish I didn’t understand, but I do.

    You, Cheri, are an amazing person, so full of love and life and vitality! Your words to me on my most recent posts have brought me great and tremendous comfort and joy! I want to thank you for being my friend! I love and appreciate you very, very, very much.

    Big hug to you!

  7. i hope you don’t stop blogging. but if your heart isn’t in it, or if something else constrains you from continuing, then so be it. but i’ll miss you. stay stay stay.

  8. One of the funniest troll/a-hole scenarios was on a blog I’ve forgotten about, I think I may have it on delicious.

    There were loads of excellent comments, then this punk just swore and cusses everyone, and that wass followed by commenters tirading against the troll. It was fun to read I have to say!

  9. and there they are at your doctor’s, passing your blog around….I love your blog–you’re so funny and smart—I was in the habit of visiting and commenting at a blog for years and the blog’s admin encouraged debate and had a lot of argumentative readers and it was exhausting, I hated arguing with right-wing nutcases and other overly opinonated types, so I just LEFT and havn’t looked at it in almost 2 years–my point being, arguments or heated words even from strangers can really hurt, and if you have to isolate yourself from it, do so—but maybe keep a private blog for your friends??? I wuv your blog…

  10. I so {{puffy heart}} your blog and hope that you keep on doing your thing! Coming over here is like coming home…it’s comfortable and (like so many others I read) if I make a snarky comment, I know that you know that I’m just being snarky and you snark back, sometimes….I like that. I miss that here….I want to be, someday, surrounded by your goodness and fun, for at least an afternoon (I’ll buy special, purdy shoes!!)…you’re one of the best, my dear…one of the best.

  11. Dearest Cheri,
    I think we have a thing or two in common. For one, I think we are both sweet, gooey marshmallows on the inside even though we seem all digitally hip on the outside. 😉 I totally understand the desire not to have people mad at me in the blogosphere, even if I don’t know them, which is why I need an emoticon intervention–heaven forfend someone not know I’m being sarcastic!

    On the subject of not blogging anymore, nay, m’lady, perish the thought. I like to think that in 2009, blogging is an act of living with greater awareness. A smart, thoughtful, funny blog like yours (and you better believe there’s a reason I’ve kept reading yours for three years!) contributes to the greater good in the universe. As someone who spent 15 years (!) of higher education dedicated to the craft of the written word, I don’t hide my fervent belief that every little bit we can do in the service of language is a good thing. And that’s just what you’re doing, my friend. May the force be with you.

  12. What you write on your blog is your business, as is how often you post or if you take your blog private. But, as one of your devoted readers, I hope you won’t drop it completely, because I can’t imagine the blogosphere without you.

  13. An excellent summary of what blogging offers and how the written word can be misinterpreted.
    Please don’t “get out of the kitchen” – your warmth and sustenance would be missed.
    (Okay…you can take a break if you wish…with those other millions – I did!)

  14. I understand this post completely (but you know that). I don’t know what to say other than I’ll keep your blog in my Reader whether you choose to post twice a week or twice a year. It will remain there until you pull the plug.

    What’s wrong with capital And and But? Gawd.

    You’re great, and this was a wonderful and timely summary of the blogging experience for people who’s blogs are more than a family scrapbook. (Lust being descriptive – I thoroughly enjoy visiting my friend’s who blog privately in more of a digital scrapbook format.)

  15. Oh, please, please, don’t ever think about not blogging again! I, for one, hang on your every word, even the capitalized Ands and Buts.

    If I had a top ten list of favorite blogs, yours would be in it.

    I have never taken any of yours posts or comments as anything but, well, as Jamie says, pure.

    xoxo

  16. Oh my goodness. Thank you everyone for these meaningful and supportive comments.

    I guess I’m making a mess of my words this week, delivering messages that I don’t mean to deliver.

    I really didn’t mean to say that I’m not going to blog anymore, just that from time to time I think about it. Like we all do. I thought about it this week.

    I wouldn’t make a decision to pull down my blog in a reactive way. Moreover, I don’t think anyone was trying to kick me out of the locker room, and I sure as hell wouldn’t let anyone kick me out if that were the case (and it most certainly is not).

    If I were to pack my bags, I’d do it on my own terms. But I’m not packing my bags, I was just thinking out loud, and sharing my thoughts and feelings with you all. You mean a lot to me. I’ve emailed those of you whose address I have. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your posts and comments and emails.

  17. I hope this got the whole non-blogging thing out of your system!!! And! But!

    I read the Beirut comment and I thought, “Hmm. I wonder what she means by that?” I knew it couldn’t be racist because I know you, but I was a little puzzled.

  18. I hate it when I say the wrong thing or say the right thing in the wrong way! I have such a tendency to rush in with my clumsy words. I do love reading YOUR words, though, Cheri. And I’ve appreciated your voice.

  19. And I love you too. But that’s not all!!!!

    I think it’s useful to examine how we are using our time – and let’s face it: blogging & reading blogs is time consuming – especially when we have other passions.

    I’m so glad you are here. Thanks for sharing your world with us.

  20. You know, this post was well-timed for me personaly and I hope to join my voice with those of the other BTM friends in support. You are seriously one of the wittiest, cleverest, most funny women-who-I-have-next-to-nothing-in-common-with. Ever. But I keep reading because you’re real. And you crack me up. Your hot doctor post (part one and two) had me in stitches for a week. And I love you.

    Do what feels right, but I’d really miss you. And all the crazy posts about Laura.

    🙂

  21. I just popped in from Seraphine’s, and I enjoyed reading this post. I’m glad you (probably) won’t quit blogging, since I just found you; I like the way you write and think.

    It’s nice meeting you!

  22. Obviously, this person doesn’t know you at all. You seem to me to be one of the nicest, kindest, thoughtful people I’ve met via blogging.

  23. I have been listening to a audio book the past few weeks as I drag my ass on the treadmill. It’s called The Four Agreements. Read it. One of the agreements that I am intent on integrating into my life right this second (especially in regard to the written word and blogging…I have been heavy on the shitty emails of late)is you have no control over how your well intentioned and honest words are perceived. None. How someone else responds is his or her deal…unless, of course, you are being purposefully catty and provocative (not your style) To review: no control.

  24. Oh… What Sam said! Your blog contributes to the greater good in the universe. I love that!

    Oh and what Jamie said! I agree that you have one of the purest hearts of ANY I have known.

    And all the other bloggers whom by expressing love for you and your writings, have just smeared away the hurtful/ignorant comments the past and maybe built up a bank of good will for the future.

    I love you! (And thanks for the math check Laura!)

  25. i don’t capitalize anything. i think that solves a lot. i love you and your blog and if you want to not blog, then by god, don’t blog. and then if you want to blog again, do it. be you. that’s the beauty of your blog. it is authentically you. mine is a snippet of me. anything at all emotional gets blogged elsewhere. where elsewhere equals my blog called emailing cheri. thanks for being my faithful reader and loving commenter.

  26. I’m getting to this late but I’m grateful for that because I’ve already seen your response that you’re not quitting; at least right now. I wonder if there isn’t some kind of bloggers depression virus going around because I’ve seen several posts on this topic lately and I’ve been kicking it around in my own head as well. Can we catch viruses in blogosphere? I’m starting to think we can.

  27. Nooooo!! Don’t goooo!!! seriously, I truly enjoy your blog and look up to you as a blogger. Your ability to make and nurture relationships in the blogosphere is a fine example of a kind of “global friendship.” Your activism against Prop 8 is an inspiration that stirs someone (me) out of my chair and into actual support.

    I have to ask – what’s “bromance?”

  28. Whew! Glad you clarified that you weren’t hanging up the blogging pencil (that visual didn’t work at all, but I’m still going with it). I look forward to reading your posts and will continue to do so (even if you take longer breaks between posts).

    Cheers

  29. If you stopped blogging, how would I ever learn about Papa Smurf toes and hawt podiatrists?
    And (see, I do it, too!) how else would I have “met” Jason? How could anyone who has met Jason not see things from a different point of view? See, you make a difference in the world for social equality!
    As far as the haters…yuck. But (yes, I did that intentionally!!!) things can be seen in the wrong light via any written word, whether in e-mail or blogging. It happens, it hurts, I know.

  30. You CAN’T stop blogging. I found your blog through the blog you reference in this post (and I think anonymous isn’t always nice either). I commented after you on that post as well, and while I didn’t completely understand the meaning of the comment, I certainly didnt see the offense in it.

    See, if it weren’t for YOUR blog, I would have never found some of my other faves. So you just can’t stop blogging, cause… you just can’t… Glad we are in agreement about that 🙂

  31. I think we’ve all left a comment that we thought expressed what was going n in our heads but didn’t translate well to the reader. You explained yourself and clarified the comment. It’s all good!

  32. I hope you never stop blogging.

    I have had a post swirling around in my head for ages about this type of thing but I want to be able to express myself perfectly before I write it.

    In a nutshell I feel as though people in the blogosphere get way too senstive. If you put yourself out there you are going to get all manner of comments. The fact that people piled on you because of the wording of your comment just pisses me off – you have nothing to apologize for.

    This is the kind of pack mentality that stiffles free expression in the blogosphere and even when it’s well meaning, the pressure to constantly be politically correct is a little crazy.

  33. I tried to quit. Cold turkey in fact. Just on Sunday with a “member only blog” with no intention of having members. Then someone knocked and wanted entry in the member section. And I found how annoying it is to have a member section in the event that I might post. I went public again.

    I so understand what you are writing about and the challenges of writing and self-censoring and the list goes on.

    In summary, you are not alone. Besides, I really need to know about the outcome of your toe and the hawt doctor. (Even my dh read that post!)

  34. Oh I would miss you very very very much if you didn’t blog. You have a way of writing that is just so you’re own. and your comments are killer. and I can’t imagine you saying anything meanspirited and I haven’t even met you in real life….this is my long runon sentence in honor of YOU!!!!!!!
    !
    !

  35. Wow! Don’t quit blogging, I would miss you (whine).

    I agree with just jamie- you do have a pure heart. Not only that but you are one of the most selfless people I know. No BS.

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