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!!!