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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Blogging

It all started out as a bit of a game. Splash some words on a screen and see what stranger in what country would add some colour to it. It was a nameless, faceless crowd and probably not a crowd at all. Then those names from the west coast and from the U.K. began to look familiar and friendly and a face or two in my imaginary crowd began to take some shape. Then some family members logged on, entirely out of pity and compassion and in my mind's eye the audience changed again. In time, we added a row or two of chairs to the blog auditorium as we like-minded bloggers discovered one another, checked out each others links, and lobbed opinions and encouragements back and forth.

Now I'm not entirely sure who is is my auditorium. I know of a number of faces though, and more important than that, my annonymous, mostly imaginary crowd has now taken on an entirely different dimension. Sometimes now when I think of squatting for a thought catharsis of a colonic proportion I have to contend with the rows of faces crowding into my locked stall. I prefer to bear down in privacy. Come on in after the sound of the flush and put up with the stink, but please give me a moment to myself.

Now that's where this analogy makes no sense. All this blogstipation and blogahrea is voluntary. I've got no stern lab-coated clinician pulling on a sterile glove to get things moving. (tired of the word pictures yet? I'm almost done....) I may be grossly overstating things here, but is this how a published author feels? I imagine that the first book is written when nobody cares, and author person is living on bruised bananas, all alone at home, typing away in long underwear. Then somebody wants to read it! Then they want more! But they are looking for something specific, something that got touched within them with the first, nearly accidental writing. Does the author go back to the bananas and sweaty undershirt and lose him/herself in the writing, or has the sanctuary of writing become a spectator sport of sorts? Is it possible to go back? Is it possible to not speak to the audience that one has become aware of? And if that is true, then is something of its uniqueness and usefulness lost to a sort of virtual self-consciousness?

Well, come on then. If you are in the audience, here's your chance. If you write, I want to know if you feel like your writing has changed since you've become more aware of your readers. If you read, I want to know why, and whether you've once read something and hoped that the conversation would eventually continue on, or whether it a daily ritual like peeing, or reading the funnies.

Then again, maybe none of you are real.

18 comments:

deb said...

I feel the same the way as you but you said it much better. Blogstipation, I like that.

At first I wanted people to read me and then it freaked me out when I realized people read my stuff. Sometimes I feel like I have to entertain people and other times I just want to think out loud.

Part of what I like is the feeling of being a published author, people are reading my stuff. "See, see what I've done, isn't it beautiful?" . I can look at a post when it's done and appreciate it, feel like I've accomplished something, created something.

It's the creating that I like so much. I've found a few other blogs that have inspired me, pushed me forward on my journey, made me think. Some of the blogs I obliged to read, like I started reading them and now I need to continue, otherwise, they'll think I don't like them. Which is utter BS and I'm trying to stop that.

Blogging is a weird and wonderful pasttime, intimate and disconnected at the same time.

Daphne said...

Well, said. You might need some Preparation H...

I began blogging because I was inspired by you (and Carol when when she wrote).

I love it when you talk about children and mental illness- oh, of course not in the same post, but you write with shameless humour and observation and I love when you get me laughing in the morning with my cup of coffee.

I also feel like sometimes I burden you because I am Kate's friend and it means that you probably find yourself self-editing.

So, I'm sorry about that, and at least today I can tell you that.

Back in the old days I kept a journal but it has been a decade and a half since then and it took me a while to discover how much I enjoy blogging. But I also know that I leave a lot of the personal things out despite wishing to talk about it because this isn't a private dialogue. More like a silent movie.

I only told one of my oldest friends that I had a blog last month. I hate burdening friends with my thoughts...but now I have decided, that that is what I should be doing if we want to continue to grow together.

And I have found other artists with blogs who actually write about their work. Which is an incredible thing because most artists work alone and without input.

Kind of like stay-at-home parents.

So, thanks for writing so well.

Anonymous said...

It amazes me how good you are with words, how smart you are! Sometimes it scares me too, because I really like you and want to get to know you more, but I'm not sure I'm "worthy" of your friendship, I suppose I think I may bore you or not get you and that scares me.

I LOVE reading your blog, it always gets me thinking and helps me to see things in a different way. I am not a blogger, yet, I would like to sometimes, but I am not really very good with words, so I'm not sure it's for me. Reading your blogs helps me to see a part of you I may not otherwise see and I like that. So keep writing, keep going, it's good for all of us!!

I don't think I'll put my name on this one, but maybe you can guess who I am. I'll talk to you soon.

Have a great day and blog on!!

Anonymous said...

Joyce,
I have told you this before.
You are like devotions.
I read the Bible. That's theory.
I read your post. That's the clinic.
This is how someone else is hammering it out every single ordinary day.
And that is why I read the Chronicles.
I shall also remain anonymous.

Heather said...

You know, I have had similar feelings--though not in so creative words (in our household those sort of words stay in the bathroom because they make my husband squeamish.)

For me blogging began with an urge to wrie, then an urge to make a website (I am into webdesign as well as art) and once it was made I decided I may as well use it for the writing I long to do. Later it was shocking to realize that friends and relations used it to keep up to dat eon our family without having to talk to us--which is fine for me as I prefer to write and assume people know than to try to keep up with everyone and fill them all in on the same things. Then I discovered that there were like minded people out there and that I was not alone in my thoughts--as a stay-at-home mom/artist/writer who doesn't know too many likeminded people this was nearly miraculous. Then I found out that non-likeminded people were reading me as well, which was weird and just as weird are the times when people stop reading for whatever reason. Now I write sporadically as I work on my design site and art site and I am read sporadically for the same reasons. :)

Why do I read here? You articulate things that I think somewhere in the back of my mind when I am just about to fall asleep--I don't know why but it is so. I have not been reading long enough to know whether you are an artist but you think like one which is enough and more than most and reminds me that I am not alone in my odd thoughts. Plus your irreverance fascinates me. :)

Me said...

I read and write because in the fantasy that exists in my mind it makes me feel as if someone else understands me and as if I understand someone else.

I've spent most of my sorry life wanting to be understood. It seems one of those 'issues' that I can't seem to outgrow.

andrea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
QueenHeroical said...

How have things changed since I became aware of people reading: I have pulled back from some of my ruminations about myself - I felt I was bludgeoning readers with it and began feeling rather self-absorbed -- the irony being I started the blog to help me work through my struggles as a person in the world, trying to raise up children and herself.

I am also really bad at understanding why anyone would be interested in my thoughts outside my obligated family -- insecurity begets a jammed up brain.

And still, I like knowing that you are there, and others anonymous beings who seems to take interest -- being seen is powerful even if only through a page on a screen.

Why I read your blog: You struggle, you observe, you challenge, you ache, you hope, you care, you seek ...

Those are things I can get behind.

-Krina

andrea said...

Thanks, Joyce. This post was the catalyst for me to finally post something again.

Tess said...

Like Heather, I enjoy the visual design side of blogging as well, but the writing has grabbed me much more than I thought it would.
I, who procrastinate in almost everything I do, actually manage to write a post most days. I think it's part of the process of finding a voice.
And it's a bit like thinking out loud, only more disciplined (thank the heavens, because my thoughts are not at all disciplined!). It helps me know what's going on in my life.
The virtual companionship of people who have similar views and interests seems more comfy than many of my real life relationships. Speaking of which I've only given two people in my "real" life my blog address. I'm still trying to figure out why.
And why do I read Chronicles? Because, Joyce, you are a gifted writer with the capacity to be both very funny and very sad, and it's a joy to read your stuff.

Judy said...

I just plain LIKE you, Joyce.

Right up front on my blog I let people know that I am boring. I figure that if they continue to read they cannot say they weren't warned.

I'm not in a good place right now, and haven't mentioned it on my blog. Mostly because it is going to take a long time to 'get over it' and NOT blogging about it makes me notice that other things are actually happening in my life that aren't related to 'it'.

Danielle B. said...

Oh my...I could write a whole post answering these questions ;)....first....one of the reasons I closed down my first blog was because it began morphing into what I presumed to be the expectations of my readers...it was awful and very limiting and the 'me' behind the words/writing became unrecognizable. Now, on the BiPolar Diaries...what you read is what I am...some may call me a hypocrite as they read me from day to week to month...but ya know...life is fluid and we are continually being shaped and molded by our environment...and some days this is good and other days...well...not so good...but to quote my favorite eater of spinach "I yam what I yam"...and although I don't consider myself a writer....when I look back on some things that I have written I think....hmmmmm....this gives my daughter a great snapshot of her mom's inner workings. Now on to the second question of why do I continue coming back to read what's going on with you....it is definietly not because of routine...I enjoy coming here and finding a 'kindred spirit'....and as my students like to say..finding a 'keeping it real' kind of gal. Some days life is funny...some days life needs to be funny...and some days it just plain sucks...for all of us...and as we journey through life it is always a miraculous thing to find someone who can say "hey, I know how you feel...let's laugh (or cry) about it and help each other take that next step forward. This is why I keep coming back to say hello...it's a comfort to know you are here.

it's a gong show... said...

~

Heather said...

I remember once hearing a well-known Canadian author (who was my prof at the time) say about another author "she's good, but she has the potential to be great if she didn't self-censor - mostly for the sake of her parents." Whenever I have stuff published, I'm mostly conscious of how it will affect my parents. I censor less on the blog, because my mom doesn't read it, but I also find myself censoring for other people.

Cynthia said...

I'm visiting from Andrea's blog and was moved to respond to your post.

I started blogging, because that seemed to be the "thing" to do as another marketing tool for artists, but it has morphed into so many things for me.

Most importantly, my blog links me to other people around the world, mostly other artists, but also family who like to be kept apprised of what I am up to (including a sister in law who hasn't spoken to me in 2 years, yet still tunes in to see what I'm up to - I know this from my counter stats.) I wonder if she's waiting for me to fall flat on my face, or if there's still a little part of her that is concerned???

Last year, I took a blog break, because I wasn't writing for me anymore; I was writing for other people about nothing. It felt like a chore.

I'm fairly transparent on my blog, but I do try to keep some things private - mostly family/friend details and happenings. It's only fair to them, and I do worry about the safety aspects of being so public on the internet.

I have met 3 local bloggers in person who I have met through my blog and that's been fun. Most likely, we would never have made contact outside of blogging. It's helped me to realize that the human race is a lot more connected and linked than I ever realized. My guard is down on the internet and I feel free to post a comment on other's blogs, yet if our paths crossed on the street, we most likely would keep moving past each other.

I do have people who stop by regularly and they're missed when absent. I also have a couple of people whose blogs I visit out of obligation. I try not to let visitor stats and the number of comments left (and lack thereof) create an artificial sense of agrandizement or neglect because in a sense, it is an artificial environment. I have to remember who I'm writing for - and that's me.

Ruth said...

what i love,appreciate and totally treasure about blogging is it has given me the opportunity to get to know people (REAL PEOPLE with skin and bones and zits ;) ) in my own hometown in a way I would never have known them otherwise.

I feel connected and in some ways like invisible walls that somehow got built have vanished by simply reading one persons heart online.

i LOVE that.

homo escapeons said...

I blog to leave a record of deeply flawed character, my inane thoughts, splintered views on various issues, and my displeasure at the way this whole LIFE thing works.

I am glad that some people who may have views that are 180 degrees from mine still 'get' me. At the heart of blogging is a chance to locate and interact with intelligent, funny people from around the neighbourhood and the world. You can develop intimate rewarding relationships or just have fun.

From my anthropological view I accept that we humans are living in a complete unnatural state of existence. Being an invisible entity in this overcrowded social setting is not how we were designed..and that includes both theories of how we got here.

We need intimacy and communication and validation. This was achievable when we lived in falmily clans but it is something that has been missing for thousands of years.

Oh yeah one other thing Convenience & Control!
Fran Leibowitz was right. She said that "the opposite of talking isn't listening...
it's waiting!"

Joy said...

We are here, we are here, we are HERE!!

I just did 7 reasons why I blog... I write so that I am more tolerable IRL!! ROFL! I love writing but have no aspirations to be published. Mostly, my writing is so random. My thoughts. My interests. My struggles. At one time, I blogged in anonymity. At least I thought I did. Part of the reason I was blogging was to detox from leaving church. Then I found out that the pastor was reading my blog. It must be interesting! He is still reading.

Now as to why I read you... OMGOSH! You put reality right there on the table. You don't gussy it up or airbrush or photoshop it. You are real. And when I read you, I laugh, I cry, I sigh. I wanna hug you. I love your style. That is why I read your blog.