Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Blog, Blog, Blog

This is my response to Heather's questionairre:

1. Why did you start blogging?
My husband discovered it, I saw how much attention it generated,and I wanted to get me summa dat.

2. Do you feel that you've developed meaningful relationships on your blog? If so, tell a story or two of a relationship that made a difference to you. How are these relationships different and/or similar to your in-person relationships?

I've met a lot of lovely people through this venue. I would have to say that some of my best surprises are real life people who I'd already met in person, and so they'd have to be polite and listen to me rant in real life...... but some of these people voluntarily come around and anonymously read my thoughts. "They LIKE me! they really, REALLY like me!!" (Woops, did I write that out loud?) One of my favorite surprises has been my sis-in-law; we didn't know each other really well, yet she voluntarily has become a faithful reader. (really, I don't pay her, or anything!) It has given me such a sense of warmth, and my visits to the family gatherings there have become more precious as a result.

3. Have you used your blog as a place to work out tough situations in your life? If so, what was the situation/challenge, and how did the blog help?

I have made references to some of my personal struggles, without actually spelling out in blatant terms what the deal it. Its like therapy for me- write down the good that I believe, then re-read it. Somehow I believe myself better that way.

Of course when my brother became ill with terminal cancer, my blog was an invaluable tool. I was able to get in touch with my emotions by just letting the thoughts flow out.

4. Were there people you met through blogging who helped you through those tough situations? What did they do that helped?

Local people brought me flowers and meals and prayers. Far away people expressed their love and support, shared their prayers, identified with my pain.

5. Were there ever things that you felt you could talk about on your blog to "strangers" that you couldn't tell your flesh-and-blood friends and family?

Oh, sometimes I wish I were more private....
I kind of think of everyone as my friend and family until proven otherwise...

6. Do your family and "in-person" friends read your blog? Why or why not?

Many of them do, and I have no idea why. It must be some form of ministry.

7. Have you ever regretted admitting really personal things on your blog? Why or why not?

Yes, once. And the next day I deleted the post.

8. Have you come into conflict with anyone on your blog? Did it destroy a relationship that you valued, or was it someone you didn't care about?

I once overreacted to a question asked in my comments. I think if I had remained more calm, I could have kept his readership and been more useful and loving instead of just scaring him away.

9. Do you ever think about quitting blogging? Why or why not?

Never, ever. Not in a million years. When I was a little girl, I used to fall asleep making up sentences in my head. I used to dream of writing books. Eventually I concluded that it was about as likely as me becoming a marine biologist, or an aerobics instructer.
Now, I'm so grateful to be able to write.

10. Any other interesting stories that might be applicable.

I have met a psychologist who is writing a book called "Every Woman Has An Eating Disorder". Her work is fascinating, and relevant.

I have begun work on a fund-raising project for the women in Darfur, in partnership with one of my favourite bloggers, "Bobita". This work was inspired by one of her posts expressing her anguish and sense of helplessness for the horrible abuse that our African sisters endure there on a daily basis. Within the proximity of our own homes, we have "met", shared a passion, and are now embarking on a pro-active mission. That's empowering.

I'll end on a very personal note.
My brother Ken lost his ability to walk early this summer, the first of his many losses due to the cancer. One of his lifelines was his blackberry, which we affectionately referred to as his "crackberry", and my father tended to confuse as a "blueberry".

Ken spent hours communicating with his friends on that little gadget, and it enabled him to send love messages to his parents, which will be treasured eternally.

Ken is a very intelligent man. I have spent a lot of energy in my younger years looking for and craving his approval. He was always very popular, very front and center. He seemed to be good at anything he put his hand to. Last December, less than a short year ago, Ken won first prize in a local newspapers writing contest. I was proud of him, and remember thinking-- oh gee, that just figures! He just puts his hand to it, and Presto! he succeeds. Ken's first girlfriend love was Miriam Toews. I mean, this guy never did anything boring or by the regular passageways.

All this to say that one day when I visited Ken at the hospital, he told me that he had been reading Chronicles of Blunderview.

"It's good", he said, "If I were you, I'd keep writing."

Blogging for me, has been one of the most humbling, most therapeutic, most healing outlets in my life.


andrea said...

Fascinating, Joyce. I find the psychology of blogging to be invaluable. I also love the mysteries of who reads. One of my favourite discoveries is how grounded and funny and friendly Manitobans are. Your license plates tell the truth!

And I'm really impressed that Ken's first love was Miriam Toews. I've been wanting to ask you and Brian's feedback on A Complicated Kindness. Any chance of a post from your personal p-o-v plus the p-o-v of the modern Mennonite?

andrea said...

I meant to say "I find the interpretations of blogging psychology by bloggers to be personally invaluable."

joyce said...

Andrea- yes, yes, yes. So you don't think we should change our plates to read "spirited energy"? (DUH) I do love Manitoba. (seems like BC turns out some real winners too :)

Yes, Ken and Miriam were a bit of an item in high school. My mom never tires of telling the story of Miriam spending an entire day on the tractor with Ken as he was emptying the sewer pits onto dad's fields. I think Ken was actually mildly annoyed at her company!

Love Miriam's writing. I don't agree with some of her irreverence, but the humour is SOOOO rich, so relatable. My mother has absolutely no use for her writing. Anyone who uses so much bad language can't posibly be a good person-- is how I imagine she sees it.
I love her book "Swing Low" which I read during a painful period of time when someone I loved a great deal was dealing with bipolar disorder. Its not as funny as her other books, but such a very good read.

I would like to take your challenge, but feel inadequate for the task. Perhaps after a period of ruminating, it will come to me.

Thank you for your very kind, thought provoking comment.

Heather Plett said...

Thank you so much for playing along Joyce. I love your answers - definitely quotable. I think I might use some of the stuff you mention about Ken and your experience surrounding his death. I'll let you know if I quote you.

joyce said...

Grawsh,,, thanks Heather.

Bobita said...

Oh, I loved this post! You had me laughing and crying all within a matter of seconds!

Joyce, it must be said inspire me! The experiences that you have written about in your your courage and beauty as a human being. Such attributes are a treasure...and more rare among us mortals than they should be.

Your brother was's good, keep doing it!

Brian the Mennonite said...

Bobita- just, THANKS!
Oh, and THANKS!

Anonymous said...

gosh, I hate that. It's not him, he's sleeping, as I should be. Let's try that again.

James McGinley said...

Yes sister, the joy is in the DOING!

Your mentioning Darfur in your blogging is imperative. And as doubtless you have noticed, blogging volume regarding Darfur has plummeted. Thank you for your efforts.

We are hopelessly stalled in Saving Darfur. But it is only hopeless if we-the-citizens continue to be bystanders risking little or no cost to ourselves.

Please help promote what must fast become our role models; nothing less will stop the Genocide:
DARFUR HEROES: Santa Clara Univ Vigil & Fast

More Darfur Heroes at DARFUR Dying for Heroes

Thank you, Rosemary, Dave, Mary Rachel, Jay coming up on week three of
Rescue Darfur Fast-Till-Genocide-Stops