I was talking to my brother yesterday, who was the first one in our family to blog, and who was also the first one in our family to abandon blogging. He reminded me of why it took me so long to commit to this pastime. Over a year ago, two people whom I really respect encouraged me to blog. One of them has his own blog, and it’s obvious he enjoys it very much. The other is someone who has been encouraging me to write and whom, I suppose, thought it would be a good discipline, because I’d be forced to write on a regular basis.
So, I went out there and started a blog that lasted about three days. Then, I began exploring the blogosphere, sticking to my own neighborhood, which always seems the safest thing to do when one moves into a new area and sets off on an expedition (I won’t reveal which one here, but it wasn’t blogger). What did I find? People who post images of their own self-mutilation. People who want you to believe the earth is flat. People I thought were humorously referring to themselves as being paranoid, until I discovered they had about 150 posts detailing how and why their phone lines were tapped. I found myself thinking, “Is this really the company I want to be keeping?” If I’d gone to a party and had been confronted with these people, I would have left within ten minutes and gone home to take a bath, hoping to wash off any parts of them that might have found a resting place with me. I did just that. I left the party (didn't need to bathe, though).
I’ve been extremely disappointed that my brother, whose blog wasn’t quite as short-lived as my first one, but almost, never continued. I can’t blame him, though, after yesterday’s conversation and finding out why. It seems he was also cruising his own neighborhood when he discovered one person who had evidence that unicorns really do exist. He clicked on the next blog to read about its author’s little trip with the Hobbits. His thought, not too dissimilar from mine, was, “Oh my God! I’ve become one of these people!” I suppose it was like someone who’s smoked a little pot in his life coming across the desperate heroin addict in an alley and swearing off all drugs forever. If he kept up his humorous musings on life and scanning in some papers he’d written and finding old photographs to scan, would he eventually become someone who was describing his daily conversations with Dostoevsky’s ghost? His blog ended that day.
My other fear when I used to consider the idea of blogging was that my compulsive nature would take reign over my life, keeping me from ever missing a few days of writing and making me constantly check for comments (ever fearful that someone like “Unicorn Woman” was going to tell me I sucked or question my sanity or something). Luckily, in those days, I didn’t know there was such a thing as site tracker, which I’m pretty sure has an advisory board on which Compulsive Nature serves.
Well, after nearly three months of this, I can’t say I was wrong about The Reign of Compulsion, but I’ve discovered it’s a little less dictatorial than I’d assumed. For instance, I’m allowed to go a few days without posting. Also, it’s kind of nice to have it distracted by blogs and blogging rather than some of the other interests it’s shown in the past (like insisting I listen to every single CD we own in alphabetical order just once, before I go back to listening to the same old favorites over and over again. If you’d ever seen our CD collection, you’d know that was an awfully tall order). Will I start believing in unicorns or posting videos of myself engaging in compulsive behavior? I’m not sure, but if the party I’m attending now is any indication, I doubt it. I’m going to party all night long and maybe well into tomorrow, too.
Emily! I considered for a moment making a joke about my strongly held belief in the existence of unicorns and dragons but thought better of it. I'll keep that quiet.
My guess is that you avoid the sorts of encounters you describe, as well as becoming one of those people you describe, by sticking to topics that bring you joy. The other day I wrote something about blogging porn and I had my first (and only) encounter with unkindness from a fellow blogger. A good lesson: don't write about things that make people anxious if you don't want to be made to feel that way yourself.
Literature lovers tend to be a mellow, courteous lot. Although I've become a bit of a compulsive over the blogging, I do so enjoy hearing what people have to say about books and life. (And I'm thrilled to have been given a little push in the direction of Don Q.) Best, BL
Well, you know, I've got a little dragon living in our garage, but he's an extremely private creature and gets embarrassed by the thought of my posting about him
Funny, interesting post! I've managed to stay away from all the crazy people out in the blogosphere -- at least I think I have :) I guess one never knows, really. But there are so many interesting-yet-normal bloggers out there that I just couldn't pull myself away. I'm a little overly obsessive about blogging, but so far at least, the pleasures outweigh the obsessiveness.
Oh, yes, Dorothy, the pleasures definitely outweigh the obsessiveness. My husband, who's VERY skeptical when it comes to blogging keeps asking me how I KNOW these people whose blogs I read are X, Y, or Z. I keep telling him I don't, but since most of them are book-lovers, which is something that's very hard to fake, I'm convinced everyone is everything else he/she claims to be. (Of course, Naivete is my middle name.)
I loved this post - the wordpress world was a sea of technogeeks when I looked into it for those first few weeks. I wouldn't have minded the unicorns so much! And then the pattern gradually becomes clearer. I'm terribly addicted to it now and can't wait to see what everyone else is doing on their blogs that day. And I feel like I know so many lovely people through it. The litbloggers, as bloglily says, are indeed a delightful crew (and I'm including you in this really Emily, because I know your heart is with the books).
Yes, just as in real life, I have, of course, gravitated towards the "bookish sort," who are definitely the most interesting bunch out there.
Every few months I quit blogging. At least I say I'm going to quit and usually end up blogging about my wanting to quit. I know I'm crazy and like reading other crazy people's blogs, I just feel like I spend too much time posting, that I don't write in my notebook anymore. I sometimes lose my way in my personal writing and blame it on "the blog."
Can't we all just blog along?
Actually, I've overcome my fear of Hobbit people bloggers and Unicorns. Its Uni-bombers that worry me. I've reopened my blog at dantesnotes.blogspot.com
And I love your piece on senior- year music. Dylan, Johnny Cash, and The Violent Femmes were such improvements over the days when we sent so see Rush and Foreignor together.
The more I look, the more it seems to me litbloggers are the only group of (apparently) sane, (indisputably) well-read, and (overly) courteous people in the whole wide web. Science blogs are swarming with trolls, technology bloggers cannot spel to wurds rite in a ro, personal journals freak me out. I am stuck with you guys.
Mandarine, I've discovered exactly the same thing. Thank God for the litbloggers (well, you and me, who don't classify ourselves as such).
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