Sunday, February 26, 2012

On the Practice of Blogging, Post #1738

Certain interactions of late have caused me to ponder just what it is I'm doing here, and why I do it. On a purely practical sense, I see this almost-daily activity as exercise to hone the muscles of my more serious craft, that of poetry. All my published work is poetry, and many a poem began as a thread of a blog post.

(And before continuing, I want to state just how much I abhor the word "blogging." It is a word much more suited to describe what one does on one's knees before a toilet after over-indulgence.)

My five-year blogiversary is quickly approaching. In May 2007, I posted my first entry, newly engaged with a diamond. My oldest son was in cooking school and my kitchen, for a few weeks at least, was alight with his newly-learned flambe skills. A close friend had just died. My circle of friends, on a global scale, was considerably smaller than it is today. I had no theme in mind except to not be predictable. Confessional to a point -- omission is as telling as inclusion. It was a little like setting off on a long train ride to an unknown destination, wearing a blindfold.

In the ensuing years, I got married, got divorced. One son graduated from college, another son went to college, dropped out, went back. I moved. I traveled to Hawaii, the Caribbean, Mexico, Texas, Los Angeles, Boston, Maine, Wyoming, Manhattan, and left a considerable portion of my heart in the West of Ireland. My oldest son was bound & gagged in a home-invasion robbery, a gun held to his head. He suffered a heart attack. There were breakdowns, tragic family secrets unveiled, near-suicides. There were deaths of people in my inner circle, and more deaths on top of those. Two cats were buried in the yard. I moved again, went to war with the banking industry. Adopted a kitten.

And through it all, my attempt at unpredictability grew increasingly difficult. As an audience developed, so did my blog persona. It's inevitable, I think. When we present our selves in this venue -- all we have is words (and photos), and our words become the persona. Is it the total of who I am? I certainly hope not. The inner sanctum is a closely guarded place, my own private tabernacle, as it were. Hands off!

But that's what blogging allows us -- complete freedom to create whatever it is we want on the screen. In my own blog-hopping through the universe, I am most inspired by blogs that allow us to peek into a window of another life. While confessional blogging is exhibitionist, reading confessional blogs is a form of acceptable voyeurism. You post, I read. Or, I post, you read. And every time I hit "publish", I ask myself if I'm willing to stand behind what it is I'm going public with -- yes, all 1,738 times.

It can get a bit heady. (Or one can get a "big heady", which is what I typed first and then corrected. Oops!) There's the frisson which happens often when reading comments, and I admit a certain addiction in relying on comments for ego nudges. But in a larger sense, this activity builds community. The edges of my ever-widening circle have stretched across the planet. During the fraught days of last spring, there was a posse of blogging friends who helped keep my head above the rapidly-rising waves of despair -- I'll be forever grateful to them.

And then there are stunning synchronicities that occur -- last Saturday I posted a short video of solar flares, and my friend Claire in New Zealand commented that she'd just been watching the same video. This morning I visited Scott at
The Dishwashers Tears, to see he'd posted this marvelous short film , which I'd just yesterday watched. There almost seems to be a magic afoot, or shared consciousness, created solely by this electronic presence. I am in awe of it all.

Predictable? Probably. When you get right down to it, a pattern of unpredictability is in itself predictable. And after five years, I guess it doesn't matter so much. I know that I can get up every morning and stop in for a quick visit with Cro in France, Tara in Sacramento, Polly in Albuquerque, Susan in Maine, Elizabeth in Los Angeles, John in Portland, Marguerite in Louisiana, Jacqueline in Canada, Mary in Eastbourne, C. in Manhattan.

I guess, in the end, I do this for the community I now share with the larger world - - with all of you out there -- even those who read and never comment. (And remember, not everything you read is true....)

Happy Sunday!


  1. Big smiles here -- and happy blogaversary and I completely and utterly agree and wince and the word "blogging." The community thing is astounding -- or greater than astounding. I love coming here, over and over, and am grateful for your corner and hope that you continue to carve it out with so much room for us to sit.

  2. Thanks Elizabeth -- it's comments like yours that make it all worth it.

  3. Para 4 made me wince a bit. You don't do things by half do you!

    When we sit back and think about what we do, the main question should be 'Is my life better for what I'm doing?'. In my own case the answer is definitely 'Yes'. I've met some really lovely people; and hope to meet more. Bisou, Cro.

  4. T. I am definitely with you on the B word...can't even bring myself to say it most of the time...we need something more elegant to describe this activity.

    I find the sharing most comforting; the practice of putting thoughts and ideas into precise language the most challenging; and the visuals the most satisfying.

    I am so happy to have met you.

  5. I have always felt that your blog is a classic--a great mixture of short, artistic posts with longer, reflective posts, a mixture of the creative--poetry, photos etc., with the discursive. 5 years is a long time to do this--RFBanjo is well into its 4th year, & sometimes that seems very long! & of course what you say about the creation of a persona is so very true. & that shifts over time as well.

    & thanks for the kind mention!

  6. I LOVE (luff, luv, loove) visiting your blog and seeing what you are up to. I love that some days I get poems, some days beautiful photography, some days the uber mundane. Some days some pretty strange stories are being worked out....

    What a 5 years you have had! Thank you for the mention. I share your sense of blogging and the added dimension it has brought to your life.

    I have a friend you has just started a blog -- and has asked for my advice. I'll send him over here to get a clue, because so far, his writing is bloody awful!!!

  7. What you said is what I often feel about blogging as well. And the best part, aside from the ability to write what I think and feel, is the community that bloggers have. I suppose it is not so different from pen pals of olden days.

  8. Hi T - I was just going through your posts, and I found this one. I often think about the business of writing a blog - and reading this post has made me think some more - it's that thing about how writing complete sentences helps the incomplete life feel complete, somehow. Perhaps we're willing that as we write. All I know is that writing a blog has given me friends like you - people I like to spend time with on an almost daily basis - and whose writing about life helps me with reflections on my own. Long may we slog at our blogs. Happy 5th birthday to you dear friend.