Monday, December 11, 2006

Sleeping with Bread Monday: Clint Eastwood Style**

I've been thinking about blogging lately. What I like about it and what I don't like about it. (I know, I know, but yes, there are some things to not like about the blog'verse.)

So, today's Sleeping with Bread is the blogosphere version.

In the blogosphere, where do I find consolation?

Blogging has laid many wonderful gifts at my door. In my user profile I say that I read voraciously or not at all. I'm one of those readers who ignores the signs of smoke indicating the house is on fire when I'm lost in a good book. With two kids and a traveling husband, sometimes it has been easier to forgo reading altogether. Well, the kids are older, the husband is still traveling and I hear about so many good books that my fellow bloggers are reading that I began reading more often. Reading stirs my soul. I think more, I cry more, I laugh more, my heart bursts with joy more when I am reading. Thank you fellow bloggers for writing about what you are reading.

As I have said umpteen times before, I am an extravert. As I just said in the previous paragraph I have two kids and a traveling husband. Getting in time with others but also time with lots of others is a challenge. I have met so many people, six degrees style, that my thirst for new relationships is somewhat sated. All across the United States and Canada with a couple of Australians thrown in for good measure, there are people I look forward to "talking" to every day.

Finally, blogging exercises my brain. I write--not as well as I would like to--but I am writing. Coming from the "If you don't try, you can't fail" school of backwards perfectionism, this is saying something. NaBloPoMo in particular challenged me because in an effort to write about something other than what to write about for NaBloPoMo, I ventured out into some creative writing via the Word Beads and Sunday Scribblings memes. This produced beads of anxious sweat scribbling down my face, I can assure you. But guess what? I lived through it! Yippee!

In addition to the actual writing, my brain is stretched this way and that by the content of the blogs I read. Social justice posts, posts with views which differ from my own, lessons learned from Life's sometime's painful schooling all combine to make me pause and think. It is so easy staying at home and getting caught up in the ebb and flow of the stuff of everyday life to lose that wider perspective that blogging brings to me.

In the blogosphere, however, I do find desolation.

As with anything that draws your attention, blogging draws my attention away from other things. It is so easy to get lost in the monitor, navigating with my keyboard in a virtual world. Boundaries have never been my strength and I blog when I want to not just when there is space in my day. Always on the lookout for an excuse to not do some housework is one thing, putting your child off for another hour because I'm glued to the computer is another.

Blogging draws me in because of the personal stories I read every day. Some are funny; some are sad; some are mirrors of my own life. But, being such a people person, I miss knowing some of my favorite bloggers in real life. I want to see Sophie's face when she talks about grieving the loss of her father at 9 years old. I want to meet Em's children Georgia, Alexander and Juliet and Bub and Pie and Aliki's creative son Liam and daughter Tessa. I want to bring dinner over to Veronica Mitchell and take home some laundry to do for her. I want to sit over coffee with Darlene and have her tell me, in person, the story of her life and go for a walk with V-Grrrl in her quaint Belgian town. (This list is not exclusive. Just pretend it is the Academy Awards and the music began playing before I could say thank you to all the people who helped me win the award!) I love the back and forth exchange that comes in a "real" conversation. Many of my best thoughts weren't formulated until I was responding on the fly to a statement or question by someone right in front of me. I need some real time connection. I just do. (This may be heightened by feeling a little more isolated than usual. My "in person" friends network is a little off kilter and I'm struggling somewhat with my sleep apnea.)

Finally, I get anxious when I read some of the more outspoken blogs out there. I hate conflict and sometimes when I read the more vitriolic rants against Life (usually a spouse), the Universe (idiot neighbor, doctor, fill in the blank), and Everything (politicians, the Church, etc.) I get uncomfortable. I've been thinking about what exactly bothers me when I read this stuff. I'm getting to an understanding but not quite there yet. And all rants are not equal. I know when I read a particularly nasty spouse rant, for example, it is hard to sit with my own desire to "fix" things. I'm in a weird spot politically living in a netherworld of not-conservative and not-liberal. Sometimes it is as simple as hateful is just not comfortable.

All in all, blogging brings me more joy than distress but it feels good today to talk about The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.** Thanks for listening.


blackdaisies said...

oh mary-lue, you have articulated so well what i often think about the whole blogging experience ... the good, the bad and the ugly (i read a very different topic post today on the good, the bad and the ugly ~ its also such a small world)

i too would love to sit and have coffee with you and hear your stories and thoughts so similar sometimes to mine :)

bubandpie said...

Living within driving distance of Toronto, I've been able to meet so many bloggers - and perhaps that makes it all the more difficult when other bloggers are so far away. Especially when people are going through a hard time - I want to be able to just pick up the phone and say "let's go for coffee."

atypical said...

Twins, I tell you (after all, one twin is often introverted while the other is extraverted, right?)!

I wish I had access to the more verbal part of my brain to express myself better right now, but you captured a bit of it.



Sophie said...

I know that you mean about blogging, good and bad. I, for one, have sworn off all blogs that rant and have a mean slant. I don't have the time or energy for that. If it is my blog-o-world, I can decide who is in it, right?

Re: blogging as a time eater and distraction - I have been mulling this very thing over myself. Do I really have time for blogging?

Lastly, I'm glad that you were touched by my post (it was supposed to be uplifting), but I am waaaaaaaay too shy to talk about that stuff in person. I would probably have to know ya for 5 or so years! So, maybe that is a good thing about blogging; we feel more safe to share more of our stories!

So, where do you live in CA? My brother lives in San Diego and has a house in Big Bear. If we ever make it out for a trip, we'll have coffee!

Mary-LUE said...


Your post was uplifting (along with the ache and vulnerability you shared.) I live in North Orange County so I'm kind of in between and West a bit of Big Bear and San Diego. We could make something work, I am sure!

MarillaAnne said...

Ohh well said!

as to the aggravation part ... i have come to be basically appalled at how low our verbal communication skills have dropped as a nation (and probably as a world). Instead of simply stating "I believe" or "I have seen" or "I have experienced" or you know ... whatever intelligent beginning words there could possibly be ... instead of saying something intelligent in response to someone aggravating there seems to be a massive movement underway to just break-down into a huge yelling match of profanity and personal slurs.

I don't have time and energy for it and I'm more quickly turning away ... but ... I feel even more determined that we who can still speak in intelligent ways, need to do so more often, in short blurbs, everywhere.

I have no idea how to start that movement ... except to blog. And maybe it's kind of what I hope for my alliances.

the last week has been full of small frustrations that has kept me from getting to read as much as i wanted. So I knew I could start with you and the rest of my gang and count on some intelligent discussions. LOL you have not disappointed. And obviously I need to get over to Sophie's to catch up too.

Oh and look for an answer this afternoon in my blog re


sunshine Scribe said...

Such a reflective and well written post. I relate to it so well. This blogosphere it is full of the good, bad and ugly .. but it is a pretty amazing place that I am glad to have found.

V-Grrrl said...

I have fantasies about doing a blogger world tour--visiting people I've "met" online.

Like you, I don't like to read blogs that thrive on vitrolic rants and conflicts. People use the anonymity of the Web to say all sorts of things that just shouldn't be spoken or should be tempered first.

I like blogging to connect me to interesting people and like-minded souls, not mean-spirited, narrow-minded, hate-spewing crabs!