Wednesday 24 June 2009

Had an interesting conversation with two friends the other night, both whom I have invited to read my blog in the past and neither who do, from what I can see. I asked them about it, about why they don't read my blog. Both of them basically said that in one way it feels strange to them to read something I have written on my blog if I haven't been speaking to them about it personally. Sort of like it feels like they are invading my privacy, in some way.

I do understand what they mean. It kinda makes sense to me. Especially because I am so personal on here. It is just my style; I cannot seem to change it (although I have been considering going out and actually finding some things to write about that aren't about me. Just for something different and rather more interesting :) I think of Helen Garner's finely wrought observations on morgues and such places. She's a bit of a hero of mine. I do wish to turn my gaze outward and get out there, rather than just blubbing about my inner landscape, as patently fascinating to me as it is, heh :)

But for someone who considers herself a writer, who still harbours a desire to write for publication in some way, shape or form, I'm interested too in the perception differences between a blog and, say, if I had an article published in The Age. I would imagine both of those people would most likely go out and buy a copy of the newspaper if I had an opinion piece published in it (I hope so, anyway :) And from a writer's point of view I guess I kind of don't understand the discrepancy, in a way. It's like one form is socially sanctioned, and blogging is seen very differently. I totally understand where my friends are coming from when they say what they say. And yet, for me, the position I come from is totally different once again. I guess for me, blogging and writing in other formats are much more closely linked. I guess I sort of presumed that everyone else thought the same way, too.

(Unless of course I am going on assumptions that aren't there and neither of those friends would bother buying the newspaper to read my article in it. Hopefully one day I shall get to see whether that is the reality :)

It's funny when it comes to blogging. Even though I do love the community aspect - I love the conversation that sparks up sometimes cross-blog, with different people talking about the same things. I love the whole comments aspect of blogging too. And yet for all of that, the basic urge to write and express myself is what sends me back for another post.

Having said that, I am struggling to find inspiration to write the last week or so. It's not a particularly common thing with me; I do not like it when it happens. I have three half written poems; they sit there waiting. Which is okay. I'm more confident in the process these days - it is tidal and sometimes percolative and slow-burning. Anyway, I talk far too much as it is. Good to put a sock in it every now and then :)

I have such a love-hate relationship with the internet sometimes. It feels like it gives on one hand and takes away on the other. Depending on the particular situation, sometimes it can make for outright paranoia if you take it too seriously. What does that person mean by that statement, etc. Why did they say that particular thing? What were they talking about? How can you tell, just from flat words on screens what people are really thinking or saying, in the end? So many avatars, smoke and mirrors if you take it anything but lightly.

Conversely, the opportunity for good conversation is there too and I have made a lot of good blog friends. But honestly, sometimes it just creeps me out so much I feel almost revolted by it.


Okay. Let's take 2 in going to sleep. I am exhausted with my standard winterly circadian discombobulations. Most people sleep more in Winter - I sleep less. I'm cactus. Plus, my cousin died yesterday. She was only 49 years old. We weren't really ultra close so in all honesty I'm not grieving horribly in a personal sense. But even though we weren't close, it is always a shock to lose someone you have known all your life. And I grieve for her husband, for her two sons. She was a lovely lady and they were a lovely family. They must be reeling right about now. If you are of the praying persuasion, then please feel free to go right ahead for them.


  1. Conversely, I often feel a little bit strange when people I actually know read my blog, although I welcome it. There's a distance in online relationships which can provide a bit of a safety valve. And it makes me feel a bit pressured. A couple of months back, a friend said to a new acquaintance of ours "Oh you must read Tess's blog, it's great!" and I remember thinking "Oh shit". I was thinking what if, when this person reads it, I've just written some God-awful crap and she hates it!

    But then it's nice, too, and I would certainly find it odd if friends who know I blog never read it, even if I don't expect them to hang slavishly on my every word!

    I'm sorry to hear about your cousin and her family. It's always shocking to lose someone you know, especially so young.

  2. Tess, you made me laugh. For the first couple of years I blogged anonymously, but as people I knew discovered it, the dynamics changed a bit. So I can relate :)

    Sue, you are a writer, even without having an opinion piece published in The Age! You write, therefore you are :)

    Even though you were not close to your cousin, there is as you say, always a grieving of sorts. Perhaps you could write some memories of childhood times with her? Her family might appreciate something like that.

  3. I blogged under a pseudonym for a year, before I used my real name. It really freaked me out when somebody at work mentioned that they had read my blog. I don't quite understand why I am so much more open in the blogosphere. It's not that I won't share the same things with people in f2f relationships. It's just that those relationships have to have progressed to a certain level of mutual trust.

    I love/hate being honest on my blog. It's a great release, and a great way to explore my feelings as I put them down in pixels. Usually I'm ok with the mild feeling of vulnerability because it seems like only about seven people (all online friends) ever read my blog.

    I tend to get very snarky when people make condescending or even blatantly critical comments on my blog. Often what I've done in the past is write a scathing reply, post it, then delete it 5 minutes later. Then in the next reply, I work at being generous, conciliatory; one could almost say that I attempt to be loving. Sometimes. Other times I just leave mild, snide comments that I secretly (though obviously to all but me) believe will push that person's buttons.

    Sorry to hear about your cousin. Tough for her family.

  4. Now you've got me thinking. I need to go do a post on my own blog rather than take up any more column inches here.

  5. Who's this Gary Means dude that commented above me? Can I just ditto him???

    Actually I kind of feel like Tess does about blogging - I am GLAD my "IRL" friends don't read because I would subconciously edit my thougths. But, as you know, my personal blog is invite only. I hated doing that but if felt necessary if I wanted to spit it all out. ANYONE can have an invite, just email me.

    Anyhow....You are an excellent writer and I enjoy your introspective thoughts! I would much rather read about you and your thoughts about you than read your thoughts about stuff OUT THERE because I can always find plenty of blogs about stuff out there, but as far as I know...this is the only blog on the entire WWW that is about YOU! And I like it that way.

    Sorry about your cousin, it must be horrible for her husband and sons :(

  6. Hmm too many people have already said what I'm going to say, so at the risk of being redundant...

    I wrote under a pseudnym for 18 months. If you go back in my archives you can see what it is...because they are still there.

    There was some inherent worry that someone in my real life would read it and hate me for it and it would destroy a relationship...but then I realized that if that is the case, and if everything I've written on my blog is honest (and it has been in the moment, reserving the right to change my mind at any time), well, then I guess the relationship isn't a good match.

    But because of my honesty on my blog I have met like-minded people right here in my local area. And I wouldn't change that for anything.

    Then again, I don't blog to have people in my real life read it, I blog to hear myself talk, and as egocentric as that might seem, I have learned who I am more than ever before, and that is the priceless piece.

    But you are a wonderful author with or without an article in The Age. But I understand the desire.

  7. The blog is a good place to explore ideas, I find. I am relieved, really, that few people I know read my blog. It gives me a measure of freedom and I appreciate the feedback from those who do visit. I think if I got more revelatory in my blog, I would freak out and shut it down.

  8. Tess - it's a strange dynamic, isn't it, that one. The dynamic that there is a safety valve in the online relationship distance. It has me wondering about the differences between online and offline and whether its possible in some ideal world to inject greater safety into our face to face relationships with each other, and what that would mean? But yeah, it's weird that feeling you get, the gut drop, when you think of someone reading your blog. I feel more inhibited on here now, I must say, now I know that some family members could potentially read here, for example. I struggle with speaking my truth anyway - like all families, there are secrets here and mine are rather the doozie type. It's frustrating. I'm tempted sometimes to start again, start an anonymous blog.

    Kel - I don't have enough childhood memories really to cobble anything together. Feeling too anxious this week to cobble much of anything together! It's funny isnt it how the dynamics change from anonymous blog to known blog. Sometimes I think that in some future time (I'm being very idealistic this morning) there will be some way for people to be together without shame. I thnk of God covering us all like silk, so that we may be naked and not ashamed. Nice thoughts :)

    Gary - yes, I wonder about why it is so much easier to be so open here. I mean, obviously other people are more manageable. You can close a page or an email and that's them taken care of, instead of the wily beasties that live out in the real world. LOL I would love to say that I don't understand at all what you are talking about with snide comments that only someone else will understand. I have done that on occasions :) It's sad how self-rpotective we have to be, isn't it :(

    PS: Take up as many column inches as you like. There is no comment too lengthy here. And anyway, the columns go on forever in the blogosphere :)

    Barbara - thank you for that. But still, I think about how even when you are writing about things "out there" you still are writing it from "in here". Like when I read Helen Garner's stuff, she can be talking about things that are not really her but you get all of her in the telling. I'm just sick of rabbitting on about my own stuff all the time, you know? I do hope you are in Racine right now :)

    Erin - I am SO excited to hear, Lily, that you have met someone like-minded locally :) Awesome! I agree that blogging is first and foremost to hear yourself talk. But boy, it feels so vulnerable. It never ceases to amaze me how vulnerable it feels. And perhaps it is this too that makes my friends feel like they're invading my privacy. But yet, I speak out in the real world pretty much the same as I speak here ... well, sort of ... almost. You can go deeper here, explore vaster territory, connect with people's minds better often than out in the real world. Gotta love that.

    Barbara - yes, I understand you feeling like that. I feel really freaked out a lot of the time on here, so exposed, you know? But then, that sort of area is a work in process with me so I need to just sit with that feeling and watch and see what God does. Blogs are such a great place to explore ideas. I really do enjoy reading all of yours. It just also frustrates me too but I wouldn't give it up for anything!


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