November 13, 2006

In which I write alot about not having much to say

The wind has died in my blogging sails. I’m becalmed for many reasons:

1. One by one the friends I’ve met in the blogosphere are walking away from their blogs. All for valid reasons, but without a quick stroll through their lives, I’m uninspired to make much of my own.

2. I’m no longer in a job I want to escape. If I’d merely sat at my desk all last year I would have lost my mind. So I read about other people’s lives and escaped my own. At a time when I had few creative outlets, low-grade creativity kept me sane.

3. I’ve been reading Anne Lamott and Annie Dillard. Writing anything after delving into their worlds feels a bit like trying to compose a silly song after gloaming through some Shakespeare. (And, yes, K, I did just use a noun as a verb—K works as an editor for a dictionary.)

4. It’s too seductive to sit and read other blogs all day and pretend I’ve done something useful with my free time, so to combat that, I’ve been avoiding the computer.

5. I have a fear of becoming the lonely old woman in the dog park who goes on and on and you have to listen to her because you feel how lonely she is but you’re drowning in the vapid torrent of blah blah blah. I’ve mentioned this before, but I have a deep fear of being some narcissistic bore: the one you hope doesn’t corner you at the party. In order to feel safe talking, I wait for someone who asks me thought-provoking questions, leaves room for my answers, and then asks still more questions. If they look away while I’m answering, or give any indication of impatience or boredom, I shut down and start asking them questions. Thus far it’s proven true that most people would rather be listened to than listen. Sure, being the listener lets me control my fear, but at a cost. The problem with a blog is that I can’t tell when people are bored. The whole comments thing feeds the obsession: lots of comments—‘you like me, you really like me!’; few comments—‘see, I knew I was boring them!’

6. In a compromise between my comfort with public disclosure and my husband’s need for privacy, I choose not to write much about him/us. However, until I get a job and a network here, he’s all I’ve got except the dog and I KNOW too many dog stories would glaze your eyes and make you peek at your watch.

15 comments:

k. said...

First, you can use "gloam" as a verb all you want. That sort of creative use keeps me in a paycheck, baby.

Second, I totally understand what you mean when you wonder if you are boring people. I'm keenly aware of my tendency to go on and on and on and on, and the Internet doesn't allow for those subtle social cues.

That said, I'm such a bad correspondent that I greedily read all your posts, even the ones about nothing. It gives me just a little bit of info about how you are doing, makes me feel like I am still connecting with you (even if I'm lurking), and gives me an opportunity to leave long-winded comments.

Keep it up! Four out of five Anne Lamotts agree.

weigook saram said...

I've enjoyed reading about your big road trip and transition to a new life on the West Coast. I know what you mean about comments. But the best posts don't always get the most comments. I've noticed posts about problems always inspire people to comment, whereas a post that's just entertaining and fun to read might not get as many, even though people enjoy reading it.

BTW, I'm not really quitting. Just taking a little break. I'm a blogoholic.

Maybe you should tell some stories about your past. I find the little tidbits about your childhood fascinating.

Beloved said...

I love Anne Lamott. Thanks for the link; I just read her "Let's Have a Revolution" and loved it. How does she write like that? It's so intimidating. :o)

OTR sis said...

Don't stop! Some of us just aren't as good at the probing questions as you are but that doesn't mean we don't like to hear you talk (or write!)

Annie rocks.

Inkling said...

I'm sitting here looking across at the Anne and Annie who reside on my shelf, wishing that they had been my composition teachers years ago. I hear you.

As for the comments....here's what I think.....

People love reading what we write, but they don't always know what to say. Or maybe they don't want to admit in public that they are that involved/addicted to reading our blogs. They want to appear cool and somewhat aloof. At least, that's my opinion.

I too, had wondered if I wasn't boring people, especially with my tendency to be long-winded. But my brother last night said something that made my day and made me decide to keep on being myself on my blog. He said, "I love reading your blog, especially the everyday stuff like what you made for dinner and the things you do. It makes me feel like we aren't so far apart, and like I really know what's going on in my sister's life. Don't stop writing like that." When he said that, I actually started crying. The human connection after all isn't about being brilliant and philosophical all the time; it's about being real, being approachable, and just plain being willing to share one's life.

Keep on writing.....even if you think it would make the Anne's yawn. Somehow, I doubt it would.

Mama Nabi said...

I agree with previous commenters that the most enjoyable posts don't always get a lot of comments. I use mine as an outlet for much narcissistic ranting and whining - and am pretty sure I bore the heck out of most of my readers, but I started my blog for that specific reason (NOT to bore readers but to have an outlet) and I fully abuse it. Of course, it's easier to write a blog when the real-life characters do not know about it...
That said, I'd miss stories about Jrex but I'd still gobble up stories about the dog... even the poop stories. (Hey, mommy bloggers do it all the time!) :-D

scarp said...

Interestingly, the thing that made me stop and think the most was....do I listen enough and give the right cues to show I am interested?? Because I very much am! But you are also very good at asking me questions and listening to me, at which point I sometimes have to make the conscious effort to turn the tide of conversation away from me - not so much because I love to talk about myself, but because it feels like going against the flow when the other party is as good as you at asking and listening. Plus, I feel bad about abruptly ending the conversation the other day on the phone, especially since right before that I interupted you to vent my frustration with the can-opener!

Anyways, like k., I too greedily read your posts, feeling like we're staying in touch despite the distance. And as was said by a few in different ways, a lack of comments really doesn't mean a lack of interest. For me, it simply means a lack of inspired response. But I can't think of a post I didn't read with interest and appreciation.

Anonymous said...

I love all the posts, even if I don't comment on all of them. As scarp said, my lack of a comment is usually indicative of a lack of anything inspired to say. Sometimes the most thought-provoking posts are ones on which I don't comment because they give me so much to think about that I can't pull my thoughts together to leave an organized comment.

Whatever's on your mind, I like to read it.

bg's Little Sis said...

Ditto.

They've all said it, I'll read about you walking the dog your take on the scenery and how you and Jrex and dog all fit into it are great.

Deirdre said...

Please don't walk away.

For my part, I rarely leave comments because my hands are usually full while I'm perusing blogs.

Anonymous said...

Do you want to stop blogging?

Feel free.

While I would greatly miss Sojournering,
there is a time to liberate yourself from duty.

We have a mutual friend who said of
Christmas preparations, "Unless they give
me joy, I don't do them."

Same way with blogging -- and many other
responsibilities that life imposes on us.

Yesterday, inward/outward had a great quote
about choosing what you want in life:

It costs so much to be a full human being that there are very few who have the enlightenment or the courage to pay the price . . . One has to abandon altogether the search for security, and reach
out to the risk of living with both arms. One has to embrace the world like a lover. One has to accept pain as a condition of existence. One has to court doubt and darkness as the cost of knowing. One needs a will stubborn in conflict, but apt always
to total acceptance of every consequence of
living and dying.

Morris West
The Shoes of the Fisherman

otr mama said...

Oh...I would miss your blog too. I try NOT to comment because I'm afraid I might talk too much. Anyway I just want to bask in yo' presence & soak up your thoughts! It's my way of feeling like we're staying in touch. I do agree with anonymous, also, and I, myself, tried to start a blog, but cdn't stand the sight of my own voice. It was sadly weird.

zelda1 said...

Actually, I think gloaming would be a gerund and as a gerund it functions as a verb noun. I think. Hey, what about writing some things from your childhood?

Anonymous said...

A quote from Ring Lardner, Jr:

"Life is 8 to 5 against."

Good reality check.

Lori said...

I almost never comment, but I do read! The commenting thing is mostly the result of my head barely being screwed on properly. But I've been loving reading about your adventure to parts West and especially your more 'philosophical' posts - keep 'em coming! :)