Friday, August 08, 2008

Blogging Thoughts

I have been trying to think through my blogging plans for this year and since this is my spot for thinking things through, I decided to give it a try.

Daniel Siegel says in the book The Developing Mind that the left brain is responsible for making sense out of things — making experience flow as a sequential narrative. The right brain is sort of a treasure trove of all the experiences, context, background, emotions from which the left brain draws. He says that a split-brained patient asked to explain a picture using the left brain, for example a picture of a father and son playing baseball, will spin an elaborate tale but it won’t do justice to the picture. The left brain may ignore the obvious relationship between the father and son, for example, because the right brain is responsible for those context clues that are often difficult to put into words, but are obvious to most people.

This is interesting; for the purpose of this post I’m just focusing on how blogging or journalling SOMETIMES helps me process what’s simmering on the back burner, in what Siegel calls the right hemisphere of the brain. There are times when that part of my brain feels almost overloaded but I can’t actually get the thoughts out in a proper stream. I suppose some people draw pictures, at that point. This doesn’t seem to work for me, for two reasons. One is that I’m not that great at drawing. The other is that I think right-hemisphered people must be divided into two kinds — the concrete thinkers and the conceptual ones. I’m a conceptual one. My hemisphere is apparently full of ideas, emotions, half-thoughts that don’t easily translate into images. They ARE visual but in a way that’s difficult to describe or draw.

Hmm, I haven’t made much progress in my subject, which was blogging. I have four main blogs (and a couple of private ones). There is this one, for journalling and thinking things through; my main one, which seems to be mostly about general education and the humanities, nowadays; my homeschooling “planning notebook”, and my housekeeping one. I am one of those people who is constantly starting notebooks and losing them and trying to figure out how to categorize them. Blogging helps me keep my categories a bit more fixed and blogging also helps IMMENSELY with retrieval. No more searching through the house and hunting through various pages trying to find what I wrote down. I can go to my blog and type in a search term and usually find what I’ve been hunting for fairly quickly.

Still, there are difficult moments. One difficulty is that for a person with an active right hemisphere, it’s often difficult to figure out what topic goes in which category. Where does homeschooling planning end and homeschool journalling begin? How about the overlap between housekeeping and homeschooling? etc. So I tend to operate my categorizations by intuition. This post “feels” like it belongs on here.

Then there is the way that the forum shapes the message. It’s inevitable. AND vice versa. Several times, one of my blogs has taken a turn simply because of what kind of thing I was putting on there. This blog became a place to think through visual-spatial learning, for example. The material could easily have gone on my main blog, but I started it on here because I was thinking through some unschooling things and this place seemed the best one to put that kind of thing.

Recently I have been thinking about my blogs more as notebooks, or scrapbooks, or even books with topics. They might have some overlapping material, but that is just the nature of reality — there are no real compartments. That seems to give me more freedom NOT to get paralyzed in “What goes where?” There have been several times I’ve started thinking something through over here, for instance, and then found the thought carrying through to some other place. At any rate, I’m very happy in general about blogging because it has given me the first real, semi-organized, retrievable, nice-looking archive of records I’ve ever had.