Reasons for my Statcounter Anxiety:
Firstly, people probably don't even really read blogs during Christmas season, except maybe to glance at other peoples' pretty holiday pictures and maybe get a sense of what others are resolving for 2009.
Secondly, even if they are reading during Christmas, the Catholic homeschool audience I imagine I get mostly probably aren't dying to find out more about Kant and Peirce and Descartes (or one person's perspective on them) when they are focused on trying to clean up their houses and recover from all the visitors and viruses and sugar.
Thirdly, my recent blogging volume has been at a steep clip, about 2 long posts a day on average, as I try to process mentally, which makes things even more off-putting.
A summary of my recent blogging history would go something like this (sung to the tune of "On the First Day of Christmas")
Five Newman Quotes!
Four posts on Kant,
Two posts on fitness,
And the Dickens DVDs!
Four posts on Kant,
Two posts on fitness,
And the Dickens DVDs!
Yawn.... sorry folks. I can hardly think of another person in the universe who would have any interest in all this. Except for Dickens and retrospectives, none of it is terribly inherent to the Christmas season. A lot of it is rambly and a real drain on the busy person's attention span.
I have been trying to integrate my blogging and confine it mostly to this one place instead of scattering it over four or five blogs like I used to; the down side is that focus suffers as a result. You get a smorgasboard. Trivia about my fitness goals mingled with notes on family life and endlessly long quotes on how intellect and religion fit together.
On the "up side", though, is that I have been enjoying reading and rereading my blog. Seriously. It is just SO suited to ME right now : ). It is real. I actually did think things through while writing that I probably couldn't have thought out any other way. Blogging in its potential for an audience -- even if the potential is un-actuated -- challenges me to think things out in a way I wouldn't do otherwise. I have had more time to think -- our family tries to protect our holidays so besides some clan celebrating, we didn't have that many places to go -- and the transition to the new year has made me feel like reflecting and sorting through. Looking back at the last 1000 plus posts, I realize I have something like a scrapbook here, something like a journal, something like a commonplace or "copy book" but more of a treasure to me than any of these would be in itself.
I guess this post is becoming a way of thinking through why I blog, though I meant it to be short (all my recent posts have fallen into precisely that pattern).
Here are the two primary reasons I blog --
(1) to think things out and record life so I can go back and look at it later
(2) to communicate or network with others.
Both motivations are equally strong. Sometimes they work together in perfect harmony but more often they seem to tug at each other. Perhaps it's time just to figure out how to be comfortable with that recurrent tension. Perhaps it's healthy, like the seeming tug between the active and contemplative aspects of life.
I have been fortunate to have a few really thoughtful and consistent readers who comment occasionally and others who don't comment much or at all but have mentioned they follow my blog. I am very grateful for this, especially during the times when I feel I'm stretching the limits of their patience. Honestly I do very much value the occasional feedback and the sense of people listening and caring. That was one of the big things I have been pondering during this holiday season -- friendship and the ways it can come about that are different from traditional ways, but creative and real.
When I first started this blog, almost four years ago, I intentionally kept it very private because I was afraid I would hesitate to say things honestly if I knew anyone was listening. It was several months before I got my first comment. That was very rewarding -- to know someone was listening and responding. So then I actually mentioned my blog to people who already knew me online, and over time I got other readers from other venues as well. I found that some sort of readership did change my focus a bit, but it was very well worth it. Following the blogs of those who comment here has made me feel more part of a network than I would otherwise. I feel I have made some friends.
Long before I started blogging, I was a regular contributor to several email groups and loved the interaction of a written conversation. It gave this introvert, living in a rural community, a way to connect with people without going to great lengths to drive all over the face of California. When Aidan was born sick, this virtual community became a Real Life community as many people prayed Aidan through crisis after crisis. It became a paradigm for the Body of Christ.
Blogging seems more distant to me in some ways. You don't usually get the dialogues so much, though some of the people who read my blog do admirably in compensating for that. This is something very valuable to me. ... the interaction and feedback. I get less of it by blogging than I do by participating on boards and in virtual groups. And there is always the possibility of someone reading hostilely or coming here just to spam. So in that way sometimes I feel blogging is both less private and less instantly rewarding than group discussion.
On the other hand, blogging can reach a different type of person. For instance, I'm on a classical egroup and an unschooling egroup. Sometimes the conversations overlap but usually, they run on different tracks, and the focus is on the conversation, not on journalling moments of my life and thought. Blogging is a wider thing that way -- it can cover a wider part of one's life, and speak to people who wouldn't necessarily join either a classical or an unschooling group. The possibility of people reading who come from a very different background and worldview gives me reason to think things through in a different way than I would in a focused group where I am singing to the choir, as they say. And like I said, my commenters usually bring a lot to the combox -- they further my thinking, affirm my hope that I am not the only person in the world who thinks or feels or experiences whatever I have been blogging about. And they have widened my range of internet kindred spirits.
Just sort of thinking aloud, I guess; I can't think of a way to tie this up but there is a sort of theme running through it like a river : ).
That reminds me, and you'll see why it reminded me -- Lissla's post on Prequels No One Wants to See totally made me laugh out loud, especially.
I'll leave it there! If you are still reading and want to leave a comment, whether regular lurker or regular commenter, I'm welcoming you to take an opportunity to just say HI or Happy New Year or I'm Bored with Kant and Descartes, or whatever. If you want a topic, you could tell me why YOU blog if you do, or why you don't if you don't. If no one takes the opportunity, I'll try again some other time at the FRONT of a post instead of as an afterthought at the end of a longggg ramble.The Ugly Kid with the Mask Who Likes OperaA Stream Gradually Erodes It