Friday, February 25, 2011

blog thoughts

You may have noticed that I haven't been posting regularly lately.  I think I finally figured it out tonight.  I have certain blogs of friends (many of whom I've never met) that I read regularly, and those blogs have enriched my life immeasurably.  But after I joined twitter a few months ago, I started reading the blogs of many writers and agents and editors.  They're thought-provoking, and I learned plenty.  But they are full of advice about what your blog "should" be like--have a regular posting schedule, keep your paragraphs short, etc. And they are aimed at people who are trying to market themselves and their work.

Which is not what this blog is about.  This blog is about me needing to type things out so that I can figure them out.  It's how I deal with things.  I put it out here in the hopes that someone else will want to read it (and I am eternally grateful to those of you that do), but even if no one reads it, it is still worth doing for me.  For the three of you who have been here since the start way back when, you know I've been intermittently ambivalent about having a blog from the getgo, but this most recent bout of not posting was different-- it was more about feeling anxious that my blog didn't match up to some other arbitrary set of expectations of what a blog "should" be.

So... all that to say, I think I will stop reading the blog advice blogs and go back to just doing my own thing.  Which means, for one thing, I have long paragraphs that are hard to read on a computer monitor, and for that I apologize, but it just seems to be the way things come out of my brain.  I will try to remember to break them up a little.  (This one is short, yes?)  And I am going to stop looking at the stats page, which has occasionally caused me heartburn trying to figure out what people want.  (OK, paragraph not so short anymore.)

And since I'm sitting here meandering anyway, I will tell you about Sense and Sensibility, which is the novel we just finished in my Austen seminar.  Tony Tanner, who is one of my favorite critics-- I used his stuff in my Shakespeare class last semester, too-- wrote a really terrific introduction to an earlier edition of S&S that is re-printed in the back of the current Penguin edition.  He talks about how S&S, like all Austen's novels, is about how the individual rubs up against society's expectations.  Unlike some of the more idealistic criticism written about Austen, he is a realist, or maybe it's pragmatism.  Rather than lambasting society of the time for its stifling pressures, he recognizes that functional adulthood requires being able to meet your own needs while you navigate what society expects of you.  You can't just do whatever you want to do all the time.  It would lead to anarchy, chaos.  You have to find the balance point between what you want to do and what is socially acceptable, and that is-- for Austen and maybe for all of us--what it means to grow up.  (is this sounding familiar?  I guess I've been thinking about this for several weeks without realizing it.)

Depending on your personality, that balance point can be all over the place, but it's there somewhere. So of course I've been thinking about the way this works for me, too.  I don't have a very socially acceptable personality if I just act on impulse.  In Meyers-Briggs terms, I'm an INTP, and that "T" means that I tend to act from thinking rather than from feeling.  I can be quite mean or heartless or dismissive without even realizing that I'm doing it-- I say something that makes logical sense, or is "true," and then don't understand why other people are put off by it.  So when someone tells me to just be myself, it's advice I  take with a grain of salt.  It requires "constant vigilance" on my part to not be someone who is just unlikable.  Because if I wait a minute, even just a split second, and let the first impulse pass, I can react out of compassion and kindness, rather than that hard-edged intellect.  But then sometimes I need that first impulse, because it's my snarky self, my skeptic self.  Balance.  It always seems to come back to balance.

wow, this has really been all over the place.  I wonder if it makes a lick of sense.  I think I will wait to publish it until tomorrow morning so I can read it again.  I was going to talk about my theory about why Tony Tanner has been relegated to the back of the book, but I think I will hold off on that till another time since it would be yet another entirely different direction, and we've already covered plenty of ground here.

in other news:  I'm putting the posts from Introverts Week back up-- those were some of the ones that got axed from too much time spent looking at the stats page.


  1. This topic of what blogs are "supposed" to be just came up recently (at Becky's place) and I've read a few articles on it too. We both came to the same conclusion you just did. None of us is trying to market any damn thing. We write ours because we'd explode if we didn't. Having gracious readers is simply the frosting on our cake of public journaling.
    Oh hey, very cool points made about public expectations too. Well done!
    You know I am always a fan of putting posts back as opposed to pulling them down, so ... more cheers from me to you.
    p.s. I love to read your observations, they always make sense to me!

  2. "It's all about me" Becky? I just went and looked and couldn't find it. but I only read through her last four posts, maybe I didn't go back far enough. I would love to read that post. If you don't check back here I will e-mail you. Looking that up made me realize I don't have her on my blogroll, I had to go to yours to find the link. I'll have to ask her that, too.

  3. Blogging is a crazy business. I can only speak for myself and why I blog. I started because HHBL and Cartoon Girl insisted that I do so. I did reluctantly because I wasn't sure what I had to contribute to the bloggiverse and besides who would actually ever want to read my blather. And then there were all the blogs that kept telling me what my blog "should" be and how I absolutely should be making money from it. I was so confused.

    And then I finally said in my own little head that my blog was my blog and would do with it as I chose. It was just one more avenue for me to be an open book and that I needed to view it as such and if no one else ever read it then that was fine with me. I could blog when I wanted and talk about what I wanted. And it was a vastly freeing decision and having a blog has been a vastly freeing experience.

    And why is my blog not in your favorites list I might ask? I have known you for a LOOOOOOOOONG time. I have the pictures to prove it.

  4. I have thought the EXACT SAME thing! As if having a blog isn't enough, you're supposed to have perfect posts, perfectly spaced, perfectly titled and tagged - and you're supposed to do it EVERY TIME. Then I just feel so much pressure that I don't post at all. But, really, if we're not having fun with our blogs, who else will? (Which is another piece of advice from the millions of agent/editor blogs that I, too, read. And, for the record, it's the main piece of advice I plan to take from now on. That and not spewing bitterness and frustrations because those entries never go away.)

  5. Julie, that was me. I had the same affliction. I'm over it now. :)

    I'm with you on the "be yourself" part, too. (I'm INTJ, so throw a little judgment onto that thinking and you get me. Not pretty.) Mostly, I just keep my mouth shut.

    Welcome back. We missed you.

  6. Right Delia, (you always are) yours was the one I was thinking of. It was most recent, but I do think Becky had one about this too, must have been farther back though.
    What I really like about this right now is that SO many of us have all come to the same conclusion (sadly, AFTER we all fretted and worried about doing it "right" though), our blog is what WE want it to be. And no one can say how we do it.

  7. you guys are the best. Thank you. I never thought of a blog as being freeing, I definitely need an attitude adjustment.

    Debbie, you are now on my blog roll. Not everyone with our background wants to be associated, so I never know. You probably shouldn't put me on yours because I am often offensive, but it's up to you. :-) And I've got some pretty good pictures of you, too.

    Hi, Caryn and Delia-- I'm glad to know I'm not alone on this!