I think one of the reasons I’m relying on photographs and YouTube this November is that I’m not at all clear that I have anything to say that anyone wants or needs to hear these days. Someone else is saying and writing it better.
Eight years ago I was desperate for a place to just process and purge what I was going through so I didn’t care. I was vulnerable and had no one in my life with whom to process that and so processing it out in the blogosphere seemed as anonymous as anything and maybe more protected than standing on the street corner like a crazy person and ranting. I’m feeling better about all that now, so now I feel like what I write here should be profound and have a purpose in the making the world better in a specific and measurable way.
Eight years ago blogging was different, too. There were fewer voices somehow. And we were all experimenting and trying to figure this thing out. And then it became professionalized. Even the really good writers I met online back then are
writing publishing less. Posting less. We don’t get to read the crappy first drafts anymore. It’s all more polished.
And maybe a little more strident and pointed.
NaBloPoMo was the cool kids table. It was a way to stretch yourself; a way to add discipline and practice into what was just a lot of big kids playing around. And it worked, I think. People got better at writing. And better at filtering out stuff. And BlogHer arrived, and the “monetization” craze happened and blogging became just another way to pimp yourself and your ideas. More marketing and less actual connecting.
I liked the connecting.
I liked being able to say “My friend in Atlanta wrote the other day….” Or, “My friend in Los Angeles is holding a concert…” and “Yeah, I know several people in Los Angeles…” and meaning it. They were and are some of my friends. Some I’ve even had a beer with!
I liked being able to actually connect with other people who were struggling in their relationships and grieving deaths and being gobsmacked by the joy and love in life and who were willing to share their struggle and vulnerability about it all. We all learned a very important lesson through all of this: We are not the only one struggling.
Now, I agree that most of that was a little ‘group therapy’ without a therapist. And some people looking in from the outside could come to the opinion that we were a bit narcissistic, I suppose; always talking about our daily dramas. I have friends that refuse to read anyone’s blog because “Editors are our friends. They protect us from the crazy.”
It’s probably true. Editors (internal and external) do shield us from the crazy. But maybe that’s part of the problem? This obsession with making perfection look easy is maybe part of – a BIG part of – the crazy; part of the dis-ease we are experiencing as a nation. I know it was/is for me.
Anyway, here are a few things my old blogosphere friends have posted recently that I think are worth reading. Click away.
and Crazy Aunt Purl (Sept 10?? and she’s actually published… with an editor and everything!)