Remember in the 90s when people met online in chat rooms, went to meet them and got murdered? Helen and I met online (a couple of years ago and not in a chat room) and, ignoring general advice to meet in a public place for the first time, I went to Helen’s house.
She didn’t murder me, turned out to be a very nice friend and is now here writing a guest blog post. She also very kindly wrote a blog post past year too.
BE HERE NOW?
From 2004-2009 I had a blog, stripy sock studio.
I blogged about parenting, gardening, writing, making things, eco-consciousness, community building, creativity and popular culture. Last year, I quit the blog feeling unsure of why I was blogging and also what I wanted the focus of my blog to be if I DID have a blog.
At the beginning, I really enjoyed blogging – it was instant communication and community just when I was at my most isolated as the mother of young children, working from home. Towards the end, though, the joy went out of it for me and it began to feel like a chore or a job. Also, I began to feel less and less confident about what I had to say.
WHY DID I STOP?
As I’m a writer, I started to worry the blog was taking ‘writing energy’ away from my poetry and creative nonfiction.
I lost sight of WHY I wanted to do it.
I got very deep about it and worried about presenting my life, as my friend Suzanne calls it, ‘life porn’…did presenting only the pretty, shiny bits of my life equal a lack of the genuine, the true? On the other side, did people really want to read about my struggles and dark times? In short, what the hell was the point?
With most forms of internet-based communications: blogging, facebook, twitter – it pays not to overthink it. Think about it for more than a couple of minutes and questions about what meaningful community means, what genuine communication is will arise. If I am constantly blogging my life – am I LIVING my life? Am I in the moment or am I in the future imagining what my blog community might say about the lovely pictures I am taking?
When you have a blog (or a twitter, a facebook page) do you stop becoming a human BEING (living in the moment, enjoying the now) and merely become a human DOING? (performing for others, constantly future-thinking?)
Yes. There was much angst involved in my decision to stop blogging.
WHAT DO I THINK AFTER EIGHT MONTHS WITHOUT THE BLOG?
To be brutally honest, I have not missed the blog. I thought I would. I thought I would miss the community, but I guess I have avoided this by rejoining Facebook – I have lots of chats with friends on there. I guess I swapped one online medium for another.
What I do miss, however, is something steeped in irony…
…when I was blogging, I seemed to be very ‘awake’ to my life in a different way. I was always thinking of interesting subjects to blog about, brain and senses alert to potential subjects and events. This alertness seemed to have the effect of enhancing life in a way. It was like I was seeing my life through someone else’s eyes – because I was! – my blog readers’ eyes!
What I really, really miss is the photography I did ‘for the blog’. I photographed my children more, my house more, my garden more, my friends more….in case later I wanted to blog about the things I was doing.
Now, weeks can pass before I remember to fish my camera out of my bag.
I have a rich and beautiful resource from the years I took photographs every day – the fact I took the photographs in case I blogged them is irrelevant now. They exist and I love looking back over them.
WHERE TO NOW?
I’m still not sure.
My youngest child began school this year, and I find myself at that traditionally bitter-sweet time for at-home mothers. I am pleased to have grown and launched my family to this stage but what lies ahead for me now? I very much feel at a cross-roads and it is a bit strange, a bit uncomfortable. The way forward both is and isn’t clear.
I thought after a break I would want to blog again. I even made a new blog name and header…but the drive to do it still eludes me. I haven’t answered all the above questions for myself yet.
What I do know, though, is that I do want to take lots of photographs again….to document my life for me and for my family. I don’t need to be thinking of an audience to take photographs – they are a gift to myself.
That, at least, I can start to do again today.