random photo that has nothing to do with my topic :)
I've been thinking lately about this odd thing called blogging. I read an article this weekend, in New York Times Magazine, of all places, and it was so unbelievably childish, vacuous and pointless that I thought to myself several times "Isn't New York Times magazine a serious publication?" Seriously, I felt like the kids I went to middle school with were having a war of words, slam-book style and somehow the intelligent people of New York city had published it. Really, is this news (and cover) worthy? Sure, she's an intelligent person, with an awesomely sarcastic, snappy voice that's pitch-perfect for blogging. But she's writing about nothing in the most immature way possible... and that's interesting?
What's ironic, of course, is that I also keep a blog and write about nothing... and I am blogging about a blogger who blogs about nothing... :) However, it started me thinking about possible distinctions between T.M.I., "all about me" blogs and craft blogs. I like to blog about a little of everything - what I'm thinking, what I did, what I was listening to, what I read, but mostly I love to blog about what I make. And it's that distinction that keeps me coming back to craft and art blogs - this emphasis on creating rather than simply dissecting life. And what really fascinates me is that I've met so many people like myself through blogging- which is no small feat because I am an unusual person. And yet every odd quirk I thought unique to me (and that I felt a little guilty for) I've seen reflected in the art, photos, crafts, music, and words of people I've "met" online. Granted, we have never met in person, me and all these people I've made serendipitous connections with, through a stray comment, photo or craft. But thanks to technology I can now connect with people in exactly the way I want to (and often can't in "real" life) through words and images.
Another distinction I make about craft blogs is that they're overall pretty positive. There are a few rant moments, but mostly they're more about creating and less about dishing on the bitter trivialities of our lives. I don't see this blog as my diary - it may be a diary, but of a different sort. For me, it's a chronicle of what is in my mind, what is moving me, inspiring me, and pushing me forward. But I still experience these moments in blogging, typically in the middle of the night, hours and hours after I hit "publish" in which I wonder if I should have revealed that. And that always changes, and even though I'm cautious I still feel I teeter on the brink of having revealed too much, all the time. My formula has always been to never blog about something I wouldn't chat with my grandmother or boss about. It sounds stupid, but no matter how well you conceal your identity with screen names, the internet is never private.
I recently skimmed through a copy of Hunger of Memory by Richard Rodriguez and something in the close of this book resonated so much with blogging and my reservations about blogging:
"I have come to think of myself as engaged in writing graffiti. Encouraged by physical isolation to reveal what is most personal; determined at the same time to have my words seen by strangers. I have come to understand better why works of literature - while never intimate, never individually addressed to the reader - are so often among the most personal statements we hear in our lives."
I struggled to get through the book because I disagreed with a lot of what he was saying (hence the skimming rather than the actual reading). I found it sad that he justifies writing about his parents when they specifically asked him not to and that he believes his education created a huge gulf between them. I think the gulf is one of personality and ego, not of language or education, and that it would have existed whether he was educated in Spanish, Greek, or French. And his refusal to respect their wishes mirrors perfectly, to me, the way people can justify unrepentantly blogging every detail of their personal life.
Blogging connections aside, there are moments in this book that I love, which communicate exactly how I felt as a "star Hispanic student", growing up:
He is the great mimic; a collector of thoughts, not a thinker; the very last person in class who ever feels obliged to have an opinion of his own. Also, the dogged way he worked through lists of great books before college (I had a similar list tacked up on my bedroom wall all through middle and high school). :) Also his thoughts on the jarring transition between life in Spanish (private, or "intimate" life) and life in English (public life). My first language was Spanish and although I'll never be as educated in that language as I am in English, it still remains the most intimate language to me. And finally, my favorite part, was his description of his grandmother:
The last time I saw my grandmother I was nine years old. I can tell you some of the things she said to me as I stood by her bed. I cannot, however, quote the message of intimacy she conveyed with her voice. She laughed, holding my hand. Her voice illumined disjointed memories as it passed them again. She remembered her husband, his green eyes, the magic name of Narciso. His early death. She remembered the farm in Mexico. The eucalyptus nearby. (Its scent, she remembered, like incense.)
So, in this very lengthy post turned book review, I wonder... what do you think about blogging? What draws you to it (and what repels you)? Do you think craft blogs are any different from "gossip" blogs? Are there things that are too private for you to blog about, or do you think everything is blog-worthy?