Thursday, April 10, 2014

Blogging, and how one introvert handles it

Let's consider the term blog.

I believe that it is derived from the longer web log, or weblog, meaning a web-based log, or journal, or diary.

You could call a blog an internet journal, but that would not be nearly as dashing a terminology as blog.

Of course, blogs have evolved significantly since the early days when they were mainly on-line diaries for angsty teenagers.  These days, everybody has a blog, even mainstream newspapers whose blogs are authored by multiple professional journalists.

There are many reasons why people blog, probably about as many as there exist blogs.  Money, of course, is one of the big ones.

Money is not one of my reasons for blogging.  If I were blogging for money, I would have to write for an audience, things the audience wanted to read.  I would have to court that audience and build up a readership, and then I would have to sell advertising after I had statistics to support the value of the advertising space.

Lucky for me, my husband has a job and I don't have to do those things, because those things are so totally not me that I think I would prefer to earn money waiting tables if that's what it came to.  Not that there's anything wrong with waiting tables, just that I did it when I was young, and it was hard work.

So I dabble around and write things that I don't even link to Facebook, because for the most part it is private reflections, and I'm not sure that I really want to share my private reflections at large.  However, writing them on Blogger and publishing them online serves two main purposes:
  1. The threat of possible readers protects me from delving utterly into selfish, narcissistic, unedited introspection.  You may find this hard to believe, but it is true.  There is an even deeper and darker heart in me than the one exposed here.
  2. It keeps a nice, orderly record of things.  I used to write in notebooks, but I never wrote in them in order, or in the same ones.  When we moved across the country, I probably threw out 50 different partial notebooks of writing with sporadic entries on random pages, as well as irregular entries on triangular scraps of paper tucked amongst the pages.  When I write here, it miraculously mostly does not get lost, except for the occasional times when I inadvertently delete a post.
So, getting back to what I was saying, I dabble in blogging and treasure every comment that comes my way, but I will not, cannot go campaigning for a readership because that is simply not who I am, in the same way that I was terrible at door-to-door fundraisers as a kid, terrible at any attempt to raise money for charity, and terrible at getting on the bandwagon of friend-groups.

I am not a people pleaser.  This makes me unhappy sometimes, because (obviously) if you don't go around pleasing people, then sometimes they are not pleased with you.  I am often lonely, but I understand that I have no right to be upset about it.  In the same way, I have only a sparse handful of blog readers, but I understand why, that it is my choice.

I am a loner, not because I don't like people, but because I do not like their rules, especially the unspoken ones.  I will not jump through hoops to please someone: either you like me or you don't, and if you don't, I will be happy to move on, even if it means I am alone for awhile.  My husband loves me for who I am, most of the time, and when my quirks test his devotion, we work through it.  When people or organizations outside of my family present ultimatums that demand something from me, especially if it is something that I see as non-neutral and threatening, and most especially if it challenges my convictions, I move on to other--not necessarily greener--pastures.

I give up a lot for my convictions.  Many years ago, I was a writer (aka copywriter) for an advertising agency.  The senior copywriter told me that we were the great prostitutes of the writing trade, writing puffy rubbish for a regular salary while our art stagnated somewhere in the dim recesses of the basements of our consciousness.  After giving birth to a baby, I stopped writing advertising material, which was a great relief, because although I enjoy a clever turn of phrase as much as anybody, I hate lying, especially about the meaning of life and how your dollars can attain this false and deluding "meaning" for you if you bestow them on my client.

In college, horrified by the empty meaninglessness of modern interpretations of literature, I made the decision to flee academia as soon as I had my first degree.  Then, as I just described, I fled the degradation of hawking my words in a business setting.  Finally, isolated in a little cape-cod house, I gave birth to babies, not books, and read them Dr. Seuss and Mother Goose desperately, grasping for words, rhythm, beauty, joy and meaning, amidst diaper disasters and temper tantrums and peanut butter between the toes.

The stories of life from those days only survived if they made it into the library of our oral tradition, the slimy folds of gray tissue that may or may not yield their treasures when called upon.  The stories I remember, I repeat as often as I dare, trying to cement the memories and guard them in this fragile thing I call my brain.  The hitch, of course, is that I only remember them at unpredictable intervals.  If I am lucky enough to remember one when I am at home and have some time, I write it here.  That is one of the main reasons why I keep this blog, although if you have read much of it, you know that those memories are precious few and far between.

Our family.  Our life.  My faith.  My struggles.  Sometimes joy.  In the end, God.  That is what this blog is about, and I am at peace.

I was hurting the other day.  Ha.  I think it was yesterday, but "the other day" sounds more poetic, doesn't it?  I hurt so bad, I lay on my face on the floor in the doorway of my bedroom and sobbed for awhile.  Then I was tired; the tears seemed to have dried at their source, so I got up and vacuumed for a good long time, and I felt better in heart if not in body.  I walked into my bathroom and saw that I'd opened the blinds, which we usually keep closed for privacy.

The light shone in, bright and pure, sort of disinfecting.

Out the window, I saw the deck below, the yard, a pile of sticks Shawn and I had gathered on the weekend.  I saw the mysterious cement block structure at at the edge of our yard near where the water flows into the lake, and I fantasized about taking the sticks, the leaves, the chopped down weeds that have been decomposing in the garden for the past eight months, taking all of this crud and piling it into that cement block structure and burning it up.  When you burn stuff up, it is gone in the end, clean gone.   

Clean gone.  How beautiful.

In the end, everything is going to burn, the earth and everything on it, and there won't be anything anybody can do to stop it.  It will all be gone except for God and the people He calls His own.

By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. (2 Peter 3:7, NIV)

God will start fresh with a new sky and a new earth, clean and fresh and perfect to fit the people He has purified for Himself.  Called and justified, we will finally be glorified.

Nothing else matters.


Hope T. said...

I like the line about choosing to be loner because you don't like people's rules. That clicked for me because it explains how I can feel like a "people person" (interested in people) and yet still keep my distance from many social rituals.

I think it makes all the difference to frame it as a choice that we make rather than one that is made for us. I admire your firm decision to hold true to your own convictions. It has been something I have been learning bit by bit over the past several years. I can't say I am to the point where you are yet because I am still a bit too much on the people-pleasing end of the spectrum.

I recently came across a few thoughts about loneliness and companionship by Carl Jung. Here is one quote: "Loneliness is not necessarily inimical to companionship, for no one is more sensitive to companionship than the lonely man, and companionship thrives only when each individual remembers his individuality and does not identify himself with others". Your ability to stay true to yourself will actually pay dividends in your relationships because you will be relating to one another from your true identity, rather than trying to be what someone else wants you to be.

Well, I am beginning to write an essay here and since this is the comments section and not the essay section, I will stop. :)

On another subject, I use the phrase 'the other day' all the time! My kids tease me about it and tell me how imprecise I am being but I tell them that if the day in question was not today, then it was definitely 'the other day'.

One last thing: introversion, solitude, non-conformists are somewhat becoming 'topics of the moment'. I think if you put a word like introvert or loner or a synonym in your blog title or subtitle, it might pull more readers in through search engines. You would not have to change your subject matter at all. I bet some of those searchers would become regular readers, captivated by your writing style or subject matter or both.

ruth said...

hmmmmmm... that's an interesting thought. Maybe I'll do an experiment.

Hope T. said...

I like the new title!

Laura Murphy said...

Oh how I love the phrase "clean gone."

I'm sad that the pain drove you to tears. Very sad that you are experiencing suffering.

I started to blog so I could give advice. I dearly love to give advice. Then i got pregnant and that changed everything. It is nice to have a small readership. It's the only way I can blog about my family.


ruth said...

Does your family read your blog? Most of mine does not read mine. If more of them did, it would probably be better edited.