Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Metablogging

Blogging about blogging. I had never heard the term "metablogging" before this topic week, and I love it. There are people out there wondering about why we blog, and how our families feel about it.

When I first started blogging in November of ’08, I didn't really understand what it was, I was just following a suggestion from someone I know. I felt kind of vulnerable, and my now ex voiced his opposition to being subject matter - I honored that as best I could. I chose an anonymous name, and made up names for my kids. Occasionally I would weave him into a tale involving a great parenting moment with the kids.

Blogging became an emotional release for me. Although being anonymous felt somehow protective, I was still cautious about what I blogged about, understanding that when you are putting yourself out there on the web you are never truly anonymous. I had my mentor from residency read my first few blogs and give me tips about what to include and exclude. When I compose stories about work, I often bend the encounter to a point beyond recognition and make sure the time frame of the blog is far removed from the interaction. It was frustrating at first, because I am a stickler for details and precision, but eventually it became fun to fictionalize.

Positives about blogging:

A sense of community. Something to do besides reading after the kids go to bed. I have met a lot of incredible women, and made some amazing friendships through e-mail. Having people read and comment on my own blog makes me feel a little less alone. I do not keep my blog secret from my friends and family, and it has pulled me closer to my brother and his wife, who live pretty far from me, and my other brother who is in law school in another state. Local family generally doesn't read it, because they get enough of me as it is. I was honored when KC asked me to join MiM last fall, and my presence here has widened my blog social horizon significantly.

Knowledge. These girls are smart! I get tips on mothering, doctoring, books, politics, history, and life. When you are a professional and a mother, especially single, there is little time to nurture relationships with other moms at school through activities and play groups. Blogging, following blogs, and commenting on blogs supplements that. Some of my favorite blogs are SAHM blogs. It's great getting mothering tips from those who get to spend 24/7 doing just that (a sometimes escape fantasy for me, on my bad days).

Entertainment. Smart=funny. Nowhere is that more true than our own Fizzy’s cartoon blog. I remember when she started I was instantaneously enamored. Now she has a million more followers than me (not jealous!). Recently, her hosting of Grand Rounds led me to a lot of other blogs that I enjoy following.

Negatives about blogging:

Well, there really haven’t been any.

I’ve been blogging a little less lately, because moving and divorcing are stressful life events - both occurring for me in the last two weeks - but I also made partner Friday, which almost outweighed the negatives. Instead of blogging at night, I’m unpacking boxes. But I was off Monday to meet the U-verse man, so that should change.

I read a fabulous book last week called The Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks. The author was a Middle East correspondent for The Wall Street Journal when she happened upon a small town in England that lost 2/3rds of its population to the Plague (Yersinia pestis) in 1666. She was drawn to the history of the town, and studied all patterns of 1600’s sociology from witching to farming to medicine to personal accounts in her research. The tale she wove about a handmaid to the preacher was exquisite. I especially recommend it to Mom TFH, Dr. Whoo, and Rh+ because a midwife passage was one of the most incredible I have ever read - I don't want to spoil it but my eyes got a little shiny and the words blurred. The main character, Anna, lost her whole world in a year, but instead of folding into depression she worked and created a new life for herself. I’m not sure where this book came from, but I found it last weekend in a box when I was desperately looking for an escape, and the story I encountered made me feel the find was serendipitous. We always look to others to buoy us in hard times, and that certainly helps, but the strength we need usually resides within ourselves.

That is what blogging has been for me. An escape, an emotional outlet, and a way to find myself. I’m not tending plague victims, but it has been equally important to me. A couple of years ago, I was desperately lost. Was blogging my only savior? No. My family, my kids, my friends, my partners all helped. But blogging has been invaluable in getting me from there to here, where I'm much happier.

6 comments:

  1. My post will be up later this week, but I said many of the same things as you did. Blogging is about community for me, it is an emotional release, and it is a place for ME. It can also be a lot of fun and quite entertaining, too.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh, there are negatives.

    You run into folks who don't agree, loudly and strongly. You run into folks who misunderstand and get hurt and offended. You run into trolls who go after you personally.

    You run into people who are just stupid, or who subscribe to pseudoscience and ridiculousness.

    Is it worth it?

    If you have a tough skin and can deal. If you don't take it personally when the attacks come straight at you.

    We are in a unique position to change the world. But it doesn't come without a personal price.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have had some of those experiences - one of the models from last week read my story and burst into tears over me collectively calling them unnaturally thin. Oh how I forget how fragile our body image is in our twenties! I was also accused of making a racist comment at this blog back in the fall, but the commenter and I hammered out our differences in a long comment thread and now I follow her blog. I was publicly attacked by a family member when I separated from my husband, despite the fact that my announcement on my blog was very civil. We hammered out our differences in an e-mail, and I put in that comment screen.

    I think even the negatives have their benefits. You can't get from A to Z without buffering some craziness and coming out better on the other side. Trust me, no one knows that more than me.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I certainly didn't mean to sound sanctimonius. Your points are well taken. I'm looking at uteri and worrying about what I said. Take it more in my naieve pollyanna vein.

    Instead of saying "no one knows craziness more than me" I should have said "I've been through a hell of a lot of craziness in my life."

    ReplyDelete
  5. Love Geraldine Brooks! Have only read People of the Book, but it was mesmerizing and I intend to read more of her work!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh I haven't read that one, I'll have to look for it!

    ReplyDelete

Comments on posts older than 14 days are moderated as a spam precaution. There may be a delay between submitting your comment and its publishing. Thanks for commenting!