GET A LIFE
27 February 2005
I made the big mistake of starting to read Kitchen Logic again. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Quite the contrary. Kathy is a good writer and I enjoy her stuff. I had stopped reading for awhile when I pretty much let all of the journals slide and didn't read much beyond Bozoette and Marn, since both Secraterri and The Bitter Hag stopped updating daily. But then a year or so ago, I started catching up with old on-line friends again, and finding out how many still remained while I was taking a hiatus. People like Doug and Becky and a bunch of others.
There was a bit of snobbery involved awhile ago. When I started writing Funny the World (nearly five years ago), nobody had heard of a "blog." We all were "journalists" and we wrote either "journals" or "diaries" (terms which may mean different things, but which I use interchangeably).
When "blogs" came along, we journalists looked down our noses at the bloggers. They weren't nearly as "literate" as we were, we scoffed. We were wrong, of course. As the growth in the blogging movement has escalated and now everybody and his mother has a blog and I don't see that there is any distinction between "journals" and "blogs," except, perhaps, length of entry (sometimes). Journals have been swallowed up in blog-dom, much the way VHS tapes made Beta tapes obsolete.
A recent front page article of the local paper talked about the blogging movement and about local people who bare their souls on the Internet. Of course, the article seemed to omit someone on its very staff who has a journal and has had one for five years. But I'm not bitter. Not me. (Hi, Jenipurr).
Which brings me back to Kathy's Kitchen Logic. What she started doing--I don't know when she started it--was to publish a "new to me" link to a journal almost every day. Out of curiosity, I started checking on those links and...damn there are a lot of good writers out there! It's enough to give a person an inferiority complex.
There are nearly 7,000 journals registered with Diarist.net, and I suspect that most of the people who are writing blogs never thought to register with Diarist.net, which makes the actual number of people who stagger out onto the internet daily, or weekly, or occasionally, to share their thoughts with cyberspace incalculable.
Now the problem with these blogs and journals that Kathy has been linking to is that not only are they usually interesting, but they, in turn, have long lists of blogs that they read, and those, of course, also have long lists of blogs that they read and you could drive yourself crazy just checking to see if something hits a chord.
I don't know what leads me to click on a link, and after that, what keeps me reading. It's pretty sure that I won't click on something called "giggle-chick," no matter how interesting it might turn out to be.
I also tend to ignore people whose double-digit age begins with a "1." I lived through teen age angst in my own house; I don't need to go looking for it.
If I should happen across one of those young folks' journals, I am not likely to read further than the first paragraph if I read something like this:
I can't tell you how badly I want to send this girl a copy of "Eats Shoots and Leaves."
Call me a snob. but I don't need to read someone who writes, "Im not writng this for pitty. im to freaking jelus" in infinitesimally tiny print on a background that makes it impossible to read comfortably.
I give them credit for writing in the first place, and think that should be encouraged, but along with writing should come a bit of understanding about how to write intelligibly, if they are writing for an audience. If they are just writing for themselves, that's a whole different story.
It may be that there are bloggers out there who have no idea whatsoever about spelling or punctuation but who still think deep thoughts and want to share them with the world, but with an incalculable number of blogs from which to choose, I quickly move on to someone who writes so that I can understand it.
Thanks to Kathy--or to links that her "new to me" journals linked to (or that those journals linked to), I have discovered Dooce, a young mother and recovering Mormon living in Salt Lake City with her husband and one year old daughter Leta, who writes witty pieces occasionally and takes beautiful photos every day.
I've also delighted in the story of Matt Fuller and Brian Brantner of Fullerbrantner.com. This is a gay couple who recently adopted newborn Audrey, in an open adoption, which keeps Audrey's birth family in her life. Watching the beautiful unfolding of this adoption, the building of a family, and of Audrey's growth has been such fun that when they took a few weeks off, I started to get worried about them, so I checked the blog of their friends at Prosperfahey.com just to make sure that they weren't reporting some terrible tragedy. It's amazing how caught up you get in the lives of these people you'll never meet and perhaps never even correspond with, and yet you care about them, though they may have no idea that you have been peeking into this window on their lives.
Catelin, over on Cate's Journal was blown away at the response she received to an entry she wrote about hate speech, the first of her entries that I ever read. It was so powerful that people came out of the woodwork to thank her for her words. It hadn't occurred to her that so many people would be reading her posts.
Not new to me is Rob Hudson, of Darn Tootin'. I think of Rob as one of the "grand old men of journaling," though he is younger than at least some, if not all, of my children. I have been reading Rob's journal since his daughter Schuyler was born. I've rejoiced with him as he adjusted to fatherhood, shared his concerns as Schuyler's speech appeared to be delayed, loved the movies that he posted of Schuyler and their black pug and his miniature hamsters, and I then cried with him as he learned of Schuyler's "monster," Congenital Bilateral Perisylvian Syndrome (CBPS), which will prevent her from ever speaking. Rob is someone I will never meet, with whom I never correspond, and yet who feels like part of my family. Download a movie or two at his site, read a few entries, check his photo log and look at that beautiful smile of Schuyler's and you'll get hooked too.
The more you read, the more there is to read. For every blog or journal that is embarrassingly bad, there are another three which give you hope for the future of the English language. For every teenager whose angst spills out on every page, there are three people who have cogent observations of the world around us, interesting stories of their day to day lives, or just damn good photos worth checking out.
I don't need to get a life--I've borrowed all of yours!
PHOTO OF THE DAY
I absolutely love this photo of Schuyler.
here for the Lawsuit Song of the Day