Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Some Thanks with a Side Helping of Meta

I have pointedly refrained from making any meta posts on the issue of blogging. It is what it is, and I am now pretty savvy about what it is, so I can either accept it or I can move on. I like blogging, so I accept the bad with the good. And I really think that mostly, it's good.

But I gotta be many ways, the blogosphere reminds me of highschool. There is definitely an "in" crowd, to which, I don't belong. I don't really do cliques or groups very well, so it's just as well. Somehow, it doesn't seem nearly as calamitous as it did when I was fifteen. I like doing my own thang...always have.

But I have my own little audience and I'm sincerely grateful for every single person who takes the time to comment. I feel like I know my them. It's a weird kind of intimacy, but it's an intimacy nonetheless.

Don't get me wrong...I don't begrudge the "a-list bloggers" their kajillion comments. And I don't really think their a-list status is due to any exclusionary behavior on their part. (well, in most cases) It's just one of those things...there are certain bloggers, just like there were certain teenaged girls in high school...that people are drawn to...for whatever reason.

But again, if I am honest, I have to say that it galls me when a blogger posts a four line post about something completely and utterly mundane and gets 86 comments, while another blogger writes a stunningly crafted, artfully descriptive and profoundly meaningful post, and garners a mere fraction as many, if that.

And again, I don't want to be misconstrued...we all need to laugh, we all need to poke fun at the minutiae that we are mired in, we all need some lighthearted silliness. And most of all, we all need to know that we are not alone. When the poop is flying and the breasts are leaking and nobody is sleeping...we need to connect with with other women who are in the trenches fighting the same war.

The so-called "mommy" blogs (and yes, I think the term does a grave injustice to the women who pen them) have their place and their purpose. It would be wrong to dismiss them as unimportant or irrelevant. It would be wrong to assume, that because their focus is parenting, they have no value.

But there are some stunningly talented writers, some incredibly insightful women, some profoundly kind and generous souls out there blogging. And it's a shame that they are often overlooked because they are not on every blogroll and blogring this side of the Google blog index. You just have to dig a little deeper to find them.

And that's why, contrary to what you might think of someone like me...I do really like blog awards. It's an opprotunity to unearth greatness beneath the mantle of mediocrity.

Now, I am not in anyway suggesting that I am one such blogger. But I have been privileged to receive two awards of late and I am glad of the opportunity to pass them along to bloggers who maybe don't have as wide an audience as they could or should.

Code Yellow Mom has very kindly awarded me the Blogger Reflection award, which is described as follows:

This award should make you reflect on five bloggers who have been an encouragement, a source of love, impacted you in some way, and have been a Godly example to you. Five Bloggers who when you reflect on them you get a sense of pride and joy... of knowing them and being blessed by them.

Well, since I am an agnostic with strong atheistic tendencies I'm going to have to take God out of the equation. But I can certainly get behind celebrating other bloggers and finding a sense of joy in the writings and insight of someone who inspires and uplifts just by sharing themselves with the world. If that nullifies the award, well....then, it isn't a very inclusive or accepting award and it's rubbish anyway. So for our purposes, we'll just assume that "blessed" is meant in the broader, more secular sense of the word, shall we?

With that in mind, I hereby award the following bloggers with this award:

This woman writes pictures. She writes pure pathos. She writes from her soul. Whether she is writing about the mundane or the arcane, she does it with stunning lyricism. Even recently, when she wrote about a horrifying experience as the victim of a sex crime, her words were almost too beautiful to describe an act of such ugliness. Flutter makes the writer in me want to stand up and holler "BRAVO!" And now, she is generously using her time and talent to benefit a very worth cause...Hunger. Go check out her "What Should Flutter Cook" donation drive. All proceeds benfit America's Second Harvest.

Ah, Jen. She humbles me with all that she's accomplished in her time on this earth. She is an advocate and a tireless champion for America's forgotten people. The Homeless. Her compassion, her generosity, her kindness, and her ability to look beyond wordly trappings or lack thereof...all make her, in my book, an inspiration and an example. A lot of people talk the talk, Jen walks the walk. Plus, she is an adventurous soul. She doesn't need material posessions or even indoor plumbing to find the richness in life. She makes her life rich by soaking up people and places.

She is what I want to be when I grow up. A real writer. She's published and everything! Because unlike myself, who sits around bitching and moaning about becoming a real writer, she got off her butt and made it happen. I can't tell you how much I admire her for that. Brains, ambition, talent....she's got it all. And I don't think I have to mention that her writing is awesome, but I will, because she deserves to hear it. She's a great writer with a lot to say.

AM is not a blogging neophyte, and she's already pretty well known. But I can't, in good conscience, leave her off of a list of bloggers that inspire and uplift me. Saying AM is a good writer is like saying that Anais Nin was a committed diarist. She has also shared with me her thoughts on religion, without judgement or criticism. She is a someone who doesn't need to broadcast her beliefs in order to be fully committed to them. She lives as she believes. She writes as she lives. And the combination is nothing short of spectacular. I respect and admire her as a writer, and as a Christian. And that's sayinig a lot, given my opinion of Christianity as a life choice.

I keep tagging and awarding Nina, for like...everything. But that's because I want her to know how much she is valued and admired. She is brave (she came out as a lesbian at 40, divorced her husband, and hit the lesbian dating scene) and beautiful and has the soul of a true poet. She writes gorgeous poems and prose, she takes breathtaking pictures and she is one of the kindest, most giving people I have ever known in my life. I tagged her for the Stuart Smalley meme, and she said she couldn't do it. She has no idea what a special person she is, or how many people think so.

If you will girls, pass it on as you see fit.

I also need to thank Serving the Queens for the Rockin Blogger Award. She's pretty rockin herself, and I'd turn around and award it right back if she hadn't already been tagged. I've been privileged to receive this award several times before, but it still means a lot to me. Thanks bunches!

Unfortunately, I can't remember whom I have and have not already awarded, so forgive me for taking the easy way out and awarding the same gals as above. Who doesn't like a little double dipping, eh? Here's your sign:


  • At 8:56 PM, Blogger Chicky Chicky Baby said…

    How about incredibly long posts (actually, posts that are waaay too long) about nothing important that get 86 comments?

    I agree, there are far too many good writers out there who don't get noticed. But is the blogosphere about good writers? It should be, but I have to wonder if that's the way things are going.

  • At 9:07 PM, Blogger Carol said…

    Great choices! I especially like ORTHOTIC CONTESSA... and especially today's post, which had me so close to tears.

    I agree with you, too, about the blogoshere's "in-crowd." I actually have no idea who they are because, like you, I look for really good writing. (And no, ads do NOT equate to good writing...) If someone writes well, I'll read every post they write, no matter how mundane the topic.

    YOUR blog is one of my favorite and I always love seeing it bolded in my feed list!


  • At 9:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oh my goodness, B.A. thank you so much. What an honor. I'll bestow the awards as well...after some careful consideration.

  • At 9:13 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    Gotta agree with our Mrs Chicky. I've read some stunningly beautiful writing from completely ignored blogs. I've spent hours thinking about a post I've read from a blogger who probably has 20 readers, if that. I've read hilariously funny blogs that don't get a freaking comment. Not a one.

    And I've read a-list bloggers with hundreds of "you rock!" comments where I just go 'huh?'

    Unfortunately, there is a lot of high school behavior out there, and I don't even think it's the fault of some (but not all) of the A-listers. As long as we commenters act like sychophants and agree with every one and compliment with "you're so cool" kinds of comments, we're at fault too. Yes, it's good to write a positive comment. But how about a comment that makes the discussion move along? How about a comment that makes the blogger see another side to the discussion?

    Because, from where I sit, every time I comment with dissent I'm kicked to the curb and told that I'm one step behind Hitler (honest, just got told that this week!) for being in disagreement with the original poster.

    As bloggers, we have to learn that not everyone agrees with everything we say, and that the point of discussion is hearing and learning from differing points of view. Until the A-listers get that (and some of them never will), I'm never going to comment and I'm never going to tell them that they rock, because in my book, only accepting accolades makes you one dull blogger!

  • At 9:36 PM, Blogger Bea said…

    It's funny - my perception of the blogosphere must be seriously skewed. I don't ever see dozens of "You're so cool!" comments on any of the blogs I read. It's not just that I don't read the so-called A-listers - I don't actually know who they are. And of course nobody wants to be mean, so nobody names any names when they talk about the popular table and the "You're a rock star!" and the cliquishness - so I always find myself scratching my head and wondering where you go to FIND that kind of blogging.

    But I'm probably happier not knowing, aren't I?

  • At 9:54 PM, Blogger Girlplustwo said…

    Ah, woman. I was reading this in half screen so i didn't see the whole post till i was done..but as i am reading i am thinking "of course BA. your teal green post still moves me as one of the most important things i've read in this place" and then i see my name, and well, i am flummoxed, because i respect you and your honesty and your pragmatism so very much. so thank you.

    I don't generally tag folks and i think you know that so if i don't pass this on please know it is no reflection (heh, dude. reflection) of how honored i feel right now.

  • At 10:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow. I think that is the nicest thing anyone has ever said about me BA. Thank you so much. I'm honored to be in such good company.

  • At 10:32 PM, Blogger Liv said…

    Thanks for posting this. And to the 86 comments bit, I have to say that it is (for some strange reason) irritating to me to see 3 or 4 people just making random conversation back and forth for ages about each other and perhaps the blogger...
    so, from the uncool side of the cafeteria, I introduce myself to you. Hello, BA. I'm liv. Hope to see you around the halls.

  • At 11:35 PM, Blogger Carol said…

    I'm not sure what her readership is -- probably astronomical... but if it is, she deserves it:

    Incredibly good! When you read it, imagine an English accent.


  • At 12:04 AM, Blogger flutter said…

    I am so honored and you must know that all of the things you have said I feel for you.

    It's true what you've said, that there are so many gifted writers around who get one or two comments after pouring out some of the most amazing and prolific pieces of art on the net. It's astounding and sometimes frustrating to see.

    Thank you for this, I am so honored and so very, very humbled.

  • At 6:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I totally agree with you. I don't read many of the A-list blogs (although there are one or two that are consistently brilliant, and totally deserve their audience) but when I do, I often find myself wondering just what is it about them that makes them so popular, when some smaller blogs are equally good, if not better.

    Anyway, congratulations on your awards :)

  • At 7:17 AM, Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said…

    Thank you for pointing me to 5 blogs I have not heard of before. I respect your choices so I know that they will be great to read.

    In some ways, with blogging, I have to put my fingers in my ears and close my eyes, singing 'la la la la' whenever awards, kudos, special buttons, etc are passed out. It's not why I ever started to blog (and I'd never claim to be a 'real' writer, so it really shouldn't be an issue), but still it can feel like gym class, where teams were picked and I was leaning up against the wall feeling very small.

  • At 7:59 AM, Blogger email said…

    I found this post funny (interesting, not ha-ha) because I was just thinking that, as in high school, I have not "fit in" with any particular group, but that I am not excluded either. I have found myself included in discussions with the "booking bloggers," the "mommy bloggers," the political bloggers and other loosely-formed blogging groups (I hesitate to call them cliques, because they seem far more flexible and accepting that the word 'clique' implies).

    I remain somewhat of a loner because, I think, that's just who I am. I couldn't focus myself on one aspect of me in high school (I was a math geek, an athlete, a class clown, a writer), and I can't now. My blog covers all topics that I think about (or don't think about, as the case may be), so there might be book stuff, or movie stuff, or TV show stuff, or there might be mommy stuff, and there might just as easily be political stuff (mostly questions).

    So I just travel around from group to group inserting my two-cents here and there, and only once did someone freak out at me and ban me from their blog. I'm actually not kidding. :)

  • At 9:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Love these links.


  • At 10:00 AM, Blogger Sarah said…

    Thank you for the links -- and for your own incredibly thoughtful posts.

  • At 1:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Great list! A few of these writers I don't really know, so I can count on you to point me a new and wonderful direction!

    As for the ones I do, I whole heartily agree with you. Those women have a gift for not just writing but being amazing beings that make me laugh and cry.

    That being said, you deserve this award!

  • At 3:22 PM, Blogger Blog Owner said…

    I just came across your blog recently, and am off to check out all the ones on your list.

    Thanks :)

  • At 5:28 PM, Blogger OhTheJoys said…

    Oooh! Awards! You know how I like those! Good choices.

    Hey - any chance you want to meet up at the zoo in the a.m.?

  • At 6:00 PM, Blogger luckyzmom said…

    What about those that don't necessarily write very well but have profound things to say? There are also those that are a joy to read but you don't know what possible comment you could leave.

  • At 6:17 PM, Blogger Namito said…

    Just came back from reading to say thank you. I wouldn't have found some of these wonderful writers otherwise and I DO love me a good read.

    And a good comment. Those are nice too. So thanks for those as well.

  • At 7:17 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    Since I've enjoyed your blog for some time now, and I completely agree with your opinion of AM, I've added the others to my bloglines. I find that I like to read a blog for a while before I decide if I like it or not.

    There's definitely an "in crowd" in blogging. Each segment has their own version, but it is similar to high school.

  • At 8:14 PM, Blogger Everydaytreats said…

    You've got great taste...I'm off to do some reading.

  • At 6:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I agree with your analysis of the blogosphere. It at times has made me want to leave in frustration. But then I read a post from a stunningly talented writer like you and I remember that is why I come back (although I have been on vacation for two weeks and am presently OVERWHELMED with all the blog catch-up).

    You rock. And excellent choices ... especially Kvetch. She is one in a million.

  • At 4:42 PM, Blogger Lara said…

    this was an awesome post. i recently wrote about some similar issues, and i think they're often on many a blogger's mind. great awards, and great words you shared about those other folks. i'll have some new reads to sort through today.

  • At 8:24 PM, Blogger Code Yellow Mom said…

    TOTALLY doesn't nullify the award. :) You took it just the way I hoped you would, because so much of what you write really reaches me. And I like it.

    Looking forward to checking out the bloggers you awarded.

  • At 11:24 AM, Blogger Tere said…

    I agree with some of your thoughts on the blogging community (don't even get me started on those "First!" comments some bloggers get! GGGRRRR.).

    That was all - just wanted to express agreement.

  • At 1:54 PM, Blogger Christine said…

    Thanks for the links; I know I am in for some good reading.

    I'm not sure who the "in" crowd is, either...but I have stumbled upon that 86 comment phenomenon all too many times. My jaw has literally dropped after reading a post consisting of a throw-away line or two followed by literally dozens of people virtually clapping via comments. Wha?

    For me, my blog is just a dumping ground for my thoughts, whatever they are at the time. Sometimes they're nonsense, and other times (I hope) they aren't.

    Ultimately, I guess, different people have different goals for their blogs. To each her own.


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