January 27, 2005

On the breast of the new fallen snow

The full moon this week made me realize that my blog must be a month old now, since I started it during the last full moon. So it's time for reflections of the blogging experience.

Here's what blogging feels like to me:

1)Freewriting. The kind that Peter Elbow advocates. I love freewriting. I try to limit myself to one post (about ten minutes, give or take) each day because otherwise I could easily become obsessed and post every hour.

2)A night out with a group of friends where we end up talking about all kinds of things -- some silly, some serious - but anything is acceptable. And the topic changes every five minutes.

3)Going out to dinner at a conference with a bunch of academic people I've just met. We talk about all kinds of things but sooner or later certain topics are sure to emerge: the tenure process, what kind of students we get, how much we hate to grade papers.

4)Open mike at the local coffeehouse: You read a poem or sing a song and get almost instant feedback. Afterwards a few people come up with specific comments, which makes you realize that they were listening. I really love it when people take the time to leave comments. According to my sitemeter, my blog gets 96 visitors each day, and I wonder sometimes who these people are, but when it comes right down to it, it doesn't matter. I just love an audience.

5)The family gathering where each personality plays a predictable role. I've been reading some of these blogs since last October, and it's been cool to get to know the people behind them. It's comfortable and stable. I know where to click if I want to know the latest political outrage, where to click if I want to know what delicious treat someone is baking.

6) Space for me. No one who lives in Snowstorm Region has read this blog. Not my kids, not my spouse, not my sisters, not my brother, not my parents, not my colleagues, not my students, not my friends. I don't feel like I'm keeping any big secret from any of them. I don't plan on saying anything mean about them behind their backs. I grew up in a crowded household with a bunch of siblings close in age so having my own space is hugely important to me. Many academic bloggers seem to write from lonely places -- often they've been relocated because of their job -- and are reaching out to find a community. My reasons for blogging are in some ways the opposite: I am enmeshed in a community where I've lived my whole life, connected to all kinds of people as mother, wife, daughter, aunt, sister, teacher, neighbor, friend. Blogging gives me a space for exploring who I am when I'm not playing any of those roles. Space where I can be just me.



12 comments:

bitchphd said...

Yes, I agree with all of that! Happy monthversary!

AAYOR said...

I completely agree with your characterization. Rings true for me, too! Cheers to you, and to the next fun month of sharing, ranting, laughing, and just writing to write.

Laura said...

Yep--very true. I was telling Mr. Geeky that blogging is sometimes like going to a good dinner party, but better because it keeps going. If only there were real food. :)

~profgrrrrl~ said...

what a neat way of thinking about blogging!

Cheeky Prof said...

So much of that explains exactly how I feel about blogging, too! Glad you joined us. :-)

Dr. H said...

I am very thankful that you chose to start your blog, jo(e). I knew from the day that I saw your profile page that I would enjoy a blog composed by you.

dr. m(mmm) aka The Notorious P.H.D. said...

I'm not surprised to see how widely your characterizations ring true. I've only been doing this since January 4th (and only using a site meter for a week), but I find all of these sentiments right on the money. Except that Dr. Yidg knows about mine (and has her own blog, too). That might be a fun game: "Find my Yidg!"

New Kid on the Hallway said...

This makes so much sense. I am one of those people who blogs to find a community, but it does still also create a space for myself, as well. Anyway, great post!

What Now? said...

I'm realizing that I need to work on my Elbow-ish free-writing. I seem unable to write anything in under half an hour, because I have to go back and edit under all circumstances. It would probably be really good for me to try to loosen up with free-writing; I know that you were writing about yourself and not actually making a suggestion to others, but I'm going to take this post as a suggestion anyway!

Also, if you ever think of taking requests for future posts, here's one: I'd love to hear more of the circumstances in which you wound up at a university in the same area where you've always lived. I thought it miraculous that I ended up only an hour away from where I grew up, but I'm in a more populous region than it sounds like you are. Anyway, it's a story that I've been interested in for a bit, ever since you started your blog, I guess, so I'd love to hear more if you ever feel like writing about it.

I'm really enjoying your blog--happy one-month birthday!

jo(e) said...

What Now? -- I think the main reason I do a lot of ten-minute Peter Elbow type freewrites is that my life is pretty busy and ten minutes is usually all I've got.

Sure, I take requests! (This is so much like an open mike night.) I do realize how lucky I am to live in my hometown and have a job I love -- if I can figure out how to tell the story without losing all anonymity, I'll write a blog about it soon.

Thanks everyone for all the nice comments!

Anonymous said...

What's a blog?

Anonymous said...

Is that a serious question? Blog is short for web blog. This website that you are reading is an example of one.

I am a lurker who would also like to hear about you got a job in your hometown ....