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.