Sunday, October 30, 2005

Blogs Are Like Children

Reading the Baron's Boy's blog today, I found him thinking in some of the same circles I've been in of late. Here's what he says, in discussing the lyrics to a song, what his leaving home for college means for him at the moment:

I've written a bunch of stuff on this same subject--leaving home and the inevitable sense of alienation and abandonment it brings. In some ways, this song is an allegory. It's not just about a guy who's flying off into space. It's about leaving and coming back, and realizing how much can change. Because, really, isn't that what it's all about? Leaving home and coming home and finding out that you're not the man that your loved ones thought you were...that you aren't the man you thought you were? I've left and come back too many times to come to any other conclusion, that each departure makes me a different man.

And now here I am, burning out my fuse on Instrumental Analysis and Physical Chemistry. There was a time this week I felt really alone, for some reason. Maybe it was the fact that it was cold outside and I didn't have a coat (and if you think that's silly, try walking in the cold without a jacket. You'll feel really lonely really quickly), or maybe it was the impending PChem Test Of Doom, but sometimes college can make you feel really alone. At first it makes you feel really loved and accepted, but sooner or later you have to come to terms with the fact that it's more than halfway done and that when you leave, you're going to have to have at least a somewhat coherent plan on what you want to do with your life now that your academic security blanket has been roughly yanked away.

And maybe it will be a long, long, time. Maybe I'll always feel kind of alone. Maybe part of being human in this life is realizing that ulitmately, you are alone, and that that's OK. After all, a lot of coming to grips with things is merely letting them be OK and not doing a hell of a lot to try to change them, fatalistic as that sounds. It doesn't mean I don't want to make a difference...I just want to be able to figure out when it's worth it to try to change something, and when it's better to merely leave it be and let it be what it is. So I guess I'll just keep tilting at my various windmills until I figure out which ones are worth attacking.
Hmmm...I was just saying to the Baron this morning that my "empty nest" grieving was so intertwined with Shelagh's death -- since they occurred only a few months apart -- that it's taken me a few years to untangle the threads of each. And once I had them separated, I learned something else.

Maintaining a blog is a lot like having another person around, maybe even like having a child. You have to feed it posts regularly or it withers and dies. It grows and makes different demands in its various stages of development. It talks back to you in the form of comments, and is more time-consuming than you could have imagined when you first decided to begin.

When I was pregnant with Shelagh, my second child, I remember feeling some trepidation about how a parent could love another child as much as one does this first one. When I asked my former father-in-law how he did that, he told me that only the experience of holding the second child (or the third, or the fourth) would prove to me that love expands to take in whatever is there. When I asked him how he and my former mother-in-law had managed the work of six boys, he laughed and said --oh, that! The work with the second child doesn't double, it increases geometrically.

It turned out he was right. One time he was taking the boys up to their summer cottage and had stopped at the usual ice-cream rest stop they always used. As he and the gang of children were walking back to the car, someone asked him, "are these all yours or are you going on a picnic?" Without missing a beat, my f.i.l. responded, "yep, they're all mine and it's no picnic."

Fortunately blogs are not quite the same. While they demand attention, get off the track sometimes, suffer if you neglect them, the work of having two does not increase geometrically. In fact, it may even decrease some, if you occasionally cross post to the other blog.

On the other hand, if you have two blogs, one of them ends up as the stepchild. Doesn't get as much traffic,you don't feel the same compulsion to make sure it's alive and breathing, others don't pay as much attention to junior, and it tends to remain a bit stunted. The advantage is you can say more, link less, and be outrageous if so inclined.

I can't imagine repeating Jewish jokes on Gates, or posting pictures of modern day Madonnas, or giving out recipes. As for staying on topic...what topic? After all, The Neighborhood of God is about chaos, no?

You didn't know that? Read the fine print.


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