Friday, July 4, 2014

Blogged to a 'wordy' death


     Everybody and his grandmother write a blog. There is nothing private anymore that folks won’t announce in the cyber world.
     Sticking to the facts is iffy. Opinions often get higher marks than the truth. That “gray area” blends together all too frequently and speculation takes the forefront.
     I am going down for the count. Enough, already. You are reading this from someone who keeps a blog, too.
     Blogging is a trendy thing, and supposedly sets you apart from the rest of the guys and gals not serious about promoting what’s on their mind. How in tempo to look at someone in the eye and exclaim, “I have a blog, and by the way, here’s my card. Follow me.”
     If you are like me, you’ve got tons of blogs bookmarked. It takes effort to keep up with any, or all of them, on a regular basis. You would have to be reading round the clock overloading your brain, most of which content should be discarded like lukewarm bathwater.
     In fact, the majority of my blog list goes unread for days, let alone weeks on end. Every once in a while, I go through by category and delete many narratives. While I am cropping the list, it never fails but I find more to add. I know that I defeat my own purpose.
     On the other hand, there is something to say in defense of blogs. I love to reading short excerpts and viewing pictures from family and close friends. It is their scrapbooking method for preserving memories. It connects me with those at a distance.       
     If Twitter has become my quick source for news, then I find specialized blogs valuable that invite me further into my hobbies and interests. Likewise, I read commentaries by various news gurus, and pick and choose what I absorb before disregarding the rest.
     I am weak when it comes to supporting fellow writers attempting to get their work out for others, gain a little recognition and perhaps, an agent for their next novel. Some days I am sure that they are questioning why they chose such a profession in the first place.
     You might be interested, or not, in what I do read in the blog world. These are the exception to the rule in all ways.
     A journalist friend keeps “Peace and Justice Maven,” and her slant on global issues can be alarming and insightful at the same time. When she was living and teaching in the Middle East, I knew that I was hearing about daily life from an authentic source. Her trials and joys from inner city D.C. teaching strengthened her, and I applauded her caring about youth so much that she stayed committed to her assignment.
     An English teacher writes a book blog, “To Thine Own Self Be True,” and often I get my new reading matter from her reviews. If nothing more, I enjoy her thorough analysis with a touch of her wit to boot. I will shamelessly add here that she wrote a thoughtful review about my book, “A Smidgen of Irish Luck.” That’s no easy feat when she and I have been close friends for years.
     “Vagabond Way” is an invitation to the rest of us by a young friend and her husband traveling around the world on a shoestring. They are living on the planet responsibly with a goal of working on each continent. Right now, they have finished a visit to the Patagonian region of Argentina, and I am finding memories through their voyage in their natural way with words and pictures.
     Most blogs are pretty ragged around the edges, too. There doesn’t seem to be any protocol. Certain blogs are cluttered, and others are well designed. There is a virtual audience out there, and it could surprise you. I often wonder how someone stumbles on to one blog versus another.
     If your goal is to express yourself through writing, then blogging is the avenue. I’m not going to discourage you. It is a way to develop your skills as a communicator thinking beyond yourself to a vast audience of potential readers. Envisioning faces instead of words on your computer screen connects what you say with real people.
      Prior to blogging — how modern I am — there was journaling. Folks will say that they prefer notebook and pen best to this day. I respect that opinion.
     Therapeutic journals have been wonderful avenues for expressing those inconsolable feelings that are below the surface. Once in awhile I will read a book that is the outcome of professional help sessions, and it is humbling walking in the footsteps of a person who has overcome adversity.
     If you have read Paul Theroux and Bill Bryson, then you know that their journals turned into wonderful books for the armchair traveler.
     When I was thirteen a friend gave me a pink plastic diary with a tiny key to unlock the pages of my overactive imagination. I wrote in it faithfully every day for a month until it was discovered by my little sister hidden in my bureau drawer under three layers of underwear. A little light bribery and all was well again.
      I blog what I need to get off my mind quickly. You might liken it to a writing warm-up exercise; it is as plain and simple as that. Once my thoughts are out, I hope that a reader somewhere in blogsville will make use of my post.