How to Read a Blog

When my friends and I get together, we don’t always agree on everything that is being said by every person.  This is because we are all smart, outspoken individuals who think a lot and form opinions a lot and express them a lot…and fairly eloquently, I might add.  We’re all writers.

Three of us were together just the other night and there was a discussion that was personal and passionate and it became a bit of an argument and there were some tears held back and the whole thing came to a head and then we moved on.  And there wasn’t total agreement in the end but there was understanding.  And the entire conversation came from a place of love – real love – and hope and a desire to help and a need to be understood and it was passionate but never ugly.  That’s how true friends communicate.  It was a really great evening.

When you read a blog, it should be in this spirit.  You find someone who has traits that you like and you read their stuff.  In a way, you become friends.  Blogs are a fairly new kind of thing and lots of people have them and we don’t really know how to categorize them in our heads so maybe, as a blogger (a title I only recently and reticently accepted) maybe I can give you some insight.

When we first starting writing our blogs, we were only speaking to our friends and family.  Those were the only people reading our stuff.  They know us and they love us and expressing and exposing ourselves felt safe in that environment. Sure, we secretly hoped for more – maybe a friend of a friend?  Dare we dream?  But, mostly, we were just looking for an outlet and a connection.

The world is different now.  We are geographically farther from our friends and family than ever before in history.  We made travel easy and we made picking up and moving easy and so now a lot of us do it.  And our communities have become scattered.  If the lovely women with whom I share my deepest thoughts and feelings lived next door and came in and out of my house at will like people did in the olden days, maybe I wouldn’t even have a blog.  But they don’t and I am oft alone and I like to write down what I’m thinking.

There are lots of creative people out there and for some of us, this is our outlet.  In the same way that you gratefully accept the cookies from your friend and her kids who lovingly baked them even though you know you will throw them away the moment they leave because oh my gosh you hate it when nuts are in your cookies, accept the thoughts and beliefs of the blogger.  They were put out there with love.  You don’t have to adopt them as your own.  That’s not what I mean when I say “accept them.” What I mean is accept that we have differences and admire the creativity it took to write it and the fortitude it took to expose personal feelings to the public and the thinking.  Admire the thinking.  There’s a lot of thoughtlessness in the world today, let’s not punish the thinkers – even when we don’t agree.

Bloggers do not have editors and most of us are not paid – if we are paid, it isn’t enough to quit the day job.  If we had editors, there would be someone to make sure typos are corrected and thoughts are clear and metaphors aren’t mixed.  But we don’t – so we do our best to edit ourselves but it’s a flawed system to be sure.  We hope that you will give as much thought in your reading as we do in our writing – even when it is imperfect.  We hope that you will make an effort to understand what we are TRYING to say – the point we are TRYING to make – without jumping on and slamming us because you have chosen to literally interpret a metaphor.  Try to read the blog in the spirit in which it was intended – just as you would try to understand a friend who was struggling to make a point.  If you need clarification, you can ask for it just as you would with a friend at the coffee shop.

We are posting blogs on the way out the door to do the other 20 things on the list and we are giving them to you for free.  And we love you and admire you for taking the time to read.  If you don’t agree with what we have to say, that’s totally OK.  If you always disagree, you should find a new blog to read.  If you feel there’s another side to a particular story, feel free to comment.  We all know we are not writing fact.  We know we are writing opinion.  We assume you know that as well.  You can write your opinions, too.  But we cared when we wrote the blog and you should use care when you respond.  If we didn’t call you names, please don’t call us names.  It’s OK to not agree but surely we were all raised better than that.

I’ve never liked the word “blogger.”  First of all, it’s just an ugly word.  It is a portmanteau of “web” and “log.” Neither of those words are particularly pretty.  When you put them together, it could easily be an onomatopoetic way of referring to vomit.  I prefer the word “portmanteau,” actually, and am bummed that it was already taken.  So “BLOG” it is.  OK.

I also never liked the connotations that come along with that word because I consider myself to be a real writer and blogs are kind-of a joke.  Anybody who can manipulate the keys on a laptop can have one.  But today I was thinking about how brave the bloggers I know are.  We write about our lives.  We let strangers into our personal, private moments – ones that might make us less attractive.  We let you know some embarrassing shit sometimes.  We do it to make a connection.  We want to make a human connection and we do it bravely.  That’s admirable regardless of how our opinions about politics or parenting or whatever might differ from your own.

I’m a blogger.

Yeah…it’s still a terrible word.  But I’ll accept it because I so admire the company I keep – bloggers and readers of blogs alike.

So I’m a blogger.  Right now you’re a reader.  I am a million other things, too, and so are you.  We’re all just doing our best in a world that’s tough to navigate.

Friendships can form anywhere – under the strangest of circumstances.  We consider this a friendship.  We hope you do, too, as you’re reading.

That’s the only way to read a blog.


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