To Blog or Not to Blog
Expectations often fail to comport with reality. Such is the case with this blog. But before I expand on that, your assignment, should you choose to accept it (sound familiar, Charlie’s Angels fans?), is to review my first posting in August 2013: Words of Welcome…etc. You will find it in the August Archive on the right.
First, to give you a bit of history, for several years friends who like my writing style urged me to begin blogging. I was briefly tempted when a reporter from the local paper suggested I write a blog for the paper. I have been one of the few go-to Americans when the paper wanted a pithy quote in reaction to a current election or breaking news from Washington. But then I remembered that individuals with experience in blogging had written that it consumed their lives. As I had my ceramics to occupy me, I politely refused. But the suggestions continued.
Then came my operation that left me with several disabilities, but an intact mind. Emailing became my lifeline, my social life. Unable to eat or to talk clearly, I discovered that writing to friends about different subjects, not least politics, was a satisfying way to stay connected. I found that sitting in front of the computer writing to friends was my new social life.
There is little doubt that I became insufferable at times, bloviating about right wing conservatives undermining the Constitution or the rights of women being ignored. Thanks to the forbearance of my early readers, they stuck with me despite this. My legal background, not to mention my natural cautiousness, gave me a degree of believability that led some friends and even relatives to increase their suggestions that blogging might be in my future. Well, it was that or they realized that a blog might result in their being spared some of my windy discourses. On that they were right. Now I can direct my windy discourses at a wider audience: those who do me the honor of reading what I have written.
My ill-informed initial efforts at starting a blog were aided by long-time, multi-talented friend, Dave Meyers, who cobbled together a facsimile of what I had in mind, but it was going nowhere thanks to my practically boundless ignorance of basic blogging knowledge. Finally, when my talented daughter, Kathy, a self-described computer “geek,” said she would put together the blog for me, the project moved forward. Either that or I’ve gone soft in the head. My artist wife’s volunteering to design the banner of the blog was the last hurdle. A blog was indeed in my future.
The plan was that the blog would debut in September when my high school class was to have its reunion. I couldn’t attend the reunion but my blog would be the substitute. Kathy pointed out that the blog should go public in August so we could work out the bugs that were sure to crop up. So it was that my first piece titled Words of Welcome and Some Descriptions of “Worth Checking Out” hit the Internet on August 22, 2013.
I hope that the pieces I have published since my opening salvo have, if not inspired you, led at least to thoughts you’ve not previously considered or possibly to disagreement with those thoughts. That said, I am interested in any comments you’d care to make about the pieces already written or suggestions you’d care to submit for future pieces.
Back to Expectations and Reality—
Now to drop the other shoe, what were my expectations and what has been the reality? I expected that my pieces on religion, now numbering two or possibly three, would result in comments expressing some level of disagreement. The reality has been that those pieces have been met with a shrug of silence. I’ve tried to divine why this is the case. Is it because the readers feel that religion is a private matter or is it that they are taking care of my feelings by not disagreeing with me?
The one piece that touches on religion but deals primarily with justice, Free Will: R.I.P., has generated both heated disagreement and thorough confusion over what I was saying. What I believed was clearly stated has been seen by some to be muddy or not understandable. I made an effort to remedy that by writing Part 2 to the Free Will piece, but that elicited a similar response that came through regular email instead of by way of a public comment. Again, expectations failed to comport with reality. I still have to ponder that one.
Contrasted with those, some pieces have resulted in high levels of interest but little or no public comment. Drugs (marijuana) and the Syrian situation are examples.
Ones that brought a large response in both numbers of readers and comments dealt with death with dignity. They were intended to state my philosophy about personal autonomy in connection with observed mental deterioration in friends as well as my own disabilities. Many friends responded with great concern over my honestly revealed feelings believing that I was on the brink of taking my own life. I reassured them that while I was tempted by the thought of nothingness, I intended to hope for and look ahead to improvement. Indeed, my current intensive swallowing therapy holds some hope for improvement in that critical area.
The past two months have taught me an enormous amount about both expectations and reality. But they have brought some frustrations as well. One is that with few exceptions, readers have shown a distinct reluctance to publicly comment on the pieces I have written. Comments are a way for me to gauge reader interest or to suggest that clarification is needed on something I have written. If you disagree with what I have written, tell me what you believe and why you believe I am wrong. Additionally, they are a way for readers to suggest other possible pieces for the future. Comment if you feel moved by something I’ve written.
Another frustration is that readers often fail to realize that they can receive notifications in their email accounts of future pieces as they are published. This frees them from the need to check the blog site from time to time. To do this—and I urge you to do this if you haven’t already done so and are interested in what I have to say—you can enter your email address in the box titled “Subscribe to DeBaytable via Email” on right side of the Home Page.
This piece gives potential bloggers my experience with blogging. Every day is both a surprise and educational. Surprise that what I thought would interest or arouse readers failed to bring the result I had expected. Educational in that reader response or lack of response revealed that what interests me will not necessarily interest readers. Is it that the title doesn’t reach out and grab your attention or is it that my writing is dull or perhaps too pedantic? As long as you comment on what I have written, I will have some sort of guide as to what interests you. My job is to not only let you know what moves me but to give you material that will engage your interests. Let me hear from you.
Yeah, blogging is eating my life, but I’m having fun and it keeps me out of trouble.