Monday, May 12, 2008


It's been a while since I wrote in this blog. A long while. I probably would have been even longer had it not been for an angry reaction to a post. I've deleted the post, because the anger was probably justified, and the most appropriate response seemed to be to delete it. I won't go into that in any detail, because then I'd just be making the same mistake again.

But the incident makes me want to express a few meandering thoughts. I am always struck by the fine line one walks when writing in a blog. How personal should one be? When you write personal stuff on a blog you're inviting commentary on the personal stuff from strangers, or at the least people you wouldn't normally share you're personal stuff with. People might disapprove or disagree and they may not be polite or thoughtful when they do so. I'm a shy and uptight Midwestern boy, not far removed from Obama's bitter people, so the idea of a blog makes me uneasy. Conflict makes me uneasy. Being judged by others makes me uneasy. Lot's of things make me uneasy. If I didn't love writing, and if the idea that people would read any of this wasn't simultaneously abstract and ridiculous, I couldn't think about doing this.

I have done it, though, and I haven't just written about myself. When you write about other people and their lives, they may read it and be unappreciative. When you write your honest opinions about other people's lives, the chances of backlash are much higher. People can be hurt and friendships can be destroyed, or at least seriously impinged. On the other hand, if you're writing a personal blog and being less than honest, what's the point? In an actual conversation involving someone other than my wife I might not say half of what I type, for a lot of reasons. I'm not sure which way that cuts. Certainly, one reveals a lot about themselves in their reflections on other people, and not all of it will be good. In this unmentioned case, that was certainly true. Who knows, maybe it's worthwhile if you learn something about yourself, and you use that knowledge in the future.

I do think it's true that people often aren't as thoughtful in blogs as they would be, and would expect others to be in person. Every minute I waste reading responses to articles on the election confirms that. And I'm as susceptible to that as anyone else, although you won't find me knocking off angry salvos at a presidential candidate and his or her supporters as if the rival candidate was my aunt or my second cousin. It is very easy to forget that real people are out there somewhere and can read what you write. It's even easier to think say and write stuff without really thinking it through. For some the cause might be a yearning for a female president, for me it is the yearning for the perfect phrase or some particularly biting bit of humor. Whatever the cause, the end result is still thoughtlessness, inappropriate statements, hurt feelings, uncalled for nastiness, etc.

I suppose I'm back in the blogging business, for whatever that's worth. I'm somewhat recharged and ready to continue to describe the life and times and potentially inappropriate thoughts of one stay at home dad. I'm certainly still at home, although not entirely by choice anymore (if you have a job you'd like to give me, please do! :) ).

I guess that the theme of this first wandering diatribe is the importance of thoughtfulness and consideration of the feelings of others, and also the importance of a cognizance and recognition of your own feelings and vulnerabilities ... even on the Internet. For me, I think it's important to be able to admit when I might be wrong, and recognize when it doesn't matter whether I'm right. That would be an important skill to pass on to my daughter.