Thursday, August 04, 2005

Thoughts on Intelligent Blogging

Blogging can be a very lazy pastime. You flick through random blogs on your blogroll and maybe some on other people’s blogrolls, skimming over thoughts and opinions and then posting your own half-thought-out opinions on their opinions. You pick up notes and quotes and reactions and post-post-post, then the “work” day’s over, and you head home and don’t give it a second thought.

I have been a seething mess this month on the subject of my moving. I’m angry at my roommate and her SO. I’m mad I had to do everything myself. I’m mad because my poor boyfriend tried to help and ended up throwing out his back. I’m mad that I can’t say I’m mad because it’s not my roommates’ fault that they couldn’t help me. It was a matter of timing, and when the upstairs apartment went empty, they’d already had their plans for the summer made, and nobody would be home for a week before and a week after the move. There's really nobody to be mad at. I'm just mad in general.

I sucked this up like a good roommate, told myself it was what it was, just a matter of timing. But carrying the entirety of a household up two flights of stairs and trying to make a house livable for three people, all by myself, really made me angry. And tired. And sore. I've been in pain of one kind or another for the last three months. That hasn't boded well, either. Being in pain tends to make me angry, too.

When I get angry, my knee-jerk posts become more plentiful, I cease bothering to think through other people’s arguments before posting them, and all sorts of supposedly “insightful” commentary goes down the drain. I get angry. I get lazy. I get tired. I switch off all my internal bullshit filters.

I had a couple of people very close to me, people I trust and respect, tell me my blogging was getting reactionary and ill-thought-out. I was losing some of the sharp wit and actual argumentative reasoning skills that make pointing out people’s bullshit so much fun.

It was suggested that some of this may be because I’m a part of “the feminist blogging community,” and as my hit count’s gone up, I’ve gotten lazier and more reactionary. There’s a reason wackjobs like, say, Ann Coulter get big audiences. There’s a carwreck voyeurism about it that keeps you clicking for more.

My first thought was, “We have a community?” But it’s true, there is. We’ve got the feminist blogs site, we’re on each other’s blog rolls, and there’s a circle of us who all cite each other. The faux feministing site was a great parody for good reason.

What that means is that instead of this being Kameron Hurley’s blog, it was becoming a Feminist Community Blog.

Don’t get me wrong: being part of a community is great. You get to “meet” lots of fascinating people. Unfortunately, you also get so comfortable with everybody’s ideas, you see the same ideas espoused so often and with so much ire, that you start believing them all wholesale and not questioning or interrogating them. They become your whole world, because it’s all you’re reading.

Ideally, this blog should be a neat amalgamation of thoughts and opinions – my thoughts and opinions – on feminism, fat acceptance, science fiction and fantasy books and film, martial arts & boxing and fitness in general, and women & warfare.

It should also be about me and my writing. Because that’s why I started it. I have a life I want to live, a person I want to be, and that’s why this blog is here, to document that journey from here to there and everything in-between, including the long road that is writing books and begging somebody to buy them so you can pay off your student loans. Cause you're writing books anyway. Might as well get paid for them.

And I’ve been so knee-jerk pissed at everything that I’ve done less commentary and more “Fuck this!” linking.

In fact, most of the fun of the blog was starting to go. It was becoming “The world is so fucked up!” instead of “Look at this neat thing! How can we make it better?”

A lot of that is because I’ve been really fucking angry at the world, angry at my living arrangement, angry at the people around me, angry at myself.

And I need to calm the fuck down and think clearly again.

I also need to finish my goddamn book. I need to write about 100 pages in the next 11 days. And I'm nervously waiting for an agent's letter about whether she wants to see the rest of the fantasy saga (this is the last agent I'm trying before I'm tabling the book), and I'm a lot more anxious about it than I should be.

This is the last shot that book gets. I'll be trying to sell the next one in December.

No pressure.

Damn, I'm tired.

9 comments so far. What are your thoughts?

Rhyannnon Smith said...

honestly

"I’ve been really fucking angry at the world... angry at the people around me, angry at myself.

And I need to calm the fuck down and think clearly again."

thats exactly how i've been feeling the past couple of months!

take a couple of hours to breath.
thats what i plan to do...
 

Posted by rhyannon

Anonymous said...

One interesting thing about being part of a blogging community (mine being the infertiles) you can step on folks toes and get totally ostracized.

And you can lose readers by diverting from what they believe is "the point." When I started talking about politics, people got all kinds of angry at me. But some good things happened too--by discussing my personal experience, I was able to change some minds about "partial birth abortions" (I had one to save my life in October, although the pregnancy was wanted).

Anyway, I'm rambling. But that's what your post made me think of. Good luck on your book, and I enjoy your site. 

Posted by Cecily

Anonymous said...

Rest & replenish. I hope you come back, because you are terrific.
Be well. 

Posted by tiramisu

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the insight here K. This is where impressment comes in handy, but you probably needed more help than just B. there. I always used to help fellow apartment dwellers move. I've helped with my share of pianos and monster dressers. It's a major pain in the butt that does not get any easier with age. Neither does the pain. All those old crabby folks you remember as a kid? They were'nt mad at the world or hated kids (OK not especially), they probably were in chronic pain. It's a hidden universe of suffering that only affects about 1/4 of us at any one time. That's on a good day too. I hope you heal up and feel better soon.

And you mentioned months ago that your schedule on the blog would be light due to your writing. You alone can't be responsible for all our blogy entertainment and infotainment, right?

At top speed I was never able to produce more than a page an hour, so you must be able to do some serious damage in a short amount of time to get to where you need to be.

[Oh Yeah, I'd try to charge back some of the moving services in 'in kind contributions' of some sort from said roomies. It's the only fair thing to do.]

Cheers & Good Luck Kameron! 'VJ'  

Posted by VJ

Anonymous said...

I hadn't concsciously noticed a change in your blog, except for perhaps a wider range of topics including more (justified) feminist anger stuff and some positive boyfriend stuff. Still, when I first started reading, a lot of my interest was in your training and such, and I was (and am) generally inspired by your take on life.

The 'negative linking' stuff? Well, I think you're right that you've been doing more of that, and if you want to do less of that and more positive stuff, that's great, but I also think that we all go through various moods and attitudes, and that's just fine. Anger can be justified, even if it's not what we want to be feeling (as much as you were feeling it, anyway).

I know that you know all of this, probably, but it's something I've been thinking of regarding myself, so I thought I'd throw it out there.

Another thing: I didn't glean from this post that you were gonna stop blogging, but rather you were once again changing your focus...but about halfway through the post it seems as if you're going to tell us that you're stopping for a while. What's up?

(On a side note regarding your roommate: Um. Was it just about timing? Didn't she have ANY other friends in the area who she could recruit to come help you because of the shitty timing? Even if she had plans that couldn't easily be changed, it's not as if the only thing she could do was either go on the trip or leave you to do it alone. She could have recruited people to help you, hired somebody to help you, agree to do your share of the general household chores for a few weeks after the move -- or agree to do the unpacking of the common areas.) 

Posted by jpjeffrey

Anonymous said...

Sorry that I don't live closer, otherwise I'd help you move in.

Great entry about the almost cult-like aura of blogging communities, I felt myself nodding my head the whole time. 

Posted by Simon Owens

Anonymous said...

"What that means is that instead of this being Kameron Hurley’s blog, it was becoming a Feminist Community Blog." 

It sounds like you want your blog to be more well-rounded in reflecting your interests; if that's the case, the sidebar (which I love, btw) only reflects feminism. If you quote extensively from feminist history, but then complain that you've become part of a community and you don't like it, then I would suggest putting more of a mix in your blog template.

Sorry if that sounds critical. Your post was really interesting in that it raised quite a few issues for me (even though you were talking about yourself and your blog). I'm writing a bit of a response to it.

What really comes through is that you've been very very tired - hope you get some rest and enjoy your new living quarters. 

Posted by Sour Duck

Anonymous said...

I think we all go through mood swings with our blogs - periods of self-doubt, anger, laziness and sheer "i cant be bothered to blog ever again" "whats the point" etc etc But all these mood swings are just expressions of yourself which are transferred to your blog - this is a great blog one of my favs, keep it up, change it, blast it, same old thing - whatever its great
cheers 

Posted by owukori

Anonymous said...

Damn, I've been pissed off lately too. I even quit blogging about a month ago or so then decided after a week that I couldn't because it's my only outlet. But I've been pissed off at the world too and I'm beginning to think I need to take another break ...

Good luck with the book. I wish you well with it. And thanks for this post. It helps to feel that you're not the only one banging your head against a wall at times ... 

Posted by Stephanie