Monthly Archives: June 2011

Mea Culpa: I Suck.

The last few posts on Prompt(ly) have left me feeling fully ashamed of myself. Rightfully so.

The ALI community is a wonderful, judgement-free place of comforting words, a refuge from those who don’t understand, a place where you should never hear words like “just relax” or “comment, more!!”.

I feel like I tried to put demands on this safe refuge. While that was not my intention, it is indeed what I did. I deserve to dwell in that knowledge for a while.

PLEASE don’t feel guilty if you think you don’t comment enough. Those in the ALI community feel enough guilt in our lives without stupid rules telling you to comment more.

I’d like to conclude with this wonderfully true statement from St. Elsewhere:

“To be fair, blogging conditioned to appeal to a certain type of readership sucks the joy out of blogging. So write like no one else is reading and respond like you really are reading.”




Filed under Uncategorized

Blog Etiquette: Should Bloggers Respond to Every Comment, Part Three

OK, so it turns out that there is more to say about why people comment or don’t. A lot more.

One of my favorite bloggers is Lut Cass. She has a wonderfully dry wit, and I’ll never forget when I was trying (and failing) to use philosophy to feel more joy, she told me this:

“I’ve decided long ago that philosophy was invented by men with too few household chores.”


She has at least a few times provided a voice of sanity on various issues I’ve brought up here over the last year. Today on Prompt(ly) she brought up another group of people who don’t comment: those who can’t read a blogger without being pained. (For example, commenting on pregnancy blogs when you are dealing with infertility.) Or a blogger thinks they would cause pain by commenting. (For example, you are pregnant or trying to conceive a second child, and you think bloggers wouldn’t appreciate your comments.) It’s a valid point, and I know that I have not commented on some people’s blogs because I feel I might cause hurt. And I admit that it’s very hard for me to read about bloggers celebrating their third or fourth pregnancies.

3) So this phenomenon would be the third category: Conscientious Avoiders.

I think there might be a partial solution for this. There was a fantastic blogger who seems to have disappeared into the ether. Her name was Miss Ruby, and she liked to say that if you couldn’t think of something to say to her, please leave her a pebble. That way she knew you were thinking of her, even if you didn’t have the words. The pebble was this, I think (.) In addition, WordPress offers the ability for a reader to “like” a post. I personally would love to see people use the pebble or like function more. What do you all think?

In addition, blogger Moandwill offered the thought, echoed by others, that reciprocity might be disingenuous. She works 70+ hours and struggles to make the time for blogging and commenting. Many, many others are in this same dilemma. Surely we don’t want to penalize bloggers for not having as much time to write and comment as others?

Finally, Mel reminded me of another category.

4) Established Bloggers. These bloggers have an established tribe and social circle.

As Mel articulated this category:

“(There are also) those who want comments, but they feel that at the moment they’re full-up on support and have their tribe. They are fine receiving comments from others outside of their tribe, but they’re not going to add more people to their commenting/reading world.”

Justine suggested maybe bloggers should state what blogging intentions are in their bio (or categorize themselves even). Maybe this would reduce hurt feelings and misunderstandings, which based on the comments I’ve received so far does seem to be a legitimate problem within the blogosphere.

So what do you think about all this? What I DON’T want to happen is this, again from Lut Cass:

“I see a danger in promoting a blog etiquette that puts high expectations on ALI bloggers. And that is that the bar for entry will be raised too high.”


Filed under Uncategorized, writing

Blog Etiquette: When Bloggers Ignore Comments, Part Two

The discussion provoked by the topic “When Bloggers Ignore Comments” proves that commenting on blogs is no simple matter. Want more? There’s at least ten more fascinating points of view on Prompt(ly).

What I’ve gathered: it seems like there are two different types of bloggers, who have different motivations.

1) The Conscientious Commenter: This can be a blogger, like Stumbling Gracefully, who responds to every comment they receive, whether they respond to a comment on their own blog, or whether they go to the commenter’s blog and respond there. This can be a blogger like Mel or Lori who are both inundated by comments but who try to do their best to involve their readers in conversation in some way, whether by email reply or re-tweeting someone’s post. This can be a blogger who responds to some comments, but not all. This can be a blogger who FEELS there is a reciprocal relationship between themselves and their readers, even if they don’t do a lot to engage their audience.

But, as I suspected, a few have confirmed to me that there is, indeed, another type of blogger.

2) The Connoisseurs: these are bloggers who blog for themselves. They write because they want to clear their heads and make sense of events. They write to keep an online record of their writing, trace patterns in their lives through their writing. They want to perfect their writing. If they receive comments, that is a plus, but getting comments is not their raison d’être. Now, when this particular type of blogger DOES comment on someone’s blog, it’s not because they feel obligated to, or want to reciprocate. A comment from them is the ultimate compliment: it’s their way of saying you’ve done something to kick ass. They appreciate your post like they would a glass of fine wine or an object of art or a piece of s’more pie. Or because you really are that damn funny. Among the big bloggers, I’d probably classify Julie of A Little Pregnant in this category. Do you agree? FoxyPopcorn has confirmed that she is this type of blogger, and has asked for peace between the two categories 😉

There should be room in the blogosphere for both type of bloggers, obviously. I think there are also bound to be misunderstandings between the two categories. I think I assumed that all bloggers were bound to reciprocate my admiration for them. Why? That’s not the way things work in the real world. Chris Martin may think that Thom Yorke is an unparalleled genius, but that does not guarantee Thom Yorke’s affection. In actuality, Thom Yorke doesn’t much care for Chris Martin. The unnamed bloggers who provoked the original post (neither of whom are Julie or FoxyPopcorn, BTW) probably liken my writing to Rebecca Black. They are not wrong.

I’m sure I’ve grossly oversimplified these categories. Maybe many people are a hybrid of these categories? I don’t want to set up some stereotypical buckets to put people into. I hate that. I don’t fit into any particular category myself as a human being.

I think maybe it’s MOST important to understand that there are different INTENTS behind blogging.

From Foxy Popcorn:
I think that acknowledging that my motivation for blogging could very well be different from someone else’s (is important). Maintaining a flexible set of guidelines that allow for and celebrate those differences is important to me.

My hope is that understanding this can lead to maybe better relations between bloggers? Now that I wrote that, I’m cringing a bit. I sound pretty grandiose. I AM listening to the “Inception” soundtrack right now 😉

There’s more! These bloggers have written great food for thought:

1. Hannah Laughed, Sarah Wept (Part One)
2. Hannah Laughed, Sarah Wept (Part Two) Complete with the most hilarious photo I’ve seen in weeks
3. Beyond the Wallpaper
4. Project Progeny
5. A Separate Life

Have you been writing about commenting? Let me know in the er, comments, below. I am reaching Blog Within a Blog Within a Blog levels…and Stumbling Gracefully and Bodega Bliss know that I take my Leo movies VERY seriously. BTW guys, he’s 36 !?!

Do you agree with all this? Or is this all a gross oversimplification? Do you hear “Friday (…comes before Satuuurdaay)” as your read this post?

Next time: Do you want to have an easier time replying to your comments? I have talked to some smart people, and therefore have some ideas…


Filed under writing

Bloggers Who Ignore Comments

I was listening to an NPR reporter interviewing a famous music producer. He noted that many songs are now coming from obscure writers, because they tweet a producer, the producer listens to a track online, loves it, cuts a deal.

The plus side of Twitter is that it is a very large Algonquin Round Table. One shaped as a pyramid. At the very top of the heap are the celebrities, the famous authors, sports stars, the movie stars. I don’t play on that top level. The second level down is the influential writers, directors, famous mommy bloggers, food writers, design buffs, chefs, wits, and just all around excellent masters of the art of the sharp, concise, terse yet powerful tweet. A lot of us play around with this level, and rarely get responded to. But if you do, it makes your day. If you don’t get a response, oh well. Then, there are all of the people who you follow based on your interests or blogging connections. These buddies are on your level. They are your peers, your friends. They commiserate on unique problems you may face (like infertility) or share your interest (*cough* obsession) with “Sherlock” or “Game of Thrones.” I admit that I sometimes feel like a loser when certain people I admire on twitter don’t respond to my tweets. But that’s unusual.

Blogging is different. I rarely comment on “the big blogs” unless I feel I have something unique and special to add to the discussion. Some of those blogs get hundreds or thousands of comments all with people saying the same thing over and over. But, then there are my bloggy friends, whose blogs I try to comment on as much as I can. Those blogs I have a special connection to (either because of interests or just friendship), and I comment often on them. Then there are other blogs, which I don’t comment as frequently on, but monitor and read and value.

Then there are the two or three smaller blogs that I really enjoy, whose posts always make me think differently about some issue. Sometimes I will spend 30 minutes working on a response, but the blogger either never responds to my comments nor do they comment on my own blog. I always wonder about them. Have I said something to offend them? Do they not appreciate comments? Do they not want discussion? None of these blogs get very many comments. And it makes me wonder if comments are, indeed, necessary to everyone?

To me, every comment is like a sparkling jewel. All of them make me think, and they all make me feel connected in a great sense to the world. I do try to either respond to comments or comment on people’s blogs who comment. Sometimes, I probably fail at that, and if so, I’m sorry. Is that what you think should be done? Or are comments superfluous, not necessary to your writing? Regardless of whether the blogger responds, what they have written matters to me and has made an impact. Maybe that’s enough?

What do you think?


Filed under writing

Does Music Inspire You to Write?

I LOVE Prompt(ly), Stirrup Queen’s new project. If you haven’t been, go check it out.

I have been thinking of ways to get the writer-ly juices flowing. I have one quarter of a book to finish, and I need to get moving. But I don’t blog daily either, one of my goals for this year. So, how should I inspire myself?

I find lately that music can be that inspiration. I like the “Atonement” soundtrack a lot. As I was listening to it the other day, my iLike application suggested “Buckbeat’s Flight,” from “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.” So I bought it, and I remembered that the scene the music was written for is one of my favorite scenes in the series so far.

Here’s the scene:

Isn’t this one of the most perfect distillations of pure joy ever put on screen? There are a few moments in my life when I have felt this way: walking up the aisle at my wedding after my beloved and I were wed, driving through the middle of a wildebeest migration and rappelling down the face of a mountain in the Alps. Those moments were far and few between: unless you are a mountain climber or an adrenaline junkie, you only have a small amount of them in your life. But, oh, how beautiful they are. And we should harbor them in our memory. Safeguard them for the times we have people telling us we are “less than”. For those times when life seems completely shitty. For those times when sorrow creeps in. Somewhere, at some time, you rode a hippogriff and yelled; “Woo-hoo!”

And that moment was worth 12,000 bad ones.


Filed under Discovering joy, writing