Friday, October 16, 2009

the rest is silence

story
A while back, I found a fascinating blog called One Post Wonder, which is, as the name suggests, a collection of blogs that only contain one -- or, in some cases, two or three -- posts. Inspired, I conducted my own googling expedition and found lots and lots of abandoned blogs.

No matter how prosaic the entries are, the fact that the blogger started to say something and then just . . . stopped wraps the orphaned words in a poignant and glowy and mysterious aura, with a Mary Celeste-ine (Mary Celestial?) or look-on-my-works-ye-mighty-and-despair kind of appeal.

Once upon a time, someone decided to tell us the very beginning of a story. And then, suddenly, no more, all done. It's a story without an end -- or, I suppose, a story that's nothing but an end. And I can't help wondering what happened.

I think I'm going to post a series of the one-post blogs I found, but in the meantime, I'm very curious about how many of you are reading this, but don't blog or don't blog anymore.

So, if you're not a blogger, would you at least consider leaving a comment about why you don't blog and what would make you think about starting one. And if you once had a blog, but gave it up or post much less than you used to -- why did you walk away?


eta: The responses to this post are so interesting and, honestly, not at all what I expected. Thanks so much for your answers. You've given me a lot to think about.

50 comments:

Elizabeth said...

I have two active blogs, and somewhere out there a discontinued one-post-wonder that I always imagine I'll go back and revive someday. The abandoned blog started out as a concept - something I dreamed about while lying awake at night - but I never mustered up the time or energy to follow through with building it up to be what I envisioned it to be.

I have other projects like that too - projects that took on a crystalline quality in my mind but never materialized. Like the multicultural/organic preschool I was going to organize, complete with a "world garden," or the hand-knit baby sweater business (although I did manage a half-assed version of that - a friend who had a table at the local farmer's market did sell some of my stuff).

I think it's less an active "walking away" than it is a more passive "didn't have time to walk over there today" for many many days in a row.

Petra said...

I used to have a travel-blog back in the days. I abandonded it after I had an early miscarriage while traveling, my marriage turned into hell and I fell into a deep & dark hole. All within 4 weeks. I didn't know what to say, except: I want a new life. And I didn't want to bare my feelings in front of everybody that knows me in RL (including clients). The happy-times were over. The blog, too. And I had no idea that the worst part was still to come...

Today (3 years later), after having to give birth to my dead son and watch my marriage go down the drain, I feel very compelled to have a blog again. A blog where I can share my thoughts & feelings, my sadness & anger. I won't tell anybody in RL and keep it my sacred place.

Reading babyloss-blogs is helping me tremendously... The question remains: Can I go on without having a blog myself? I will think about that.

Though I'm positive I will revive my travel-blog, when it's time for me to pack my backpack again.

Anonymous said...

I do not have a blog - never have and I don't think I ever will. My work and personal life are quite intertwined and somewhat public already. The topics I would want to write about would be too easy to associate with me and potentially damaging if that occurred. I don't even feel comfortable doing much on FB. Instead, I enjoy thoughtful blogs like this one.

fuentes said...

I started a blog once about my husband's addition but quickly decided that rather than being therapeutic it just made it harder for me to deny its existence or at least be at peace with its existence so I stopped writing. Lately I’ve been thinking that people prefer to read about others tragedies so I may start it again but I think I’ll start in the middle and write about what I see rather than what I feel.

Rory said...

I started two blogs, but haven't updated either in quite a while. The first one was intended to be just for me, a place to put thoughts about my life and a place to write about my loss, as no one IRL wants to talk about it any longer. The second one tends to center around my son. I have done a few posts on there, and even got a couple of comments when I used my blogger account to comment on a couple of blogs.
There are a few reasons why I haven't kept up with them. I want to remain anonymous, but that takes effort. I work full time and don't seem to have time to update once I get home at night and spend time with my guys. I don't feel that I write well enough/interesting enough, and that's why I stopped using my blogger account to leave comments. I feel I bore people when I leave comments, so why would I try to direct them to more boring writing? Even now, it's a toss-up on whether or not I will actually hit publish on this.

leanne said...

I don't have a blog. While I do enjoy writing, well, I just have never taken the plunge. Perhaps for a number of reasons. I wonder with all the other blogs out there, would people read yet another one? Would I be able to keep up with it? Am I willing to put myself out there in a blog? The last two are probably my biggest stumbling blocks.

Also... I like reading others. And I wonder if I would have as much time to read if I would blog. And I wonder if I have more to offer by reading and commenting/supporting than I would blogging.

Mindy said...

I started a blog once...I posted a couple of entries, but no more after that. I suppose it's still out there in bloggy land somewhere. I just felt that my life seemed so insignificant and boring compared to the posts that I was reading from others.

I guess that my problem was that I couldn't think of anything to write about, and that I was too lazy to really try to come up with some good ideas. Sounds lame, I know! :)

Amy said...

I don't have a blog but I love to read them.

I have often thought it would be .....good? theraputic? interesting? to start one and have titled and composed several in my head. But I have many concerns - starting with several posed by Leanne's above (would I feel rejected if no one read my blog?) but also another biggie: would my life start to become a series of activities designed to inspire a good blog post? I often wonder about many of the bloggers that I read and if their lives become sort of gobbled up by their blog. Like, do you conduct many of your life experiences for the sole purpose of having something to blog about? I realize that is sort of extreme, but I really don wonder about it.

Anyone else ever have that thought?

Anonymous said...

I started a blog in July, inspired from reading yours, among others. It's pretty, but I only put up one post. And that one is a quote from a Pink Floyd song. Everyday, I think of the things I would write about in my blog, but I never write them down. Sometimes I visit my blog, but it's still empty. I suppose I blog in my head, where all my best work resides. In my head, I'm a great writer. Like everything else, I can't get anything out of there.

Anonymous said...

I have a blog, but rarely post. I don't think I write well. I need a bigger, better vocabulary. I worry too much about who my audience is and what they'll think about me, my writing and what I've said. I made it private thinking that would help, but it doesn't. I wanted a blog to document my life and process some of the issues I have in my life, but sometimes I read what I wrote and I wonder if I write myself more crazy than I really am. Then I just get frustrated and don't blog. Then I get frustrated with myself that I don't post more. Evil cycle right there, I tell ya what.

Alexicographer said...

Mostly time and privacy. The first problem is imagined, as if I spent less time reading others', I'd have plenty ...

The Nanny said...

This is creepy, I know...but when I come across those one, two, or three post blogs I always wonder if the author died. And it's rather haunting.

LAS said...

I have a second blog that no one knows about yet that I have yet to post on. It was supposed to be a transition away from the blog I currently have. Like a new start because so much of my life has changed since I started my current blog. I don't post like I used to. I just feel like I have nothing to say.

Bea said...

I wonder about this all the time. The short answer as to why I don't blog nearly as much anymore is that I've run out of things to say. The long answer has something to do with my audience - for a long time I felt confident in my audience, that I could throw anything out there, no matter how trivial, and it would be gobbled up. Now there is a kind of palpable boredom and I can't really tell how much of it is coming from me and how much of it really is a change in my readers. And I don't know for sure who left the building first.

Ashley said...

I had a blog, but got nervous about privacy issues. I tracked visitors and could see that many people were visiting, but not commenting. It made me uncomfortable that I was sharing photos and life information with complete strangers.

Liones5 said...

I don't blog because my life is boring. I live vicariously through others' blogs.

I also have a hard time dealing with other people's emotions, so I like to read emotional blogs so I can sort of know what to say when people are sad/upset.

I also have very few truly close friends IRL, and I will admit that I like to use the blogs I follow as 'friends' when having conversations with coworkers: "my friend just had/lost her baby" etc. I like to think it makes me seem social and empathetic.

I really get attached to my bloggers, and get anxious when I am waiting "with them" for test results, etc. I also get mildly upset when they haven't posted in a while - like it's their job to entertain me! (I realize that is irrational).

I want all my blogs to have happy endings, but I notice when they do, they stop updating as frequently, or at all...

Wabi said...

I still have a blog but post very irregularly now. I didn't start the blog as a strictly themed thing -- In fact, I wanted it to be opened ended so I could write about whatever/whenever. But given the grief storm that life was in the early days of my blogging, now it sort of only feels "natural" to write loss reflections there. While I still have moments of mourning I share, they are much rarer.

I'm a little reluctant to say this, but my posting pattern is also reinforced by comment patterns. I never received tons of comments, but I used to get a lot more than I do now. They egged me on to post more. But now that life is better, whenever I write something unrelated to death/grief/fear/illness, I get pretty much zero comments. Whereas my occasional angsty posts? They still get commented on. And while I understand the dynamic that causes this from the reader perspective, it can start to feel a triffle unhealthy from the writer perspective. So that makes me hold back posting these days, too.

KP said...

I don't have a blog--I just finished residency and am working full time in medicine. Plus, I'm a psychiatrist, so I get concerned about my privacy, which prevents me from having an online presence. I found infertility blogs after having a miscarriage at 7 weeks in 2007, ironically while I was working on labor and delivery for a month. I processed the loss by reading other women's experiences with loss, and then kept reading because I enjoy hearing about what it's like for women in various stages of fertility and motherhood. I specialize in reproductive psychiatry, so it's both for my own enjoyment and because it helps me be more empathic when I see women struggling with infertility, loss and depression/anxiety.

kateypie35 said...

I have a blog, and its sporadic at best. I think its a self esteem thing - I don't think I am a very good writer, and I am pretty sure no one really cares what I have to say. This is the same reason I can't get fully on board with Twitter. Too much pressure to come up with witty banter about my day...but...ick? Who cares!!
I do want a record of life with my child, so I think I will try harder. For him.

Anonymous said...

I have three blogs: one for work, one for my kid and one for me. The work one is neglected but updated monthly or so. The one about my daughter is pretty much dead b/c I worry about her privacy (or as my father says, "inviting perverts into [my] house") and like the others above said, I'm critical of my writing and unsure that I have interesting things to say. The one for me is a one-post-wonder b/c I didn't have time to keep it up and again, I worry about privacy and don't think I could keep my streams from crossing, so to speak.

Paula

Jayme said...

I am a blog hopper. I make one for a specific reason and then when my life circumstances change, abandon it or delete it.

I do keep a private LiveJournal that I've had for years and years- six or seven now.

I've kept my loss blog up, only because I know reading others helped me when I needed it most, and perhaps I can help someone else.

I started another blog when I got pregnant again, because it didn't feel right discussing pregnancy on a deadbaby blog... and I am still posting there now that I've had a successful pregnancy, so now that's turned into our family blog.

moplans said...

I post less because I became afraid that I had revealed too much and could be discovered.
I also needed to get out more. It has been good.

Rachael said...

I had a blog for several years, and while I initially enjoyed writing, I eventually gave it up because I felt way too much (self-imposed) pressure to be smart and funny and clever in every post. Maybe I'm smart, funny, or clever at times, but I was never any of things often enough to make writing seem worth it. And I hated the feeling that I was disappointing my readers. As the readership grew, the pressure grew, too, and when readers started to complain that I didn't write often enough or that I sounded unhappy (when in fact I was just bored or uninspired to write), I decided it wasn't worth it. I should also mention that my blog had my real name attached to it (I wasn't writing very often about infertility--it was more a blog about being a university professor). Maybe if I hadn't felt like my real self was on display, I wouldn't have been so sensitive and weird about those readers' reactions. In retrospect, they were all very kind and I appreciate their comments, but at the time, I felt overwhelmed.

It's been about two years since I gave it up and I do not miss blogging at all. In fact, I have much more time to read other people's blogs and to enjoy the time I spend reading and commenting now that I don't have a blog of my own. If anything, I feel more dedicated as a reader than I ever did as a writer and I'm grateful that other people write such beautiful and honest blogs. For now, my role is (happily) reader and occasional commenter.

Anonymous said...

Well, there are several reasons I don't blog. For one, I do not have reliable internet service. I am basically borrowing an aircard from work and have to give it back when they remember I have it--it's a big miracle that I finally have a computer given my precarious financial status. Another is I am afraid that I would be found out and would have said none-too-flattering things about people in real life. I have enough trouble with Facebook. Someone at work literally went home on lunch and started a FB account for me and that's how I even have that. I do not friend anyone but accept all friend requests. I do not use my children's names on it at all and delete the posts that use their names. Can we say paranoid?

I thought I might start a deadbaby blog after I found the existence of them after my loss but feel like it's all been said and better. Oddly, I read niobe before my loss.

-e

Jackie said...

I have two blogs, but one hasn't been updated for 6 months now. Not sure if I will go back to that one or not. I feel like the purpose it served has passed, but I don't want ot delete it, incase someone else out there stumbles upon it and it helps them on their journy in some way.

Jen said...

I suppose technically I have a Livejournal blog site that I signed up for reasons that escape me at the moment. It wasn't to blog with, that's for certain. I'm very strange/paranoid about my online presence. I'm listed in the phonebook, both number and address, for god's sake, but I do NOT like it when people use my name or my kids' names online. Creeps me out. Yeah, I don't understand it either. I think perhaps because while I can physically be found through the white pages or you can call me, the phone book contains no other information about me. Whereas online, information never truly goes away. Never.

My husband is forced to use "my wife" or J. when referring to me. Our (live) children are E1 and E2. I use a pseudonym online and never refer to my children nor my husband by name.

It basically comes down to comfort level. I don't know that I'm clever enough to blog about my life in such a way that someone who knows me wouldn't know that it was me instantly. You won't find me on facebook, either. I think I would feel too naked.

Cheryl said...

I don't have a blog...I'm a devout reader, always have been...so now I read more than books, I read the blogs of people who I admire and whose writing inspires me. I'm not a writer, never have been. Really don't think I have anything to say that anyone else would really care about, same reason I never post to Facebook. But, my daily routine includes reading the blogs of many of you. Like a wonderful novel, I find happiness, sadness and incredible hope in the daily blogs that I read. I am a better person because of what I read. Thank you for sharing.

Deshaine said...

I've always wanted to be one of those types of bloggers that have a multitude of readers and a following that would not allow me to stop blogging.

I started my blog because of my friend who started a blog. I wanted to be motivation for her to post. But, my life has gotten so incredibly busy, I barely have time to breath.

When I first started my blog, I would blog at work, during the down times. Well, the down times got longer and longer and I found that i was not working. At all. I was supposed to be studying for a work related designation, and instead, I spent my study time blogging about nothing important.

Then my husband fell ill and spent some time in the hospital. I had a falling out with a business partner and I felt like my life was falling apart. I didn't feel posting my woes would be beneficial to anyone. I wanted to post about happy things. Not sad things. So I quit blogging and started studying again for my designation.

Currently, I am working 40-hours at a full time job (yes, I actually work at it these days), 2-4 weddings per months as a freelance photographer, actively pursing a commission in the United States Air Force (gym 6 days per week, and studying for the AFOQT) and desperately trying to be a good mom and a decent wife.

So far, I think I am doing sub-standard all around.

painted maypole said...

this has been fascinating. you have a high number (it seems to me) of readers who don't blog... maybe because of the dead baby niche? (can I call it that? ack) anyhow... it was interesting to read the comments as someone who is currently in a blogging slump... I haven't given it up, and actually think that part of my LIFE slump is the lack of time I'm taking on the blog to write it out and think it through. So I kind of miss it, even though I'm still doing it, if that makes any sense. I do wonder how people just chuck it all and walk away.

dj said...

I don't think I'll write anything because a) as you said, what one puts on the internet stays on the internet, and I'm quite private, and b) I have nothing extraordinary to say, and don't have (anymore) the fine art of mastering the words.

flutter said...

I am about two steps away from completely dismantling my blog and walking away. The sense of community that I once felt is waning and the highschool aspect of it is starting to make me feel like less of a person.

Anonymous said...

I had a blog that I kept for awhile, but even though it was anonymous, it just felt too risky to put anything of substance on there. So I took it down.

I kept another blog for a very short period of time, to communicate with extended family about a specific issue. Once the situation resolved, I took down the blog, after printing out the entries for my own keeping.

Kristin said...

I had a period of about a year and a half that I rarely posted during. It was post infertility and my life was going to hell in a handbasket and I just couldn't deal with it...so I didn't blog. Now I'm back and have been for over almost 2 years.

Lacri said...

I started a blog about my daughter's death. I realised quickly that my thoughts were neither profound nor interesting. I keep a private diary now.

Anonymous said...

Blog entries have composed themselves in my head for some time, now. However, they have not seen the light of the interwebs because they are filled with raw negativity. It's not the quirky and engaging raw negativity that characterized the early days here at DBJ. Unfortunately, it's the kind that attracts roving bands of self-righteous anonymous pundits who scold bloggers for being bitter ingrates.

Kara said...

no blog...no desire to start a blog...can't think of any reason why I would

Mostly, because I hate the pressure of having to form my thoughts in to written word. Yes, hate!

Anonymous said...

I, like many, am just not inspired to blog myself. And like Cheryl, I read your blog like a novel. I think I don't blog because I'm a bit lazy and undisciplined and prefer, if I have the time, to do ceramics or some painting or drawing. I've thought about doing a blog about blogging.
allypally

Melissia said...

I stopped posted because I could not post in a way that did not sound whiny and self centered. My words were stilted and I sounded self absorbed and no one needs to hear about my endless issues about my health. In addition my spelling is terrible, due to the Topamax and that bothers me to no end.
I would like to start writing again at some point but am not sure how to restart after such a long absence.

Anonymous said...

The Nanny--I always think that the one-posters are dead, too.

-e

JoC said...

Well, I used to have a blog - i deleted all 8 or so posts when I gave up. Frankly, I have preferred to read someone else's thoughts than record my own. I read you, WhyMommy, Bon and Sweet/Salty. The writing I find is so exquisite that I find it hard to comment. I blunder and misspell. However, I am starting to reconsider as I now have a subject other than my son but now can't find time.

Anonymous said...

I started reading fantastic blogs, including you, Niobe after the first loss and I found it.. what? Not comforting, perhaps more validatory. Then when we had another loss, some days (most days) I did nothing but read blogs.
Then we had some huge news regarding genetics and I was feeling desperate. All this happened in a foreign country where we had to struggle with the language all the time and we didn't know anyone and my husband worked L O N G hours.
Anyway, I started a blog myself, but I felt diffident about putting it out there to be commented on. Plus I would start a post, cry for several days and eventually finish it. I was reading such beautiful prose but couldn't do it myself for myself. In the end I wrote my darling man pages long emails detailing my grief, desperation, anger and he read them all and replied and in the end we didn't need an english speaking counsellor. God, such a bloody awful time. If there is someone just arriving in this world of baby loss and reading this I am so so dreadfully sorry.
Sorry Niobe, I've jut spilled all over your blog.

jordgubben said...

I don’t have a blog. I only briefly flirted with the idea of starting one. The main reason was while I found comfort in reading the words of others but didn’t find many blogs specifically dealing with termination for poor prenatal diagnosis and thought perhaps sharing my story could possibly help others. I got so far as writing a few posts and saving them in my google docs but that’s about it. I don’t think blogging is for me.

If I were to start one at this point it would basically be a retrospective (at least catching up to the present) which might seem a bit weird for a blog. Also, I didn’t know if I could keep up posting on a regular basis and didn’t want to abandon it. I also read great, thought provoking posts where the blogger has put emotions into words so perfectly and get a bit intimidated. And ultimately, it seems impossible to have the expectation that people from your life won’t stumble upon your blog. When you’re like us and have omitted a large portion of the story (namely the why and how) when sharing with family and friends it seems likely it could back fire big time were they to find out online somehow and really damage the relationship (which is, of course, the reason the why and how was left out in the first place).

And while it's possible someone might stumble upon one of my blog comments (which I've only recently started doing) or message board posts, somehow it seems less threatening. Like the only reason someone would be reading one of those to begin with was if they were in the same or similiar boat.

I appreciate you sharing your perspective with us via your blog especially when it seems so few of us can muster the energy or courage.

Yias Yias Girl said...

I stopped my blog because I could never figure out the tone of how I wanted the thing to be. Plus I'm not very good at journaling in general. I have all these things I want to talk about, and great (but of course) posts circling in my head, but I never get it out on paper. I could never figure out how personal I wanted it to be if that makes any sense.

Anonymous said...

I would say time and privacy are the two reasons I don't blog. If I did blog, it would be anonymous, but that would take extra effort to make it so. And I don't have the energy or time to do that right. I have thought about it, that it would be a good release. But I would want to follow through. And right now I have a hard enough time keeping up with personal emails.

Chris said...

Privacy is my most important reason. And a deep fear to put my feelings in writing (in words to be even more precise). My feeble attempts at writing a diary when I was a teenager died out not because of laziness but because I could not write anything substantial down. Homo faber, I guess. So, somewhere in my parents' attic lies a small bundle of handwritten one post wonders.

Oh, and I have a bad case of writer's block -- for any piece of text. Yes, my professional life is painful at times.

Misc Momma said...

I actually finally just started a blog. I haven't really had a direction to go in. A blog about my life (not exciting), a blog about my kid(s) (not exciting), a blog about my hobbies (not exciting). Then to decide if I want to use real names/identities and if no, then what do I call everyone??? So hard! Still undecided, but I took the leap as I want to participate in something that requires me to blog...

Anyways, I've commented here several times...but on the offchance that someone I know has recognized my old "identity", I'm just going with a new name from here on out. (And God, what if my blog name is lame as heck? Drrr. I care far too much what people think!)

~Tara

Anonymous said...

jordgubben - Yes. We terminated for poor prenatal diagnosis and there's hardly anywhere to turn, esp. if in our case it wasn't genetic, but a horrible series of "mere" physical (and mental) disabilities. The web is awash with people who are sure that it's "God's will that they take the pregnancy to term," and "well, it doesn't matter if little Timmy will never walk/talk/go to college or that Timmy will always be in pain/know he's different/be waiting for the next surgery, he's such a happy child." They don't address what happens to Timmy's family, Timmy's forgotten siblings that are raised by extended family or babysitters because Timmy's parents are always in the hospital with Timmy or taking Timmy to his hundreds of medical/PT/OT/speech/etc. appointments, Timmy's parents who divorce from the stress and strain, who go bankrupt from medical expenses, when Timmy grows up and becomes an angry young man who is still in pain, who can't get a job or even live independently.

My apologies, Niobe, everyone. Even in dead babyland, there are those of us who are outcasts and I don't meet many who will admit to it.

StyleyGeek said...

I blogged for three years, but stopped when my audience came to include not only my online friends from the blogging community, but too many of my real-life friends and (I suspect) relatives and colleagues. I found I couldn't write much at all that would interest and not upset all of these different groups of people, yet I also couldn't forget they were reading.

I think now and then about starting a new blog under a different pseudonym, but I suspect the end result would be the same one day, and the effort of setting it all up again, choosing a name and a template, and building up a readership seems like too much right now.

Anonymous said...

I felt like a hairy 400 pound ballerina panhandling for hugs at a busy intersection wearing a frayed tutu.

I miss many of you but I still think it was the right decision.

-Shamela

Anonymous said...

And since i don't have a blog to announce this:

I just ate a heaping tablespoon of icing out of the can. Ecstacy!!

-Shamela