Rambling on about Blogging

I would be astonished if anyone who cared was astonished that I enjoy writing.  Especially blogging.  Blogging almost never feels like a chore.

Most days, I even look forward to it — which is certainly more than I do my cooking.

I believe, in fairness, I am moderately skilled at blogging — which I think of as mostly a separate category of writing from, say, writing a novel, a magazine article,  a short story, etc.

Blogging, I believe, has its own rules, and those rules are still being worked out and refined by us fearless bloggers.

As time goes on, it will become an ever more distinct form of writing.  But already, some people are very good at it.  Some are very poor at it. And I am somewhere in the middle.

What is it like being in the middle?  I confess that, every night, I retire to my bed in tears that I will never be the Shakespeare of blogging; but soon, I turn into smiles that I will never be the Bulwer-Lytton of blogging either.  I am routinely tossed between one grand passion and another.  My life is truly exciting because I am a middle of the road talent.  Only rock climbing, race car driving, and running with the bulls are arguably more extreme than life in the middle.

I think, among other things, really good bloggers write sentences, paragraphs or short passages that can stand alone.  I know that is true in other forms of writing, but I think there is something about the medium that might make it especially true in blogging.

Here’s Dana Hunter, an outstanding word smith and blogger, describing just how moved she can be by the written word:

There are moments, when I’m watching or reading something, where the story leaves me hyperventilating.  Shivering, shaking, aching, breaking, flying apart in fragments.  Crying, yes, because strong emotion of any kind has this tendency to sting the eyes, stun the brain, leave a person feeling like they’ve shaken hands with the third rail while breaking the fourth wall.

I’m not sure, but I think really good writers like Dana usually feel words much more deeply than the rest of us.  And it probably has something to do with why they are such good writers.

What I do know is that I — for all my love of words — am never moved to “flying apart in fragments” by words alone.  I need more than words: I need also in conjunction with words, the sight of someone’s perky, naked breasts, to move me as much as Dana is moved by words alone.

Chauncey De Vega is another hugely skilled word smith and blogger.  Here he is casually crafting a superb stand alone passage:

I am going to try my best to write something on Tuesday’s Election Day massacre political fubar coronation of the stupid classes, but I am more of a mind that folks should just look away. Just avert your eyes as though you were at the proverbial urinal….

In just a few words, he sums up the election results, the political consequences, and arguably the best way of handling the situation — all the while pumping into the passage enough snark to jolt the moon in its orbit.  Not bad for a big city kid.

Now, I think Dale’s posts contain some of the freshest language I’ve seen in blogging.  He is also at home with logic.   And here he is employing a combination punch of creative language and hard logic to thoroughly knock down the argument made in a video against gay marriage (I believe his third paragraph is especially creative, and that it could almost stand by itself without the other two paragraphs introducing it):

Declares a guy with street affectations in this video, “we have got to have a standard, otherwise everyone in our society will be affected”….

The legalization of gay marriage is, of course, the foul specter that will affect “everyone in our society” — somehow. True to the pro-inequality position, the guy with the street affectations and the other speakers in the video don’t bother listing the effects, let alone specifying why we should care about the effects, let alone detailing an argument (philosophical, political, sociological, or other) that links the suggested cause with the unnamed effects.

I gather they’re bad effects, but are they unjust effects? Oppressive effects? Painful effects? Will our hair fall out, our skin get blotchy? Will our cats fill their litter boxes more frequently? Will Christmas move to an every-other-year schedule? Will more college football programs adopt a garish shade of turf, as they have done in Boise?

I think any fair minded person, even if they are opposed to gay marriage, would have to agree that Dale has kicked the bejeebers out of the video’s argument in far fewer words than it takes many professional columnists to warmed up to their topic.

Dana, Chauncey, and Dale strike me as three bloggers who each in his or her own way is stretching the medium, and pioneering what can be done with it.

I seriously doubt they see themselves as in any way special, but I think if you were to read much more of their blogs than I can republish here, you yourself might see them as exceptional writers by any standards.

Moreover, so far as I know, they have each of them managed to excel at blogging without requiring the crutch of perky, naked breasts to inspire them.

How weird is that?

By the way, my sidebar contains many more links to well written blogs than just these three.  Just so you know.

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14 thoughts on “Rambling on about Blogging

  1. I’ve come to find your blog recently and it’s very refreshing and interesting. I’m glad I’ve found it, and you look like you know a number of interesting people I’m hoping to learn more about. I found Dale as well, and his site has proven to be a valuable resource. His writing is concise and informative, and he seems to hold opinions that are based in conviction, rather than convenience.

    I’ll absolutely check out Dana and Chauncey… if there’s one thing I can say for sure about social networking, it’s that the favorites of quality bloggers are generally solid bloggers themselves. Thanks for the tips!

    I sure would like my blogging to improve with experience, however I’ve reached the point where I don’t think that is inherent. To be honest, the longer I blog the sloppier I feel I get. I know the rules of writing, and I’ve taken the time to outline and do things “right” with some satisfying results… but as it is, I tend to ramble on and lose my point and often post without even one cursory proofread. Not the sort of activities one would expect after years behind the keyboard.

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  2. I don’t really put too much time and effort into blogging. And I think I could be much better at it if I did. But, I appreciate that there are people out there who take the time and effort to craft beautiful prose. Maybe one day I’ll be one of those people, but getting a good following in a blog requires more than just fantastic writing and I know that I would never be able to hone those popularity skills. The only way I’ve figured how to get popularity/attention on the internets is to post pictures of tits – and even that isn’t fail proof.

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  3. Wow, Paul. Thank you for the very kind words.

    My blogging output has been pinched down of late — you know, life happens — but the ebb will ebb and the flow will flow.

    I definitely agree with you that this medium really opens the door to voices we would never otherwise hear. Sometimes I think about my mom’s generation and all those before it — how many interesting voices, expressions, and insights that went on a paper letter (if that) and then … gone. I know I would *love* to be able to glance back over what my mom was thinking about when she was my age.

    Thanks again.

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  4. I can write pages and pages in no time. It’s the editing — cutting and cutting some more — that takes the most time but makes the writing more effective, powerful, and interesting. Alas, until the day someone wants to pay me for having fun and I can earn my bread from my blog … I’m afraid it won’t be wise for me to put in the time I need to make my blog writing better. Sigh.

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  5. Sean, you say you are a sloppy blogger. Well, let’s form a club. I began the post determined to talk about myself. But I soon lost interest in that approach and so I rambled on until I ended up talking about three bloggers who’s prose I love. How sloppy is that? Sloppy enough to form a club?

    By the way, it fascinates me that you seem to be skilled in more than one medium. I’m kind of a one trick pony. I think I do much better at writing prose than at anything else.

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  6. I think you might be underselling yourself, Astasia. For one thing, La Femme Belletrist is a blog worth reading on a regular basis. Nice creation there!

    For another, your prose is beautifully clear, economical, and easy to understand. If you were aiming to be obscure, then you are a failure. But if you were trying to communicate, then you are doing very well.

    Naturally, I’m all for pictures of tits, but beyond that, I believe — maybe more than you yourself do — that you have an unique and valuable voice which ought to be heard. Therefore, I am glad you blog.

    And I am even glad you blog, Astasia, despite the disturbing fact that you have not shared your nice tits with me. Shame on you!

    Yet, somehow, deep down, for no doubt mysterious reasons, I believe it might actually be completely unnecessary for you to show me your nice tits. I believe you are a blogger well worth my time and well worth reading even without your sharing them with me. And if I can believe that, I’m sure others can to.

    So, it might take an age, but if you stick with blogging, an audience will almost certainly arrive in time to enjoy the work you do.

    You are good at it!

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  7. You are welcome, Dale!

    It interests me greatly that Google — and perhaps other companies — create records of what they find on the net and that those records are likely to last for hundreds of years. That is, if some estimates of how long they will last can be believed.

    Trying to figure out all that is implied by that fact is simply mind boggling.

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  8. What a wonderful idea!

    CD, I can easily imagine myself — if I had the money — being thrilled to pay you to blog. Finding your blog was love at first sight. Your style and intelligence is all too rare. And you are on top of your topics. For instance, when you write about Mormonism, CD, you don’t just know your topic, you dominate it.

    Hell, I know from experience that I could surf new blogs on the net all day and into the next without finding anyone else writing at your level. So, although you yourself might not fully grasp how much I mean what I say here, I would feel happy and fulfilled if I could afford to pay you a living wage to blog. It would be a simple, but meaningful gesture to me.

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  9. Paul, I was just talking to my girlfriend about you and your blog. I am amazed and inspired by how genuinely positive and nice you are. I appreciate it, not just for the kind words and humor that are directed at me, but I enjoy reading your interactions with others. It is so easy to be negative – and so easy to be cruel – and it seems like there is a copious abundance of it these days. Your respect and warm attitude is one of the things that makes your blog so popular. Thank you for writing it and thank you for your example of earnest human kindness.

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