Friday, August 10, 2007

-How do you feel right now?

(shifting uncomfortably in chair) Well, I came off a flight early this morning. I'm pretty well rested because I slept well on the plane. I've had a great day with the little guy and my sister-in-law and her fiance. My in-laws seem to be all right, though I'm a tad worried about the health of my mother-in-law. Aside from that, things are fine. (excessive nodding) Things are good.

-You don't sound too confident in your assessment.

The problem is (shifting again in the chair) the blogging thing. Maybe I should just go back to blogging in a vacuum, like I did for more than eight months last year. (thinking) Quit checking out all these other people's work. Just live life and write.

- Why would you want to do that? You get a charge out of what these others have been writing. It feeds your sociable nature. Getting and giving feedback seems to be a good thing for you. It has gotten you involved in something outside yourself and your child-centered world again.

Weeeelllll, I read this. And now, I'm disgusted. Not for the same reasons as David, of course. Not the exact same ones, anyhow. Yeah, it's disgusting having the Walking Id stonewalling the public as to what the heck is really up with things like the mass surprise demolitions and properties up on the chopping block that should not be there by any stretch of the rebuilding imagination. It just has me wondering...

- ...what has all of your blogging turned into?

Yeah. (straightening up in the seat) Yeah. What am I doing? I'm getting more involved, sure, but in what way? In some ways, being mom is hard for me. It's all I can do at times to get through a day as a mom. I think about taking on more work for myself with a job out of the house, or an activist role in the community, not unlike what this strong, brazen woman does, and then I've gotta wonder: what happens if the little guy gets sick or seriously hurt, or exhibits signs of serious emotional disturbance? Dan is usually in Baton Rouge. I'm the only one that can be called on. Yeah, I wanna save a city, but...

- have a responsibility to your child.

Exactly! Which is why comments such as these:

Around the time that I started blogging, Bob Somerby offered some suggestions for liberal bloggers that every blogger should consider -- they're valid regardless of ideology. I'd add a couple that I think are especially valid in a one newspaper town. We can ask questions that are going largely unasked and point out facts that are being largely ignored. Also, in a one newspaper town, the fact checking role of bloggers is vital, who else is going to point it out when the local media answers questions incorrectly or incompletely? If enough bloggers did the first, citizen journalists would occasionally become citizen assignment editors. If one Houma-based blogger can get the Picayune to ask whether Mitch Landrieu was wearing make-up, over 100 New Orleans bloggers should be able to get the Picayune to ask why Nagin is more secretive about his rebuilding policies than chickenhawk presidents tend to be about their foreign policies.

can really cut me in particular. I already feel guilty in some nebulous way that I haven't been doing all that I could. Then I read something like this, and it makes me feel worse...then defensive...then thoroughly disgusted.

- Well, it sounds like you've outlined your reactions right off. Care to elaborate?

I feel bad because I guess, according to this criteria, I'm a bit of a lesser blogger because I don't quite have a journalist's instincts. And it's true, I don't. Maybe I have been looking at this blogging thing all wrong, investing too much emotionally into it, likening the people I've met through blogging as one crazy family, when all we are are a bunch of people who happen to like loosely communing with the help of our keyboards and writing what we think. We all surf in our own ways, our synapses may happen to connect in the same manner on occasion pop-culture wise, but we are all distinct beings. And then, I think about Agnes Denes:

- What the hell is that?

It's an illustration. Duh.

-Oh, come on...

I tried to magnify this as much as I could, but Pascal's Perfect Probability Pyramid and the People Paradox—The Predicament can only be magnified so much, I guess. Look closely at the pyramid, and there are teeny weeny individual people that make up its structure. It is an illustration of the "glass half-empty"assessment that human beings, though they may all think and act as individuals, are simply small units that make up a larger structure. If any one of us individuals becomes too conscious of his/her individuality, the structure collapses. Can't have that, now, can we?

-So, what are you getting at?

Upsetting the balance. We become too wrapped up in ourselves, in our ideologies, in our points of view, and we aren't serving the structure. We aren't serving humanity as a whole. We become desperate in our need to foist our view on the world, to reshape it as it should be, and equilibrium is upset. Sometimes, that's good. Sometimes, it's awful.

- And it's awful...?

(irritated) Would you quit interrupting? Yeesh...

I'm not sure if going whole-hog into the citizen journalism route is best for me, personally. I'm calling attention to David's post for the valid point on our FOIA-dodging, perpetually idiot-talking excuse for a mayor, but I'm uncomfortable with the rest, because it implies that a blog is for one thing and one thing only. From what I've seen, the blogosphere and the characters within it are much more faceted than the axes they sometimes have to grind. From what I've seen, the rest of the NOLA blogpocheh will be jumping on this information at some point in the near future. I think the great thing about all of these crazy NOLAns I've come across in my surfin' travels is that they aren't always pushing the "this is what the MSM is missing" line - at least, not in a standard, journalistic way. They are emphasizing the fact that New Orleanians are humans, citizens of these here United States, and that they most decidedly do not deserve the scorn and derision being heaped upon them by two-thirds of the rest of our own country. I think that most of those hypothetical Midwestern cabbies David cites would appreciate that.

-Uhh, you're not linking to a Midwestern cabbie's blog, there...

Technically speaking, Hawaii's to the west of New Orleans, and in the middle of an ocean. (exasperated) All right, so I'm stretching the definition. Big whoop.

-Couldn't find a Detroit cabbie's blog, now, could you?

(guiltily) No, I couldn't. Yet another thing for me to be guilty about.

Urrrrgggghhh...I'll keep looking...


Sophmom said...

Awww, darlin', it just is what it is and we're just average people doin' what comes next, BSJD included. What came next for him was blowing off some steam. Our blogs are whatever they are and that's at any given time, 'cause they change. Try not to be too hard on yourself. You have a little one in your primary care. Can't go back and get that 'cause you were off doing something else. There's nothing more important. JMHO.

Leigh C. said...

Thanks! 8-)

It's just something I've always struggled with, even from before I had the little guy. There are still some attitudes within my own family that, no matter what, one's livleihood trumps all, because that is sheer, bare-bones-basic survival. I've seriously taken issue with this myself in recent years, though, and it really came to a head for me this past summer with the camp, when, if I wasn't sick, my son was, and it had me missing an extra five days of work I hadn't planned on. There went some money...

If I weren't married with a hardworking, good-earning partner, I'd have been up a creek. THAT is criminal...

thordora said...

I don't know what to say, but that was a really cool post. :)

Ever read Earth by David Brin? It was written in the early nineties before blogging really started, and it has this concept of groups of people online creating change. That's what I think blogging is becoming-singular voices, joined in song.

Leigh C. said...

Thor, that is beautiful!

I will need to keep that in mind every time I get too het up about what I should or shouldn't be doing with blogging...

Charlotte said...

Cool your heels, little one! There are blogs and there are blogs. Some are serious must-change-the-world and others are less serious let's-have-fun-together and forget about the world. It's not easy to decide which you want to be sometimes -- I surely struggled with it. I felt exactly what you are feeling now....

"I feel bad because I guess, according to this criteria, I'm a bit of a lesser blogger because I don't quite have a journalist's instincts."

Then I thought to myself "who the hell am I trying to impress and why?" I decided I didn't have to impress anyone, I only had to be true to myself and write what I feel. Whether anyone reads it or not doesn't matter anymore, although I certainly like comments and discussion.

Oh, well, I'm rambling as I tend to do. Just wanted to let you know that I have shared your feelings and I get where you're coming from.

May I say this, though, you are a truly talented have a gift for getting your point across but with humor and diplomacy.
Hey, can you teach me how? ;)

Maitri said...

Keep writing what you know, which you do so well, and inform/vent/discuss what it's like to be a young Jewish mother raising her child in this crazy town, while your husband is away most of the time. Like others said, you have an awesome way with words, and I marvel at your ability to communicate.

The point is: You have all the knack, ability, chutzpah and wherewithal to be a professional writer, but you choose to have family priorities at this time. That does not make you lesser in any way. In fact, most people who blog ALL THE TIME and with such vehemence and ooomph ALL THE TIME make me wonder if they have lives outside of this medium. You do, and that's what adds meat and the third dimension to this flat space.

Just remember the mantra: "It's my blog, it's my dime, it's my space, it's my time." Make this blog truly yours, Leigh, before you fall into the trap of reinventing it in another image (something I've been afflicted with from time to time). Reclaim it! Take it back! Power to you! I wouldn't have you any other way. For you're great!

Leigh C. said...

Thanks, all!

Anyone who's missing that friendly dimension of the blogosphere just hasn't lived. With encouraging folks such as yourselves in the blogpocheh...well, anyone who wants to put a lid on all of y'all is missing out, period.

And that's the truth.

Maitri said...

Another thing I wanted to say to you, on reading BSJD's post in its entirety and responding to it, is the How Much Can You Take And Do? factor.

People just don't have the same set of emotional, home and physical circumstances, and don't have access to the same sets of information. Sometimes I get way in over my head with our blogging/activist community because I:

a) don't know how to say No,
b) am way too energetic and enthusiastic for my own good,
c) forget not to have expectations, i.e. if you think something is going to come of all your hard work, forget it - life, especially in New Orleans, owes you nothing, and
d) should just calm down most of the time.

You should also remember that Karen's activism, even though she has a high-school-aged daughter is her full-time job and that BSJD, Schroeder and others have access to information that you and I don't. Also, there are a lot of people in this town who are activists and walking encyclopedias of useful information but don't know what a blog is and probably never will.

The point is that each of us has our special set of circumstances, has to go out of our comfort zones a lot more often to fight for this town and, in the end, ought to pace ourselves based on the day and circumstances. As with alcohol, I don't know how to pace myself when it comes to obligations and burn myself out quickly. I hope that never happens to you.

Leigh C. said...

Heh. It used to happen to me with alcohol on occasion, and ESPECIALLY with glassblowing, which is why I was so happy to be free after many years of being a glass rat. Got to know when to quit in this life, sometimes...

Schroeder said...

And there's the sense of outrage, or humor, or just humanity (as you richly conveyed here) which the appearance of "objectivity" in the mainstream press doesn't allow, and which bloggers do better than anyone.

And yes, life gets in the way when you're having fun.

I want your therapists phone number.