Excuses for not blogging, part I
At some point, I used to regularly (heh) blog at three blogs. Now, I’m lucky if I scrawl out a piece on one. Whatever happened here?
In thinking about this, I thought it would be too pathetic just to make it about me. So, instead, I want to make it about other people first, so that you can glean whatever you want about me after the facts. In my obnoxious mania, I would like to think of this series as a psychoanalysis of the parts of the bloggernacle and outer blogness that have touched me. This will be a three-part series, with this first part analyzing Irresistible (Dis)Grace and my involvement at Main Street Plaza.
I guess to begin, I have to start with the character this one here. It, along with the character of the other two blogs I have I blogged with, prods into different environments, personalities, and characters which have affected me psychologically.
Irresistible (Dis)Grace, of course, is my home base. Like my room, I feel comfortable doing whatever I want on it, writing about any topic I want. (Ironically, my first blog ever, which I had not given a formal “purpose” or “theme,” was one I burnt out quickly on. Irresistible [Dis]Grace, on the other hand, which is about Mormonism officially, has persisted much longer…even if I rarely blog on Mormon issues these days.) My first excuse for not blogging at the other sites is that I feel like I am a guest (even though I am a permablogger on each). What I mean is…even if someone says that their home is mine, I never feel like I am allowed to do anything I would do at my house. I feel more like a hotel guest.
I do whatever I want with my room. If you don’t like it, deal with it. Similarly, if there are just entries here that you ignore and automatically skip, sorry. Deal with it. I feel free to write about anything and everything here. (Nevertheless, I do worry about alienating readers. I worry about 0-comment posts. I worry about whether I am adequately attracting the traffic for a niche like this, or if my niche is too exclusive to even sustain any traffic.)
In some way, I feel bad for writing this entry, because I am airing out what I see (perhaps in a silly way) as being secret information. Again, the issue is not about this site, but the others. Who am I to air out dirty laundry about other sites? It feels rude, a violation of guest etiquette.
Anyway, the first group blog I joined was Main Street Plaza. I was very excited to be invited, very excited to write. I understood that it was more on the “disaffected” side of things, but I was ok with that. I have come to grips and realized that I am not, in any meaningful sense, a faithful member.
Joining MSP was my first introduction into the so-called Outer Blogness. I know it sounds naive now, but at the time, I didn’t know that members had issues with the church. I thought I was out doing my own thing. So, my involvement with MSP was my first branching out to try to figure out what this loose community of disaffected members was like…what the pecking order was…where the hangout spots were…
From MSP, I discovered Further Light and Knowledge. From interactions with both these and a few solo blogs, I realized a few other things. First, many other disaffected Mormons, former Mormons, and ex-Mormons had a lot different issues with the church than I did. Second, many other disaffected Mormons had far worse feelings and things to say about the church than I did. So, I didn’t feel disaffected enough for the atmosphere. And so, I began to withhold some material from MSP because I didn’t think it would “work” there.
This is not to say that MSP is the most disaffected site out there. Actually, it is rather mild, in comparison with some other sites (uhh…Recovery from Mormonism, anyone?) But this is what I felt.
From a structural sense, the disaffected Mormon underground (DAMU) is…like its name probably implies…informal…behind the scenes…disconnected…disaggregated. I think the same thing occurs with atheism in general, for example. In the past, I haven’t been concerned about it. I don’t know if I’m truly concerned with it now. My past rationale has been…”Why would I want a central atheist or ex-Mormon organization? My entire point was to free myself of my prior organizations.”
But the entire character of a community can be impacted by the organizational structure.
Main Street Plaza, in my experience, was always a very relaxed and informal environment. I didn’t have obligations or expectations. Similarly, there didn’t seem to be organization or hierarchy or formal community. I got to know some people better than others because they commented more frequently, or because I went to their sites, or whatever, but…it was very unofficial. I continue to like this conceptually, but functionally, this doesn’t give me a sense of belonging, and that lack doesn’t give me a sense of urgency and loyalty. (Of course, these latter things are good is up for grabs)…
This quality seemed particularly surface. Like I didn’t feel like I was getting to know so much about anyone. (OK, I definitely have to say this is my fault. I don’t really engage as much as I should anyway, so how can I complain about this? Also, this is the internet. Perhaps I’m missing the point.)
In many ways, although I say a lot about this stuff now, I understand (from working with Mormon Matters) that moving along the continuum, so to speak, doesn’t necessarily fix everything. And I sense (but without first-hand knowledge) that the other side is not necessarily greener. But that’ll be for part II.