The Blogging Life


"If you show someone something you've written, you give them a sharpened stake, lie down in your coffin, and say, "When you're ready." Black Swan Green, David Mitchell

After much thoughtful discourse around the blogosphere about what should and should not be expressed in someone's blog, I wanted to take a few minutes to share my thoughts, and maybe clarify my position on a couple of things.

On blogging generally . . .

This is a blog, which is (or was) short for "web log". That is to say, a diary on the web.

I have written frequently that these posts are my opinion - and only my opinion. I write about things I like and things I don't like. I babble about random things that I haven't had a chance to form an opinion about yet. I'll like one thing at one point, and hate it 6 months later, and vice versa. This is what many people have blogs for - working things out, getting discussions going, occasionally ranting and raving, more than occasionally expressing joy, wonder and blissful experiences. It's all in here. Contradictions, non-sensical blatherings, occasional insight. Okay, lately very occasional insight.

When you read someone's blog, they've invited you into their lives like they would their home, albeit more publicly. They're reaching out and inviting people into their experience. Maybe you don't care for their 37 velvet Elvis paintings they've hung everywhere, but it's their home. You don't have to go back if you don't want to. If they ask your opinion, by all means, give it. But telling people how to decorate their own home, or what they should or shouldn't write in their own blog, is going beyond expressing your disagreement. More than that, making personal comments based on how you interpret what they've written, is inappropriate. As an anonymous comment, it's a little cowardly.

In case you're unsure - that's another opinion there.

There are strong opinions all over the blogging world, including the tango blogging world . One blogger believes that a follower having her right hand too low on the leader's back, especially with the fingers spread, is somehow disrespectful to tango. I think that's pretty extreme, but hey - it's his blog. To plagiarize Voltaire, I may not approve of your blog post, but I'll defend your right to post it. If you find that your opinion isn't well represented around the blogosphere, start your own blog and have at it! There's plenty of room for more opinions on just about anything - even tango.

Transparency

Comments on my blog are moderated because of spam issues, not because of criticism, dissenting opinions, or general bitchiness on my part. I even allow anonymous comments - though I strongly (see above) discourage that practice. Local dancers know me, and know that I blog here. I am as transparent as I know how to be, for better or worse. This doesn't work well for everyone, and I respect that completely. There are definitely risks involved with that choice. I've gotten an earful of opinions at practicas and classes (and occasionally milongas) over something I wrote - and for the most part, I welcome that. I'm happy to have these conversations. It's what I write for. For me, it's too complicated to keep things anonymous and I'm lazy, so I don't.

On Tango Blogging Specifically

Tango dancers are a passionate bunch. In general, we're tenacious, strong-willed, and and a little more free with our emotions - because tango often demands that of us. We feel strongly about tango (else why would we go through this much trouble?), and we tend to express our opinions quite strongly as well. That's the nature of tango, and the nature of writing. Join the conversation, start something new, jump on the soap box, and have your say. Just please be courteous when commenting on someone else's blog.

“And the problem is, when you don’t risk anything, you risk even more,” said Erica Jong.
(photo courtesy of morguefile.com)

4 comments:

Frances R said...

Thanks for being open and for sharing your life. I enjoy reading your blog.

Mari Johnson said...

Frances - thank you for reading and being so encouraging, and for posting your comments. They are so welcome (and insightful). Your's was one of the first blogs I started reading when I began tango. :)

Mark said...

Aaargghhh! Mari, what have you done? As if I wasn't spending enough time reading blogs etc you introduce me to a new source of tango goodness with the tangodatabase.com link.

If people want to join in the fun in the blogosphere then blogger.com is certainly easy and convenient. Just be aware of the potential problems.

Although google have fixed the problem with my id and re-instated my blog I've moved it to a new home at walkjivefly.com.

Frances R said...

Wow, Mari, I had no idea. Then I will post another entry, and dedicate it to you. :)