Saturday, February 10, 2007

Hey! Wasn't I just here?

I just have a few deep thoughts ;) that I want to share.

I cleaned my dresser drawers this week and every time I open one I am blown away by the microcosm of order it contains; t-shirts are folded neatly with other t-shirts. Socks are all together in one place. If I carefully keep my back to the rest of the room I can convince myself that I am one of those mythical people who really do have control over their own space. But I can't stare into a dresser drawer forever. Or can I?

No, sooner or later I have to face the unmade beds in my life, the dirty laundry (heh heh heh) and acknowledge that I muddle through as best I can. Still, I love those neat drawers. They give me the hope that someday if I just keep chipping away at the detritus of life, I will reach a serene and orderly, but not TOO orderly, space.

Life is like that. Those serene spaces can catch us unawares and if we don't notice and enjoy them, they fade. When we hit a place in life where we feel content, where no one in our family is having a crisis, no cars have broken down, no bills are unpaid - we better sigh happily and enjoy. Like my dresser drawers, those calm and happy periods give me hope that when life returns to heartbreak and backache, I'll get through.

All too often, people spend those brief moments of joy reminding themselves of the pain they no longer have. Then the joy-filled moment passes and they don't remember being there. Poor people! Stop for a moment. Go clean out a dresser drawer. You'll feel so much - well, at least, a little bit better. Every little bit helps.

Okay. Deep thought number two.

Blogging and journaling have a lot in common. They can both be cathartic, clearing the air. They are great for recording the high points of our lives and for wallowing in the misery of the low points - if we so choose. BUT, here's the great big BUT that a lot of people forget. No one ever reads my journal without my express permission. A blog on the other hand is open to the entire world. It is not a private conversation among a small group of friends! Sure, you CAN make your blog private - businesses sometimes have blogs where they post interoffice memos - but for the rest of us the point of blogging is that of being heard, being read by other people - people in Jakarta and Japan or Tanganyika or the Yukon.

If a blogger has attained some level of celebrity, if, for instance, a blogger writes a best-selling novel, that blogger better be aware that someone he or she does not know is going to read that blog. Or, if, as has just happened, someone works for a political campaign - well, only the most naive of naive souls could convince himself (or herself) that what he or she types into a blog will not be sought out and used by their candidate's political opponents.

Bloggers shouldn't act surprised or outraged that someone criticizes what they write. Freedom of speech means that anyone can write anything - except specific threats - and publish it anywhere AND it means that when someone does write something hateful or objectionable - other people have the right to, well, object. Heck, they have the right to strenuously object.

Another way that journals and blogs are different is this. When I am finished venting in my journal, I can rip the pages up, or shred them or even burn them. Those angry thoughts will have served their purpose and no one needs to hurt by what I wrote. But once I put something on the Internet, I can't ever erase it. It's a lot like the Jewish folktale about gossip and the pillow full of feathers. I can shut down this blog tomorrow but I have no control over who has read it, or over what they might do with what I wrote. A harmful remark could get cut and pasted into someone else's blog and so on and so forth, forever.

So, keep those drawers and blogs in order. Anyone can look over your shoulder in cyberspace. I'm very grateful for walls and locked doors when my life gets too messy to be seen.

I think I'll go strighten out a closet, now, and dig out my journal.

Love and peace to you all.

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