Sunday, September 13, 2009

Blogging vs. Contentment

I remember when I was very young finding an old trunk tucked back in my parents closet. It was where my father kept the relics of his younger days. Old projector slides from a high school trip to Europe. An old scrapbook my grandmother, now long gone, made for him when he decided to stay with a friend in Montana and finish high school rather than move with the family to Arizona.

And his old journal.

He didn't keep a journal for long, nor did he fill it with much soul-bearing; mostly quotes and other people's poetry he thought interesting or noteworthy. I was more used to nakedly honest sprawl or inane details of the weather I was used to writing in my journals. It was different, but still it was a journal. I noted that he stopped writing around the time he met my mother.

One day I asked him why he stopped writing. He said to me, "That was before my balls dropped."

Of course he was talking figuratively; but what he said made a lasting impression if only because of it's stark frankness.

At the time I was in my mid-teens and had been keeping my own journals for years. As the years continued I kept writing, fueled by the funk of being a teenager, gay, and mormon. But I could never totally shake what my dad said to me - That was before my balls dropped. What did it mean then if I was still writing as I neared 30?

As it does to almost everyone in our station, I had to decide whether to continue in the church or live outside it. Personally I had had enough and I decided to leave. I was 28 and for the first time I was eager about life. I started dating. It was only a matter of months before I found the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. For the first time life was wonderful and fulfilling and full of promise.

A funny thing happened in the midst of my personal revolution: I stopped writing in my journal. It wasn't a conscious decision, it just seemed like nothing was worth writing about anymore. I discovered that my journal writing correlated to my own personal pain and anguish. When things weren't right, as they were for me during my entire youth and young adulthood, I used keeping a journal as a tool to help relieve some of the stress. It was a place I could express myself and be completely open as well as help me think through my problems.

I also noticed it was the same for people around me. My fiance used to blog weekly before we met, but now is lucky if he gets a new post up every few months. My sister, an avid blogger, abruptly stopped writing when she started dating someone; and of course, when they split, she started writing with a vengeance.

I can think of no better example of this phenomenon than this past election cycle. In the months before and after the passage of Proposition 8 it seemed the gay/mormon blogging community was in overdrive. Everyone was angry and upset and had something to say. I started this very blog to add my two cents. But, naturally, as time passed so did the frequency of everyone's blog updates.

So, to the point: I don't subscribe to many blogs, but I do think I have a fair cross-section of the Moho community. Using the "trends" function of my Google Reader allows me to see which blogs in my feed are currently posting with the most frequency. Draw your own conclusions.

The Top 5 Most Updated Blogs in Chester's feed:
1) A Mormon Enigma by Abelard Enigma
2) greenly chalked by Chedner
3) Scrum Central by Alan

...and, just because.

The 5 Least Updated Blogs in Chester's feed.
1) Shades of Grey by Michael (last post, a very happy one, was in May 09)
2) Forester by Forester (last post, June 09)
3) The Stripping Warrior by Clark Johnsen (last post, another positive one, June 09)
4) Windy Sydney by Andee (last post, July 09)
5) by Scot et al. (last post, July 09)


Abelard Enigma said...

I discovered that my journal writing correlated to my own personal pain and anguish.

Are you suggesting I blog a lot because of my pain and anguish???

[sigh] you're probably right . . .

Jér said...

That's kind of hilarous, since from my perspective I've virtually abandoned my blog in favor of Twitter, which gets most of my angst and snark. :D