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Checking in on Friday Morning: “The Urinals are Singing” and Losing My Muchness

October 22, 2010

I finished Between Mom and Jo by Julie Anne Peters last night. Egads, what an intense book. I think my jaw was clenched, with sadness and anger, throughout the last third of the book.

I’m not sure what to read next. I did receive The Squirrel Machine which I saw at Things Mean a Lot. I think I ordered it because I was intrigued by the sheer extreme weirdness of it. 🙂 I’m not sure whether I want to read it or not, because it seems to have a lot of animal cruelty. But I am curious, and I like the artwork.

Even though this is definitely not a kid-appropriate book, both my older kids got their hands on it when they arrived. This thing about being magnetically drawn to weirdness? It runs in the family. I kept hearing things like:

“What the f…?”

“This is effed up!”

“What in the heck is THAT?!?!”

“OH MY GOD, THE URINALS ARE SINGING!”

Hmm. What do you think?? Does this sound like a must read? 😀

To loosely paraphrase a line, from Alice in Wonderland, I seem to have lost my “Muchness” lately. I don’t feel a strong sense of direction with my homeschooling or with my reading or writing. And I’ve definitely lost my “Muchness” with blogging.

Part of the problem is my general lack of direction, of course. And part of it is that, with the exception of the Monday Meme posts, the small but steady trickle of comments I receive have just about dried up. This poses an interesting question to me. Why does it make me so sad when I don’t get comments? Does it matter? Why do I blog anyway?

I always thought blogging and reviewing was just kind of a personal hobby, something I mostly do for myself and to share with my family. But my reaction to not getting commenters made me realize that’s not entirely true. The main reason I’m here is, well — not to get an audience per se. It’s the same reason I’m addicted to the book blogs and home education blogs I subscribe to via feed reader. I want to be part of a conversation about books and learning; I seem to crave that.

Maybe I need to evaluate what I’m doing here. I don’t blog enough about homeschooling anymore to attract that audience.  And I love book reviewing, but lets face it, there are MANY magnificent book bloggers out there.

Perhaps I should take a break for a little while? Consider making some changes here? Or decide just to blog and not worry whether there are readers?

I’m not really asking for advice, just thinking out loud. But I do have a question for any visitors. Why do you blog? What motivates you to review books, blog about homeschooling, or whatever? 🙂 Is it to have a journal of your reading or your experiences? To write for an audience? To build friendships? How do you know it’s a worthwhile use of your time?

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. October 22, 2010 4:25 pm

    First and foremost, I must say I love your blog and would be very sad if you left. I know I’m not always good at commenting on every post (especially the homeschooling ones, since I don’t homeschool and never know what to say!), but I do read them. I like what you have to say about books. You’re right, there are many, many book blogs out there, but we all find the book blogs that we love. I have about 100 book blogs in my Google Reader. The great majority of them are split up by days of the week, so that I look at certain blogs on certain days. Your blog is one of the handful that are in my “daily” folder, so that I see what you write every day.

    I know you’ve heard me say it before, but blogging is about friendship and connections to me, not about audience. Of course, getting lots of comments is a lot of fun (until you get too many comments, and then replying to them all is not always all that fun…), and I do worry when I get small numbers of comments that I’ve done something wrong or written something boring or whatever. It happens. There are some books I read that frankly, no one is all that much interested in. Those ones tend to get very few comments. Other posts get a lot. It happens.

    I definitely thinking finding your own place in this world and the reason you do this is a good thing, and if you need a break, that’s obviously understandable too. But I hope you don’t disappear because you think no one’s reading. We are. 🙂

    And I know exactly what you mean about Between Mom & Jo. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on it.

    • October 22, 2010 7:35 pm

      Thank you, Amanda. As I’ve said before, I find you very inspiring as a reviewer, blogger, and writer (and as an awesome mom!) and I am honored to know you read my blog every day. 🙂 I read all your posts, too. I’m glad I”m not the only one who struggles with these things. And I totally get not commenting on every post. I don’t either. I try to be as consistent with my visits and comments as I can (just as you do), but Life gets in the way. 😉

  2. October 22, 2010 7:46 pm

    Not sure what to read next? May I recommend “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” by Mohsin Hamid, a dramatic monologue that touches on Pakistani/American relations? It’s good enough to make me hungrily search for “Moth Smoke” and hope and pray that this man writes another book.

    I blog because I must. No other way. 🙂 It’s seeped into the way I view the world, and I don’t think I can go back.

    This is one of my favorite blogs on the internet. I hope you continue it. I agree with the above commenter: it would be a huge loss.

    • October 22, 2010 8:43 pm

      Thanks, Nick! I admire your passion for writing tremendously. I’ve seen The Reluctant Fundamentalist on several book blogs, and it definitely piqued my interest. Thanks for the great recommendation!

  3. October 22, 2010 8:27 pm

    I don’t think it’s just your blog – it’s something I’ve noticed too but a lack of comments doesn’t mean no readers or visitors. My blogger stats prove that. I think google reader makes a difference because when I first began book blogging I had to visit to read the post and would comment. Now it’s all too easy just to google read and often good intentions to go and comment come to nothing. I’m guilty of that constantly.

    I came to book blogging from tarot blogging with a friend and we were lucky to get a comment a month so it wasn’t something I was used to and one of the reasons I made a change was to find a stronger community – which I have. The only goal I had was to have fun sharing something I love and to fill some retirement leisure hours. The luxury of being able to choose pushes away thoughts I could be doing something more worthwhile.

    There seems to be two types of book bloggers – those who want to really network and attract a big audience for whatever purpose and those who’re basically blogging for their own pleasure . I went through a stage when all the ‘be bigger and better’ posts made me feel quite inadequate and I had to really think about staying true to what I wanted.

    I always read your posts and I always enjoy them. I love seeing the pictures of your children and learning a bit about homeschooling and I hope you won’t go away for good but sometimes a short break is necessary to sort things out. 🙂

    • October 22, 2010 8:46 pm

      Thanks, Cat. I like what you said about 2 different kinds of bloggers. That makes sense. I seem to fall somewhere in the middle, which may be creating some of my ambivalence.

      I’ve never heard of tarot blogging; that sounds fascinating. Though I’m glad you’ve stepped into the book blogging world. I enjoy yourr eviews very much.

  4. October 28, 2010 4:28 pm

    As I’ve really just found you, I too would be sad if you went. I’m also guilty of the Google Reader read-fast-without-commenting thing, but I read so many book blogs (I consider it to be job-related, what with having to find and recommend stuff for library patrons) that I just can’t stop in and comment on all the entries I read. I can barely keep up with replying to the few comments I get on my own blog.

    As for why I blog, I started because I wanted to keep a record of what I was reading, and to push myself to try to read at least one book a week. I keep blogging (though I’ve slowed down a lot lately, concurrent with the amount I’m reading) because I really enjoy the clarity writing the entries gives me. It makes me think about what I’ve read a bit more than I would otherwise.

    I don’t think I’ll blog forever, although I’ve been going on and off since 1998. As soon as it becomes a chore, versus something I do for fun, I’m quitting. I don’t write for my audience, I write for myself. (Which is good, as my audience is rather small!)

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