Sunday, April 24, 2005


Zoinks. It seemed like it wasn't so long ago the little counter at the bottom of the page ticked off hit number 10,000. And that was cool. But 20,000? Now we're just getting silly, people. I mean, really, when was the last time I said anything interesting? Never! Never!

Well, I'm teasing, of course. I guess I still have some thought in my head that no one reads this, though I know that's not the case.

Which leads me to the question I've been thinking about for a few days:

how long to blog?

Is this something, for those of you who keep blogs, you see yourself still doing in a year, 2 years, 5 years?

It's such an open-ended, amorphous medium, which is part of its genius, if you want to call it that.

Your thoughts?


loveandsalt said...

Paul-- I KNOW you have tons of readers because my site meter shows more hits referred from your blog than any others! I don't have an answer to "how long?" I'm new--haven't even hit 500 yet.
I guess it is mysterious why various people (since we don't know who they are) are reading us. For the poetry, or do we do good chat?
Keep blogging; I'll keep reading-- Cynthia

LKD said...

Why do you blog, Paul?

Paul said...

Why do I blog? A friend of mine keeps one, and since she lives in Texas, was going through a Ph.D., I found that I valued hers because I could keep up with her life even when we weren't in touch. And it got me thinking about starting my own, even though my impulses run more naturally toward the reticent side. Eventually I did, though, and it's been fun: I've made a lot of friends and gained readers I wouldn't have otherwise.

LKD said...

So your blog is, in effect, your letter to the world? "Dear world, today I ate lunch with a friend under a tree." (I recall reading that entry on your blog a few days ago..and if I recall correctly, it was a flowering tree, no?) "Dear world, today I wrote a poem. See?"
The reason I asked why you blog is because I'd attempted 4 times to respond to your question "how long to blog?" and kept deleting what I'd written. My question was the shortest route to this response: I would guess that a blogger would probably blog as long as said blogger felt some sense of connection and fulfillment in maintaining (main-tain--ever really stop and look at that word? main...tain....ah, main=hand, tain from tenere=hold)said blog. I started a blog and kept it to myself because I thought I'd use it as a space to think out loud and to journal--but I never felt any sense of commitment towards the blog and because I hadn't made my blog public, I obvioulsy felt no sense of connection. Now that I've gone public (and gosh, it stil makes me feel kinda uneasy--I keep wondering: does anyone really care what I'm thinking/writing) I seem to be a bit more committed to blogging on a daily or weekly basis, I could imagine maintaining the blog for some time to come. But who knows, ya know? Tony Tost up and left blogdom for the real world.

But I've prattled on long enough. How long do you think you'll go on blogging?

Oh, and by the way, that poem you posted a few days ago Such As Myself hit me in all the right and wrong places. And by wrong, I mean the wrong places inside me. Nothing, absolutely nothing wrong about that poem. Just wanted to let you know that I was quite moved by it.

Paul said...

Thanks, Laurel. There is a certain obligation that comes with this being public; I do sometimes think about those who are clicking on this when I haven't posted in a while. And I like knowing that people visit regularly. So how long to blog? Who knows. I don't see myself stopping anytime soon. One reason is that this blog has become a kind of public workspace: I save so much paper now. It used to be I'd print out each draft of a poem, even for the most minor changes. It helped to see the poem other than on the screen. Now seeing it on the blog helps me revise.

LKD said...

Ah, yes. I can definitely relate to using this blog space as a place of storage. I'm almost obsessive about saving my work and the separate writing blog I established was supposed to serve more as personal storage place than a space in which to display my work but I've already cross-pollinated and have been posting poems on my main blog so, so much for that plan. (smile)

I still print out every draft of any poem I write while at work (no printer at home, alas). My means of saving those hard copies isn't especially organized--I just fold them in half and stuff in my book bag. But having those hard copies is important to me even if I never look at them again. I guess it has something to do with going through old disks recently only to discover that a few of them had been damaged somehow and the poems I'd saved couldn't be accessed.

I do think it's incredibly important to save all of the revisions a poem goes through--and alot of folks don't. I used to revise the same copy, making changes over the original draft which can be an efficent way to work--but damn, you can't go back and see how the poem's changed, let alone view that first rough ugly draft. So, I save all the drafts, all the revisions in my email account. Like the hard copies of poems, I may never look at any of this stuff ever again...but pack rat that I am, there's something comforting about knowing that I could go back and look at them if needed.

Anne said...

An interesting question. I've had my livejournal since late 2001; it feels like it occupies a different place in my life than my blog does, but I have continued to post in it fairly regularly for several years now. I guess there are two questions worth asking:

1. Why do you blog?
2. Why do you read others' blogs?

For me, I think that when blogging starts to feel like a chore, an obligation, something you don't often approach with joy, then it's time to quit. And if it starts to take up so much time in your life that other things you know are more important -- like writing poetry -- then it's time to think about quitting.

Me, I love the little glimpses I get into people's lives when I read their blogs. And I love how much wonderful poetry I've found that I may never have stumbled across otherwise. I've bought (or checked out from the library) a number of books by bloggers and books recommended by bloggers, and I have to say that so far I do a lot better, in terms of finding stuff I really like, this way than I do if I pick up books based on reviews by strangers.

And it gives me a sense that I'm a part of some kind of a community -- granted a very loose-knit amorphous community, but nonetheless, it feels good to know that whatever issues I'm wrestling with in my writing, there are other people out there wrestling with the same or similar. I guess a lot of people get that kind of community from MFA programs or from living in a poet-heavy city.

Anyway, I don't see myself stopping anytime soon, but that doesn't mean I won't change my mind.

If you start feeling too obligated to your readers ... just remove the little counter, and just write for the sake of writing. That's what I say.

andy_t_roo said...

wow, lots of readers, i havn't even got 200 yet. (although ive only been going 1/6 as long as you)

Peter said...

Paul: Why Blog?
I am relatively new to blogging; but I just love it. I think it is much more interesting than the WomPo listserve (gimme a break) and other lists out there; the level of discourse, analysis, humor, camaraderie, support and general silliness are what keeps me coming back. It's like the ideal MFA program, without the MFA.

Oliver de la Paz said...

Hmmm, why blog, Paul? I suppose I started because I wanted to keep in touch with my grad-school friends. I wanted to let them know what I was up to. Then I saw that there were so many other poets blogging, I thought, "My, we have a big community here!"

So I suppose I like the community of writers. I've added quite a few writers to my list of weblinks. I plan on adding more.

Reading blogs are also a GREAT THING to do while you're tucked away in a school office, waiting for students to drop by (they never do).

Paul said...

Peter, I love your comment about this being like the ideal MFA program. Very good.

And I do the same thing, Oliver: I read everybody's during my office hours....

MyPics said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
S. Lelia said...

Why blog and how long? They're good questions. I started my lj when I moved from Pittsburgh to Columbus because I was concerned about losing touch with my friends. But the journal has become more to me than that. It feels very organic. Always growing, not just in size but dimensionally as well. Although i go through periods where the things that I post are random factoids and anecdotes, sometimes I just bust out randomly with some smart lyrical prose that makes me think, "wow, I should work at this more often." It hasn't happened lately, and by lately I mean since at least December. Stuff got all crazy after that.

I don't think I could have one of those SeriousPoetBlogs that I see so often around here. It seems like it would be a lot of pressure to maintain one's integrity-- no, that's not the right word.... let me try again. All the SeriousPoetBlogs that I read through blogger have a different tone than the lj's that I read. They seem to have a super-heightened attention to audience and a sweet/smart self-awareness that only my best posts have. I don't know if that's intentional --but right now, it's not *my* goal. As far as blogging (journaling, whathaveyou) goes, I like to read and write sloppy. So that I'm really giving of myself, not just the polished parts, but all the parts. I guess that makes me an exhibitionist, and voyeur as well. {snort}

It might be true that when I leave Columbus (and, you know, grad skewl), I will feel the need to start a separate, more serious blog. In July I will be leaving the best community of writers I've ever had, and even though I'm returning to my beloved city, it's bound to feel alienating and disorienting. In Pittsburgh, nearly all my friends are programmers, mathematicians, or engineers. Some are artistically inclined as well, but none are poets. I will have one (1) living-breathing-non-virtual PoetFriend. An online community could be the answer at that point. But I think even if I start a poetry-oriented blog, I will keep it separate from my lj. I still want a space in which I can be self-absorbed and noodle around.

As far as "how long?" Probably until the point where the technology gets so good that we can just convert our thoughts directly into 1s and 0s and reach right into the ether.