Thursday, July 06, 2006

Mmmmmm.....canned worms.

There was a time not too long ago when very, very few people were reading this blog. I speculated that, if I ever did get comments, they would be of the negative variety.

Now, several months have gone by and I am blessed--truly blessed--by a wonderful community of readers, several of whom I have had the good fortune to meet in person. I get comments on a regular basis and they are almost universally positive. My one negative commenter was swiftly dealt with by a torrent of loyal readers, and has not returned since then.

I may regret saying this, BUT.....always one to enter the room of a sleeping baby, I have to wonder, aloud, whether you all like my posts as much as you seem to.

Take yesterday, for example. Halfway through writing that post, and recalling those "all victims of AIDS are innocent" posters from the '80's, I wondered if I would get flak for explaining everything I had done "right" during my fertility struggles. I didn't. I even got a comment from a new commenter, Suebob at Linkateria, who linked to yesterday's post.

I was totally psyched to get a link--I am, after all, something of an odd exhibitionist, as is manifested in the fact that I discuss so much of my thoughts and feelings on a public webpage. I am also extremely grateful for all the compliments I received on my post yesterday, both in public comments and in my private life. But I feel like I'd be doing everybody, myself included, a disservice if I didn't confess that I think it is important to talk about how people become afflicted with illnesses and conditions, if only because I am a firm believer in prevention. Just recently, in fact, I have been reading a great many articles and opinion pieces regarding the "25th anniversary" of the AIDS epidemic. I recall wondering aloud a few days ago how so many educated, informed Americans could have become infected with HIV through unprotected consensual sex in recent years, in light of massive, massive AIDS awareness campaigns in this country. Don't get me wrong--I have tremendous sympathy for those afflicted. Even so, I still wonder this. And I'm not alone. It seems that this is a hugely controversial topic, particularly in the gay community--witness this Larry Kramer speech and its attendant controversy.

I tried to communicate the fact that I naturally delve into speculation about others upon hearing of their diagnoses, and that this is something that I struggle with, especially now that I'm on the other side of the judging. I knew at the time I wrote it, though, that I didn't communicate all that I wanted to in yesterday's post. For that, I apologize.

A while back, Mignon wondered aloud whether her readers would still read her blog if she wrote not only about sunshine and flowers and happy, silky ponies (ok, so I'm paraphrasing a little), but also expressed potentially controversial opinions and rants. As she put it--this still makes me laugh--"If you were my boyfriend, could I fart in front of you yet?" (Yes, Mignon, if you're checking site stats, that was me searching your blog for boyfriend fart to get the URL for that post.) I guess I'm basically wondering the same thing, six months later and less humorously and not as well-written. Would you tell me (respectfully, please!) if you disagreed with me? I have to admit--I sometimes read things that I don't agree with, and I simply refrain from commenting, or comment on some other aspect of the post, because I am a big chicken and I myself haven't been able to do this thing that I'm asking. Am I opening a huge can of worms that none of us have the time and/or energy for? Will it upset the happy, positive dynamic we seem to have set up in our little blogging community? Will you still respect my food-snob opinions?


Blogger Mignon said...

I was thinking about this topic this morning - how we've all hit stagnation periods in our blogging lives. Periods where we rely on MeMes or other kind-of gimmicky posts. And I think part of it is that we (okay, so maybe the we should be replaced with "I" in all of the above) are actually thinking something a little 'out there' but are chicken to write about it.

PLEASE don't muffle your voice! You are so intelligent and funny and insightful, even if I don't agree with you I will learn or be otherwise entertained by you. I'd love to see you throw a little contention (completely made-up word? contentiousness?) in the mix.

And for what it's worth, I feel the same way about people engaging in risky sex. Like people that don't wear seatbelts, smokers, hang-gliders - basically all the activities that increase your life insurance premiums. I believe there's a hard-wired reason some people take these crazy risks and some don't. Like never in a million years would I put a needle in my vein. Never. So what makes some able to ignore the glaring truths and statistics about drug addiction? It's gotta be genes.

1:18 PM  
Anonymous mamatulip said...

Don't censor. Don't hide your voice.

There are times when I don't comment on certain things -- things that I really don't want to get into, share my beliefs about or things that I just don't know about enough to comment on. I'm a pretty non-confrontational person, but I always want to hear what other people think. People are allowed to have their opinions and if they can be expressed eloquently and respectfully, I'm all ears.

So go for it. I want to hear about it. Open the can of worms.

3:21 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Harridan said...

Since I know you personally (and like you very well), I'm pretty sure that you can figuratively fart in front of me and it'll be OK.

Even when bloggers express something via a rant that I don't agree with, if I generally like the tone and quality of their blogs, I get over it pretty quickly. Would it still be that way if I engaged in a debate via the comments? Maybe not. But I've always sort of felt that, if I disagree with you, and my lack of agreement cannot enrich the conversation, then there's very little point in my expressing it.

That being said, when I DO feel like my opinion differs BUT can maybe show a new perspective on the topic at hand, I'm happy to (tactfully) express it. I'm less happy to have my hand bitten by another commenter once I do, but that's the chance one takes, no?

Is any of this making sense? I'm still reeling from going halfway through the Larry Kramer piece.

3:22 PM  
Anonymous V-Grrrl said...

Be authentic. Be yourself.

When I started my blog, it was for ME--a creative outlet, a project, a way to keep my skills sharp while on sabbatical from my job.

As time went on, I got more and more wrapped up in the numbers, the readers, the comments.

Slowly I'm coming back to where I started--and I think that's a better place to be.

10:01 AM  
Blogger mamalujo1 said...

I've read your blog regularly, but haven't ever been much of a commenter (if ever?). Your questions are just the kind of things I think of too. My response is basically this: I've read enough to believe that you have that same desire to speak to others about this life as I do. You do it extremely well, and by that I mean I keep coming back to see what your take on it is today. I'm interested, and I want to know what you think. That's the miracle, to me. I've never met you in person, probably never will, but guess what? I could fart in front of you.

11:55 PM  
Anonymous Elizabeth said...

I give a big thumbs-up to the opening of worm cans, and to food-snob opinions. Our community does seem to be in a bit of a slump, let's get a good conversation going. I tend to avoid big personal-opinion topics like politics and abortion (although I'll certainly give my opinion on those if asked), but other than that,I say bring it on!

3:59 PM  

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