Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Charlie Brown, Blogging, and the video you need to watch *now*

I was reading around the Internet as I usually do, and found some inspiring posts. First off, if you are in need of something inspiring (or something to procrastinate with, I don't judge), you should watch Amber Naslund's presentation at TedX Peachtree.

I started writing this post because I read an entertaining column on Charlie Brown and its relevance to blog writing - I'm a Linus VanPelt, entertainingly. (Go over and read Carrie Keenan's column "Do You Blog Like Charlie Brown?" - go ahead, I'll wait)
"Linus VanPelt -  Linus is a very conscientious researcher but he lets his research take over and go off into tangents and analogies that don’t quite make sense."
I'm totally Linus - I do love to research and go off on tangents...oops, I'm getting off topic from what I started from! :-) 

This sort of collides with a discussion I was having this week with a friend. She was asking me why I don't blog every day without fail. I had to say that I think its more important to have a message, an important thought, that I've researched and thought about in the car, in the shower, and so much that I can't live without sharing. 
Amber, in particular, is a role model of mine, even before I knew about her experience with mental illness. Why? Her blog is exactly what I think a blog should be - thought provoking, not necessarily about the same thing, but loosely based around a theme, not posting every day but often enough that I remember to check my email for her entry. I get the feeling that her entries are incredibly personal, no matter what the conversation is like, and not that she's cranking them out all the time because she's required to. I used to subscribe to Seth Godin's blog before I realized that he cranks out posts and while I find the questions he proposes thought provoking (on occasion) there is no substance there. I can't say I remember a single entry of his, where I've already talked to multiple people about Amber's blog entry and video.
Every time I read an Amber Naslund post, I sit there and think about it. More than one have shaped and changed my own behavior, both online and offline. That's what a blog should do - rather than meeting some sort of arbitrary schedule that results in posts that are fluff, useless, and don't stick to your brain like a meat and potatoes meal sticks to your ribs. 
I honestly don't care that I get a lot of comments. I don't care that my long posts violate a lot of bloggers so-called rules. I don't care that some people may not give a hoot what I write about, or that they tell me I'm wrong (I'm always open to change, so I appreciate them telling me, but I will firmly make my own decision). I care that I talk to people in real life that tell me they helped save their genealogy society by trying something new, or that they tried their hand at loom knitting because I made it seem so easy that they could do it and could open their mind beyond knitting = 2 sticks, or that I brought up something in my blog that really reached them about the quality of another writer or a designer. Its those real life moments that make writing this blog so much fun, and that's something a lot of folks I see writing a blog don't say. I see and hear a lot of people who say their blog is their job, their drag, their requirement. For me, its a fun part to say something where I can actually spell it all out before people interrupt my thought pattern and my own brain starts racing a mile a minute with the response, or to process what they're saying. 
I often think about the idea of the intellectual salons of France of the 18th century, and in my fantasy of them, I can bring together my favorite bloggers such as Amber, Hannah from Bittersweet, Judy from The Legal Genealogist, Mardee from Mardeeknits, and Molly Erdman from Catalog Knitting. What would we talk about? No idea, but it would go off on some interesting winding path that wouldn't be possible elsewhere, like a good knit-crochet night with friends. 
Err...getting off on that tangent again. My point through this post is that I never would have guessed that Amber has lived with a mental illness as long as she has revealed in her video. From reading my own writing, I never would have guessed that about myself, either. Maybe that's why her work speaks to me so much - I get *it*. So I want to acquiesce to her request and say - add me too. I've had anxiety disorder for nearing 10 years, and I still have those moments where I have to hide in order to be able to breathe, but I can live and do everything I need to. This blog is one of my coping mechanisms - my thoughts onto paper slow down my brain enough to do what I need to do. My brother has ADD, and has had to also find coping mechanisms to make things work. Medications are only one piece of the puzzle - and I think that writing and meditative activities such as meditation, yoga, knitting, crocheting, etc. are another, and sharing with one another that we have these needs are incredibly important.

Kudos to Amber for having the courage to get up there and talk about it. I'm glad to be a part of her audience.

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