The blog is about my horse. My horse is a useless pasture potato. Many horses have a long and fulfilling lives as UPPs. My husband’s mare comes to mind. However, Rodney was bought to be my big, fancy, mid-life crisis horse. He’s talented. He’s gorgeous. He freaks out if I so much as lead him toward the riding ring. My heart breaks a little every time I look at him.
As a basis for a blog, this was a) depressing and b) lacking in narrative tension. There is only so many ways one can post about a microscopic change that might or might not be progress. I had the thought that, maybe, someday, when he’s galloping about winning everything, we can all look back on this and laugh. One can live on hope for only so long.
So, that was lurking in the background and underlies everything that follows.
Contributing Factor One
Couldn’t write about my horse, so I wrote about equine-related events, mine and others. This left me feeling scattered. From marketing standpoint, was I diluting my focus? Did my writing have a strong enough voice to carry a hodge-podge of topics?
Contributing Factor Two
My metrics failed to inspire. Writing From the Right Side of the Stall was kind enough to reblog one of my Off Topic posts [Upside, reblog]. I was tickled. (They like me! They really like me!) The post got exactly one comment. Me, saying thank you. The post before had 9 comments. The one after has 4, to date. Conclusion: the Internet hates me. I sent a link to Commotion, a tack shop mentioned in a post [Show Report]. They put it on their website. The downside to high activity spikes is watching the numbers fade back to status quo ante. Conclusion: the Internet hates me.
The bijoux nature of my blog should not surprise me. I did not date extensively. I had a few boyfriends and then got married. I’ve never had a huge social circle. Instead, I have a few close friends to whom I hang on like limpet. You know who you are.
It is rude to complain about readership to those of you who are kind enough to stop by. It implies you are not enough. It’s not that I don’t love you, it’s just that I want everyone to like me, all of the time. And to tell me so. Often.
As you might guess from the previous, I can be a trifle needy. In absence of positive data, I immediately assume the worst. Such is my thirst for affirmation, that I doubt any number would suffice. However, if I did get big numbers, I might freak out about it.
But now my sphere of readership is much bigger; this isn’t really something I anticipated, and while I’m grateful for it, it also scares the crap out of me. The Everywhereist
These were floating about bothering me to various extents on various days.
I blame the truck. I drive a 1989 Ford F250 held together with duct tape and baling twine. Definitely in the category of Don’t laugh, it’s paid for. Still, it gets me to my daily caffeine fix and to my riding lessons. Most of the time. Every so often, my ace mechanic has to commune with the engine to relieve its aging aches and pains. On this particular day, the truck did not start. I may have been a bit miffed, as I had mentioned the gradually declining starter a few times in the previous weeks. Suddenly, I had a 3/4-ton sculpture. No caffeine. No errands. No trip to the post office to pick up the show picture waiting for me. Phooey.
I waited a while. I calmed down. I went to work Rodney. As you may recall, he had shown signs of possible improvement in his grazing patterns [Blades]. I was interested to see if that carried over into work, or what passes for work in his world. It didn’t. Perhaps he could sense I was perturbed. Perhaps he had too many calories on board from all the grass. I no longer cared. I was tired of reading tea leaves.
I gave up. My horse was a failure. I could not continue to blog about this fact. I wrote my final post. No matter how hyper-dramatic you find my Hiatus post, it was a paean of rational compromise compared to my first effort. This was on a Monday. I scheduled the good-bye post for Wednesday. I already had a post for Tuesday. Plus, a tiny, sane part of me was providing a way out without making any noise that might attract the attention of the majority part of me that was ranting and raving.
There was a chance for a saving throw on Tuesday. My new camera had arrived. I had refused to open the box since I no longer needed the camera to blog. Now, I would open the box, play with my new toy, and see if I could have fun with some goofy photo posts.
The camera was the wrong size. I had asked the salesman at the not-to-be-named camera store for one thing: that the new one be the same size or smaller than my defunct Cannon PowerShot SD750. The one that conveniently slides into my back pocket. (I did hear the suggestions on a compromise camera, but went with convenience, or tried to.) This one was heavier, bigger in every dimension, and did not have a fully-recessable lens. WTF?
The fit became epic. I let the Wednesday post stand. I felt pointless, stupid, mired in the lack of achievement that is my life. I had spent way too many decades on the planet with way too little to show for them.
This was followed by a period where I did whatever it took to get me moving forward, usually by exceeding my daily allotment of Cokes and making gratuitous Pepperidge Farm Milano cookie runs. What can I say, I’m a rebel.
What has changed
1) Everything. Nothing.
2) Fuck it.
With the blog, I perseverate over pointless details, castigating myself for soaking up large hunks of my life when a little efficiency could produce the same product in half the time. I invest far too much of my identity in the reception of my posts. I couple my writing life to my riding life, making a failure in the latter a failure in the former as well, doubling the opportunities for doubt and self-loathing.
Without the blog, something even worse happens. I get bored. This is not good for me or any living creature in my vicinity. In short order, the boredom seeps outward. I lose the motivation to exercise. I blow by the deadlines on what little work I have. I become a joy and a delight for a hardworking man to come home to. Better a maelstrom of emo Sturm und Drang than that. When one has the soul of a Border Collie, inactivity is hell.
One of the questions I asked myself was on the whole idea of disemboweling myself to an audience.
One side of brain: Why am telling strangers about my life?
Other side of brain: To get attention. Isn’t that obvious?
One side of brain: Hard to argue with such logic.
Past: stressing over the blog’s reception. Future: Fuck it. To some extent, I need to imagine the perspective reader. Is the content clear? Can I be more entertaining in my delivery? That is my remit. What happens after I hit Publish is out of my control. Blogs are not letters or even emails, where one can reasonably expect a response. A post is a message in a bottle. I send it out on the sea that is the Internet and see what floats back to me. So, I will put out best product and then move on. In other words, fuck it.
I will be more myself. Hello world, I use bad language. GTFOI. Not even creative bad language, just a few scatological and biological terms that I fling about like an overuse of salt.
Still, I won’t go negative. I will always worry about libel and about the possibility of people yelling at me. But also, why? Why increase the negative energy of the universe? Airing one’s grievances just encourages the little bastards. When I had a book column and found a bad book, I skipped it and moved on to what was good. I realize part of life is the misfortune as well as the good fortune. That I will share. However, my inner, spiteful nastiness? I’ll spare you. I will try not to feed that wolf.
An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.
“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
First People of America and Canada – Turtle Island
What I like about having a blog
This section is for my reference as much as anything. The tailspin inevitably returneth.
1) Reading. I enjoy going back to read past posts. Yes, I get enchanted with my own cleverness, when I’m not appalled by my word choice. Plus, I am reminded of events about which I had forgotten, such as flinging things at Instructor after an early lesson [Rack On]. I had totally blocked this out.
2) Talking. I like to talk. I do it a lot. I was the kid in class that the teacher had to tell to stop asking questions so other kids would have a chance. My listening skills have improved, but it is an acquired effort as an adult. I am my own favorite topic.
3) Empty Space. I missed the blog when it went away. I didn’t expect to. I was looking forward to regaining 1-2 hours of my day. Didn’t work out that way.
4) Folks. Last but not least. I have found great blogs. I have heard wonderful stories. You have given me good advice, both real [Thank You] and imagined [Decisions]. You have offer encouragement in success and consolation in difficulties. Thank you – past, present, and future – for visiting my blog.
How will I handle future adversity?
How will I cope with the lack of metrics? If I’m doing it to get attention, will I be able to deal with a lack, or a perceived lack, of attention? I probably won’t. At least not well. I will moan and whinge. I will be convinced that the universe hates me. I just hope it doesn’t happen when the truck and camera are both broken. I may stomp off again. And come back again.
… with the lingering hope of a break-out blog? I will try to quash this. Such foolish optimism can’t be eliminated entirely. If people listened to odds over optimism, lotteries would go broke.
… with the feeling that blogging is self-indulgent? It is. So is eating.
… with the nagging thought that I should be engaging in activities that are remunerative &/or more useful to society? Nothing says I can’t do both. I will do new things to expand my writing/creative skills. I will put the blog down and work on other things. Which leads to
… with the keeping the blog contained? I will try not to take too much time with it. Half-halt. Endless, endless half-halts to rebalance & rein in. No reading and rereading of drafts beyond what is required for for editing. No obsessively checking of my stats. Put down the mouse. Step away from the computer.
… with stressing over the shape of the blog? I will be alert to conditional thinking. If I have a blog, therefore I must have an up-to-date blogroll. I must tweet. I must … Um, no. Until such time as someone offers to pay me, I don’t have to do Jack.
… with Rodney? Sigh. My sweet, happy horse. As long as nothing resembling work is involved, he is a cupcake. As far as my competitive career over fences goes, I will remain a grumpy bitch until
a) Rodney gets over himself.
b) I get distracted by a
shiny object new horse.
c) I become an enlightened human being.
This will hold true whether I post or not. Yes, writing a horse blog while my horse imitates a lawn ornament is going to suck pond water. With luck, the increased psychic toll will be outweighed by mental health gains in other areas. With luck, I will remember this.
My blog has a purpose – to keep me from going batshit crazy.