Sunday, January 14, 2007

An Extended Pause

(Sit down. Get comfy. This is gonna be a long one.)

I've noticed something in the past couple of years I've been doing this "blog-thang". There seems to be a natural ebb and flow to the collective creativity. Even people who blog with an almost 100 percent productivity rate, that is to say daily, have days when they resort to memes or a pictorial or a one-line blurb about how they are sucking stones trying to get the creative juices flowing again.

Then there are the burn-outs. People who have lost the feeling and just can't seem to get it back. They write with such an outpouring of emotion that when the end comes it comes with an empathetic thud. One such person that comes to mind is Darrell. Such a prolific poster he filled day after day with sharp observations and thought-provoking images, only to stop abruptly... now only a trickle of words trip across his blog. The "mad murmurer" has become the "shy whisperer".

Most people give notice they are leaving the blogosphere. We get a short paragraph stating they are "taking a break", "burnt out", occasionally "we are getting out while we can" or "found" by some "real world" people they would just as soon not have peeking into their minds. My own child can be held as example. My eldest had a lovely little blog that several of you visited - but because of some actions by a "real world" former high school classmate it made her uncomfortable and she decided she'd rather just read 'em than write 'em. I miss some of the insights I got into my own daughter's life, but acknowledge her right not to share.

That brings me to the drop outs. The ones who just stop and fall out of sight. They appear to be going along on a normal course of day-to-day living and sharing said life with us when one day - they don't. Ever again. Leaving us asking "where are you?" "are you okay?" "is everything allright?" in comment sections and possibly even in e-mails. Mr_g comes to mind. He had a pretty prolific blog which increasingly became disturbed as he realized his wife was having an affair. It continued on until he became paranoid that she (and her lawyer) had found his blog wherein he created a new site and continued to let us faithful readers know how he was doing embarking on his new role as 'single guy'. Oddly enough, his last post was about him getting "visitation" with his dogs. This begs the question, "What happened?!?!" No reponse to e-mails or comments for months. Did his ex kill him and bury the body? Did the dogs eat him? Did the lawyers find him again and he felt the need to "get out of town" cyber-speaking?

I have a valid reason to ask. A few months ago I had a comment from a new person and being the perfect blog hostess I immediately went to visit and say thanks for coming by. Oh, who am I kidding? The truth is, I didn't notice this person had commmented on an older post so it was a couple of months before I contacted them. Trust me... I learned my lesson. As I am prone to do, I went to their blog and started at the beginning. I like to do that. Go deep into the archives and read chronologically, getting to know the person before I commit myself to opening the door of blog friendship. His blog went back a couple of years and in reading it I found him to be well-written, funny, warm and sensitive. In other words, someone I would like to keep reading. Abruptly, a month after he'd posted on my site, his stopped. I searched frantically to see if there was a clue to why. None. He'd talked about only good things happening in his life and I couldn't see there was a cause to leave, unless, like some of the rest of us, a busy life just got in the way. In reading over the last comments I started to be alarmed when I started seeing "he'll be missed" showing up. Stepping bravely into the unknown, I sent a couple of e-mails out to some regular commentors who appeared to know this person in real life. Bless their hearts, they responded. He'd had cancer (which he had never once indicated on his blog) and had died while being operated on for it's removal. I was stunned. Speechless. Someone that to me I'd just "met" was gone before I even had the chance to thank him for his kinds words on my site. Needless to say, I'm a little quicker on the responses now.

So, what do you find in your blog life? (Don't kid yourself - it is a whole 'nother life out here in the blogosphere. We have friends we've never met who we become attached to and for whatever reason have bonded over words. Just words.) Have you, too, had experience with people dropping out of sight and wondering "what happened?". Have you been that person who took an extended break and came back only to find the blogosphere had moved on without you? Am I putting too much thought into this?

...maybe I just need more sleep.