Thursday, February 04, 2010

Memo to the Net: 5 years worth of thoughts on blogging and life... A post-script in assorted figments...

I've fallen into hiatus again. It may be the last time. This may be the last post, sans bugle.

Sometimes its nice to vent and talk for a moment about life. Sometimes its nice to live in the moment. Sometimes there aren't enough moments.

You can't do it all on one blog. Funny doesn't want to read dry, dry doesn't want to read teary. You can't help but care.

It's hard getting too close to a movement you aren't part of.

Being flamed by the other side is unpleasant, slightly. Being flamed by your own is sickening, it turns your world on its head, makes you wonder why you have found common political ground with someone like that.

I started poliblogging 5 years ago with a firm belief that my side of politics held most of the decent people. I now hold the firm belief that it holds a marginal majority of decent people. I have come to be suspicious of extremes, I like the line that joins the yin and the yang.

You can't capture the emotions of parenting on a blog, not fully. It's an experience best enjoyed in person.

Men and women, even those who are trying hard, are still a long way from understanding each other. It is worth the effort, but there is still a long way to go. Very few people are really trying to understand the other.

Debates about music and sport are pointless, logically. They can, however, be a great test of the character of both yourself and those you think you respect.

A room full of bloggers is a study in asymetry and disjunct. It is also a guaranteed source of excellent conversation.

Keeping confidences can be hard. When someone has coffee with you and talks about how they're considering joining either Party A or Party B, then joins the latter and within weeks starts virulently attacking Party A and all of its supporters on their high profile blog, you don't break the confidence. But its frustrating, and you learn about the nuance that underpins so much polemic.

The more people you tell, the less you can write about. Anonymity is the friend of fine personal blogging (see my first 10 or so posts...).

Before LOLCATS was big, I gave you Chairman Mao, don't forget it.

An idiotic blog about a talking cat is an amazingly popular idea. A talking cat is a very funny, and telling, way to discover that some of your favourite threads are populated by people with an irony bypass.

It was also my wife's favourite.

A post about a 60 year old bodybuilder will attract daily visits from people who have searched for 60 year old bodybuilders on Google. It will prove to be the post with the longest tail. You will find yourself wondering at the meaning of life. (redux, perhaps?)

The kids are doing fine, thank you. Mitts is walking around holding on to things, taking steps, and Bear is jumping, painting, helping me water our new mini herb garden and still taking no prisoners. Beloved is back at work, enjoying the return to adult interaction. Minh and Mao are enjoying the new house and the greatly increased time spent outside.

I'm on tolerably better terms with my father, and with myself in respect of my father. In his own, emotionally retarded ways, he's been making small efforts. He still isn't being a proper grandfather, but perhaps the worst interpretations I started to put on his actions were excessive. I hope so, disappointed as I am.

Being a parent is complex. Try to listen to the narrative of the person, allow that to sit apart from the narrative you've adopted. For my part, I'm tired of existing narratives. All of them.

The second hardest thing to capture in a post is raw emotion. The hardest is humour.

It will be reasonable to call for an end to anonymous blogging when it is illegal to hold anything a person has said on a blog against them in a place of work. When you see pigs fly, let me know.

I have learned about mutuality and ethics. I learned not to flame, as I don't like being flamed. Something my mummy said about doing unto others springs to mind.

In this and other things I believe blogging has made me a more thoughtful person.

Blogging is often more like talking than the kind of writing we associate with articles and books. The world does not understand this.

As large group and corporate blogs take over the 'sphere, I reflect that the art of the editor, now much maligned, was always at least as important as the art of the writer.

Writing posts is quite easy. It can be done efficiently and balanced with a decent workload. What drains your energy and time is going back to comment threads to see what people are saying about your last assertion.

Godwin's Law is a crock, designed to allow history to repeat itself. It is based on the negligent conflation of two distinct acts: asserting equivalence and drawing analogy. If you see people cracking down on dissent, or touting racial nationalism, or calling for war at the drop of a hat, history is there to remind us of why we find these things so repugnant.

Feed readers, facebook and twitter have all been invented in the time I've been blogging. What does this say about a policy focussed on teaching primary school kids to use laptops?

When I was in primary school, Ataris had just been invented. I wish I'd learned to work one of those Ataris inside out, I'd have been so much better off when I hit the workforce in the late '90s.

People have given me some touching and profound advice on this blog, and shared the most personal and instructive experiences. Thank you, I am grateful. This has been a highlight.

Once you start keeping 'a record', such as things your kids are doing, a blog can become a source of incredible guilt if you are not diligent and thorough.

Long posts that talk about all sorts of unrelated crap are rarely read. I know.

Part of the reason for previous blogging resurrections was a sense of wanting to reconnect with my online peeps. Facebook has now been invented, there was always email. Mine's armagny [atsymbol] gmail DOT com.

The answer to that is, I don't know, maybe.

Work is hard to find satisfying once you've turned down 2 or more opportunities to do jobs you'd prefer. Even if they were on less pay, or in Canberra.

The Oz Blogosphere is ostensibly saturated. But there are major topics that are all but ignored. I'm not sure why, or whether there is value in exploring them, but I do think there is still room for more, well-placed, writings.

Ditto political parties. On a left-right axis the space is largely filled. On a more nuanced, multi-axis analysis, there are some large empty spaces, and they sit surprisingly close to the middle ground.

Australia is an inherently conservative country, and the likes of Tony Abbott or Barnaby Joyce should be treated with the respect that you'd give to a Taipan in a sleeping bag.

Like music, and probably other creative arts I know less about, writing can sap your emotions as much as it can buoy them.

Child hatred is as common as doting parental blogging. Sometimes, when I'm reading some bigot's rant about prams in cafes or pregnant women, I wonder "Do they vote the way I do?" I hope not, but the thought is troubling and not easy to dislodge.

A way to test the true mettle of your favourite bloggers is to experiment by joining in the same old threads under a different ID. See who treats you like an outsider, see the snobbery and exclusion embraced by some of your favourite blogerati. It can feel like the sandpit all over again.

All good posts must come to an end. So must messy, tatty, incoherent ones.

So must messy, tatty, incoherent blogs. I have, after all, given you an engagement, a wedding, 2 cats, 2 kids, and an outstanding reason to explore old Brandy.

Back to hiatus, perhaps not for long, perhaps for ever.

Love yaz all.



Legal Eagle said...

Have loved reading your blog, Armagny. Hope to still keep up a dialogue on law, ethics and all of that.

Helen said...

Bugger. I'll miss you!

TimT said...


Anonymous said...

I completely understand. take care

Elisabeth said...

I understand, too. I wonder why we do it, sometimes and yet and yet and yet.

I avoid the political myself, as if such is possible. I try to stay with literature and an appreciation of art, poetry, photography and stories but it's not always so easy.

I'm relatively new to your blog but I have enjoyed our brief encounters. All the best to you and yours. As you say you might yet be back.

Mindy said...

I hope that something draws you back. Something good.

boynton said...

Have really enjoyed your writing over the years.

This is a great last (for now) post.
It has taken me about 7 years to realise that the list is king in blogstyle, and that numbers are rather arbitrary. Point 32 might well precede 8 or 17. So I really like the way you have presented these serious and wise meta musings.

All the best.

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blue milk said...

Nooooooooo not another of my favourites biting the dust. Argh.

Your goodbye post was brilliant. But that doesn't mean you can't make a re-entrance you know.

JahTeh said...

You can't do this to me! I've got time now to read all my favourite blogs and you're leaving!
The least you can do is write a yearly update on the kidlets and catlets.
I blame it all on Facebook.

Armagny said...

Thanks all. I don't know, I'll see. My wife said 'why do you keep doing this' but it's like the mojo goes, you think of all the reasons you should end it, or change to something else, then immediately after making the call suddenly you think of lots of things you want to write about!

Trying to push myself another direction, such as trying to get an essay published or work on a book...

... hopeless, I know.

cristy said...

I can totally relate. Take care.

I'll miss your blog if you do decide to call it quits.