Thursday, November 13, 2008

975 posts. 3 years. Comments?

I seem to return to the same mental image each time I celebrate another year of this little spot I have online. I was turning right into my subdivision from the lengthy road that took me out toward the lake when I decided to start a blog. I'd forced myself to work, knowing three months in that the post-doc wasn't going particularly well, and had returned to my first house early, defeated by my inability to do more or feel better. I didn't know exactly what was wrong, but feeling inadequate and small was inescapable.

In the beginning, I wrote for me. I wasn't ready for anyone to share my thoughts because the substance behind them had yet to be clarified. But with time and support - for I've always had readers of exquisite quality - I grew more free with my thoughts. Articulating feelings and memories, frustrations and goals became progressively easier as I practiced. I wrote posts I loved and others of which I'm not proud. I thought more carefully about myself in those moments spent writing, sometimes with a happy wish to share something nice and others with a desperate plea for someone to understand why I hurt so badly.

I met Friend, an event that deserves its own paragraph. As I drove away from my post-doctoral city, mopping at tears that refused to stop falling, I decided the reason I'd been there was to befriend this amazing woman who saved me more times than I can count. Luckily, I keep a daily journal so if one wanted to know about any number of jokes or arguments or evenings spent drinking or crying or working, there are archives. Bits of text that comfort me with their presence even when I don't look back at them. "You said," she told me as I continued to shake my head at the too-tall roller coaster, "that you owed me upside down. I'm not making you do that, so you should at least do this one! You wrote it on a blog so it must be true!" And while I'm not above fibbing or exaggerating to make a point, some of the most profound truths have been realized while my screen fills with words that are meant for the blog. That I know and love an extraordinary person who never openly minded my posting conversations and events (for I don't think I ever asked permission) is a blessing which leaves me awed.

Last year, I wanted to offer something new and different. That's happened, though I've met this new challenge with my typical mix of absolute elation and complete terror and dread. While some days have been difficult, I continue to believe this is right. I look around - while at home, work or driving between the two locations - and feel a sense of belonging. I'm busy and challenged and gaining a set of skills and contacts that seem highly beneficial. I'm trying to find a way to write without crossing any (major) lines and I'm not sure I always succeed. But my departure from academic research was good for me. And for those of you who endured much of the misery I documented for the past years, I hope you continue to see me pull of it. (Unless you're not such a big fan and are waiting for me to fail. If so, never fear! I screw up often enough to keep both groups happy, I'm sure.)

While on the subject of change, I've recently grown concerned about the trends that have emerged in parts of our community. I never fail to react strongly against anyone using a blog to make someone else feel small or inadequate, no matter how harmless or entertaining the intentions. So I'll say this by way of explanation, since I'll continue to stop reading (and lose all respect for) people I think are otherwise immensely talented because I abhor their disregard of others. They would have crushed me. I am overly sensitive and painfully defensive. Many of the words I put here required support, not critique, and whether someone writes a post or a paper, I wish we all reacted with a respectful pause that took their feelings into account before gleefully hacking away at them. This isn't - and hasn't been - a game to me. I'm deeply offended and viciously angry when someone takes a medium that's been so good for me and twists it into something painful for another.

When I realized I was wide awake just after 1:00 this morning, I plucked my eyebrows and flossed my teeth, biding time before growing sleepy. Then I smiled when I realized it's the day I officially talk about how much I love Minor Revisions! Last year, I was rather awed by people who left comments because I asked you if you would. So - if it isn't too much trouble - you could say hello again this year and feel free to ask any questions (or leave requests for me to stop already) as we head into year four.

Thank you. I doubt I would continue to do this if people didn't ever read it. So, sincerely and effusively, I offer many thanks.

30 comments:

Moose withthoughtslikemine said...

Hello (again). I've just started my own blog. And like you initially started, I am writing for me. Even though it's early days (thus low-traffic), I find the writing process quite therapeutic. And I'm glad that you left a comment on my page. I shall continue to read your blogs as you keep writing them. They're very thoughtful :)

hypoglycemiagirl said...

What can I say, I do occasionally rant over the stupidity of public personas, but I would never use my spot to be an ass towards fellow bloggers no matter how people rub me the wrong way. When I have left the occasional too harsh comment on other people's blogs I have angst for days.

You keep writing and I'll keep reading!

JaneB said...

Hi Katie, I love your blog and come here most days, it's like a quick coffee with a friend, even if I don't often comment.

I'm not a skilled writer like you - at least not on my blog, where I choose to 'write' the voice that I'd use with the understanding friends I don't have easy access to in my current position - it's very freeing. Maybe I'll also start crafting some posts, as I feel my way into the medium.

I do think that when the blogosphere talks about ideas we need to be particularly careful to distinguish between attacks on people and on ideas - no problem with arguing about ideas, that's what they're there for, but it has to be coupled with respect for and appreciation of the sincerity of the people who advance them.

Arbitrista said...

Hi there! I'm just a lurker.

Anonymous said...

Dear Katie, Thank you for all your writing and being your lovely self.

Rainee

Seeking Solace said...

I have enjoyed your blog and can't wait to read more.

baggage said...

Hi there, I've been reading for a long long time and I adore your blog!

BrightStar (B*) said...

hi!! thanks for sharing your life with us.

Jenn said...

Hi Katie!
I love reading your blog. You have such a beautiful writing style. I stop by daily to read, but don't often leave comments. I don't have my own blog, but have been thinking of starting one... maybe some day.
Anyway, thanks for writing, and for sharing your stories.

Dr. Brazen Hussy said...

I'm still reading - but you knew that! Still one of my favorite blogs.

Ambivalent Academic said...

HI - I just started reading and looking forward to continuing. You've got a gift for writing. Keep it up!

Becca said...

Hi there!
I've been mostly (completely?) lurking, but I really like your writing style.

I absolutely understand about being 'overly sensitive and painfully defensive'- that's me to a T (at least sometimes).
I also know how scary it can be sharing something you've written. So I really respect how you've worked through that.

I can understand how you feel about 'drama' in the blogosphere. Some of us are drawn to it, as long as it's healthy debate. But your post reminds me that it can be very hard to conspicuously maintain a tone of respect in harsh black typed words on white screen. Important to remember, for sure.
Thank you for your blog!

Amanda said...

Hi! I love reading your blog. It's beautifully written and I've found it to be a comfort when I'm feeling low (to see that you've done so wonderfully despite feeling like I do). Thanks for writing!

Anonymous said...

Still reading as I try and chase after my 12 month old... which I need to go do right now.

DRD

Psych Post Doc said...

Happy Blog Anniversary.

I found your blog at a time when I needed to hear that leaving academia is the best for some of us. Thanks for the comfort and the support.

rented life said...

Even though I don't get to read it every day, I always appreciate your writing. Happy Blog b-day.

Cath@VWXYNot? said...

Congratulations on reaching 3 years - that's awesome! Keep up the good work!

microbiologist xx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
microbiologist xx said...

Bad grammer, had to delete previous comment. What I meant to say was:

What I enjoy most is that you write and conduct your blog differently that the other bloggers. I like that your style adds variety to the blogosphere. Also, I admire your honesty regarding your life's ups and downs. I am still trying to figure out how I want my blog to sound and exactly what direction I am trying to take. Your blog is an example (at least to me) of one that has a specific voice and point of view that I recognize when I read it.
Thank you.

TitleTroubles said...

I don't mind, openly or secretly. I confess that at times I read your interpretation of a conversation and think, "But I didn't say it like that! That makes me sound like an ass. She could at least have made me sound like a witty ass!" But mostly, it saves me from needing to record said events myself. And you know how I try to avoid anything like work.

But, dear one, the saving, and the blessing, is mutual.

Psycgirl said...

Congrats Katie! I can't believe I've been reading your blog for so long - I love all of your posts :) And I love all the kind and thoughtful comments you've left me, they've really helped me get through the rough moments I've blogged about.

AliceAcademic said...

I really appreciate the thoughtfulness, honesty and sensitivity with which you write. Look forward to reading more.

katescasebook said...

Hi Katie! Has it been 3 years already? I can't believe I've been reading your blogs for so long.. Thanks for writing, and thanks for sharing.

Brigindo said...

Congrats on the 3 year anniversary. I think you know how much I love your pretty blog and appreciate your stories. I enjoy reading through the good times and the bad but I hope the good times stick around.

phd me said...

Three years? Wow. And congrats on keeping with it, even when you didn't feel like it. It's nice to know what's going on in your world. So, here's to three more years!

The bean-mom said...

Katie,

Thank you for this beautiful post. I blog (and started blogging) for many of the same reasons that you did. I love the way you articulated what a gift it is (something that non-bloggers often don't get!)

And thanks for your comments on respect here in the blogosphere. I agree with every word you wrote there.

Happy blogversary!

post-doc said...

Many more thanks to all of you! This was a very happy experience - reading your comments and thinking about how lucky I am to have you reading.

Citronella said...

Didn't have time to comment in time yesterday... actually, I haven't been taking the time to comment very often lately. But I still come every time a new post pops up in my reader and usually love every word of it. Your writing is quite unique (at least among the blogs I read) and I really appreciate it.

Happy Blogaversary!

repressed librarian said...

I got behind with my blog reading while I was traveling this week, so my comment is belated but no less sincere. I enjoy your blog very much, am grateful to have met you in real life as a result of it, and look forward to everything you will share here in the future.

WomanScientist said...

I'm a little behind on my blog reading, but congrats on your blogiversary! I really enjoy reading your blog. I think it's unique among all the blogs I read. I love hearing about your day to day struggles and triumphs. All of your posts are very thoughtful and often thought-provoking for me. Keep up the good work!!!

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