Sunday, March 21, 2010

Accentuate the positive (A survey)

A friend was complaining to me the other day that Froogville has been very negative lately.

This bothered me slightly. Sometimes I lose perspective about these things a little, lurch too far and for too long toward the 'dark side'. I am classically bi-polar, always either exuberantly happy or self-indulgently depressed, with not much in the middle. And I have been at the wrong end of the spectrum rather a lot in recent months: work has been slow, the weather has been shite, I've had health problems and all kinds of vexation with my computer, and the firework excess of Chinese New Year bores, appals, and frightens me. It wouldn't therefore be surprising if a 'negative' tone had been predominating in my posting during this period.

However, after a quick review of the blog's recent content, I feel quite able to defend myself against the charge. 'Negativity' and its converse are, after all, matters of the individual's perception. It's easy to misinterpret or exaggerate the significance of those elements which seem most conspicuous to you, or even to project your own anxieties and prejudices on to them.

And my friend was being very selective in her criticism: she would insist on excluding.... all the jokes, frivolities, anecdotes, cartoons, nostalgic reminiscences, bons mots, favourite poems; all the posts about music or art or sport or cinema or fantasy girlfriends; all the recommendations of other blogs. Er, yes, if you exclude everything positive, then I suppose the blog might seem quite negative.

But even my most negative posts are almost always well seasoned with humour, I think. I'm usually trying to find some offbeat consolation even in the most trying of circumstances. I'm always trying to make some useful observation, to draw some uplifting lesson from my tribulations. If you see these posts as purely 'negative' just because they are superficially about bad things, then I'd suggest that you're not looking deep enough. Even in my darkest moments, I am groping back towards the light.

In my assessment, only about half of my hundred or so posts this year have had anything negative in them at all (anything - and I'd say nearly half of those are on balance considerably more positive than negative). Only about six or seven have been really negative; and even those, I hope, mostly had some redeeming humour buried in them.

I don't think 1 wrily ranty post in every 15 or so amounts to an "overwhelmingly negative blog".

It's the way you're looking at things, my dear, not the way it's written.

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