Friday, January 14, 2011

The interconnectedness of everything

One of the chiefest pleasures I have found in this strange hobby of blogging (and the one I had least anticipated when I set out on this experiment, over four years ago now) is the remarkable people I have met through it, the keen intelligences and vibrant spirits who also choose to express themselves via a blog: people like Leah and HomeInKabul (their blogs, alas, now deleted or restricted), Moonrat (discontinued, but the rich archive still available) and OMG (disappointingly infrequent; but when she's good, she's very, very good) and The Enigmatic, Masked Blogger and - just the other day - a New Mexico artist named Cedra saying hi for the first time; and, of course, the life-enhancing Tony of Other Men's Flowers and John of Running After My Hat.

With most of these folks I have established a personal e-mail correspondence in addition to the public-forum badinage of the comment threads; and I have come to regard them as friends.  It might seem strange (it would have seemed strange to me three or four years ago) that such 'virtual relationships' could so readily attain such warmth and intimacy, such value in my life - but there it is: communication establishes connection; when minds touch, hearts tend to do likewise.

There's this odd, wonderful camaraderie in blogging.  You even develop a sense of affectionate fellowship with people you recognise just as regular commenters on a favourite blog.  You may not have the time to visit their own blogs (if they have them) often or at all, but there's soon a comforting familiarity about their comment-thread appearances as you start to recognise their online monicker and their distinctive worldview, and you find yourself looking forward to their next observations almost as much as your cherished blogger's substantive posts.  

This is particularly the case with Running After My Hat, where John has achieved the enviable feat of attracting a cosy little community of habitual commenters - all uncommonly smart and articulate types, mostly aspiring or published writers, or people who at least keep unusually literate blogs.  One of the newest interesting people to join these select ranks in the last few months is a lady called Ashleigh Burrows (I've no idea if that's her real name), who usually comments at RAMH under the abbreviated tag a/b.  We haven't heard from Ashleigh over there this week because last Saturday she went out to meet her local Congresswoman - and that maniac started shooting everybody.  She was hit by three bullets; but it seems she's going to be fine.  Physically, she's going to be fine; mentally, I would think, the recovery could be a long and difficult road.  She has lots of family and friends to help her through it, and I hope she'll soon be on her feet again and getting her life back to normal.  We'll be looking forward to having her mind and her wit and her joie de vie brightening up the RAMH threads once again.

Her daughter posted a bulletin about this on Ashleigh's blog at the start of the week: you can check in there for the latest news, and to leave your good wishes.

I'm not a believer in the "power of prayer", unfortunately, but I am devoting my thoughts to Ashleigh and her family, and to the critically injured Congresswoman Giffords, and to everyone else who was affected by this appalling tragedy.

We shouldn't let distance insulate us from feeling the enormity of events like this, but we do; events we encounter only through news reports seem strangely 'unreal', allow us an emotional detachment.  It's only when we realise they touched someone we "know" that the horror seems to come right home to us, to come right up to us and bite us; but really, it was there all along, right up close to us - we just didn't want to look it in the face.

Be well soon, Ashleigh.


JES said...

Thank you so much, Froog. This was a lovely tribute to a/b.

Nance said...

JES sent me, and I'm feeling very fortunate to have once again followed his lead.

I thank you, too, for this tribute to a/b...and suddenly I realize how proprietary that sounds. She's ours, we proclaim, and we're not so sure we want to share her with others. I've been chewing hard on that notion for the past three days, beneath the conscious intention to protect her. Reminds me of playground days and my grandmother's admonishment to an only child, "You can't just play with one person at a time. You have to share your friends." I never was good at that.

I will share her with you, though.

Froog said...

Thanks for looking in, Nance. Give your friend a big hug from all of us.

Cedra Wood said...

(Pleased to be mentioned--thank you!) It amazes me, too, how close I grow to the people who share their lives virtually--but I suppose it makes perfect sense. People share things in these fora they might never think to tell people they know. There's room for an honesty that is often compromised when you relate thoughts/feelings to those you must see and cooperate with daily…here, also, a cavalier sense that you can say what you like, and people can either be concerned with it or not, as they choose…so you never experience the dismay that comes from looking into a person's face as you're talking, and witnessing the slow withering of their interest. It is pure, distilled interaction: there is your offering--and there is an engaged response, or there is the void.

The image: standing and mumbling to oneself on a street corner, with millions of consciousnesses streaming by...and the inexplicable miracle of someone stopping to listen (or even better, turning your soliloquy into a dialogue). This is less the case for me now, when my only online outlet is rather dry and documentarian--but I cherish the much-needed perspective I've gotten from strangers I love.

Froog said...

Cedra, I wish you would write more on your blog, because you write so well. Of course, commenting at length here on my blog is a very acceptable substitute.

That's an arresting - but rather terrifying - image of the blogger being a poor madman muttering soliloquys on a street corner. There was a similar idea in this cartoon I posted on my 'drinking blog' a few days ago.

I have always liked to maintain that I write on here purely for my own satisfaction, purely for the mental exercise... but it is irresistibly gratifying when someone else deems my street-corner ramblings worthy of a few moments' attention.

Cedra Wood said...


Thanks for appreciating my comments, such as they are! That means something coming from you.

I spoke a little hastily when I said "my only online outlet." I should have said, the only one I expect people to read. I do have another, not associated with my real name, with long, self-involved posts.

Yes--impossible not to identify with the cartoon! We find our outlets wherever we can…