Yesterday I was very excited to read that my blog entry Remembering Peace was featured in the recent Creative Challenge on the theme of World War II. That piece of writing was a re-drafted version of a piece I wrote last November, and it means a lot to me, for many reasons, which I won't devulge now. I was excited to be honoured in this way because I anticipated this would attract more redroom members to read that piece, and potentially leave comments. So I eagerly logged into redroom this morning, expecting to see an increase in my reader stats and at least a couple of comments. Sure, my stats had increased to 60 yesterday, but had dropped again to the average, which hovers around 30 whenever I post something. The number of readers is no big deal, but the lack of comments is somewhat disappointing, especially when Huntington invites people to leave comments on "blogs that move you". So I find myself wondering if that piece moved anyone to respond.
In addition, I'm also revisting the question that many writers must face from time to time. Why exactly do I write? I know for certain that I write because I live and through writing I am able to capture, understand and relive that lived experience multiple times, on many levels. Essentially, I write for myself, to enrich my experience of living, but I blog primarily for others, to connect with an audience, to receive their perspectives so that mine might be further developed. And so, if I blog and no-one responds, am I still blogging? I am reminded of that koan: if a tree falls in a forest and no-one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
When I first joined redroom, I was excited by the prospect of being a part of a community of writers, of the chance to read the everyday musings of gifted writers, to share our work and engage in a dialogue. I soon recognised my own role in this reciprocal relationship, realizing that it was equally as important for me to give feedback to others. Fortunately, I have a small group of members with whom this exchange is regular and mutual. You know who you are. If it weren't for this interaction, I'm not sure that I would bother with blogging here anymore. My gratitude goes out to you. I know we all live busy lives, I also know that we all value the process of writing and understand the isolation that writers feel. That said, I realize and respect that expectations differ for each individual.
Some days, I take the time to just leave comments, rather than post myself. For me, this is an important part of being a member of a community. Sometimes I comment on blogs written by people with whom I have not previously connected and I find it curious when these members don't take the time to acknowledge my comment. I can't help but wonder, is it because they receive so many comments that they don't have the time to reply to all, or is it because they can't be bothered? Again, it's probably a case of different expectations of the blogging experience. I also wonder about the members who rarely receive feedback, or have not gathered a little support group, how they must feel. Perhaps some people are content to write simply for themselves, for the sake of writing, regardless of whether they are read or receive feedback.
I would be super excited to read comments from people who I have never heard from. You know who you are. Go on, I dare you, take a risk, reach out to someone you have not yet connected with. You never know what new insights you might be exposed to, or what you might discover about yourself or me or the rest of the redroom community.
Thanks for reading.
Causes Cindy Sullivan Supports
Plan: 'Because I'm a Girl'
Fred Hollows Foundation