A "good enough" mom muses about alpha moms, adoption, computers, the State Of The World, Internet quirkiness, and the Kosmik All
The moving finger

The blogosphere is a funny place.  Even with pictures added, the majority of the impression one gets from a particular poster is via the written word.  One would think that this would make posters one-dimensional--it's just letters thrown up on a monitor.  How can you get a real grasp of what someone is like, or how someone is feeling, by just reading some words sent in little packets from one computer to another to another?

In one corner, there's a snarky remark about a feminist blogger posing for a group photo with Bill Clinton.  Boobs are pointed out.  I read it, and immediately form a mental image of the original poster, pursed lips and all.

In another corner, there's a laconic economist who posts a few paragraphs now and then, a portrait in minimalism.

In this spot, there's a long-waiting adoptive mom-to-be who finally gets her referral.  The joy and delight practically fizzes and dances out of the monitor.  Days of hectic work are interrupted by sneak peeks at this blog, to warm my heart and remind me of those days of rising excitement.

Over here is a mother whose latest post spurs me to a frenzy of worry.  "Just words", again, but the exhaustion and despair and beyond-caringness that the words describe is palpable.  I want to step through the screen, be able to take some of the burden off her.

Here is a woman waiting for her army spouse to return.  Here is a straightforward man writing about fatherhood, adoption, and remodeling.  Here is a woman in the early stages of a tenuous surprise pregnancy after many miscarriages.  There is a mother who is watching her son turn into an adult before her eyes.  Yonder is a woman who has packed up her daughter's belongings into a few small boxes, waiting for her to return from her ill-advised adventures.  In this spot, a man is passionately calling for blogging to be a conversation.  Over there is a widow who is cultivating her eye for interesting details in her hometown via a photo and text blog.  In another spot, a father is writing about the hopeful progress of his young daughter's anxiety and depression treatment, and gleefully tossing up nostalgic music videos recalling the '80s.

Each of them is a snapshot in time.  "The moving finger writes, and, having writ, moves on."  The mom with a referral travels to China.  The economist (I think) starts teaching yet another semester.  The snarky poster moves on to making snippy remarks about how weddings are supposed to be about all the guests being excited that the virginal bride and groom are about to consummate their relationship (Yes.  Really.  Very odd.).    The exhausted mother...?  I don't know.  I just know that the ones and zeroes that cross the fiber optic cables criss-crossing the country can coalesce into real, live individuals, people who you care about.

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posted by Kate @ 9/19/2006 11:35:00 PM  
  • At 9/20/2006 01:22:00 AM, Blogger Johnny said…

    Aye, but here's the rub: Can you tell from their words if they had a smile or a frown as they typed certain words?

    There's an aspect that can't be seen, that affects how words are to be interpreted.

  • At 9/20/2006 09:47:00 AM, Blogger kaliroz said…

    Words sometimes are all a person needs.

    Societies in the past have been built on letters; look at the Civil War era.

    I think a lot of blogs tend to be letters to ourselves. Sometimes you can see the person, others not, but I think you can get a sense of who a person is if you read the blog regularly.

  • At 9/20/2006 10:15:00 AM, Blogger Miss Cellania said…

    You really really really need to post a link to the wedding post.

    I think you can know a person pretty well by what they write and the way they write. I fell for a guy bigtime after reading a year's worth of his blog. I knew his opinions, beliefs, and style before I ever knew what he looked like. By then, looks didn't matter!

  • At 9/20/2006 10:44:00 AM, Blogger Julie Pippert said…

    Sometimes words are more real...we can't use a quick shurg or smile to get our way out of their honesty, when writing...as we could in real life, when reading reactions.

    I don't see it as an either/or scenario, though, so that's perhaps why I don't feel concerned about putting so much into the Internet.

  • At 9/20/2006 12:17:00 PM, Blogger Granny J said…

    Beautifully put, dotter!

  • At 9/20/2006 06:12:00 PM, Blogger PromiseKeepersDaughter said…

    I like your point of veiw!
    I like to play it safe when I blog, but your right and sometimes you just can't put the exact correct words on a feeling. I'm gonna work on that.

  • At 9/20/2006 10:55:00 PM, Blogger Kate said…

    Johnny--I have had times when I've read something as totally facetious when the author was being serious, and vice versa. So, yes, with some writers, and some pieces of writing, you need to actually see the person to know what the reality is.

    Roz--I like the comparison to Civil War letters. Or think of soldiers' penpals, who end up marrying them. Or folks who met online and ended up getting married (I know a few).

    Miss C.--Har. Here's the wedding post. The post started to be a bash against big weddings, then veered off into the sex thing.

    Julie--Of course, you can also use the written word to be totally dishonest. The internet is notorious for people being able to do that. But I understand what you mean!



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About Me
Name: OmegaMom
Home: Southwest
About Me: Middle-aged mom of a 4-year-old adopted from China. Love science, debate, good SF and fantasy, hiking, music of almost every style. Lousy housekeeper. "Good enough" mom.
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