I haven’t written in this blog in an age. Why? Well, I wondered who I was reaching with my writings. I am a tiny writer in a tiny town, writing about things that affect my tiny life. The urge to live large infects everyone at some point in their lives, but, I actually have no interest in living large…I like tiny. I like the fact that my actions and words reach a small group in meaningful ways.
Because there may or may not be worth in the words I generate (the jury is still out for me), I have spent the last year as a commentator at large papers, websites, issue oriented blogs. I have thousands of words saved that have been a reaction to others writings. I was in that mood where I felt reacting to what others are writing may give my words more impact vs. writing my tiny blog from my tiny town.
But, it is NaBloPoMo November, a challenge to bloggers to write a blog a day in November, and, YIKES, there is a word count involved! So I’m going to try to see if somewhere in this personal national commitment, I can turn out a few writings that have relevance to someone outside my realm. I may not make the word count commitment, I do after all, recognize my own limitations, but I will make the 30 days of posts, if it kills me. It is a grand exercise in structure and obligation. If you want, come along for the ride. The blogging world is full of amazingly talented writers and hopefully you will spend a wee bit of time getting to know them.
There are suggested topics as part of this community activity, but I’m probably going to ignore them. I never liked getting a topic and filling a page, a real shortcoming of mine. This is why for the last year I have been doing just that, picking a topic and responding. It has been a lesson for me, the writing to others vs. writing to me. Responding to a subject started by someone else has been a trial on most days. I search and search for themes that interest me on any given day. I stare at all sorts of random writing until the words blur searching for topics and feel let down when nothing strikes my fancy. My words to me resonate with me, words to others must resonate with them, oh the pressure.
While I have been roaming the internet looking for subjects to comment on, I have noticed something distressing. The landscape of comments has become a frightening place to stopover. Hate, vitriol, racism, misogyny, name-calling, insults, and a real lack of respect are the order of the day. The ability to create an anonymous nickname has let loose a torrent of unrepentant bullies. We no longer agree to disagree, we can’t accept that others views may differ without dropping in words that would curl your hair.
I once made a comment supporting women’s reproductive rights and a 30-something guy compared me to a slave owner, and I didn’t say anything other than I have no right to tell another woman what to do with her body. I was stunned, offended, angry and hurt. This young man knows nothing about me but was quick, within 30 seconds of my comment, to define me as a slave owner! Ouch.
We live in an inflexible environment where respecting the views of others is passé. We comment anonymously calling people stupid, liars, uneducated, low-information, baby killers, takers, evil, and the list goes on and on.
When did we become a society of bullies, name callers, of my way or no way? When did we lose that sense of community where you may not agree, but everyone is your neighbor?
We call attention to bullying in so many areas related to youth yet spend our anonymous time acting like what we preach against. What are we teaching our children with this behavior?
Living tiny in my tiny town, I worry about those trying to live large by name calling and bullying. I worry about those who feel there are no consequences to behavior because it’s all anonymous so who’s going to know. Please tell me I’m not the only one who worries?