Wednesday, December 17, 2008
The Perils of Blogging
When I began this blog in July 2007, I told four people about it. Two of them were friends of long standing, who had seen me through the darkest and most disorderly days of a life darker and more disorderly than most, as well as the dramatic re-conversion to the Catholic Church that I experienced later. Another was related to me. I never anticipated having a readership larger than a small handful of people who knew me intimately, and who I thought would be amused by reading my occasional thoughts on music, aesthetics, and faith. After a couple of months, I invited a few more close friends to read this blog, including Dawn Eden, who, to my surprise, posted a broadcast about its existence to her readership. While I have to admit that I found this new attention upsetting at first, it has gained me some wonderful readers, and even some real friends. On the other hand, it has also created certain attendant problems. What started as, essentially, a diary for a few close friends has become a more public journal. Where, before, I left out the backstory to my posts' subject matter -- not naming names because there was no need to; my readers knew what I was talking about -- I later had to be vigilant about not writing in too much detail about people, places, and events, in order to preserve the anonymity of the innocent as well as of the guilty.
Radical Catholic Mom's comment on a recent post has gotten me thinking about this blog and its origins. It struck me that the pro-lifer who told RCM's friend "you women need to repent for the rest of your lives" (though it may be true) did not know the circumstances that led to the friend's tragic choice.Really Rosie has told me that she thinks the content here has gotten blander in the wake of what she calls the "character assassinations" left in the combox during the pre-election season. I'll admit that I was deeply hurt, and even haunted, by the viciousness of some of the commenters, particularly those who appeared to self-identify as faithful Catholics. While I think readers are perfectly justified in arguing about the ideas they find here or elsewhere, I do not think they are justified in assailing the essence of the person writing them, unless they know that person in real life, and well enough to have some understanding of the basis for that person's ideas. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church cautions,
To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor's thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way: Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another's statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. (2478)
I see this rush to condemnation as an understandable defense on the part of those frightened by a world where everything seems to be quickly going off-kilter. But, dear readers, let it be said here that my only wish for this blog, and it is a fervent one, is that someone might find here some small thing, some shred, of hope or beauty.
I've often wondered about the real ability of the repertoire that I have performed to help listeners toward a deeper experience of their humanity. How can it be that some of the darkest pieces, even those that wring tears of real sadness from an audience, can also leave them feeling exalted in the end? The truth is that sometimes we have to touch upon, even delve into, the darkness in ourselves in order to heal it. In the course of a concert, the artist can, if it's a particularly good night, lead the audience through a small healing.
Rosie has said that she misses the introspective blogging about the interior life that has been previously featured on this blog, and perhaps I will take that up again soon; right now, although my dissertation has been successfully defended, I'm still quite busy making edits against the deposit deadline, as well as getting used to a completely different way of life in my new city. In the meantime, I will hope and pray that this blog might one day be a vehicle for someone's small healing.