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patterns of ink

How fruitless to be ever thinking yet never embrace a thought... to have the power to believe and believe it's all for naught. I, too, have reckoned time and truth (content to wonder if not think) in metaphors and meaning and endless patterns of ink. Perhaps a few may find their way to the world where others live, sharing not just thoughts I've gathered but those I wish to give. Tom Kapanka

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Why Bloggers Blog: Part IV

To Share Thoughts and Gather Feedback

I originally thought this series of would be three posts, then I added a fourth, and now I confess that Part IV is not the last. I do know what the last post is, and I've begun writing it, but I'm saving it for the last post.

All of you have shaped and directed this evolving series. Goodness, Part III-A on "throw away words" didn't even exist when I began. It was prompted by SusieQ and J_G's comments after Part II on Civility (you really must read that testimony).

Then when I move on to Part III-B, it had such a tight "Civil War" theme that chose not to include President GHW Bush's letter at the end. Then my Mom's birthday post trumped and bumped that post, but it seemed to fit in with the idea of "words that last."
[She appreciated your comments by the way.]

Then on the heels of our "civility" discussion, just when I thought I was back on track for Part IV, I got that email about our state endorsing the teaching Islam in our K-12 classrooms and I genuinely needed some input from others who were familiar with what we've been saying so I didn't come across like a jerk. Your feedback on that email helped produce a much better (more civil and more focused on the true issue) response than I would have written a year ago. I may even distill the most cogent ideas into a more public response.

I have learned from all of you, and that is why Part IV changed to this topic:

I've never done what I'm about to do before, and I realize that I run the risk of offending someone by omission, but my intent is not to tag every person who has commented recently. That would be hard to do (and I'm going to get this post up Sunday night if it takes till midnight!). I've just cut and pasted some of your thoughts that will help us sum up Why Bloggers Blog and "jump start" the remaining posts and whatever discussion they may generate.

We've discussed the fact that words can hurt...

I have learned from Jody at Nitty Gritty (who has an incredible story to tell and) that"scrapping moms" occasionally get "scrappy" in their comments [they may be only "drive by" Anons], but she always handles them kindly: "I think people tend to downplay the power of words and often forget the fact that the tongue is sharper than a two-edged sword, and the wise person guards his words and such. Add to that {especially in American society} that everyone feels they have the right to 'free speech", which in turn gets twisted to mean, "I can say anything I want to (*cough, Imus, cough*) and you have a society that is moving ever-further from the reality that words do indeed matter."

Words, thoughts, and feedback can also build friendships...

Nancy in North Carolina said: "One thing that has surprised me about blogging is the relationship that develops between bloggers. Just through words... friendships are formed, connections are made, and you really do care about fellow bloggers and their well being.... I never really enjoyed writing until the computer made it easy. I love being able to edit, copy, paste, etc... Revision took on a whole new meaning when I entered the world of word processing. I LOVE IT!!! I also love to learn something new which is a big reason that I blog. Learning from others... [emphasis added]

I already mentioned J_G from Pennsylvania, but I wanted to share a quote from that comment: "I have to confess Tom, I haven't always been civil while visiting other blogs.... Then I met this very nice lady on the...blogs and I began to notice that she was making her point of disagreement much better than I was without being obnoxious, crude or condescending .... I see that the lady of whom I speak has found your blog Tom.... I am a warrior trying to become civilized and an acceptable member of society. It's a slow work in progress. Thank you both!"

To which SusieQ replied: "We have forged an online friendship that I cherish.... Indeed, she is a warrior, but that quality is what makes her writings so powerful at times. I could use a little warrior in me." She also had this to say about civility in blogging: "...people who have blogs and visit blogs tend to be more civil than what I found in the message boards [which] were like a public square or a common area where people gathered. But a blog is like your home where people come to visit. This calls for a different code of conduct...."

A reader I'm only newly acquainted with, the walking man, seems to concur: "Personally I prefer live venues because then people will see the hands, face, torso of the non-nervous reader and get it, while here in cyberworld words can always and, often are, misconstrued to an intent other than what the reader sees in front of them….Do you define yourself as reader or writer or as a kind man?"

Speaking of kindness, Josie in Vancouver said: "I always enjoy someone's writing if when I am reading, I feel comfortable....I'm not a writer but I am a "blogger" so in that way I suppose I am keeping a journal….In a way blogging has not only allowed me to get to know other people, it has allowed me to get to know me. And as a result I have found how similar we all are, no matter what our talents or levels of education....I have often said the blogging community is a very real community, with very real people, and people become friends. I am not a writer, but I am an avid reader.... There are some really interesting blogs out there....

Part I of Why Bloggers Blog prompted the first bit of feedback I was gathering for this series: I'll close with some things we've learned from just some of those snippets:

EAMonroe in Oklahoma said, " 'I tend to write about simple things noteworthy only in that they often go unnoticed. [tk]' -- That sounds a lot like the reasons I write, too....Tom, I am enjoying your "Why Bloggers Blog" series. I wish more people would take their words to heart."

leslie in British Columbia said, "I…have always used my little blog site as a way of keeping in touch with friends and family. Perhaps I'll give "real" writing a try and see how it goes."

Lone Grey Squirrel from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, (learn 100 things about him here) said, "I started blogging cause I was trying to encourage a friend who was procrastinating. However, I think I am addicted to blogging now. I blog to broaden my experience and perspective of the world an also as an antidote to work stress by allowing myself creativity and space to explore."

Dave in Ontario agreed and said, "I blog because It helps me sort through the clutter in my mind. I blog because it gives the opportunity to exercise my creative juices."

JR's Thumbprints in Detroit said: "Without blogging, my Canadian friends wouldn't be able to pick on me." A week later he said, "I certainly can wait for Part III-C (kind of sounds like a line on a tax form anyway)" JR has an observant sense of humor, but on a more serious note he said, "So many people want to be "right" about an issue; they no longer care about listening to the other side. Blogging, for the most part, gives people a chance to express their views through their writing and anxiously wait for the responses of other bloggers."

Ivan at islandgrovepress provided a helpful editorial reminder when he said of Part III-A: "Excellent post.I had thought at first to echo something my editors had been telling me for years, "good, but a tad long." This is not too long at all, and it opens up so many other avenues of thought."

Dr.John in Michigan’s U.P. said, "I have a blog but I am not a writer. I am a blogger. Writing requires skill. Blogging requires a keyboard." Of civility he later said, "Of course this is as true for the rest of life as it is for blogging. One must never speak to hurt."

goatman in Missouri said, "I am constantly amazed at how blogging holds my attention, presents other views on innumerable topics … and invites me to return to see how others respond to a presentation. Blogging allows considered discourse as opposed to that so often encountered in the world of day to day physical contacts. One has time to mull over a response and present an interesting backatcha, one hopes."

Anonymous said: "I don't blog, but in reading the handful that I do I wish I did!!!!" I appreciate kind anonymous comments. [There are two kinds of enigmatic comments: Anonymous and the one-time out of the blue comments. We can learn from both. For instance, I have learned from Biby Cletus (and other drop ins from around the world) that we never know when a guest from India (or an Islamic nation as has happened in the past) will stop by the front porch. They are welcome guests.]

We started with Nancy in N.C. so lets end with It's a FLIP-FLOP World in Savannah, Georgia, who said, "I am just a very simple lady that always wished I could write!! Always wanted to write a book, love reading them but now since I have been introduced to blogging I am so enjoying this that I am very addicted. I just write what is in my heart mostly!! I have met so many wonderful people in the last 18 months…."

That last quotation is a nice segue into Part V, but I can't guarantee that will be the next post. Sorry Part IV was so long, Ivan, but it's really not my FAULT. =)
Have a great week, Everybody!
.
[Newcomers, It's not at all too late to join in with "retro-posted comments."]

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19 Comments:

Blogger JR's Thumbprints said...

As I approach my one year blog birth, I still question my intentions as a blogger and as a writer. How long will I keep this up? Should I be concentrating my efforts on getting published in those small literary magazines instead? Should I at least scale back my posts to maybe three times a week instead of seven? I'm trying to sort it all out; I don't know if I ever will.

29/4/07 11:19 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

That is what the last part of this series is about. Because I'm trying not to make each post long, I don't know if the title will sound like a tax form or not. =) But I think there is a need for caution in this particular worthy but time-consuming pastime. More later... [He said at nearly mid-night. I need to go to bed!]

29/4/07 11:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WHEW!!!! You have been prolific in your blogging! I've expressed the thoughts that I kind of wished I knew how to set up a blog...but now I wonder! Would it take too much of my time to do it AND then there's the addiction factor.
I love reading them though and the comments as well.
As for the idea of teaching Islam in the schools in Michigan...my first resposne is EEEeeeekkkkkk!!!!
I'm of a generation where the tolerance issue wasn't one. But the Golden Rule was (that went with feelings, words etc). I think while it's important to know about other cultures that this idea is carrying things a bit far. Being a follower of Christ, I'm offended by the idea frankly AND offended by people who have NO tolerance for my faith. I loved POI that you steered them to the two books (C.S. Lewis and Stroble's)!!! Actually True Christianity isn't a religion BUT a relationship anyway.
Thank you for all your efforts on this blog, I enjoy coming here as it's a blessing!!!

30/4/07 6:11 AM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Anon,
Thank you for your comments and good counsel. I'm not an expert on the topic of addiction, but when several bloggers (including some not in these comments) use the term loosely... I do think there is something to be said for "balance" and I know when I have been out of it--and I have at times. That (and an equally important consideration) will be discussed in Part V, but since I am trying to be balanced, it may be week's end before I get it posted. =)

30/4/07 6:45 AM  
Blogger ivan said...

You got so many of us in!Wonderful, informative post, tho'
a bit long. :-)

Ivan

30/4/07 7:12 AM  
Blogger J_G said...

Tom, You asked me if I would mind being quoted on your blog and my answer is "not at all". You have a very straight forward and thoughtful blog. Even if I don't always have something to comment about or as many times is the case, I don't have enough time to make a thoughtful comment worthy of your blog I still read and enjoy what you and the other people here have to say.

30/4/07 9:52 AM  
Blogger HeiressChild said...

hi tom,

i'm actually not up and running yet. i called someone and had them to do that posting on my blog last saturday. i'm just checking my email since 2 weeks ago and i have over 400 emails, so i'm sorting thru them now. i saw your comment you left me on my blog, and i will respond back here just as soon as i get things figured out with the DSL people to have my computer up and running again. i look forward to reading this post and leaving comments. take care.

sylvia

30/4/07 10:59 AM  
Blogger Josie said...

Tom, as I have said, I am not a writer, but I guess I am sort of a "journaler" (is there such a word?) because my funny, boring little blog is a "journal of my travels through time and space". And I find blogging very much a social network as well. None of us blogs in a vacuum. I find there are folks in the blogging world with whom I have more in common than, say, the folks at work.

Blogging is an exchange of ideas and also a challenging of ideas. I really enjoy so many aspects of blogging, including meeting all the wonderful folks I have met.

Cheers,
Josie

30/4/07 2:26 PM  
Blogger Jody said...

Your post here reminds me of all the magazines and newspapers that do "The Year in Review" as January rolls around. This lengthy little run-down on why bloggers-blog 'as told by your POI bloggers' was fun and interesting. You have such a unique way of seeing AND saying things.
I've been able to 'dialogue' with a coupls of people who have left hurtful/negative comments on my blog. We've learned from each other...and both have expressed apologies and change of heart since writing their remarks. Makes the fortune from a cookie I got awhile back not just words- but truth. It reads, "You can learn a lot from others- especially your enemies". Not always the type of learning (or blogging) I appreciate, but has benefits nonetheless.
Looking forward to your final post in this series. You could 'drag it out' to 7...like they do most often in the World Series games!

30/4/07 3:53 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Ivan,
I know, I know, but it was good stuff from all of you.

J_G,
Comments can be either "post its" or notebook paper. They're all welcome.

Sylvia,
It was actually a post of yours (about blogging taking over your life--or something to that effect) that prompted one of the thoughts in the closing Part V so I do hope you come back.

Josie,
You are an excellent journaler. The next Part V has a point about "neighbors" and I think you're right that we have all exercised a certain amount of inadvertent "selectivity" in the blogosphere that makes it more pleasant than a random gathering of office workers.

Jody,
I don't think it will go to VII, but I do know there will be two parts to Part V (we won't count that, though).

30/4/07 5:17 PM  
Blogger EA Monroe said...

Tom, I think you could start a whole new blog on why bloggers blog.

You have done an excellent job with your series and I loved reading your quotes from the other bloggers and readers. Thank you for including me.

30/4/07 6:28 PM  
Blogger SusieQ said...

Tom, you have put together another winning post. Thanks for including my comments.

I look forward to whatever evolves here at this blog. I always enjoy reading your posts. They are refreshing and thought provoking. You are a careful, considerate writer.

I am definitely staying tuned in here.

30/4/07 7:47 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

You can quote me anytime! I like putting it all out there and watching what comments come from bloggerland. This past week was an exciting one at "Patterns of Ink". Keep um comin Tom, I love it!

30/4/07 8:02 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

EAM,
I've seen that some folks maintain two blogs for different purposes. This series has been a little bit of a departure for me. In the opening of the first post, I said I'd try not to make it is obvious as serving chicken at a poultry convention, but it's been interestings because blogging is something we've all begun for varying reasons.

SQ,
You said in a comment that writers need readers. I touch on that aspect of blogging in the close. Thanks for reading here.

Nancy,
The girls were working on wedding decorations. Things are shaping up. Exactly two months from today. It's coming together nicely. Hope you daughter's is, too.

30/4/07 10:28 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

The Walking Man,
Thanks four your comment below:

"I started my blog in this place, I think in November, I use my blog mostly to publish my poetry and shorts (less than a thousand words) in March i had something like 76 posts and in a fit of pique I deleted over two hundred pieces of mostly creative writing.

Do I make friends? Do I have a lot of readers who leave comments? No not really but I respect them that do have something to say.

I hosted an open mic for poets for over 18 months a year or so ago and it was a wonderful thing to watch the crowd grow from five to over a hundred every Sunday night.

And every week I started with the rules of the stage and rule one was "Civility; not only towards the reader on stage, but to the person next to you" Never once in all that time did I have a problem with crowd control other than the occasional reminder that some people were talking to loud and could be hear from the stage.

(No offense, Walking Man, but I deleted this small paragraph. I have young my young daughter and other readers who appreciate the "G" rating this blog generally maintains. Thank you for understanding that POI is uniquely sensitive to it's readers in much the same way you were during open mic. Thanks :-)

But the blogging I like to put my work out there, I don't care about it once it's out of my heart and I don't care if someone takes it changes the title and calls it their own. I blog because when I have t write, when the fire has to come out and explode from my belly I'd rather do it on a key board because pen and paper just make me nuts because I know then I have to type it and think about it while I am doing it.

So when I write I blog, April was not really a productive month as far as writing goes but the fire had no fuel maybe May will be different, but either way i do it it for me and hopefully them that read it can come along at least on a little part of my walk with God.

very much peace too you all and you especially Tom.

The Walking Man"

1/5/07 4:42 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

TWM,
Interesting. I've been in a coffee house that had open mic. I'd be a nervous wreck in that setting. Rejection is scary enough on paper. You're brave to read your things live. Your description of the fire of writing is sort of like Emily Dickinson's saying "she knows it's poetry when the top of her head feels like it's coming off."
I type because my penmanship has gone from bad to worse through the years. :-)
By the way, I'll be alluding to both Frost and Sandburg in an upcoming post (unless it makes the post go long).
Sorry about the "reframe" above. I appreciate your candor and consideration.
Peace to you, too.
Tom

1/5/07 5:06 PM  
Blogger the walking man said...

freakin' editors now you know why I stopped submitting.ll...heck no I have plenty of places to post R rated verbiage.

You just maintain your sensibility Tom because one thing I have never been accused of is having any sense

peace

TWM

1/5/07 5:25 PM  
Blogger the walking man said...

first sentence should end lol.....lol peace again

TWM

1/5/07 5:26 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Thanks for this reply, TWM. Believe it or not I was worried about how you'd feel. Thanks for taking it well. I appreciate your "self editing" LOL :-)

1/5/07 8:55 PM  

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