Sunday, March 17, 2013

Immersion in the blogosphere

"This is my tune for the taking, take it, don't turn away, I've been waiting all my life."

Of late, I've been absorbed by the Blogosphere. I'm late to the party, as usual.

Unless it's on PBS, I never know anything about popular TV shows. We started watching Lost 3 years in, after Neil's daughter loaned us the DVD of the first three seasons. By the time we finished them, we had to catch up on season 4. We watched all 3 seasons of Veronica Mars on DVD.

I've never watched The Bachelor or American Idol or Dancing with the Stars. I'm no fan of Hell's Kitchen or Iron Chef or Chopped. As I write this I realize that I don't even know what shows I might have watched but didn't. Bunheads? American Horror Story? Faceoff? Sons of Anarchy? The Neighbors?

Man, I'm still debating whether to buy and watch the series Six Feet Under. Or The Sopranos. And how about Jersey Shore?

Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

Who has time?!

I can't get enough of British crime dramas though. DCI Banks. Wallender. New Tricks. Ashes to Ashes. Sherlock. Zen. Endeavor. Morse. Lewis. Foyle. Prime Suspect.

Poirot. Marple. Wimsey and Vane and Bunter.

I draw the line at Midsomer Murders. Too silly and soapy. An unintended spoof of the genre, if you ask me.

I know, you didn't ask me. The show has been running continuously since 1997. Someone is watching it.

I'm not sure why it took me so long to immerse myself in blogs. Long before blogging was even a blip in cyberspace. I adored op-ed journalists like Anna Quindlen, who wrote the columns Public and Private, About New York, and Life in the 30s for the New York Times, winning a Pulitzer for Commentary in 1992.

Ellen Goodman, another Pulitzer-winning columnist 9Distinguished Commentary in 1980), whose body of opinion writing spans the years from 1974 to 2010 and six books.

Linda Ellerbee, whose syndicated newspaper column has been reduced to a footnote on her CV, overshadowed no doubt by her numerous other accomplishments. I can't find when or where it ran, or what it was called. What's up with that? I do have the memory of one of my favorite quotes, from her swan song column.
"If you don't want to grow old don't mellow. ... Love and memory will last until the game is called on account of darkness."
Jacquelyn Mitchard, who wrote the lifestyle column, The Rest of Us: Dispatches from the Mother Ship.

And because I lived in Texas, Lynn Ashby, Leon Hale, Jeff Millar, who died in December, and Lewis Grizzard, who was actually from Georgia and who died, much too young, in 1994.

For about the past year, as I've discovered interesting blogs, my practice has been to go back to the earliest available posts and work my way to the present. And because many bloggers follow fellow bloggers, one blog leads to another.

It's odd, the way you get to know these bloggers, or feel as though you do, and it's refreshing how accessible they are, compared to the days when you commented on a column by writing a letter to the newspaper. Now there is the possibility of virtually instantaneous interactivity. You can comment, you can email.

I just got a brief but very sweet email response from Claire Bidwell Smith, to an overlong message I sent to her on Feb. 20, after reading her memoir, The Rules of Inheritance.

In my note I said this.
This letter grew long and I forgive you should you not read it through to the end. ... I almost decided not to send this letter and then I read your post today and it just hit another note of consanguinity. It felt like an omen, so I am going to hit send in a minute.

Thank you for sharing your story Claire. Namaste. I salute you.
Here is what Claire said in her post that day, almost a year after her book hit the shelves.
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve received more messages from readers than ever before. All of them about loss, about grief, many of them about being motherless, and also about being mothers. The messages have pulled me open in this hard, beautiful way. Each story, each life in words sitting there in my inbox, is something so unique and painful and perfect. And it’s not that I don’t think about loss all the time, or parental loss all the time, because I do, I do, but with every story shared I see a new depth to it all.
Here is the message she sent to me.
Elizabeth!

I kept waiting for some magical time that would allow me to respond at length, but I am just so overwhelmed with my plate that that time still hasn't arrived. Please know that I read this and appreciated every word, especially your story.

With love,
Claire
Claire had just returned home from attending the annual Books for a Better Life event in New York City. The Rules of Inheritance was a finalist for Inspirational Memoir.

I'm truly touched by her note and at the same time it was nothing less than I expected.

Sometimes people will surprise you though.

I didn't even have a personal email address in January of '98 when all hell broke loose on the bulletin board.

I had a work email address and internet access at work or if I wanted to go through about 52 steps to log on from home.

We were still using dial-up then. Everyone was.

I was still all kinds of concerned about those people you meet on the 'net, as though terrible things might happen if they knew my last name or had any indication of my location.

So I signed up for my first free web email address on USA.net. I was b.liz at USA.net. When I switched to Yahoo later, I kept the USA and became Liz B USA. If people thought my last name was Busa that was AOK with me.

Nick and I exchanged some email. I went first.

Me.
Well, Nick,

Friends?

Warren Beatty to Diane Keaton: "What as?"

Keaton to Beatty: "Comrads?"

(You did see Reds?)
Nick. He was so funny, so eloquent.
There was a riot on the depression psych-ward bb yesterday. It seems that most of it centers around me. The charge: Corrupting the youth of Athens. Penalty: Hemlock on pumpernickel. I'm sorry to say that your name is mentioned in at least one of the plaintive wails.

Look into all of the posts yesterday if you haven't already, and if you even care to. Particularly there is a guy (I assume) who goes by bb poster boy who has just returned to the bb after a sabbatical. And he doesn't like what he's found. Namely, me. We dueled. It's hilarious. But its sad too.
Me.
Yeah, I read some of yesterday's posts.

First of all, please, allow me my share in whatever culpability there may be. I can take it. Maybe I did get a little crazy. Emily D. and lack of sleep will do that to me. I plead temporary insanity. I have apologized. I forgive me.

So at this point I'd say forget about it, they'll get over it. It was fun while it lasted.
Nick.
What a great perspective on it all. I share in your thoughts re: the riot in the nut ward. I must confess, however, my feelings are bruised. I'm just not in the sturdy place I would like to believe and have others believe I am in. But some good from this event has become visible to me. I expect more will follow. It has kicked up my abandonment issues.
Me.
If you would like to talk to me some more (please, I hope), maybe we can hang in here on e-mail for a while.

And maybe, someday, I will meet you somewhere, like the zoo. I can bring my bodyguards. They are only about 4 feet tall, but they would protect me well. From myself I mean, not from you

Maybe. No pressure. Ever. I promise.
Nick.
Yes, that's a pleasant thought. The possible future rendezvous. With bodyguards. Because I somehow believe, or, at least, something tells me it's all happening at the zoo. Call me silly if you wish, but I do believe it, I do believe it's true.
It was at this point that I began suffering massive waves of anxiety.


"Here is my song for the asking
Ask me and I will play
So sweetly, I'll make you smile

This is my tune for the taking
Take it, don't turn away
I've been waiting all my life

Thinking it over, I've been sad
Thinking it over, I'd be more than glad
To change my ways for the asking

Ask me and I will play
All the love that I hold inside."

(Paul Simon)

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Thanks for your comment! I will post it as soon as I receive it. Liz