Sailing Out of Sight

posted in: Blogging, Journal | 6
Orkney Tall Ship
Tall ship “Roald Amundsen” sailing into Stromness Bay, Orkney Islands, Great Britain, 1995.

What a strange feeling to have had a steady stream of readers who commented regularly on my posts for the last two or three months and then suddenly it dries up for no discernible reason. Are my recent posts that boring and that irrelevant, compared to earlier posts? Did I do something wrong to the templates so that no one can find my page any more? Did I commit a faux pas in my comments somewhere on other people’s sites? Or is the content of my own site objectionable?

It is as if I have entered the doldrums and there is no wind. I keep trying to convince myself that this is only a blog and not really very important, but then, I worked so hard on making this come true, put my heart into it. Blogging out there in the ocean of bloggers and not being in hailing sight of a single fellow sailor makes for pretty lonely sailing. What is the point of writing a blog if there is no interaction? Might as well just keep my diary here at home.

I shouldn’t complain, of course, at least I’ve had visitors and comments. I drop by Pacific Tides quite a lot, and he has never gotten a comment, other than by me, so far as I can tell. It’s curious, because the site is beautiful and the writing is interesting and relevant. Thomas has traveled quite a bit and has a delightful outlook on people and travel. I once asked him if he was at all concerned about the lack of traffic to his site, but his reply seemed like a philosophical shrug; perhaps it is just enough to get the thoughts and creative mappings down.

I would like to be so nonchalant. Perhaps I take this blogging business way too seriously. But then, for me, writing is important stuff. And I want to be true to my own thoughts and feelings when I write in the blog or make comments elsewhere. I am good at joking around in person, but not so good in my writing, so perhaps I come across as this monumental bore who has to philosophize about everything. But why not? So much other stuff that you come across on the internet revolves around nothing, around passing on information simply for the passing on, like electronified gossip, e-gossip. It has been good to find other bloggers willing to discuss things in depth, and willing to write more than a sentence or two.

So the web of contacts that I’ve connected to through this blog have come to mean something, especially in my discussion-starved lifestyle here in Japan. The discussions have kept me thinking daily, even while walking to the train station or sitting on the train or eating dinner at the ramen restaurant near my workplace. Often I jot down topics or threads of ideas as I walk. The discussions have gotten me reading more philosophy and meshed with the storm of opinions and theories and introspection that whirl around in my mind these days. And by writing about place and nature, I’ve taken more time to look around me and look closely, with my eyes, my ears, my fingers, camera, pencil, my feet. A kind of census of locale and a personal embracing of hope.

I will continue to write, throwing these words out into the void and hoping the seeds land on some fertile ground somewhere. But as long as I sit here writing soliloquies it will be more like a hermit mumbling to himself, than a member of a forum. Then again, didn’t the sages and wise men, pundits and gurus all sit alone somewhere on some inaccessible mountain? Perhaps I would be better off to contemplate it all in silence.

6 Responses

  1. Kurt

    Well I, for one, certainly hope you’ll continue to write. So many of us seem to have a solitary character, but that does not mean we want to feel alone. You’re not.

  2. butuki

    Thanks Kurt, I really needed that. Sometimes sitting here alone writing just isn’t enough, no matter how much I love it. It’s nice to get a little voice chiming back, “Hey, I hear ya! What you’re writing is touching me, ya know. Keep going.” I certainly hope that what I write makes at least an iota of difference (hmmm… just used iota, know basically what it means, but what the heck IS an “iota”???) in even one person’s feelings. That’s what really matters to me. The reason why I write and don’t put my talents to good use doing something important like, let’s say, designing and building cluster bombs…

  3. Thomas Sturm

    Ah! And I was wondering why I suddenly got so many hits from the Laughing Knees! :-)

    Well, I am visiting your site at least once a week, but I have been very quiet because I felt generally a little bit down lately – I have to control my bad-news-intake better, I guess.

    A lot of your posts are so beautiful and eloquent that I just don’t know any words to add – and I feel guilty at the same time for not saying _something_.

    And yes, your words are not lost at all… I often read your blog late at night before I go to bed and your thoughts tumble through my dreams and I have to do some major mental sorting and organizing while taking my morning shower.

    So it may be time to say Thanks… Thanks for the many, delightfully long, amazingly thoughtful posts. And may there be many more!

  4. pericat

    from Google:

    Definitions of iota on the Web:

    1. a tiny or scarcely detectable amount

    2. the 9th letter of the Greek alphabet
    (www.cogsci.princeton.edu/cgi-bin/webwn)

    FWIW, if you (that there’s a generic you) want to have a conversation with someone, you have to leave them room to get a word in edgewise. This is not a comment on your writing style, just something I’ve been thinking about for a while, from years of posting to newsgroups.

  5. bill

    it is nice to get a comment isn’t it?

    look at the best-seller lists for books or music or most popular tv programs. they are not always the ones you buy or would like to have written yourself. i think if you really want to be a popular blogger there is a formula you can apply.

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