Friday, March 07, 2014

Chickens and Blogs and ChickenBlog and Chicken Blogs

In May, this blog, ChickenBlog, will be twelve years old. Time for some deep thoughts, navel gazing, and scratching the surface… on 2,678 occasions I could not resist the compulsion to post something to this blog. I shared What I Think 595 times, but I suppose every post is a bit of what I think, or at least what I thought about. And, happily, there were 541 occasions of feeling, and sharing, my Gratitude. It doesn't surprise me that there aren't more posts about Chickens. I never intended for this blog to be about chickens, not exclusively. In fact, I went six years without even having chickens. I didn't have the foggiest idea what a blog was when Geoff first dragged me whining and ignorant helped me start this blog, and since I had just acquired my very first chickens, (a dream come true) chickens were on my brain all the time! So "ChickenBlog" it was.

In the beginning, my intention in having a blog was to keep in touch with family and friends, to write and write and write, becoming confident and proficient enough to be published, and to secure my place among accomplished adults.

Last week I was asked about ad revenue from ChickenBlog?

Uh. Well. That grand total would be zero dollars and zero cents. Total.

Long pause.

I know. Not exactly stellar for twelve years of writing and writing and writing.

Then I was asked about the book reviews I've done, any income from those?

Uh. Well. No. Nobody's paid me for promoting dirt, books, plastic mold making compounds, toys, or their singing careers. But I have received dirt, books, and plastic mold making compounds.

Longer pause.

I know. In terms of outreach and followers, in terms of Bloggies, and big-lucrative sponsorships, this blogging venture has been something of a failure. In fact, the times when I really went out on a limb, and broke out of my comfort zone, for something I love, turned out to be the lowest point in blog traffic history. Objectively, truthfully, ChickenBlog is like a B movie of blogs. I don't run with the shiny bloggers, I can't get into the blog clubs. It's embarrassing. Frustrating. Humbling.

My voice, my focus, my subjects have changed, evolved. I've covered a lot of ground. Sometimes, I was perhaps too honest. Other times, too pitiful, too lazy, too weird. And as for my original intentions, like keeping in touch with family, I suspect they might say I've been way too much!

Why do it then? Why open up, leaving a personal journal on the coffee table, for anyone to browse through? Is it "narcism," "obsession?" (I've been asked those questions, and so I check myself, often, and I hope I am better than that. ) Am I close to finishing a novel, or have publishers been asking for my manuscripts? Am I, finally, an accomplished adult? Whatever my intentions were, whatever I had hoped to accomplish, I would be remiss in saying ChickenBlog has been a failure. ChickenBlog has been successful in ways I had not expected. I've made friends around the world. I have met friends from around the world! I've learned how to write some HTML, make links, format images, and tinker with templates. I discovered that photography is, and always has been, a great love and interest for me, and I've enjoyed building a unique family photo album. Nice people have opened up to me, and shared their hopes, their concerns their wisdom and compassion. Nice people have sent me gifts... lovely handmade gifts, thoughtful tokens, generous words and kindnesses. Maria reads ChickenBlog, and William has expressed an interest in keeping ChickenBlog going, if I should ever step away... that's a lovely kind of, unexpected, success.

These days, I like to think ChickenBlog is a personal reminder of good things, so that I can find confidence, navigate the tricky, sometimes treacherous bits, and enjoy the gratitude I feel for what I see and know. ChickenBlog is a place where I can connect with friends, and share ideas, ask for help, be silly, play, and celebrate. It is a glimpse... not the whole picture, not everything that's happening, or matters most. Focusing on the brighter moments, the tidier scenes, is not to imply I am doing fantastic, or highly accomplished, but to give myself courage, to overcome fear, and doubt. Sharing dirty laundry, and letting it all hang out, is so I can laugh, and cope, and remember that life is messy, and worthwhile. Maybe, too, my children, or a friend, or a stranger, will find hope in their own messes, and courage to keep moving forward, because of my honesty. ChickenBlog is a place where I can offer a shout-out for artists, engineers, farmers, makers, tinkerers, students, and dreamers, because I cannot suppress my desire to facilitate support, embolden learning, make connections between the gifted people I meet, encourage entrepreneurship and the following of their STEAM passions.

Around here, a chicken blog is also the mess the chickens leave on the porch. Watch your step! Those stink.

Yes. I suppose, if I am going to write, and write, and write, and ask people to see what I am writing about, and hope they will engage with me, hope that I can make a difference and feel something like an accomplished adult, then this is a narcissistic, obsessive endeavor. Blogging is weird, and I think it can be superficial and pointless, and I am okay with that. I feel embarrassed, humbled, frustrated, and pointless, but maybe that's a good thing, too... at least I am trying, and trying anything is a risk. Blogging can also be sincere, and earnest, and I hope that I have conveyed more of that than anything. I am trying.


Jennifer said...

Your blog has meant so much to me; a virtual friendship turned real, a kindred spirit, a glimpse into lives lived meaningfully and joyfully (and messily, too, thank goodness), hope and inspiration and connection. Priceless, and lasting.

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

You. You are one of the best and dearest gifts I've enjoyed because of blogging.

Alison said...

"Blogging is weird, and I think it can be superficial and pointless, and I am okay with that." This...this is what I will say when people (and myself) question me about why I still blog.