Thursday, April 17, 2008

Confessions of a bottom-feeding blogger

I took several days off from blogging, ostensibly to plant a vegetable garden. However, the garden was planted several days ago, the drip irrigation system is working, and I haven’t been posting.Is it because I’m finding the greatest joy being with my grandchildren, with whom I spend a couple of days a week? If I’m honest with myself, the reason I haven’t been posting is because I’m not sure I’m adding any value to the world of information. I describe myself as a “bottom-feeding blogger” because I rely on what others write. I described this in my March 27th post, "How important are newspapers?" “With blogging in mind, each morning I check The New York Times and The Washington Post. Then I check four well-known blogs, Juan Cole’s Informed Comment, Glenn Greenwald’s Unclaimed Territory. Scott Horton’s No Comment, and Steve Clemons’s The Washington Note.... I, in turn, rely on these and other bloggers to help me understand what’s going on. Then I attempt to distill what I learn into a few paragraphs for my blog.”

The following describes the sequence of events that prompted me to examine the time it takes to post almost every day when I'm home:

1. On April 6th, I read The New York Times article, "In Web World of 24/7 Stress, Writers Blog Till They Drop." The article described the death of two bloggers who were working for pay. I’m working for fun and for free. However, blogging almost every day creates stress, which is not good for my health as I turn 68 on Sunday.

2. April 9th was a stunningly beautiful day. In the late afternoon as I hunkered over my computer pulling together my post "Fear for Iran," I kept looking outside, wondering what I was doing inside.

3. On April 10th, I was shocked to see that one of my favorite bloggers, the most prolific blogger I’m aware of, Scott Horton, posted "Is There Life After Blogging?", noting the Times article about bloggers dropping dead and announcing that he would no longer be blogging daily.

I can’t answer the question of whether or not I add value by blogging. I know I miss the discipline of finding something every day worth a post. However, I’m pleased to report that while I was “away,” I explored two new blogs:

1. South Jerusalem: Gershom Gorenberg and Haim Watzman, described as “A Progressive, Skeptical Blog on Israel, Judaism, Culture, Politics, and Literature”;

2. Best Guess Commentary: “Commentary and Analysis on Current Events in Politics, Business, Foregin Affairs and More."

Now that Scott Horton isn’t posting each day, I’m taking the time I used to spend reading his blog to check:

1. Tony Karon’s blog, Rootless Cosmopolitan. I highly recommend his April 9th post, "Healing Israel's Birth Scar";

2. Ken Silverstein’s Washington Babylon.

Lastly, I want to recommend Dan Froomkin’s Monday through Friday post for The Washington Post, White House Watch. I’ve been reading it each workday for many, many months.

I still can’t answer the question “Am I adding value?” But I enjoyed pulling this post together.

(photo of my garden taken this afternoon; photo of my grandchildren from a week ago)


Anonymous said...

How about blogging only on rainy days?

We could all spend more time outside in the great weather, and more time inside in the not-so-great weather . . .


Dan Gurney, Mr. Kindergarten said...

Hey, Gail,

I hope you'll blog when the spirit moves you. Blogging can become somewhat addictive, so it's probably a good idea to take a break from it from time to time. But I hope you'll return to it when you've really GOT to say something. I've enjoyed reading your blog, well except when it gets truly depressing.


mama p said...

I'll pipe in my 2 cents here: your blog has value because 1) I am able to find resources and stories I don't have the time/energy to locate myself and 2) because it helps you to get it out of your mind and into the world. I think another question worth asking is, should I be too attached to 'making a difference'? Because you can really run yourself into the ground if the burden of global justice is wholly on you and your blog!

Sept. 11 taught me a dear lesson: art and beauty are, in fact, necessities. My training is in the fine arts, and I always felt a little self-serving each time I picked up the brush, clay, or pen: what good is this? But beauty isn't just skin deep: it is one human gift that provides us the inspiration to continue on in spite of the other less-lovely human endeavors.

So, why not add a balance? I had a "whining" blog going and found it so depressing that I eventually began a "gratitude" blog to even the keel. I also balance my bad-news searches with searches for inspiring blogs (such as and

And yes, I agree: walk outside more, so we know what's worth saving!
Happy Earth Day-
glad you're ok!!
Pilar & Osh

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Weedgardener said...

I find your blog valuable, and I check it regularly. But as a very part-time blogger myself, I know how much time and energy it takes to post a blog entry, especially if you take the trouble to include something to look at, as you almost always do.

First take care of yourself, and let the blog take place when you have the energy for it.