Thursday, April 1, 2010


Sometimes I like to talk about the history of my blog like it's been around forever.  But mostly I realize that I'm just some upstart who hasn't been doing anything for very long and who doesn't do anything with enough consistency to talk about the history of this blog.  So if I stumble into talking that kind of nonsense, please ignore me.  You probably already were.

So in my vast blogging experience, I've learned that the process of starting and maintaining a blog is not as simple as registering a blogger account and spouting off a few opinions (later I'm going to devote a paragraph or seven to the whole "opinion" thing).  For me, the decision to blog is primarily very personal.  I need an outlet.  I've got lots of thoughts in my head.  Better out than in, I (and Shrek) always say.  I have this tendency to narrate my life, probably because I'm a fiction reader, and when things around me are moving slowly, I edit the previously narrated bits.  And it's not just straight narration, which is not the sort of thing that would carry over into a blog anyway . . . It's exposition about thoughts I'm having or experiences or memories.  Long before I started posting here, I was writing something in my head.  I can't believe I just admitted that.  Freak flag:  check.

So a lot of the stuff that goes on here is really just for me--to get it out of my head or to give me a place for some true editing of all these words.  That's why I have so many drafts of posts that never actually show up for public consumption.  Some things don't pan out, but so far, I'm keeping them in case they grow up to be something better later.  But if all I was looking for was an outlet, I could keep a journal.  That does appeal to me in some ways because I love physically writing things.  Add a mild handwriting obsession to the crazy that is me.  And journaling vs. blogging would give me more freedom to let out all my thoughts.  Because no matter how real I keep it or how transparent I claim to be, this blog o'mine is far from the unvarnished truth.  There's a ton of censoring that goes into everyday communication, and that's true of what goes on here as well.  Quite a lot is going unsaid because it's better or safer or something.  And really, no one would want to read me unfiltered.  Potentially, I can see that an open forum for my every rant isn't necessarily what's best for me anyway.  Better out than in, yes, but often better to not give anger and negativity such a foothold that a rant is necessary.

Clearly, I've made my point that I'm neurotic and self-centered, so before this turns into a love song to Ellen, let me tell you that blogging is also about you, imaginary reader.  Because I didn't choose to keep a journal . . . I chose to write to you.  Now I'll be honest and tell you that part of that is conceit, assuming that anything I want to say is worth reading to other people, and part of it is the voyeuristic nature of society.  But having an audience, imaginary or otherwise, takes blogging out of my head.  I have someone to consider, which streamlines my rambling occasionally and directs my thoughts often.  I'm writing for me, but I want you to be here too.  And I want to do something that will bring you back.  My Google Analytics addiction is proof enough that I care that you're here and what you're doing here.

The point I'm belaboring here is that blogging is a thumbs-up kind of experience for me.  I get to write, and I feel like I'm providing an occasional amusing diversion to the teeming masses.  Go me(at)!  But (and you know there was a but coming, right?) sometimes the pressure of blogging is really more than I bargained for.  Stupid, self-inflicted pressure, but pretty real, nonetheless.  Yesterday I realized that I'd only done ten posts in March, and a couple of those were short little duds anyway.  I felt guilty about that.  I haven't done a project 4:4 post all month (primarily because I haven't read my dailies all month).  I can't decide if I should feel more guilty about being so behind on the Bible or the fact that my behind-ness deprives my loyal fans here of some blog-fodder.  I'm not reading books and continuing the "year in books" series, but I've already expressed enough guilt over that.  And my slow trickle of other ideas is fairly dry.  I'm feeling like a failure.  Whoever had three and a half months in the pool should collect.  I'm not saying that this is the end of the opinions.  But at this point, it's feeling much more like an obligation than a joy.  And that stinks for all of us.

And since I mentioned "opinions" again, let me tell you that I hate the name of this blog.  Why did I pick it?  It sounds like I'm some know-it-all jerk who's going to choose a topic that doesn't really concern me in the real world and tell you all what to think about it.  Well, I am a know-it-all jerk, but I tend to stay away from hot topics or telling people what to think about things that matter.  On the other hand, I do have a lot of opinions and ideas and rules about silly stuff, things that don't matter, and I feel like this blog is chock-full of those ridiculous opinions.  So maybe it's appropriate. 

Any direction that this post had was lost long ago.  Apologies, imaginary readers.  Let me sum up for those still searching through the mire of my thoughts for a point:  today blogging gives me a frowny face.  But I have hope in my own narcissism, and so should you. 

*****Uncertain blog author's dilemma:  Should I have called this post "blobligations" instead of "blogligations."  Is it even clear what I'm trying to say?  I want to be cool and confident enough to let it stand and have you get it or feel inadequate because you don't get it, but my inadequacies rule the day.*****


  1. Ellen:

    I post this once before, but I feel it is worth posting again. After reading the blog I feel it is worth repeating.

    Putting It Together Blog Style
    I've spent a lot of time working on this.
    It's time to get to work
    Blogging isn't easy.
    A blog is just a vision if it's only in Ellen's head.
    If no one gets to read it it's as good as dead!
    It has to come to life!
    word by word, putting it together
    word by word, only way to make a work of art
    Every moment makes a contribution
    Every little detail plays a part
    Having just a vision's no solution
    Everything depends on execution
    Putting it together, that's what counts!
    word by word, putting it together
    Small amounts, adding up to make a work of art
    First of all you need a good foundation
    Otherwise it's risky from the start

    Your blogs have good foundations. Your love of books and your family shines thru in blog. I feel by readying your blog I get to know Ellen better. Your attention to the detail of your life and what is happening with your family is very enlightening.

    So please keep up the great work.

    Geoffrey AKA Jeff

  2. I am reluctant to respond to this based on the publication date. But then I realized how sad it would be if someone wrote a suicide on April 1 and everyone ignored it. That person or blog might go ahead and commit suicide if not many tried to talk him out of it. So I am down on one knee begging you not to stop ./zm,xv c Sorry about that it is hard to balance my laptop on my knee. You have had a very busy month moving, being in a wedding and traveling to ancient Egypt. By the way, I thought Montezuma was Aztec not Egyptian. Any way, it is understandable if your Opinions are not as exciting right now as they are sometimes. But just so you know, I do love your opinions, and not just because many of them agree with my opinions. It is the only place I can get Mac's opinion on something other than health care and the economy. So please keep your opinions flowing.

    ps. Remind me to write a suicide note next April 1. It will be hilarious.

  3. I'm in TOTAL agreement with Shane!! I love all of your opinions! But the ones about books are my least favorite since I don't have time to read those books, so let that series and some of your guilt go. I also don't mind the "infrequency". You shouldn't let it bother you either, especially considering all the stuff March threw at you! And I totally got the title--knew exactly where you were going. Bottom line: I don't want you to keep blogging if it is just an obligation and you aren't enjoying it. I want you to love it or stop it or maybe just take a short break.

    Shane--laughed and laughed at the idea of you balancing the laptop on your one knee! And Montezuma definitely had no place with us in Egypt!

  4. I'm still on my first, I just think you're nice. But I have a mild obsession with your blog. You're obsession with handwriting will require an intervention someday.

  5. Ellen dear,
    I understand the guilt and frustration that come with blogging. I know that confidence in the fact that other people want to read our writing is something that both of us lack. So, in the spirit of telling Ellen how great she is and being empathetic to a fellow blogger, I'm going to say all the things I need to hear when I'm in this place.
    1. We all love you.
    2. That love means that we will read whatever you write, regardless of its content or coherence.
    3. On the bright side, (I'm now the girlfriend of a sex god.) you are an excellent writer, and I can tell that it is a release for you. You write things on this blog that you'd never actually talk to people about. It's good for you. It's good for all of us.
    4. I know it's easy to get down, especially as busy and sickly and exhausted that you've been. But, we will read this blog whether you update every hour or every month. Take some of that pressure off of yourself. Mac will find other things to read (like, occasionally my blog), and will only enjoy your writing that much more when you do post.
    5. Take some time off, if you need it. It'll still be here when you get back, and so will we. Don't second-guess yourself so much. You are loved and appreciated.
    6. This will be Mac's all-time favorite comment because of its listing nature.
    7. Robyn's wrong. You have an obsession with handwriting, but you are not one yourself.

  6. Well, I couldn't decide if this was an April Fools joke, and now, I'm still not sure. I sort of assumed that it wasn't since it all rang so true to who you are, but then, there's this other post now, so this clearly wasn't the last one, so, what am I to do. I guess that I'll just say that I like your blog a lot, and I'd be sad to see it go, but if it doesn't do for you what you want it to, cut it off.

    If you are still going to keep it up though, here are a few ideas for future posts: a blog naming contest to replace "Ellen has an opinion." The winner gets recognition and a free dutch oven Pioneer Woman style, or maybe just recognition depending on whether or not you want to give away a 300 dollar piece of cookware. (I plan to win, and Jenni says she likes the yellow one, just so you know.)

    Shane - Suicide not on April 1 = VERY funny joke. Maybe even better than the time that a certain preacher from my church convinced his daughter that her mother was leaving him as an April Fools Day joke. The source makes the joke that much funnier.

    Hailey - Nice list! I especially like the part where people were talking about me.

  7. I think I owe everyone an apology. I never meant for anyone to get the impression that I was going to stop blogging or that this post was the suicide note of "the opinions."

    I just needed to talk about my current frustration that my life is so un-blog-worthy and that there was nothing in my head to compensate for that.

    Next time I'll be clearer, but you should have had faith in my narcissism. I'll always find something to say about myself.

  8. Oh, Ellen: I should not dare to think that I am as cool as you, but it sounds like we both have 'feeling like failures/overwhelmed/under pressure before we even start' syndrome.

    I'm not going to lie--Many things never get started or finished in Becky Land because I've already played everything through in my head. Who needs to go ahead and do whatever it was that I was planning on doing when I've already predicted how it will turn out? I'm a procrastinator and a non-finisher. There. I said it. Sometimes I even play out entire hypothetical conversations with coworkers and friends...It's an illness.

    Love you, love your blog. :)

  9. Becky, I do not know if I should be relieved that I am not the only person carrying on hypothetical conversations in my head or disappointed that my brand of crazy is not unique.

  10. Among other things that have never gotten started in Becky Land? Tiny Things with Becky. Don't worry; I've played everything through in my heart. It's awesome.

  11. If only I had taken a picture of myself with the tiny box grater...


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