Monday, November 20, 2006

More Thoughts On Blogging, Written Under The Influence of Benadryl

Chalice Chick wrote in a comment that she wishes that the tone over at Beauty Tips could be more sedate, while the tone over here at PeaceBang be more outright sassy.

CC, that was very sweet, and your observations are always valuable to me, since I love your own "voice" over at Chalice Chick.

As I indicated in one of my recent posts, I'm fascinated by the blogging phenomenon as a whole. I'm fascinated by the interplay of "real life" with blogging personae, and by the community that gets formed, sustained, evaluated and re-evaluated on our blogs and in the comments.

I was quite naive when I began blogging, thinking that perhaps 15-20 people were reading my reflections. Back then, I thought of PeaceBang as a kind of journal that a few folks might have some interest in eavesdropping on, as it were. I dove into on-line controversies with total passion, ranting away as I would at a dinner table conversation where all parties, whatever their differences, are on the same basic playing field and really, no harm done however hot the disagreements.

My full and fulfilling life at church and my relationship with my family and friends has always been the Big Story, with my social life and theatre and music involvements and pathetic attempts to date and happy travel adventures and civic involvements secondary. My blogging and on-line stuff was a very tiny part of that second tier of what we broadly call Life. I let it rip with abandon, adopting a very sassy on-line persona, never realizing that many people would actually come to think that they know me because of reading my words as PeaceBang.

I soon realized that in some strange way, I was developing a real relationship with strangers in the blogosphere who, to be fair, did know me on some level, albeit a limited and somewhat contrived one.

I came to realize that although all of us in the blogging community had LOTS else going on in our lives, and although all of us had far more to us than our blog entries could ever begin to reveal, this was becoming a community for me (of course, it *had already been* a community for many). I navigated my way through it with increasing respect for its complexity, for the ways it might actually contribute to our individual and denominational deepening, and for the fact that I was getting a lot more than 15-20 readers a day. Both Scott Wells and Chris Walton pretty much had to bonk me over the head to make me realize that a LOT more than 15 or 20 of my friends were tuning into PeaceBang. I denied that fact for a long time.

By the time I started Beauty Tips, I realized that to be true to the relationship that you and I were forming, I would have to reign in the enormity of the PeaceBang persona over here in order to reflect more of the truth of who I am, which is actually not Cotton Mather or Auntie Mame, but just me. I wanted to share my spiritual practices and inner thoughts about the arts of ministry here, and to not rant so much, because ranting is tiring when you feel that everything you write should be at that level of drama and provocation.

The voice I use over at Beauty Tips is ENORMOUS, OVER-THE-TOP and basically nuts. It's the theatre me, the cackling hysterically at a party with my friends me, the extravagant "DARLING" me, the Auntie Mame and talent agent and diva me I never got to be because I chose ministry. I let this part of me have total freedom over at Beauty Tips, because it's a perfect subject area within which to let that big, campy theatrical persona flourish. I have *so much fun* doing it, I really do care about the subject matter, and I'm thrilled that others are having fun with it.

When I got the call from the Boston Globe reporter, I knew it was time to really get clear on the purposes of these blogs, and to get them ready for "prime time," just in case. I know these latest reflections may have read as self-indulgent to some of you, but when I think about my blogs, this is where I do it; at the keyboard, with you.

I thank you for your loyalty and appreciation.


Blogger Joel Monka said...

I agreed with CC- I always prefered Peacebang to the Beauty Tips blog... whether any given post was frivolous or deep, they were always worth the read, and affected me profoundly. I understand that you need to change direction, and I'm not dismayed- I'll still be here reading them anway; a genuine voice is worth listening to regardless of topic.

Blogger fausto said...

If there's anything you aren't using any more, just let me know. I could eat it. In fact, a little nosh of cast-off persona would really hit the spot right about now.

Blogger Peregrinato said...

Having discussed both theology and bath products with you, I can hear both voices quite vividly. Each has its own place.


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