Thursday, May 20, 2010

Our Collective Virtual World!

Well, I'm not entirely sure why I started blogging. And I am not sure what I expected to get out of it. Back in August, as school began again, I worried about my place in the world once my kids had left the nest. I just started writing.

Then I began Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way and my life took an unfamiliar turn. I committed to something new and I stuck with it. This is so contrary to my nature.

I knew nothing about blogging. Really nothing. And then all this happened. Not all at once. Slowly, over time.

I found myself visiting at today and low and behold Bruce from was sitting in. He wrote a magnificent piece about our virtual salon.

The thing is I only met Bruce yesterday when he came to visit my blog. And he came because he too was part of Jen and Sarah's 'five for ten' at A connection was made.

But I didn't know that that connection was made a long time ago, when Bruce was a child and he watched one of my Dad's horror films, Mr. Sardonicus. Apparently my Dad's film left an impression on him. And today, it was Bruce who left an impression on me.

We are all strangers. But we have come to know each other profoundly. And even trust each other. It is inspiring and somewhat odd. But I have always liked odd and this feels like home.

What has amazed me is the quality of writing, the collective spirit, the support and the incredible number of people writing about things both personal and profound.

And I find myself a bit overwhelmed. Bruce wrote about something I learned about a thousand years ago, back in college--Marshall McLuhan's concept that "the medium is the message." I didn't fully understand his concept when I was a 20-year-old college student. Today I understand it completely.

And I feel lucky. I have lived to see very many different mediums--and I wonder what Mr. McLuhan would think of all this. Something that so profoundly connects us all. Something where truly the medium is the message. Connection!

But like with most things, there was a leap I had to take. I wrote not knowing if anyone would ever read my words. And I'm not entirely sure it really mattered. I wrote because I had to. For me. It has changed my life and in fact given me a life. And I am so thankful to the medium and to all of you.

I am really curious what made you all start blogging. I really hate that word. What made you all start writing on websites? I am deeply curious. And what is your take away? Do write for yourself, to build a community, to make connections? Why did you start and why do you continue? Do you ever want to just stop? Feel like you have nothing left to say? And then what happens that makes you continue? How did you make your first connection? My came through

I am delighted to be part of what Bruce calls our "virtual salon." Thank you.


  1. Hi Terry - I love knowing that your connection to Bruce and his words today goes back to one of your father's films. It never ceases to amaze me how many of these offline connections exist in the online world. (Do you think any of us is more than six degrees away from any other? Interesting to think about.)

    I'm smiling too to see your mention of Mothers of Brothers. That's how I found you, in fact, either through their blogroll or a comment you left there that struck me. So glad for these moments of connection that have turned into blossoming friendships.

  2. Terry. This is wonderful. I could write an essay in response. Full of affirmations and nods and hugs and even questions. I love Julia Cameron. I love that you write because you have to. It can be that simple. Sarah and I began our blog to connect with each other. And we have. And so so so much more.

  3. What a wonderful post, Terry (as usual). And again, I can relate to so, so much of what you said. I came into the mom blogging world (yes - I also hate the word "blog"!) because like so many other new moms the experience left me so incredibly changed and so in need of reaching out and voicing my experiences. I can completely see how reaching the life stage where your children become fully independent will also leave you aching to write and connect. The writing was an innate urge, as primitive as hunger and thirst. The unexpected was the community - THAT I never saw coming. I found my connections through others' blogrolls and that is how I found your blog too. I was immediately drawn to your tag line. Although my son is only 6, I feel that there is much that I can learn from you. There is an enormous amount of blogs to sift through but you know when you have found ones that resonate with you, bloggers that feel like instant friends who "know" you.

    What a small world that you got reconnected with Bruce! I am so glad you are blogging/writing :-)

    As if my response to you wasn't long enough, about a month ago I wrote about the very same topic, if you are ever interested:



    I;ll try to not make this into a post, either (heehee)

    I was lonely. Plain and simple. And depressed. Talk therapy wasn't helping, and neither were meds.

    My kids were slowly not needing me, and my husband was becoming preoccupied with bills and work.

    And I don't fit in this small town.

    I have been following blogs for 2 years now, but never had the confidence to do my own. One depressing cold Feb. day, I said, "what the heck? Blogger does it for free."

    ANd so I did my first post AND I LOOOOVED IT!

    I don't know how people came to my blog, but they did...and know I have about 5 close friends.

    It's done more for me than any amount of therapy or meds EVER DID.

    So, I blog for mental health, balance, happiness, and friendship! I met you, didn't I? Blogging made that possible.

  6. Hi Terry,
    Wow I loved your post today, especially since I read Bruce's post over at Motherese and his words have been sticking with me all day. I started a blog because I was following Gretchen Rubins "The Happiness Project" and that was one of her suggestions, to start a blog. I really had no idea what I was doing nor did I know the world it would open up for me! You said it well... connection. I truly feel connected in a world that I really don't even understand but the beauty is that I don't need to have all the answers just yet. You asked some really good questions and I don't know the answers to some of them just yet... and thats alright. All of you that I have met so far make it okay not to know yet. Blogging has given me a strong sense of belonging. I feel like I can walk into the Salon and have a seat and feel welcomed.

  7. How great that you connected with Bruce thru blogging but he knew your dad's film. I love this about life, the tiny degrees of separation. I love this about blogging. I truly didn't expect it, and, as you mentioned, the quality of lots of the writing. I started a year ago this month, to get my essays out there, to work the writing muscle in a regular way that wasn't fiction. And I want to stop all the time cuz it eats time like a mo'fo'. But part of me loves it and I would miss so many people, including you, way too much!! xo

  8. It's such a small world. I love the connections we make through blogging (or online writing if you rather). I love this online community... the virtual salon. It's such a warm, supportive, and stimulating envrionment. Sure, somedays I just don't have the energy to participate. But then I find that I miss the people. So here I am! Terry, I'm thirlled to have met you!

  9. It's a neat place, isn't it? This virtual salon, for airing real ideas and thoughts, for expressing real emotions and creating real relationships.

  10. I started because I had so many thoughts and ideas rolling around in my head. I take a zillion pictures of my children, trying to capture their every day moments before they are all grown up and gone. And I see blogging a lot like taking pictures.

    I write about snapshots of our life and stages we are going through. So then some day, when I am tired of pining over the dozens of photo boxes of pictures I have of them, I can come back and re-read some of my posts - and remember what life was like when I still had them in my nest.

    Like you, I have been changed by blogging. I have refined my writing, changed the way I think about things and get them on 'paper'. It is a godsend to me. I can't imagine life without it.

    Thanks for this post. It just reminds all of us why we do what we do and how truly valuable it is. :)


  11. This was lovely, Terry. I started blogging (I don't really like that word, either) because I was feeling lost. I felt like I was drowning in games of CandyLand and diapers and laundry that never ended. I needed to carve out a space for me again, to remind myself that I had a voice. A brain.

  12. I started blogging because only about half of the work I was submitting to editors was being published -- and I wanted a place where my work wasn't subject to someone else's opinion of whether it was worthy for human consumption. Jennifer, who lives a mile away, felt the same way and over lunch one day, we agreed to start Mothers of Brothers. Two years later, we havent missed a day (except for a few days of systems failures) and it has brought so much to my life that I never anticipated -- including connecting with amazing writers and interesting people. I think about you Terry -- and I smile. I didn't start blogging to meet people or make friends - but that is exactly what happened.

  13. Hi Terry--

    I started to blog because I wanted a place to put my writing. I'd just finished my memoir, and now I start the LONG, LONG, LONELY journey of trying to find an agent. And because it's a waiting game filled with rejections, I needed a home for my writing and my thoughts. Oh, joy, blogging means instant gratification. My writing gets immediately published by a touch of a button. There are comments made by readers who I have touched with my writing. And there are connections, like you and me, that I wouldn't have otherwise made. Oh, joy, indeed. Thanks for asking.

  14. Hi Terry, I'm so glad you asked this very question because I have been wondering the same thing and to read your post and all these comments fascinates me.

    More synchronicities as far as Julia Cameron's book goes, which meshes with my research into creative blocks (which came from my discovery that my own writer's block evaporated when I supposedly quit hollywood and went back to psychology school).

    Further to Michelle's comment, I finished a parenting book (meant to help parents stop buying self-help books and trust instincts, but also to view parenting as a spiritual path and also something of collective and not just individual importance). In any event, I got a great agent, but the big publishers said that although they thought it was really great, I needed to be more like Dr. Phil (i.e. famous) to merit the expenditure. Another major house liked it, but felt that the only book that sell these days are "diagnosis driven" (i.e. this is what's wrong with your kid and here's the expert fix).

    I couldn't disagree more, which connects with The Empress, in that I think we have fallen into a culture of inability to tolerate feelings (and thus med hit an effectiveness plateau, more like a wall, and endless talk therapy can exacerbate stuckness.

    Thus I began blogging (I too find the alliteration of that word aversive, like flogging with a wet blanet) to sincerely try to give something at a community level. I wasn't consciously looking for connection, but I realize that this connecting with smart, sincere, interesting voices who care about each other's kids, but who are far from stiflingly kid-centric, has been the real blessing, reward, revelation and reinforcer for me.

    I love this virtual Salon, I'm thrilled to have connected with you Terry (thanks for your comment at POP on Please Give) and with so many of the people I now know, and the new voices I'm finding even today through you.

    My big struggle as of late is thinking about how to properly limit time in the virtual world—it truly keeps me coming back (and it doesn't feel like escape, but more like something authentic and exciting... something that promises the sort of change many of us are looking for, but which seems often impossible in the world dominated by money, marketing, branding, etc.

    Sorry to jabber on, I think that when we feel that are heard, and really want to hear each other, it frees us to write—an interesting extension of Julia's "morning pages." In fact, through blogging, I suspect that many of us are finding our "voices," more natural, honest and real than when we over-think and get caught up in "will an agent like this?"

  15. I started because I felt like the creative part of my brain, the part I once used to write magazine features and marketing brochures and web copy, was turning to mush once I decided to stay home with my kiddos.

    I wanted people to read my posts, but I always envisioned it would be people who knew me in "real life." I never imagined I would become part of a virtual salon! And that still amazes and excites me.