Sunday, June 21, 2009

Compliments and Other Rewards of Blogging

I readily confess that there is something downright egotistical about blogging. To become a blogger means to assume that random people from vague acquaintances to random strangers would wish to read your thoughts about life the universe and everything. (Including Douglas Adams) I have no particular qualifications for world pontificator being only twenty-six years old and still working on my doctorate. The truth is I only started doing this because a girl I liked told me that she would be curious as to what a blog written by me would look like. Before I had the chance to write a serious post this same girl told me that I was a bright wonderful person and that she thought it would be for the best if we never spoke again. I found writing to be an effective way to cope with the depression that followed plus I maintained the forlorn hope that this would bring the girl back. (This was a different girl from my ex from last summer. I tend to get my heart broken a lot when it comes to women.) As it has been nearly three years I have come to accept that this is not going to happen and I have moved on to further adventures in glorious singlehood. There is not much in the way of money to be made from blogging though I seem to have a fan from the Oh Nuts candy company who around holidays offers certain rather generous compensations for putting up an ad for his company. If I were being charitable to myself I would say that I love having a positive influence on people. This, though, is often hard to distinguish from pride as a motive for writing. There is something intoxicating about random people contacting you and telling you how you have had a positive influence on them and what a brilliant person you are.

This past weekend I randomly bumped into a person of some prominence within the Jewish community and he knew who I was and told me how wonderful it was to meet me in person. This person told me that he read this blog and was particularly moved by a post of mine discussing the situation of his generation in relationship to mine.

There was a regular commentator that I only knew through his alias; I wondered who he might be and where he might live. Imagine my surprise when he walked over to me while I was sitting in my building lobby, introduced himself and said that mine was one of his favorite blogs. Not only did he live in my building, he actually lived on my floor. We talked face to face for several hours. Contrary to what I imagined him to be, he was a Hindu male of medium height. Much of our conversation dealt with his attempt, though he views himself as secular, to find meaning within his own faith tradition.

I have received several pieces of fan email, the nicest was one sent a few weeks ago.

Thanks for your blog. I'm reading what I can. I'd love to have hours to write, but since I don't here's why I am writing to you. I am the mother to four children ... We are all somewhere on some spectrum, my youngest son on the verge of an official diagnosis of AS. I have been avidly reading for the last month on the subject, but as a chassidic (Chadad) Jew (baal tshuva) I have been taken very much by your blog. It is refreshing and honest. Plus, I have always loved history, though I don't feel I understand it at all, meaning, it's hard for me to grasp all the perspectives (my own AS problem I think). History seems to me like a messy room...but for that matter, so does Gemara. ...

I am fascinated by images ... I am now taken to the images of Jewish history straight from the text, such as Chumash, Tehillum and Davening. I am often brought to tears by the words so powerful.

In your blog, you
allude to something to the order of Jews and a strong relationship to AS. Or maybe that Orthodox Jews are isolated in their own world. Actually, I am having a hard time putting into words what I read in your blog about your views of Orthodoxy and autism, but I do recall being lost in thought for several days on the subject of "Was Moshe AS, how about Avroham?" Could be I am looking through AS eyes at all my heroes and seeing how they stack up on the spectrum, friend or foe.

But most importantly, I admire you for living out your personhood, expressing yourself and thereby giving me some hope for my youngest son. ... I do wonder about my son. You raise the issue of labels and shidduch and all that. And so many other areas. …

Probably the nicest thing to happen to me from this blog is a friend I first met here their comments and then got to meet in real life. We now talk on a regular basis. Part of what makes this person so much fun is that we disagree on so much. This person operates from a very different background and perspective from my own and has truly been an eye opener for me. This person would probably not wish to be named so I will remain silent as to their identity.

At the end of the day I am not certain I can defend the amount of time I invest in this blog considering all the other things I have to do. With all the wonderful people I have met through this blog I feel vindicated. Of course if this blog ended up opening the door for a job or a fellowship that would be all the better. If this blog ended up resulting in a relationship with a female that did not end with me in tears and depression than that would be really special. For now I will take the occasional compliment and fan email.


Chris said...

If I'm to be honest, I blog for some of the same reasons. It's always a bit of a rush to get a comment, especially when it's a glowing endorsement of one's insight or intelligence. And while I don't expect my blog to help me hook up with a beautiful woman, I have had the pleasure of meeting online friends in real life. That's always really cool.

Another reason I blog is that I'm too lazy to keep a journal, but I know I am able to articulate and remember my thoughts much better if I write them down as they come. So my blog is a sort of depository for any recent reflections that don't seem quite print-worthy, but that I want to save for future reference.

cory said...

this is fantastic! i'm another one of your frequent readers. I really enjoy your posts and always look forward to reading.

you're braver than i. the very personal i don't really share, but i imagine readers would be more interested in that then random happenings.

anyway, i think you have a great balance and again, i enjoy reading.

Izgad said...

To Chris and Cory

Thank you both. If you have not met each other I suggest that the two of you take a look at each other's blogs. You would both have a lot of fun with each other.