Random Thoughts for 1/22/2012

Of the three blogs I maintain I find this one the hardest to post in.  The advertising blog is easy.  I’ve got piles of these damn things all over so it’s literally as simple as sifting through a pile of magazines or papers and finding one that seems amusing.  Easy enough.  The photography blog is easy too for similar reasons.  They’re easy because they’re specific and well-defined.  This blog is just random “whatever” and I’ve been resisting posts that don’t really have a theme which means that there’s an inherent contradiction between this blogs intent and what I’m trying to post in it.  So in the spirit of following my gut and posting what comes naturally, I bring you random thoughts for the 22nd of January in 2012.  (BTW, I’m pretty damn proud of myself that I managed to put 2012 in the subject line rather than putting 2011 as I have for so long.  Please hold your applause.)

To begin the random rot for today, I moved this blog from Blogspot a few months ago and one thing I’ve noticed is that the blogs on WordPress are head and shoulders above their blogger counterparts.  While they are busily and vacuously talking about their day-to-day lives, you guys are creating real and substantial art.  I spend a lot of time surfing around WordPress so it seems only fitting that with each post on The Tattered Thread that I highlight one of the other great blogs I’ve seen during the day.

Today’s featured “Blog that’s a Hell of a Lot Better than Mine” is Rebecca Latson Photography.  Not only does she take astonishingly good photos, but she also has published a couple of books and writes fairly substantially on the topic of photography to help novices improve their work.  Check out her three posts on the unofficial and totally optional rules of photography here, here and here.  She’s on my subscription list and she should be on yours too.

Slipping into the random, I’m in a bit of a quandary.  Starting in 2003 I started writing in a totally different blog.  In the months since I switched to WordPress, I’ve been slowly cannibalizing this other blog but there are a LOT of posts that just don’t… well, just don’t fit.  On one hand, I want to meticulously reedit and refine every post on the old site and reuse it here.  On the other, I want to just mindlessly import it and nuke the previous site.  If I do that though, I feel as if it’s a huge waste since absolutely NOBODY goes back in any blog more than a half dozen posts.  So it’s like I’d be moving boxes from an old house and putting them immediately into the cellar of a new house, never to be seen again.  To me, this writing is incredibly important.  It’s a decade of my innermost thoughts for the love of god!  As I look back, I can see posts that I wrote where I can’t help but think that I was just a small-minded jerk.  If I look at the tag ‘religion’ I can see with great clarity the point at which one of my co-workers said about 200 words that completely changed my view of Christianity.  I remember the post I wrote when a co-worker gave me a Bible (NASB) to read.  All that history and that’s JUST the part related to religion.  Perhaps I need to stop complaining and instead look at this as a HUGE asset waiting to be tapped.

Continuing with the random, I set myself the goal of 5,000 photos in 2012 and 100 books finished.  As of this writing, I’m 173 photos behind the pace and 2 books behind.  The photos I can certainly catch up on since… well, it is winter in the Midwest, so that’s not particularly inspiring for a nature photographer.  I’ve finished four books (which will get their own blog post at the end of the month) but I have pondered at some point whether this purely numerical goal will backfire in some way.  The first four books of the year have been fairly high quality.  I ploughed through the monstrous “1952 Omnibus of Science Fiction”, zipped through “Nickel and Dimed”, yawned my way through “A Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad” and was massively entertained by “Half-Broke Horses”.  This is all fairly good stuff but would I be better served to finally just suck it up and finish “Islam: The Straight Path” that I started SO long ago and have summarized with such assiduity.  So the question of the day seems to be: is it better to spend a month reading a stack of random books on 10 different topics or spend an entire month reading one book in intimate and painstaking depth?


Filed under blogging, personal

15 responses to “Random Thoughts for 1/22/2012

  1. “To me, this writing is incredibly important. It’s a decade of my innermost thoughts for the love of god!”

    So… keep it. It’s really that simple. 😉 You can’t throw away your life, can you? Go ahead and reuse the content, I don’t see why not. You’ve grown and changed since then. Just leave the old stuff where it is, even add a link to it to see what changed.

    And for your question of the day, dun dun dun, it depends! Are you gaining something from your ten random books? Even if it’s just enjoyment you gain, that’s fine. I think if you breeze through too fast you do miss things, though. If things go too deep, you may loose the enjoyment of reading!

  2. If your blog is for you, I say catalogue and revisit all you want. While others may not go back, it’s nice to know your work is safely and neatly stored in one place, isn’t it? I am new to blogging but find that I enjoy going back and refining and updating…even if no one else is the wiser. Perhpas that is because my purpose is to have a creative outlet that helps me maintain perspective and keeps my life from becoming one long blur. If the goal is to attract followers with similar interests or if the blog is for monetary gain, I can see that it would be important to hone both your focus andyour craft. Happy blogging in any way, shape or form. 🙂

    • Rob Slaven

      Hrmmmm….. this is tricky. What *IS* my point? Why *AM* I doing this? It’s not just doing this for me. It is about validation from outside. I’d say though that that’s true for 99% of the world. Well, not the world. It occurs, as I sit here, that if I made 10 friends around through the world that were real friends… that would be more than enough. I don’t need the whole world. I just need a tiny part of it. I feel a blog post coming on. 🙂

      • The whole world is a tiny part of the world, when you get down to it. We can’t have the whole world. We have our tiny world around us.

        That’s the world that matters. We can’t change what’s happening 1,000 miles away from us. We can change the heart of a friend 1,000 miles away, though.

        Changing hearts is what matters. Not worrying about tomorrow, even though tomorrow is going to be hard. I have made some amazing people I consider friends here, and I have seen some amazing words.

        We need external validation, but we also need to learn to validate ourselves for who we are as people. Everyone has value.

        And a thought about real friends around the world, my truest friends are not in my state. One is in the Philippines and the other is in another state. I’ve never met either of them face to face and doubt I ever will, even though we have a vague plan of meeting in four years. And I’ll never let them go.

        I love everyone here on WordPress as well, in an agape sort of love. It’s real and true, in my mind. It’s why I sign every post with love. And I mean it.

        WOW this got long fast, sorry!

      • Rob Slaven

        That’s true. It’s very funny how the internet has brought us all together without actually bringing us… at all together…

  3. I write on whatever comes into my mind and there is no real theme as such. I tend to lean towards my own interests, which are birds, natural history generally, my local town and the adopted culture of living in Hong Kong but sometimes I just go into stream of consciousness mode. There are often fallow periods when inspiration disappears but I now keep a list of potential blog topics on my iPhone so that if I am stuck for a theme I scroll through what seemed like a good idea at the time and reflect on whether it still seems so good. I always grapple with the conundrum of whether I am writing for me or an audience. I think I am writing for me and if you want to read along that’s fine and very gratifying. On reading, I regularly have several books on the go at any given time. I try to mix the sublime with the ridiculous. I am currently reading George Friedman’s views on what the next US President should focus on for the coming decade, Ansel Adams’ autobiography (a re-read) and a biography of Deng Xiaoping. I leave others to decide which is the sublime and which the ridiculous. For the record, Rob, I enjoy your blogs and you should have enough other followers to convince you that they do too. Blog on man! Oh and my old blog is out there somewhere. Never took it down and occasionally I want to retrieve something. Let it hang. Life’s too short to stuff a mushroom.

  4. Your comparison of your blog to others is of course a distortion because there will always be a better blog than yours in your opinion. But as this desire of yours to compete will likely give birth to more lovely prose and images we can enjoy, I selfishly and heartily approve. Carry on. 🙂

  5. Its refreshing to find another avid reader online, as well as one who loves to write. And whether the writing takes on a specific focus or is just a way to clear your mind or examine an argument or belief, it’s what works and is good for you! That’s ultimately why a lot of us are here after all, to find like an opposing minds, examine different views and ideas, and integrate or not some of those refreshing thoughts into our own world!
    I look forward to your continued posts! 🙂

  6. Val

    Can you not just take things on a day by day basis and see how things pan out? Blogging content changes as do we, as we write our blogs. I’ve been blogging on and off since 2004 (not all on WordPress) and each blog has changed me in some way.

    I feel similarly to you, though – not wanting to ‘waste’ old blog posts and then wanting to delete the whole lot. And I sympathise with the fact that people don’t usually see old ones. How about, gradually, putting each post on a page of its own in your blog here, then – if you haven’t already – make yourself a custom menu, hide the pages from it and have one page on which you’ve got links to all the hidden pages. That way you and your readers can visit and read them whenever you/they want. It’s a bit of work, but at least it preserves them.

    • Rob Slaven

      But, but, but! I *NEED* a Plan! A plan that spans at least the next decade! 🙂 Yeah, fine. I guess I don’t *HAVE* to obsess about it IMMEDIATELY. I’ll save that for later maybe? 🙂

  7. johnhm

    Thanks for commenting on a post on my blog, Contemplative Vision. I have had other blogs, but dealing with art in a substantial, creative way, is a new undertaking for me. I appreciate your honesty in this post. Instead of reading ten books chosen at random, why not pick ten that are loosely related, with enough variation in style that you have different experiences, from the sublime to the ridiculous, as Andrew said. I remember a professor who advised against walking into a bookstore with no idea of what you wanted to read, and selecting some book so that you wouldn’t walk out empty-handed. I have violated his dictum a hundred times, but I do appreciate its wisdom. You seem to have a supportive group of friends on WordPress. How neat is that!

    • Rob Slaven

      Well, but that’s where I struggle. I insist internally that I emphasize breadth of knowledge rather than depth. So ten books on even a loosely related topic makes me a bit queasy. So I agree the the pragmatism of what you’re saying, but I just can’t quite get myself over the hump to follow it. 🙂

  8. Thanks for the intro to Rebecca Latson, and thanks for the visit at my place.

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