Sunday, January 18, 2004

Hide it under a bushel, no!

I've been thinking about the blogging and the public sphere this weekend. Didn't find time to post yesterday, was at the gym with the boys in the morning, doing more course prep in the middle of the day before sulking back to work last night--fifth event in seven days. Another one tomorrow.

The idea that blogs enable a publicly-projected self, one controlled through discursive constructions (well, er, everything's rhetoric), intrigues me whilst filling me with caution. The traffic spikes over the last two days are contributing to my wonder. Casual readers are checking out this site; since I haven't neatly defined Earth Wide Moth, typecasting it into a particular blogging genre, I'm having trouble imagining what brings people here, whether it's interesting or disappointing, whether it's too personal to be of any value to somebody else, and so on.

The clogged drain entry provoked an email from my dad. And here the NYT magazine feature last week was concerned with teens and their blog-reading parents. Adult-children who blog have plenty to be concerned with, too, turns out. I had no idea my mishandling of the drainage had the power to shame my dad. He taught me well, and yet I couldn't clear the drain myself!

Here are a few bits of his advice (which was broadcast to other family members who would've had no inkling that this blog was planted here lately):

1. Only use the garbage disposal for small stuff.
2. Periodically use a bio-enzyme at all sink, tub and shower locations (small drain pipes).
3. Participating in family plumbing adventures helps socialize us all into becoming better plumbing people. For example, when children become old enough to clean out drains, allow them the fun and excitement of digging out the hair and gunk. When they grow up, they will thank you for having given them this experience.

There was more. No need to make this into a full blown plumbing guide. But item three brought me back; reminded me of my childhood--those Sunday afternoon plumbing projects that I never really understood, although I clearly remember standing at the sink with my brother, eyes agog at the size of the gunk-wad responsible for the slow seep of water, the lecture about not allowing stray, nonfluidstuff in the sink. We were being humanized.

So maybe the traffic spikes are from a wary and watchful clan dispersed far and wide who are (following my dad's email alert) bracing for unkind or uncareful depictions: about hairpieces and beer bellies, about indiscretions and excess, about you-know-who's bad habits, and so on. Never been much of a town crier. A critic, sure. But most often self-critical, since dad did such a fine job of proving to me that the unflowing blockages, impediments and hardships--in the sink and in life--are largely of our own doing.

Bookmark and Share Posted by at January 18, 2004 8:47 PM to Under a Bushel
Comments

We all know about your blog now and that may be why the number of people looking at yours has increased in the past few days. I have marked it as a favorite and will be reading it from time to time - not to see if you have said anything about me, mind you - just interesting to read. Have fun.

Posted by: Lin Renzelmann at January 19, 2004 9:49 AM

Before I took to blogging, I thought about setting one up for Dad, as a broadened venue for his email punditry. I never imagined a dynamic where I would write in a blog, he would respond with a widely distributed email, sorting through how what I'd done reflected on the family or on his fine parenting. Ah, well, no love like a family's love. This blog is for all the people, family too.

Posted by: dmueller at January 19, 2004 10:54 AM

I know you said you don't want this blog to be classified, but would it be appropriate if I wanted to blogroll it under "Computers and Writing Weblogs"?

Posted by: Clancy at January 22, 2004 9:06 PM

That'd be terrific, Clancy. I didn't mean to seem anti-classification. Just reminding myself aloud that I don't want this space to become neatly crammed with impersonal reportage nor with full-of-self naval-gazing. Just some kind of open think-space in between. As designations go, C&W is where my interests are aiming me.

Posted by: dmueller at January 22, 2004 9:25 PM