More on making it matter

As an update to my previous post regarding an evaluation of my blog, my blogging, my blogroll, and my general online habits, allow me to expand a bit on what I intend to do in this area now that I’ve had time to mull over it.

The blogroll has thinned.  While there may be more entries removed, most of what’s there will probably remain.  For now.  I’m rather capricious with blogrolling, what with random changes in taste and interest, so as I’ve said repeatedly: “My blogroll is always in flux.  I add and remove items on an ongoing basis.  As my mood and interests change, so too does my blogroll.”

Also available at that link is an updated blogroll policy.  I stand by it.  I read blogs via RSS.  Those who cripple syndication feeds, no matter the reason, fail the test for me.  Disabled or minimized image presentation, post synopses only, and several other pet peeves will inhibit inclusion, and that even if I love what you do.  The web has changed and having to visit a site daily to get the full content is soooo yesterday.  It also robs me of precious time I can spend on more important endeavors.

On the question of my own blogging and blog, both will remain, although the former will experience a dramatic shift away from perpetual content overload to a more leisurely approach focused on quality.  What does that mean?

It’s all rather simple.  To date, I’ve felt compelled to offer something every other day, if not every day.  That included a self-imposed requirement to proffer photographs almost as often as I proffered text.

No more.

Here’s how things will work.  While I’m not penning a rigid schedule for such matters, I am releasing myself from the rigid schedule to which I’ve been tied for so long.  From now on, I’ll write when I feel I have something to say.  That means no insignificant updates about insignificant things, or even updates to say I’m too busy to offer an update.

It also means content will matter more than it might have in the past.  Rather than blathering ad nauseam about twaddle, I want to focus on meaningful content.  That includes updates about The Kids, creative writing, personal views and experiences, and whatnot.  While all that may sound terribly familiar, I hope it’s the quantity and quality that will change.

I still intend to utilize the forum to keep friends and family abreast of goings on.  Those entries, however, will be carefully chosen so as to remain in keeping with the new spirit of this blog. . .or at least my updated view of blogging.  Or whatever.

The major change will be the frequency of posts, I’m sure.  Multiple posts in a single day no doubt will be few and far between (although not extinct).  Daily or every-other-day posting likewise will become less frequent.  Those two changes alone I hope will aid in making what is posted better and more meaningful (cranking out content caused me to rush more often than I care to admit, and that diminished the quality of what I was doing).

As for pictures, you can continue expecting them regularly.  I am by no means a professional photographer, but oh how I love to capture images at every opportunity.  Sharing them here is a joy for me, an opportunity to let you see the world through my eyes (and the camera’s lens, by the way, since the two can differ dramatically!).  While there are times when I’m not particularly happy with an image, but I still post it because I want you to see something, I doubt much will change about what photographs I post.  I have to work with what I have, and what I have is what I took.  It’s that simple.

None of this will change my responsiveness to comments.  I receive comment notifications via e-mail (even for those shunted to the moderation queue).  As has always been the case, I will respond to comments as quickly as I can if I feel a response is appropriate.  Sometimes I think a comment stands so well on its own that I would sully it with a gratuitous answer; for all others, I will respond independent of whether or not I’m posting to the blog on that particular day.

Perhaps none of this really matters to anyone but me.  Perhaps those who subscribe to this site’s feed and visit it regularly do so because something draws them here other than the particulars of what I think about what goes on here.  Perhaps those who comment do so because a sincere connection is found, whether via a single post or the whole of this blog, and speaking up means more than tossing a bone to a blogger.  Perhaps. . .

As I’ve said so many times before, I blog because I journal, and I journal because writing is not only a career hope, but it’s also a catharsis.  Photography is a passion despite my lack of expertise.  Sharing both via xenogere offers me profound joy and liberation.  Feedback is not mandatory as the very act of creation satisfies me to no end, although feedback does engender a great deal of passion and, dare I say, a bit of encouragement and community.

Ultimately, my passion for what happens here will likely ensure this blog stays around for a while. . .even if I’m the only one benefiting from it.  As for this new approach, I hope it provides more value to the casual visitor, less clutter for the regulars, and something more than “just another blog” to the world as a whole.

Only time will tell.

Making it matter

I’m on call this week.  Yes, that’s quite soon following my last stint in this hellish place, my last encounter with this unrelenting burden.  Believe me, no one appreciates that curse more than I.

Keep that in mind should posting seem a bit thin.

But also consider something else.

I’ve said time and again that I need to cut back on blogging so I can focus on more important things, such as The Kids, family and friends, my novels, my quest to relocate, enjoying nature, and photography, not to mention a hundred other things.

Well, the time has come.

Throughout this week I shall endeavor to thin the heard of blogs I read.  That by no means casts a negative light on those who fall by the wayside, but it does mean they simply didn’t stand the test of community and consequence which must now be applied to my commitments.  In truth, those I let go of simply don’t weigh as much as those I keep.

And doing so will lighten my load significantly.

The next several days will also provide ample time for me to evaluate and solidify a rigid approach to my own blog.  Because I must have time to complete Dreamdarkers so I can move on to End of the Warm Season, Centralia, The Breaking of Worlds, and the growing remainder of my novelist endeavors, and because I dare not give up my offline journaling given its lifelong cathartic liberation, blogging must suffer a digital RIF if I have any hope of succeeding in my search for writing success.

None of that compares to the newfound burden I carry with integrating Larenti with the rest of The Kids.  Each of them will require more of my time and affection to make the growing pain less severe.  Each of them deserves my unmitigated love and attention if I am to provide them all they deserve, a life full of compassion and safety, a peaceful home, the devotion of a father who wishes to provide them with an existence that is rich, full, rare.  If we believe ourselves worthy of such things, why then should I not consider them worthy?  For they are.

I can’t tell you now what the future will hold.  While I do have a firm grip on many of the changes I intend to make, I don’t want to blather ad nauseam about them until I can offer a sound, definitive plan.  Expect that in short order.

Ultimately, however, the goal is simple: Make it matter.

Make life matter.

Make goals matter.

Make blogging matter.

Make it all matter.

Stay tuned for updates.  I promise no extreme changes that will alienate anyone who reads my mental discharge on a regular basis.  I do promise to lighten the load, both yours and mine, and to focus on what I see as the most important pieces of this experiment.

[you can thank Theriomorph for helping me feel the power necessary to finally do what needed to be done; I strongly suggest you read that post from her; it’s a “Dear John” letter, yes, and one I should have written long ago; kudos to her for having the strength to face withdrawal so publicly and valiantly; I only hope I can follow her lead]


What terrifies you so, Larenti?

No hiss.  Never.  Not once in all your recent ordeals.

Fear?  Yes.  Blatant and brutal, it drips from your eyes like tears in those moments I’ve barely started to predict.

Medication.  I coax you from your box and lure you into a false sense of security, and I feel wretched for it, yet the deed must be done.

As you rest against me purring, a rumble that soars through me for what I’ve accomplished since we met, I finally reach down and take you in my hands.

Then comes the fear.  A horrible fear.  A terror so real I can feel it oozing over my hands where they meet your body.

You look at me.  Eyes are wide.  A depth of fright I care never to see again greets me as I look at you face to face.

Then the tears come.

What I intend is help, not harm.  What I will do brings you no pain, only aid.

Yet I weep.

Somewhere in the past only you know, someone only you would recognize did unspeakable things to you.  It’s written all over your face as I dab a bit of medicine between your shoulders.

Petrified.  You feel like stiffened wood nestled between my knees.  Even when I release you, your breath remains unheard and your essence rigid.  You don’t move.

What unconscionable being did this to you?  What poor excuse for a human forced in you this unbeatable fear of us, of we simple apes?

What did they do to you?

Vision blurred by my own lamentation, I see your still form held close to the ground, held stoically until it seems you no longer live.

It takes my gentle prodding to get you to move.

And then?

You race to your box, cower in its furthest corner despite how uncomfortable it makes you, and your wide eyes look at me with a trembling I dare not speak.

In time you will learn you have nothing to fear from me.

In time I will learn not to hate those who did this to you, learn not to wish for their wicked lives to end horribly, painfully, with much suffering and anguish. . .at my hands.

A stupid cultural thing

I joked about not wanting to be called The Cat Lady since I live with six felines.  But you know what?  The more I thought about it, the more I wondered why that thought crossed my mind.

In the U.S., households with cats nearly equal the number of households with dogs (36% and 39% respectively).

The number of cats sharing a home with humans vastly outnumbers dogs living with humans (by more than 25 million).

If someone mentions they have four, five, or six dogs, no one blinks.

If someone mentions they have four, five, or six cats, suddenly they’re “The Cat Lady.”

Why is that?

It’s a stupid cultural thing.

We subdued and domesticated dogs.  They didn’t even choose to live with us.  Our relationship with them is based solely on subjugation and manipulation, our desire to take the most friendly wolves we could find and change them from what nature made to what we scrambled together through applied force and superiority.

On the other hand, cats chose to be with us.  They represent our only mutual relationship with another animal that’s not of our making, one where an animal allied itself with us millennia ago of its own volition.  To this day, this fact can be seen in how cats relate to us, how they react to us, how they treat us.  Being that they’re here because they chose to be here, they owe us nothing and they feel no inferiority in our presence.

Why then do you suppose are people with cats treated so differently than those with dogs?

Could it be that felines challenge our view of who’s in charge?  Could it be that we don’t like not being in control of the relationship, one that has lasted thousands of years only because the cats chose to create a form of community with us by their free will, not ours?  Could it be that the majority of us are challenged by cats because they represent a joining of two species that we didn’t create?

The more I thought about it, the more I realized I couldn’t possibly care less why there exists a certain human-induced disdain for those living with cats, why anyone with more than one or two cats is derided, deprecated, and disparaged.

Such are the ways of the small minds, after all.  Such are the ways of the weak and ignorant.

I’d rather share my home with a thousand felines who chose to live with humans than live with a single human who’d rather manipulate life to make it a pet.  After all, dogs are pack animals who need to be in charge or need to be ruled.  Cats, on the other hand, are independent and choose who they want to live with.

There’s a big difference.

So let me be owned by a cat rather than owning a dog.  And let me called whatever shallow names the obtuse wish to employ.

At least I know my home is filled by those who wanted to be with us rather than those forced into servitude.