Losing my Touch
A few things have happened recently that have led me to believe I need to do some serious thinking about the direction of this blog. I've been vaguely aware for a while that, since pretty much "outing" my real name completely a few months ago, I've been withholding a lot of things from this blog, mainly out of a desire to protect my privacy and, in some cases (not all, of course), because I am not in the mood to be attacked by people who disagree with me. Mainly the problem is that I've had some unpleasant things going on the last few months which I do not feel like sharing with the entire blogosphere, and if I can't write about those things there isn't all that much left for me to write about. I haven't done anything terribly exciting, haven't gone anywhere interesting. Just been keeping my nose to the grindstone, trying to work out my feelings about the news (but not writing about it because this was never meant to be a mainly political blog) and trying to block out the Piano Playing Kid across the street. It's not a bad life but it also does not make for compelling blogging.
But now things have come to a head and I need to make some decisions about how to avoid plummeting into blogger mediocrity.
First, I noticed that for three weeks in a row, my blog was not mentioned in "Havel Havelim," the weekly round-up of links to Jewish blogs hosted each week by a different blogger. It used to be -- and I say this as a statement of fact, not a bragging point -- that Chayyei Sarah was mentioned every week without fail. But, yes, it is true, lately I have not blogged much of substance, nothing worth linking to anyhow, though it may be entertaining reading for my more loyal "followers" and friends back in the US.
Then, in a discussion about the "halcyon days" of Jewish blogging (in the comments section of this post), Dov Bear wrote: "The golden era of j blogging was definately summer 2004. Protocols didn't suck. Aidel was hot. We had Mo. CS was a regular poster." (Hey, Dovie, see, I really do read your blog!)
I hang my head in shame! I mean, yes, I am touched that Dovie would list my blog in connection with a "golden era," and yet the obvious conclusion is that I am no longer a regular poster. And he's right. Posting often does not equal often posting something worthwhile.
And now today I got the ultimate punch in the stomach, though it would not hurt so much if I focused more on from whence it came. Over at the blog of Laila, Mother from Gaza (see the comments again), one of Laila's readers (and I emphasize that it was a commenter who wrote this, not Laila herself) wrote that after reading my comment she checked out my blog and "found it almost unbearably cute, like something a young teenage girl would write."
Holy cow. Unbearably cute?!?
Well, yeah. If I don't write about the real juicy (dark) stuff going on, and I don't write about politics, there's not much left but the unbearably cute. Actually, I think a lot of people appreciate that my blog, like me, is generally upbeat and tries to focus on the positive. There are more than enough bloggers out there who do nothing but yak about how much they hate the government, their communities, their religion, etc.
But still, I also have to be aware that there are people who come here seeking a window into "life in Israel," and the truth is that my blog has not been doing a good job of representing real life. Not my life anyway. My life includes reading the news headlines every half hour and trying to process all the crazy political, military, and social changes that happen here seemingly every 5 minutes. My life includes trying to reconcile all my different identities: Jew, Israeli citizen, American expatriate, woman, journalist, human being, etc. My life includes daily (albeit small) decisions about how to confront all the various bigotries in which my city is saturated. My life involves having to resolve a lot of internal conflicts while also figuring out how to prevent, smooth over, or avoid external conflicts -- and while also making a living and trying to conduct a "normal" life. And my blog has not been doing the job of showing those things, because one of my internal conflicts is about how much of my inner life I'm interested in sharing with the internet.
By the way, please don't go over to the Gaza blog and flame the blogger or commenter. There are enough people over there slinging insults at each other as it is. It's so pointless, and the pro-Israel flamers certainly are not doing anything constructive to help Israel's image. But in any case, a few people already commented over there to "defend" the quality of my blog, which I appreciate. Thanks, Lisoosh, Lisa, and Fay.
So, the conclusion I've come to is that I either have to
a) start blogging more seriously with my observations about the news and/or the world around me and/or my internal life, and suffer the consequences (huge time commitment, possibility of losing clients, having to deal with more flamers, further loss of privacy), or
b) settle for mediocrity when I know I am capable of much better, or
c) put a huge disclaimer at the top of my blog that says "this blog is fluff only, if things that are unbearably cute make you gag, go away," which is a way of settling for mediocrity but at least alerting people that I'm not a hypocrite about it, or
d) stop blogging.
D is out of the question. So is B. That leaves A or C.