This year I've been focusing on Web 2.0 themes in my posts, but yesterday I received two emails from people responding to a couple of older Read/Write Web posts. Those emails reminded me of the personal nature of blogging and that it's about keeping it real.
"Sitting here with tears streaming down my face. Just read what you wrote (December 19) regarding Bob Dylan's "Chronicles" and "writing/blogging for the thing's sake."
[...] The tears come from understanding my grandfather in a whole new way. My grandfather is Gorgeous George. George Wagner. He died the year before I was born. Every once in a while I google his name. Tonight was one of those nights. It's my way of trying to get to know him. I had no idea, until tonight, that Bob Dylan was inspired by him. And your blog was the first place that I read the quote from his "chronicles" regarding my grandfather. In it, I truly felt like my grandfather was reaching out and telling me the same thing he "told" Dylan. (crying again here)
[RM - this is the extract about Gorgeous George from Dylan's bio, which I'd quoted] "...He didn't break stride, but he looked at me, eyes flashing with moonshine. He winked and seemed to mouth the phrase "You're making it come alive." Whether he really said it or not, it didn't matter. It's what I thought I heard him say that mattered, and I never forgot it. It was all the recognition and encouragement I would need for years to come. Sometimes that's all it takes, the kind of recognition that comes when you're doing the thing for the thing's sake and you're on to something - it's just that nobody recognizes it yet."
Thank you for sharing your perspective, and for sharing a piece of my grandfather that I was completely unaware of."
Needless to say, that's the sort of response a writer (or blogger) wants to receive from his or her readers every now and then. Thanks Debi for your inspiring email - and allowing me to share it here.
"I just heard your essay "The Fractal Blogosphere" and I think highly of your concepts and categories. I myself don't have time (and probably not the inclination) to audio blog.
(I did a web search tonight on "audio weblog" because I am--- like millions of other Americans---a talk show junkie, and I am sick to death of commercials, and yours was the first link that looked at all promising.)
[...] You recorded that 8 months ago [RM - actually it was 6], and so now, thanks to you, I shall search for "weblog broadcasting" and try to find something worthwhile to listen to. But maybe there has been considerable progress in those 8 months..."
I wrote back to Lee and told him all about podcasting and how the best of it (e.g. IT Conversations) blows my amateurish early audio attempts out of the water. But of course I enjoyed receiving the complement :-)
So two fantastic emails from people I don't know, but who identified with things I've written and/or recorded over the past year. That's what blogging is all about, as well as the topic-focused content. That sort of response encourages me to continue to write book reviews and personal stuff every now and then - in addition to my main content focus of Web Technology. Gotta keep making it come alive.