The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

I am a blogger...

.
Blogging: (blŏg-ging)

. An enjoyable pastime;
. A way of expressing emotions, ideas and opinions in a public realm;
. A way of meeting like-minded people bypassing geographical or cultural barriers
. A form of self-medication


My name is Kim… and… I am… *cough* … a blogger.

At first it was a wild ride of new people, new ideas, new ways to express myself. It was exciting, you know? All these people, all these colours, all these flavours – it was intoxicating.

And they noticed me. The came and posted on my blog. The told me they liked what I wrote. Then made me feel special, like someone important, you know? They did.

After a while, I guess the freshness of it all wore off, but by then I’d established relationships with other bloggers. The whole blogging experience matured. I was able to meet and talk to other bloggers on equal terms, rather than feeling like an indulged, excited puppy. And I was treated with respect.

Do you know what that feels like? To have people respect you? I mean real respect, not fear? Respect without having to kill anyone first?

“Smug” doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Oh sure, there were some who didn’t always get it. There are always those who think you’re serious when you’re joking. And some who don’t take offence, even when they should. Not everyone understood everything I blogged about, but that didn’t matter. They still came back. Or at least enough of them did.

I don’t know at what point it happened; when the cross over began. But then, who does? Probably much longer ago than even I can guess at. Let’s face it, it’s not something I’m particularly proud of, so it’s not unlikely I hid it from myself for a quite a while.

But at some point, blogging moved from being an activity of exploring new worlds to escaping existing ones. No longer was it primarily about personal growth, it was about distraction.

As self-medications go, it’s not as harmful as alcohol abuse, drug abuse, organised religion or voting Republican, but it is not without its darker side.

That’s not to say there wasn’t anything to be gained from blogging, only that my motivations weren’t necessarily what I thought they were.

Over the past month or two, at a point of huge emotional vulnerability, I’ve been spending more and more hours on the computer. And the sudden and massive influx of visitors, followers and commenters from the Blogs of Note link has given me an excuse to throw myself into something to help me ignore the pain.

But as anyone who has ever self-medicated with anything will attest, it doesn’t really work. Short-term benefits very often only make the long term damage worse.

Still, at least I’m finally off the front page of Blogs of Note, so I expect the number of new visitors to drop off dramatically.

The stupid thing is, it should make no difference at all how many people read my blog – I am accountable to none of them, only those with whom I have built up a strong relationship.

Politeness tells me I should reply to every comment and visit every commenter and follower.

Experience tells me I’m using it as an excuse to run away from my life.

So I’m going to cut back on my comment replies, and limit the number of blogs I visit, and I’m going to attempt not to feel guilty about it.

My name is Kim, and I’m a blogger.

One day I hope to return to being just a man who blogs.
.

63 comments

Miss Ellaneous said...

If a blogger is what you say it really is, then I think I shall terminate my quest to become one. I think I'd like to remain merely a girl who writes blogs:)

David Wagner said...

You gotta do what's best for you. We're just a mass of lurkers, not much more. I'm always looking for well-written blogs, and yours definitely qualifies. I'll pop in and read whenever you write something, regardless of how frequent, but that's just my little part of it. You gotta do whatever will keep you sane. Best of luck.

Joan Crawford said...

"As self-medications go, it’s not as harmful as alcohol abuse, drug abuse, organised religion or voting Republican, but it is not without its darker side."


Ahaha! I just said last night "The worst thing my children could do to me is grow up to be Republican."

It's a joke, kiddies, please take it as one :)

Jayne Martin said...

You don't owe anybody anything but the authenticity of your voice. Write for yourself -- what you want, when you want. I honestly don't think everyone who leaves a comment expects an answer, so answer comments where you feel you have something you want to say or where you want to interact. Take the pressure off yourself and just have fun with again, Kim. - Jayne

Pat said...

Of course with all the traffic something's got to go.
I'm desperately trying to not say something terribly selfish. Gulp.
I'm missing you already:)
and do you know what word verification is? TRISTA.

savannah said...

we're supposed to answer every comment? ;~D xoxoxox

Kim Ayres said...

Well I always have, and after 4 point something years it's a hard habit to break

Lisa Page Rosenberg said...

I enjoy your writing and your honesty and I will continue to read when you have something to share.

Philip said...

as a new blogger who's full of enthusiasm I'll ponder on what you said. I'll also keep reading cos I think your honest and straightforward writing is great. And no - you don't have to reply. Thanks for the good stuff you put down on here.

JRS said...

I never really thought of blogging in these terms before, but you are spot on. Well said.
---Jen

starrlife said...

It should always be fun first and foremost! Commenting is a bit like sprinkling fairy dust around- random acts of appreciation. It would lose it's value if they were just ground out like factory assembly!
I do think there is therapeutic value though....

Gillian said...

You should not stop blogging. You're a brilliant writer and I enjoyed this post a lot. Do what feels right for you, mate.

Patrick said...

Still love your blog. Enjoy reading it. And you don't really have to reply to my comments. Just to tell you I'm here.. =)

debra said...

those of us who have been around understand. we hear the response even when we don't read it :-)

Thrup'ny bits said...

Kim, if you didn't add one more post to Ramblings of the Bearded One, a lasting document remains . . . and of course you have presence elswhere on the WWW. But it's in the real world and with your family that you live. You just allow us a glimpse of that life and the life of your mind . . .
Thank you
Alan

Jennifer said...

I feel like I am now an enabler by commenting. I don't want to participate in this madness, I'll commit to not commenting on any of your next 5, no wait, 4...maybe 3 posts. OH GOD THIS IS GOING TO BE SO DIFFICULT.

Kim Ayres said...

You can comment all you want, Jennifer, and I will read them - I'm just making no promises about individual replies like this one... :)

savannah said...

i have to leave a comment because the vw is heater xooxx

(i know y'all know i was jes kiddin earlier, sugar!) ;~D

Library girl said...

Yep, yep, so get it. All I can say is stay away from Facebook - it is to blogging what crack cocaine is to paracetamol.

Annie said...

Bravo Kim...well said...I'm in the middle of discovering what you've already "been there and done that" before me...BTW I thoroughly enjoyed my ramble through the online representation of your creativity and the creativity of your wife and family...thank you for sharing (and for advertising your craft)...I have no expectation that you will comment on my comment (LOL) but I do look forward to "visiting" you and yours again...online...in what ever medium you're using to create at the moment...(please no F minus for grammar and punctuation *smile*)

Aussiemade said...

I find the community that I have slipped into is a wonderful way to visit places I have been to and never been to. To really gain a better understanding of humanity, and that no matter where we live in this world there are people very similar to us out there. LOL Now that is quite scary. I have only been reading your blog for a wee while and came across it through another blog.
Just a feeling that blogging may save thousands in counselling $s lol!

Jenno said...

I know what you mean. The need to feel loved, respected, and popular isn't just for the 3-D world. I spend entirely too much time on the blogs, too, and I'm hoping it doesn't eventually hit the point where I feel the same need to follow-up every comment, even if there's ninety or follow every blog that follows mine. Well, I don't even do that right now, the following anyways.

It's not rude to skip reading all the comments before mine, is it? Aw hell, no matter; doesn't change my opinion anyways -- do what you gotta do, but be careful who or what you're doing it to. In other words, don't screw yourself over inadvertently. OR... be good or be good at it. Whichever works. :)

Jenno
http://lajenno.blogspot.com

Cindy said...

Kim, I don't think you should feel like you need to respond to every comment. Hey, you are honoring the person who made the comment by letting the comment post on your blog site. I'm just a blogger, new only to the internet system of blogging, but have journaled for years. Actually, blogging is a way to work through some of those feelings. The beauty of it is you don't even realize it's helping you in some way. :-)

Megan said...

Although I find your blog to be a well-written blog, and one which I admire greatly, I understand what you mean.

I have never been addicted to blogging, per say, but to other relams in the internet, i.e. networking sites, and game sites. It is difficult to "wean" yourself off but I assure you, it is possible.


Best of luck.

Charlie said...

I'm with you 100%, Kim.

ZaedahBlack said...

My name is Zaedah and I'm striving to remain a chick who writes where others might see (though likely not). I shall mind your advice and avoid blogging-as-therapy. Still, you are far too talented and I will therefore eagerly await whatever you post, whenever you post it.

Postman said...

This meeting of Bloggers Anonymous is now in session. My name is Andrew, and I'm still in the indulged, excited puppy stage.

mapstew said...

Your name is Kim, and you are not only a blogger, but a very nice man. And, in the view of one Mapstew, a very wise man too. Much happiness and joy to you and your family my friend.

Helen said...

Hey Bearded One - I started blogging because it was a good idea at the time. Then I started to enjoy it. And then I felt really stressed when I had nothing good to say - sat up at nights sweating and pacing the floor (OK maybe not). For a while I posted nothing, and then I started to post everything - total crap included. It took a while for me to figure - "hey, it's my blog and I'll post what I want" (a good song title?!) Anyway, whatever - I enjoy your blog, please keep writing. The fact that you bother to comment on comments, is by far, above and beyond the call of duty, but thanks for the little buzz anyway!

The Confessionist said...

I love blogging... I love the feeling that finally someone else in the world is listening to you, and you might even make their day. You never know.

Midnitefyrfly said...

I think the evolution of a blog would quite naturally reflect the evolution of the person writing. Having so many people come through has to have an impact on both. Hope you find your happy place as its related to responding to comments :)

Reality Asylum said...

This is my first day on this blog site, and I just came across yours. I understand EXACTLY what you mean.

I used to have a weekly humor column on Xanga, and although it got a lot of hits, it was exhausting to maintain. So I took a break.

And today is my first day back as a blogger. I'm starting anew!

Great writing style, I hope you do continue to write at your own convenience, of course!

Peace, Bearded One.

Rachel Fox said...

Like all vices...what matters is that you control it (and that you don't let it control you!). Respond to what interests you, write what interests you. Keep it simple. Enjoy it.
x

Katie Roberts said...

Dear Bearded One,

I feel I want to apologise. I am one of these interlopers, invaders, newbies - what ever we are - those thousands of us that came across you through your unsolicited 'blog of note' advertising. This was a very impersonal entry point, to a very honest, real, personal blog you keep.

Blogs are intrinsically difficult I feel.
It is a person diary, public notice, letter to the rest of humanity that you never know for sure will really be read by anyone. It feels like a new medium of communication, and the rules and formats are still awkward and prescribed, to some extent.

I feel that the challenges you have unfortunately faced recently about this issue are necessary for us all to address and think about.

When I made a response to your last post, I feel I was not sensitive enough to the immediacy and reality of your situation, your loss, your grief. It triggered things for me and I felt empathy and anger and wanted to share my experience too.

This was a bit self-centered of me, rather insensitive and reactive and perhaps a tad attention seeking...

I am raising this here because I think we all, as a global community need to consider this: How do our communication mediums effect our communication? are we being shallow or intrusive? can we nurture this communication revolution without loosing sight of the real need for community and genuine, deep, intimate and real conversations?

I don't know, and perhaps it is a worthy discussion for the blogging world. One I am very interested in.

Just to let you know I have learned a lot about what I do and don't want from your experiences, so thank you. I have deep respect for your 'real life' and your privacy.

And just in case anyone is interested. I am an artist and my blog is mostly for documentation and promotional purposes - so I am not really seeking blogging networking, followers etc.

I wonder what forms in this realm would really suit such a variety of purposes, needs and intentions? how can we help create forms that respond to our needs and not just dictate to us the sorts of communication we have?

As the blog of Kirsty Hall says

"I’m not here to serve as lurid entertainment; I’m here to make my art and I’ve chosen the most sustainable way for me to do that. Oddly enough, I care more about making my art than about someone else’s need for salacious excitement. If you want the later, go watch reality TV!"

Thanks for being so real with us, and so thought provoking. You have the love and respect of thousands more people, even though you didn't ask for it.

Enjoy living your life and your dreams of writing too - O Bearded One. Know you communicate very well in a world that needs to continue to learn how to do this...your helping us learn how. Thank you.

Khanh Ha said...

The last statement is the best -- doing it for the fun of it. Once it becomes a daily burden, it's time to rethink why we blog.

Enjoy!

Kim Ayres said...

Katie - there is no need to apologise for anything. I stuck a post up and allowed comments. If anyone ever leaves truly offensive comments I have no hesitation in deleting them.

The blog is a public place - most of us start blogs because we want to be read - and I'm no different - if we're looking for a response, then we are seeking attention. I see nothing wrong in this so long as we are honest about it.

And if something I write triggers a feeling in you, then in a way I have succeeded in what I do. When I blog, I am trying to communicate something to other people. So if you then feel compelled to relate it to your own experience, then I am pleased.

There is a very simple fact that if I don't like getting comments, or I don't want to be read, then I shouldn't be stupid enough to write my thoughts in a public place and leave the comments switched on.

Thank you for your considered thoughts :)

Katie Roberts said...

Thanks for your response Kim.

Yes, we have to all be seeking attention to be here? But I feel it is truer that we are seeking real connections with other human beings.
A considered conversation is surely more deeply satisfying then being the center of casual attention...I risk rambling again! Anyway, I am finding it is this way.

I just wonder if this form fulfills or limits your communication intentions? It seems a strange and uncharted realm to me. (I wonder why I too an spending to much time in escapist fascination with it) Thanks for the conversation Kim.

Daphne said...

Blogging should be about what the writer wants it to be. I understand, though, the feeling of another life here, a life with commenters who only know what you tell them. It's safe and comforting, an escape. You're doing the right thing. The people who truly support you will always be here for you.

Falak said...

"But at some point, blogging moved from being an activity of exploring new worlds to escaping existing ones. No longer was it primarily about personal growth, it was about distraction"

Very True! DITTO HERE......:)

Chastity Flyte said...

It's difficult and painful reaching self-awareness, but once you're there you can't turn back. So listen to that little voice, it is wise!

PS: Don't listen to the other voices telling you to do BAD things!

~:C:~ said...

May the Force be with you. : )

The Pollinatrix said...

I feel fortunate that the day I started blogging is the day you were put on Blogs of Note. I'm glad I got to start out by immediately being able to explore a blog that is not only successful but excellent.

For me, what you do with your blog is the supreme example of the advantages that the blogging medium uniquely offers.

I want to thank you for your honesty and for sharing your talent and your insights.

pilgrimchick said...

I used to blog to escape from mind-numbing graduate school work. Hence why the majority of my posts are from ages ago. It served its purpose though, especially when I needed it to serve that purpose.

Annie (Lady M) x said...

Hello. I have just started following your blog and love your insightful and poignant postings. I hope you don't mind me asking, but it appears that you have recently lost someone? Is this the case? I hope not.....

Kim Ayres said...

Annie - My wife's mother

hope said...

I understand.

And yet, I didn't start blogging to gain comments. No, I just wanted to start and finish a sentence without being interrupted. :)

Comments are a side benefit and I've enjoyed seeing the viewpoints of others, of even their viewpoint of my words But when comments become a burden, the fun evaporates.

I shall continue to read. You're not obligated to comment. But I am so sorry to hear of your loss.

Times Three said...

I had the same experience on MySpace. It's really easy to avoid real life altogether and instead focus on becoming some kind of "personality". I think it's better to be a real person, as disappointing as other real people can sometimes be. Good luck in your (our) quest!

Jasmine said...

My name is Jasmine, and I am a blogger as well. Nice to meet ya. :D

Anez said...

I kinda get what u mean I have had the same experience but in an other area......
All the best Kim ... From what I gather you are truly A genuine person and I guess thats what attracted me to ur Blog when I first read it through the "blogs of note" link, whatever u express does not have this superficial feel to it. Even not knowing U I feel I do. U are a wonderful writer and I hope U dont stop blogging entirely ...It would deprive me of a smile and an interesting read.
P.S:) I really appreciate the fact that U reply to every comment, its a very thoughtful thing to do....It made me feel heard. But now even If u feel the need not its okay ....V know that u must have read it.
Thanks for Blogging Kim.:)

Kim Ayres said...

I've decided I can't respond to each individual comment, but I do read them all for certain - and thank you for your kind words :)

. said...

Reading this has made me feel as though it is, perhaps, a good thing that I don't stick to the whole blogging thing as often as I'd like. For me, though, the emotional getaway doesn't come from blogging. I am guilty of falling into the social networking sites and existing just to see what the world around me is doing. The shine is wearing off of those sites, too however and I hope that I can find a happy medium somewhere. Thanks for a great blog!

Ron Tipton said...

Kim,
You're still my favorite blogger who I don't know personally. I've read some other blogs and was never able to find one of interest to me. Perhaps why I find yours so interesting is that you have a natural writing ability and you are totally, 100% honest. Plus, you have just the right touch of dry humor without being mean. I don't expect you to answer my comments. Your authenticity is what makes your blogs so wonderful to read. Now that I found you I would hate to lose you. Just be yourself and don't feel obligated to acknowledge every person who responds to your blog. Peace and tranquility to you my friend.

Cindy said...

I love your honesty and that's why I'm a follower. I think you're clever and it's fun to stop by and see what you're up to. But it should NEVER be a chore... once it becomes another "task" in stops being fun!

hussy said...

good for you! the first step is admitting you have a problem. i won't expect a reply here. i see you on facebook and know your e-mail.. if i want to talk.. i know how to get you the message.

which on the really freakin' cool side Kim, i always know you'll write back.

erika said...

I would like to pass on an award to you. You can "pick it up" on my site, when you have a moment.

the broken down barman said...

kim, oh my dear kim. how can you be so nieve? i always thought you were a knowledgable man, and agree with most of the things you blog about, but what use is respect if you havent killed someone first??
im lost...........

Cheryl said...

I blog for definition #3!

Helen's Angel said...

Kim, self-medicating is fine, if you need it to heal a wound or as an anodyne to pain. But as all things, when the wound feels better then we can carry on without the medication. Perhaps this is where you are?

Maybe you are at the point where you CAN go and exist more in the real world. There's nothing wrong with withdrawing for a time either. It's natural. When an animal is in pain it goes and hides away and only comes out when it feels better - and that goes for emotional and physical pain. Human animals are no different.

Hiding on the web, on forums, in our blogs is ok. Maybe not forever and maybe not to the exclusion of other things.

Don't sweat it, blog for what it is, do your own thing.

Greetings.

Ron Tipton said...

Someone metioned "hiding on the web." What's that all about? With that logic I guess one could also say "hiding in the home" or "hiding out at work." That's one thing about the Internet, sometimes the strange kookies come out.

What I say Kim is do whatever seems right for you. Don't concern yourself over pleasing your fan base on the blogs. I would miss your blogs but you should only do what your heart tells you to do.

Trvlgrl24 said...

I started blogging because I love telling stories...I don't think my writing does my oration any justice, but I'm far from home and it's cheaper than ringing people up and telling the same story 30 times.

I happened upon your blog thanks to "Blogs of Note" but will continue reading because of your unique insight. Cheers.

cannwin said...

Hey that remark about organized religion... I resemble that. (er I mean resent) ;)

A few years back one of my church leaders said "Addiction is anything that takes a person away from their responsibilities to family and God."

My reaction to that was "Crap! I'm addicted to reading."

I've since then I've discovered blogging.

My online name is Cannwin and I'm a blogger.

Brittan said...

well, I don't want you to feel guilty, but I enjoy your comments and was excited that someone other than my two acquaintances (sad, acquaintances, not even really friends) commented on my blog. I understand your purpose in what you're doing, but if you feel like reading about more slaughtered interviews, maybe some poetry, and immense amount of trash talking, please visit my blog :) P.S. I think that it's more like self-therapy, it helps to express your thoughts not just to others but to see your inner "ramblings" on the screen, at least for me, makes them real and concrete, a nice feeling in the midst of all that life throws at us.

Sir Jackson Peaks said...

It's funny that you posted this, and more so that I have found it. I was writing a quick posting on this very subject when I stumbled upon what you wrote. I hope it's ok that I even quoted you in my posting, with due credit of course.

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