Gee, it must be fun to be interviewed about blogging. Old Horsetail Snake was. "What the hxxx!" I thought, "Why wait for someone to be interested in you, kid?" I will answer the questions anyway. They suit the timing: New Year and first blogiversary on its way. Thanks for the idea, Hoss!
How did you come to learn about blogging?
Danny, my editor told me about it. He started one last December and I read his.
How long have you been blogging?
Sometime next week it will be a year ... since January 2005.
What got you interested in creating your own blog?
Reading Danny's blog made me feel like I could do it too! I had just moved to Philadelphia from Buffalo, was unemployed, lonely and frightened. I thought it might be a way of honing my writing skills.
How many blogs do you have?
How has blogging affected your life?
It has enriched my life indescribably. Once I started writing, all of a sudden a few people found me and I found them right back. It seemed like an entire world/universe was unfolding before my eyes each day. I felt like a newborn infant discovering new pieces of a blogo-sphere each moment. Experiences, books, politics, emotions, stories, family, humor, friendships all seem to find their way through a type of blog-filter. When I return from work or travel somewhere, or even far from home, my blog is there waiting. Just beyond its domain, a cyber-space-click-away are others, shimmering and glistening, shining and beckoning, welcoming and inviting in ways I have never experienced in the real world.
What feelings do you associate with blogging?
Excitement, exhilaration, sadness, joy, love, anger, fear, hope, comfort, discomfort, jealousy, disappointment, frustration, happiness, compassion, wonder, community.
How does blogging benefit you?
I think my writing skills have improved. I feel comfort and less lonely. I feel supported and included, validated and acknowledged. I have learned so much new stuff! About technology, life, politics, general knowledge, other cultures, the world, photography, art, holidays, acceptance of diverse viewpoints ... on and on ... , and, most of all, I have made some fantastic friends.
Discuss some of the relationships you have formed through blogging and how they have affected your life.
Friendships have been made that feel authentic, supportive, validating, and inclusive. I have always had this image of a world where people share their pain and joy in deep and meaningful ways allowing each other to enter into a deep, soulful relationship. It always seemed to me that it would cast away darkness and create an enlightened age of humankind. There are moments when bloggers connect and share in ways that give form to that life-long vision I have had. It is really, really exciting when that happens, and, in point of fact, it seems to me that it occurs quite often!
... from my friend, Jack:
A year ago, everyone expected President Bush to get his way on Social Security. Pundits warned Democrats that they were making a big political mistake by opposing plans to divert payroll taxes into private accounts.
A year ago, everyone thought Congress would make Mr. Bush's tax cuts permanent, in spite of projections showing that doing so would lead to budget deficits as far as the eye can see. But Congress hasn't acted, and most of the cuts are still scheduled to expire by the end of 2010.
A year ago, Mr. Bush made many Americans feel safe, because they believed that he would be decisive and effective in an emergency. But Mr. Bush was apparently oblivious to the first major domestic emergency since 9/11. According to Newsweek, aides to Mr. Bush finally decided, days after Hurricane Katrina struck, that they had to show him a DVD of TV newscasts to get him to appreciate the seriousness of the situation.
A year ago, before "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job" became a national punch line, the rising tide of cronyism in government agencies and the rapid replacement of competent professionals with unqualified political appointees attracted hardly any national attention.
A year ago, hardly anyone outside Washington had heard of Jack Abramoff, and Tom DeLay's position as House majority leader seemed unassailable.
A year ago, Dick Cheney, who repeatedly cited discredited evidence linking Saddam to 9/11, and promised that invading Americans would be welcomed as liberators - although he hadn't yet declared that the Iraq insurgency was in its "last throes" - was widely admired for his "gravitas."
A year ago, Howard Dean - who was among the very few prominent figures to question Colin Powell's prewar presentation to the United Nations, and who warned, while hawks were still celebrating the fall of Baghdad, that the occupation of Iraq would be much more difficult than the initial invasion - was considered flaky and unsound.
A year ago, it was clear that before the Iraq war, the administration suppressed information suggesting that Iraq was not, in fact, trying to build nuclear weapons. Yet few people in Washington or in the news media were willing to say that the nation was deliberately misled into war until polls showed that most Americans already believed it.
A year ago, the Washington establishment treated Ayad Allawi as if he were Nelson Mandela. Mr. Allawi's triumphant tour of Washington, back in September 2004, provided a crucial boost to the Bush-Cheney campaign. So did his claim that the insurgents were "desperate." But Mr. Allawi turned out to be another Ahmad Chalabi, a hero of Washington conference rooms and cocktail parties who had few supporters where it mattered, in Iraq.
A year ago, when everyone respectable agreed that we must "stay the course," only a handful of war critics suggested that the U.S. presence in Iraq might be making the violence worse, not better. It would have been hard to imagine the top U.S. commander in Iraq saying, as Gen. George Casey recently did, that a smaller foreign force is better "because it doesn't feed the notion of occupation."
A year ago, Mr. Bush hadn't yet openly reneged on Scott McClellan's 2003 pledge that "if anyone in this administration was involved" in the leaking of Valerie Plame's identity, that person "would no longer be in this administration." Of course, some suspect that Mr. Bush has always known who was involved.
A year ago, we didn't know that Mr. Bush was lying, or at least being deceptive, when he said at an April 2004 event promoting the Patriot Act that "a wiretap requires a court order. ...When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution."
A year ago, most Americans thought Mr. Bush was honest.
A year ago, we didn't know for sure that almost all the politicians and pundits who thundered, during the Lewinsky affair, that even the president isn't above the law have changed their minds. But now we know when it comes to presidents who break the law, it's O.K. if you're a Republican.
Thomas L. Friedman is on vacation.
New Year, first Blogiversary coming up.
Should I change my name? ... to: The Tamarika Blog
And if I do, what would the sub-title be?
I mean, what on earth is my blog about for goodness sakes?
What do you think? "I only want to know."
I am trying to understand this feeling of resignation I am experiencing lately. Waves of pain, of longing rise up to accompany the feeling. It is almost as if I am saying goodbye to something. It is very deep ... and sad. There are days when I think I might be dying. I wonder, "Am I killing myself finally?"
Entering into elder-hood is a type of farewell. A moving on, a death of sorts. I have had my chance. I hold still, staring at the feeling full front and center. Pretty uncomfortable. At times tears roll down my cheeks uncontrollably. I wipe them away, feel pain under my rib-cage, and at the same time observe it rolling away ... it will be back at the least expected moments.
It is cold, gray and raining today. A dripping kind of rain that feels like a weeping instead of a cleansing sky.
Yes. I know that this new era of age and wisdom is a welcome one and I should be upbeat about it. When all else fails I have my attitude. I believe that I will come to that or probably I will go in and out of all of these feelings over and over again even as I move closer to acceptance.
The sadness is not about regret although I wish I had known then what I know now. It is really a goodbye sadness, a fare-thee-well. Last night friends said I am looking good: "Elegant," was the term they used. There, the pain rose within and tears sprung into my eyes. I looked away so that no one would notice. Was it good to be called elegant? I do not think I was ever considered elegant before. I was shocked. "Where have I gone?" My brain cried out. I immediately pulled out my old clown-self, excellent support in times of emotional intensity: "Elephant?" I replied. "Did you say elephant?" They shouted out laughing in unison: "NO! Elegant ... E.L.I.G.O.N.T!" Tears turned to laughter as I corrected their spelling.
I bring my sad olde soul to the tamarika blog. Here I do not have to clown, cover up, hide those dark, cold moments alone. I come to this comfortable, safe place and bid farewell to the youthful me, weeping even as I write. Bye bye old year. Bring on the new one. Perhaps now I might begin the journey toward embracing the aging, elder person I am becoming.
But, hey! I refuse to give up passion. That I will never give up! Okay?
Recently I was over at Sacred Ordinary reading a list of questions that help wind down the year. I wrote them down for myself and tried to answer them in one sitting. It was quite an exercise. After a few days I looked at the answers I had written, and found a theme to my past year: feelings of sadness, loneliness, and loss.
Thinking about resolutions for the New Year, 2006. Is that not something that is on most of our minds about this time of the year? Something about coming into the lightness of spring, the new year ... out of the dark of winter?
I become weary to the bone.
Right about now I think my best resolution for the New Year is to live one day at a time, trying to seize the moments that refuse to be ordinary, and hope for the best.
So, here goes as I join in tagged with the 7x7 Meme:
Seven things to do before I die:
Buy my son a grand piano; hold a grandchild in my arms; sing at an open-mic night somewhere; live by the sea; visit Rodos with Shimon, Gilad, and Ronnie; remember my orphanage? and, visit a Buddhist temple in Asia.
Seven things I cannot do:
Say no; revenge; slide down a water slide; ski; talk on the phone for a long time; eat snake; and, watch violent movies in a straight sitting (that is, I have to run to the bathroom or kitchen and hide from time to time all the while crying out, "What's happening now?").
Seven things that attract me to (...)
... becoming a nun:
The robes; not having to be beautiful; not having to buy new clothes; helping the sick and needy; the guilt; driving a Land Rover in Africa with my habit flying back in the wind; and, having time, in fact, being required to reflect.
Seven things I say most often:
Shmulik! Rubbish! I wish I had been a good mother; hello my sweetheart (in a weird, cutesy voice to my cats as they enter a room); people who have been brought up by adults need therapy; it's never okay to hit a child; and, don't leeeeve me (spoken in a whiny voice with the stress on the word leave).
Seven books (or series) that I love:
Appetites: Why Women Want; Franny and Zooey; A Room of My Own; The Alexandria Quartet; Little Women; Educated in Romance; and, You Can't Say You Can't Play.
Seven movies I watch over and over again (or would if I had the time):
Two for the Road; Agnes of the Gods; Magnolia; The Hours; Hitch; Get Shorty; and, The Shop Around the Corner.
Seven people I want to join in too:
But they really do not have to, nor will they, I am sure ... and that's fine too ... but a girl can want, no?