Lately I've been contemplating the pros and cons of putting my thoughts out here on the Internet.
I began this blog mainly as a distraction to combat postpartum depression, if I'm honest. I didn't know anyone in our small town and Husband often worked away. I was alone with a baby--madly in love with him, yes--but lonely and feeling like my own identity was being lost in a sea of diapers.
At the same time, I got off Facebook because I realized it made me feel lousy--reading people passive-aggressively attack their spouses or complain about their lives or politics or, worse yet, present their lives as "perfect" when in reality I knew otherwise. For me, the negatives outweighed the positives so I cancelled my Facebook account and got busy reading about things I was interested in.
I loved the Simple, Green, Frugal Co-operative and began to follow several of the contributing blogs. I read Mother Earth News and found myself getting passionate about things like gardening, simplifying and becoming more eco-friendly. Over the years since that difficult time with a newborn (and I don't want to sound like I was always on the computer instead of tending my wee boy, because I wasn't), many wonderful blogs have come and gone out of my life. People with common interests or wonderful writing styles or just some certain quality that drew me in and made me check back again and again to see how they were doing. Those blogs made a difference for me, a big difference.
And so, when the other day I saw a new blog post from Gene Logsdon, an elderly farmer and writer in the US, titled "Farewell, Dear Gene", my heart just sank and I welled up with tears to read that he had passed on after a private battle with cancer. And it made me realize how important our writing is to each other without our ever knowing, really knowing, who we are writing to.
What I loved best about Gene's blog "The Contrary Farmer" was that he put into words so many things that I feel about a simple life in the country. He did it knowledgeably, informatively, humorously, and with a wonderful writing style that I could only someday hope to achieve. He was a gentleman and I so very much enjoyed reading his blog when sleep evaded me as it often does. As someone wrote in one of the many comments on his passing, Gene validated my interest in having a homestead and raising my kids to grow their own food and be as self-sufficient as possible. In a sense, he gave me permission to be myself and not seek the approval of my peers over my own happiness. He did that without trying to sell anything or promote himself and also without attracting that particular type of reader that wants to argue and denigrate and outdo. Basically, he created something very special, he was very special, and I'm thankful to live in a world where the writing of a humble contrary farmer can land in my inbox every Wednesday and I can feel like I'm chatting with my dad--if my dad was the type to chat.
In one way or another, most of the blogs that I have followed and continue to follow validate my own interests in one way or another. I'm very grateful to the people that write about their lives and doings without thought to payment (for most of my favorite bloggers are doing it simply for the joy of it). I'm glad they take the time to observe and interpret and share--I'm seeing and learning things I could never possibly be exposed to otherwise. I'm touched to have readers return to my own little corner and leave a comment here and there, and I realize now that we are all just encouraging each other in our own ways. Thanks for that, and thanks for reading. I suppose I'll keep blogging because today I feel like it connects people in a way that actually matters, and that's very important to me.