I recently wrote a blog in which I complained about the lack of response (and thought) on the part of readers of this blog on the topic of parental responsibility. I was reminded by several readers, one of whom thought my comments were “insulting,” that lack of comments does not entail lack of thought. This is true. While I did not mean to be insulting — and I need to remind myself that not all of my readers are old retired farts with too much time on their hands — I was disappointed by the lack of response on a topic that I regard as immensely complicated and very topical. But, then, what is of interest to me may not be of interest to others. This is certainly the case, though the responses that finally did come forth (ironically) were outstanding and the very thing I had hoped for in taking on the topic in the first place. Go figure!
In any event, when I started writing these blogs I did so not to become popular, but to order and express my thoughts, get them out there and see if anything strikes a reader or two as worthy of comment. But while I do write primarily for my own gratification it would be a lie to say that as one who puts words out there I don’t care if no one reads them. It can be rather frustrating at times. Comments are always fun to read and a type of “feedback” that keeps the engine oiled. Dana Yost, my friend and a former newspaper editor put it nicely: one does care and it is easy to get discouraged, even if popularity is not your goal. I used to hate it in class when I opened with what I thought was a doozie of a question and the class sat there like zombies on Xanax wishing they were somewhere else. The silence was enough to drive you up the wall. But I eventually learned that the silence did not necessarily mean lack of thought and if I was patient a student might just take the bull by the horns and astonish us all. The same applies with these blogs.
But in the end the comments on that blog that bothered me the most were those that suggested that the blog is all about personalities. My comments were regarded by several readers as “out of character,” and even the follow-up to my show of concern for this sort of reductionism struck the same chord: it was so unlike me. What I write, with rare exceptions (like the present blog) is not all about me. I don’t like writing about myself. My blogs are generally about ideas and issues that are worth serious thought. And it is clear that I am very lucky to have some very bright and astute readers who are both thoughtful and concerned (and sensitive). I will remember that, ignore the silence even when it seems deafening, and keep on blogging as long as there are things worth blogging about.