Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Following?

I began The Pagan Sphinx blog almost two years ago not knowing exactly what it was going to be about. I wanted it to have some focus but with a personal touch. I knew I wanted to create a blog that contained some of my most passionate interests:  art, music, literature and films as well as some key social and political issues. At the same time, I didn't want it to be completely anonymous. I wanted to share snippets of my life, particularly my family and to reflect my gratitude for their love, support and appreciation. The only family members that occasionally visit my blog are my daughters and the future Mr. Pagan Sphinx, aka W.P. But it hardly matters, because what I contain here about my family and my passions is really for me. The fact that I've made connections here - and quite unexpectedly - is the cherry.

And yet despite the "followers" gadget that lists my entourage (heh-heh), I doubt if even a quarter of the people listed there read anything here at all.  I have mixed features feelings about that feature. Aside from the people who publish the blogs I visit most frequently, I really haven't heard from most of them. It appears that a lot of people use the feature as a bookmark. At least that's what I'm guessing from the fact that I seldom get more than 10 comments on a post these days. This is okay with me. But what if more people are reading the blog than I'm assuming and simply not commenting? Well, I suppose this is okay too but it doesn't really give me a sense of who my true readership is beyond the dedicated blog friends I've made here. I once had a site meter but it seemed to me silly, as a casual blogger, to have one, and I removed it a long time ago.

Not knowing who is reading sometimes worries me on a personal level. How personal do I get? Have I so established a certain tone in that regard that I can't let my hair down when I feel like it? How much do I reveal about my loved ones? I try to stay on top of these questions and so far I feel comfortable with the answers I've based my decisions on. It's a constant re-evaluation of these questions as the blog evolves. Or whatever it's doing.  ;-)

With that out of the way, I want to say that as time constraints have come up in recent months, I'm finding myself blogging a lot about art, posting a music video weekly that I've taken pains to find as a symbol of something meaningful to me:  a dedication, a memory, a new music discovery, a message. It occurred to me several weeks ago that I've not been posting on social, political and human rights issues; the issues that have been the mainstays of my activist backbone. It's not that I don't care. Sometimes I just can't dwell on it, or I get overwhelmed and depressed. In that state I am no good to anyone.

There are so many people out there who blog politics consistently and with focus. The writers at the Peace Tree (to which I submitted a few contributions in my first year of blogging) comes to mind. And Godless Liberal Homo, among many I don't have time to visit. Then there is the fact that I don't post everyday. In fact, except for the youtube videos, my posts generally take several days to put together, particularly if they are art posts. And most of them have been art posts. They are a labor of love and they take a long time.

Going back to the I-don't-know-exactly-who-reads-this-blog issue, I want to make it clear what I care about if isn't obvious:  issues of war and peace, the freedom of all people to live and worship (or not worship) as they please and to marry whomever they are in love with. Not to mention world hunger and health and the dysfunctional U.S. health care system.

So if I originally attracted some readers who found common political ground here but who didn't care much or at all about the art,  I can see where those people may have stopped visiting a long time ago.

So are my pet issues not a priority? Oh, they very much are. It's just that they're not a priory in my blogging for some of the reasons I mentioned.  Please feel free to alert me to posts - yours or others' - that touch on these issues. Leave a comment or email me. One of the reasons I don't blog everyday is because I like to reserve some time to visit blogs. I don't make it to everyone's, which I regret.

To conclude, here is a list of things that have been on my mind but that I haven't had time or emotional reserve to think about, let alone blog about. Some items more recent than others.

World AIDS Day

Obama details Afghan war plan

I'm fiercely opposed to troop increases. The president and the media have held us in suspense over what the commander-in-chief would decide but I believe it's been decided for him for a very long time. Obama said so in his campaign. If this is a political move on the president's part to gain support from the Republicans, I don't believe he will ever win them over. Meanwhile, he is risking the lives of more American troops and not divulging enough about what this eighteen-month mission will actually accomplish. It's mind-boggling to think that my country is shouldering the burden of a war to ostensibly ally with Karzai, a man who was put into power as a result of a fraudulent election; head of a government replete with corruption and shady intentions. As I strongly suspected, Obama has turned out to be a real disappointment.

 Eight Years in Afghanistan - How Many More?
From the Codepink website

Maine Gay Marriage Law Repealed

They have repealed marriage equality but they can't repeal the love that exists between two people. That's a small comfort for those couples who are together but cannot, by law, partake of the same advantages the majority enjoys.


  1. I'm a cherry!

    Well said - well done, Sphynx.

    Aloha, Friend!

    Comfort Spiral

  2. I have a list of blogs I follow in the dashboard area but I took down the part that noted 'followers' because the term made me uncomfortable. I feel if people whose blogs I like enjoy the idea of being followed or having fans it doesn't cost me anything to oblige and put up the little Crow avatar. There are a few people whose blogs I visit very regularly, like yours, because I have a fondness for them as people and enjoy what they have to say.

    It seems the main way to have people come and visit is to post fairly often. Like you as well, there's no physical way I could manage that and, since I'm not primarily a writer, it would be self destructive behavior. Over the past couple of years I've seen some very good writers blow out too so.. slow and steady sets the pace.

    I love the artwork you post and agree with most of your political and social insights. Mostly I visit because I like you.

  3. dear gina, is it ok if i borrow your obama photo, i would like to put it on my blog--i completely agree with you and wish it were not so....this has been the last straw for me, sending our kids over there to that region of the world to die is unforgivable and no good reason has been given as far as i am concerned...many will look at you sideways around here if you even mention you are disappointed in obama, and you are surely going to hear about some of it perhaps based on this post but who's true...

    i think that blogs change over time, don't you, like we do and our lives do ... someone today mentioned they had not seen any art in many weeks, was i ok, to which i said well no but.... so don't feel you need to explain anything...and the follower gadget is a bookmarker i think, i never see most of those who are on there and have discovered that feedburner actually keeps rather good stats on that for you if you would like to know how large your readership details but subscribers, which is more than just clicking on that box over there...

    well, i must go, i am too wordy in these comments of mine i have to you, my dear♥

  4. I enjoy learning from you about art. I agree with you political view. I just thought I would let you know I like your blog.

  5. I like the nice pictures of naked women best. Porn without guilt - it's a great idea. Stick with it!

    Oh, of course, I fully accept that you are an intelligent person with brilliant ideas of your own on politics and stuff.

  6. Pagan: I completely understand what you're saying here. I'm sorry I don't always comment on your posts but I do read most of them. I suppose I only say something if I feel I've got something to say. Funnily enough, I've been wondering about my blogs as no one comments at all anymore - excpet dear Bobbie at my 'poetry' thing - but that's my fault for going AWOL and then making too many blogs, I suppose! Your blog is quiye probably read by far more people than those who comment but I understand your dilemma. Not sure what blogging is about myself!

  7. Cloudia - keep up the sunny spirit, luv!

    Linda: yes, things change and what your comment and those of others has helped me conclude is that I can only please myself. But that's harder, even! And you are NOT too wordy. I love wordy. How else do I know what people are thinking? Please don't stop the long comments if what you feel like saying takes a lot of words.

    MP: good thing I like you and mostly get your sense of humor! You don't push my buttons, just make me laugh. But I must admit that before I figured you out a bit, I did think you were a misogynist. ;-)

    Quilt: thank you for saying hello!

    SB: I can't comment on your blogs because of the problem I have with the comments feature on a lot of blogs, including my daily art blog. I wish I could. But I do visit and read and listen.

    Sometimes I wonder if at least some of the people who've bookmarked TPS, have trouble with that feature as well.

    In any event, I agree. Blogging is a bit of a strange land at times.

    Love to all,

  8. Susan: "love the artwork you post and agree with most of your political and social insights. Mostly I visit because I like you."

    Now that makes it all worthwhile! It's not the "being liked". It's the being liked by people I truly like back. That's the cherry I was talking about. Thank you most humbly.

  9. But I must admit that before I figured you out a bit, I did think you were a misogynist. ;-)

    Well, no more than you, girlfriend.

  10. You just go ahead and continue to blog about whatever you like...I visit ever day just to see what's new. Love the matter who else is reading or following or whatever. It's just GOOD.

  11. I tend to agree with the followers, we all seem to have more than that follow in comments. I know of some that follow my blog but do not comment, who knows who's watching lol.

  12. MadPriest: neener-neener :D

    Caution: I'm glad you told me that! Is there an explanation on your blog regarding the handle "lemmy caution"? I entertain the posibility that it's taken from something by Tom Waits. In any event, it's a blog name that stuck in my brain with glue.

    imac: ha! Yeah, that's what I was getting at!

    And well. About the nudes. Very few of the images I post for Friday Nudes fall outside of the category of fine art. Perhaps one or two can be attributed to a painter who also may have painted erotica. Whatever. People paint, draw or photograph what they see or imagine or feel. If that happens to be nude, it's no surprise. It's how we were created, how we came into the world and how most of us reveal ourselves to those with whom we are most intimate. Romantically or not.

    Modern porn is this whole other beast.

  13. i'm here! i don't always comment but i'm here. you keep on keep'n on. ; )

    i took my site meter down too. it was fun counting the different countries but now i just write or post what i feel like and hope it strikes a chord with others.

  14. I don't come here often (and comment even less), but I do come here regularly. ;-/

    Keep on keepin' on, Gina!

  15. I've been thinking of doing away with the "Followers" thing myself. I don't actually care who follows and who doesn't - except that it's nice to know some of my favorite people are still out there. I do enjoy keeping track of how many countries are represented. It amazes me.
    I mostly write for my own enjoyment. It pleases me to know others seem to like some of it too. I like just sounding off about things some times. Relieves a bit of the frustration.
    Do as you feel the urge. Don't worry about who is reading it.

  16. Sherry: I visit regularly at your place and only occasionally leave a comment to let you know I'm out there!

    JCF: thanks for the kind words. Glad you're okay.

    Lemme: thanks for the heads-up on Alphaville - that one got by me. I'd never heard of it but I know the director. I'll have to put on the netflish list.

    Bobbie: I do post what I want but I was hoping to get a sense of who is reading. I DO know what you mean about relieving frustration. For me, the art blogs are therapeutic - an indirect way for me to let off steam about things I don't want to or can't write about but still care about. If that makes any sense.

    Thanks all for the comments.

  17. I follow your blog on RSS. I'm a pinko homophile peacenik, but I read your blog for the art. And because of your engaging online persona.

  18. I'm an artist, but I read your blog for the pinko homophile stuff.

  19. Jeff: Thanks! :-) I hope you comment more often in the future.

  20. "It's not that I don't care. Sometimes I just can't dwell on it, or I get overwhelmed and depressed. In that state I am no good to anyone."

    I meant to comment on this part, especially, when I first read it, but I was on a bus reading your blog from my cell phone, which made it difficult to respond with much more than a curt sentence or two. I wanted to say a bit more.

    This dilemma is real to me. The vast majority of what is going on these days is really frustrating and sad. I sometimes think things are designed that way, in part, to keep people from wanting to think too much about politics and how it doesn't work for them.

    Bringing up an issue that frustrates me and which I have no good answer for is really interesting.

    As for another issue, I think I do have an easy answer. Don't sweat it if you don't post every day. Unless someone is paid to blog, it is grossly unfair to expect anyone to do that.

    Take care.


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