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Which blog shall live and which shall die

10/13/2011
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Dear friends, fellow travelers, and accidental readers, I don’t want to beat around the bush.

It’s Thursday, the first day of Sukkot, with the annual Torah cycle drawing to a close, and I’m up to my eyeballs in contemplation: Should I re-up Awkward Offerings for a third year?The High Holy Days have that (intended) effect on me – what do I leave behind and what do I take up? What needs to be unlearned and undone, and what embraced and expanded? It’s a heady transition, one underscored by this harvest holiday of temporary structures. It’s a good time to consider both the trap & the illusion of permanence. (See Rabbi Arthur Waskow’s beautiful take here.)

I don’t know exactly what I thought would come of this blog beyond some vague notion of mild fame and fortune. I’d muse on things important to me and dang… If I built it, they would come. Think me deep and witty. Read my poetry. Tell their friends. (And so on and so on and so on.) Let’s be honest. Why else would any writer put their words out into the universe if not to be read?

I did all the things one is supposed to do: advertise on Facebook, respond to other people’s blogs, implore my friends to pass the word. I had a brief mention in Reform Judaism magazine and the honor of being included in Rabbi Rachel Barenblat’s Passover Haggadah. Bloggers who I respect 150% added me to their “Links” list. And yet. A blog about shoes or chocolate pudding gets thousands of hit per day, while I’ve never broken out into the high double digits. I’ve received wonderful, heartfelt feedback (often, it should be said, from my friends) and spent far too much time worrying about the numbers. What does this mean about me?

I’m not whining, folks. Just doing some existential and creative calculation. Would I rather continue on with these themes of Torah, etc., or re-launch my other blog (long abandoned for lack of time) on work, Chop Wood Carry Water? It is certainly calling me. Or should I follow my instinct to create WTF Is Wrong With You? I’ve been imagining this rant platform for months. Rick Perry’s Niggerhead Ranch?  The idiot who parked their car in front of my driveway despite it being a… DRIVEWAY? With this sort of approach, I wouldn’t have to be so damn serious all the time.

Or perhaps I should give up blogging altogether, focus on other pursuits equally injurious to my ego, but less obviously so.

All of which is to say: I am likely to go off-line for a little bit to consider my options as well as the temporary nature of things. The illusion that there is one right choice. The truth that I may never be famous.

Thanks for sticking with me this far into the game. Let’s see what happens next.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. 10/13/2011 5:15 pm

    Fame is over-rated. Respect is much more desirable, and you certainly have the respect of your readers.
    Please don’t go away.

    • sue swartz permalink*
      10/13/2011 8:57 pm

      Yes, fame is overrated, and thanks for your kind words. I did feel a tad shallow confessing to my disappointment, but the first job of a writer is the truth.

  2. Dan Price permalink
    10/14/2011 10:37 am

    I can’t bestow fame or fortune (especially not fortune, and also especially not fame) but I respect your insights and writing talents. Glenn Beck has both fame and fortune as a writer, but not my respect. If you or I ceased to exist, few people would notice and fewer still would suffer any hurt or hardship; but those few would suffer considerable hurt and hardship. You have a talent that enriches the lives of a few, and as one of those few, I thank you. Perhaps you should know, I do more than enjoy your writing; I think about it. I may agree or disagree with you, but you always inspires me to reflection and help me to clarify my own thinking. Whichever blog you write, you can count me as a reader; something Glenn Beck cannot do.

    • sue swartz permalink*
      10/17/2011 9:37 am

      I’m blushing (again). Thanks, Dan. It isn’t easy to admit that part of my motivation is something “superficial” as fame, even writ small. But it is. And that does have me reconsidering what role this blog — or any other — should play in my life. I’m so glad that my writing causes you to think. That means a lot to me.

  3. 10/17/2011 9:37 am

    I do hope you’ll continue blogging; I always enjoy your musings and your poetry.

  4. 11/29/2011 2:01 pm

    I’m up for a ranting blog. whenever I’m in crisis – I seem to click on awkward offerings to view your unique perspective. doesn’t matter what you write about – or how often – but keep blogging.

  5. 10/05/2012 10:08 am

    Hi, Sue. I just found you here via a comment you left some time back on a blog post written by my friend Rebecca for her now-retired blog Frume Sarah’s World, which ended up on RJ.org where you found it before it was re-posted this week at the Rabbis Without Borders blog. (Follow all that?) I need to go get ready for Shabbat, which I’ll be celebrating this week in Greenville, Mississippi, but I wanted to let you know that I’ve spent a delightful half-hour exploring both your blogs. So what did you end up deciding, and where’s your latest writing? Regards to you and Bruce. Mazal tov on L’s first anniversary. Shanah tovah and all the best.

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