Opinion

Sunday in the Park with Brian: Therapy Session #10 (The “Love the One You’re With” Version)

sunday-in-the-park-1

It’s not a shocking revelation to say the blogging world is filled with creatures great and small, bless those beasts and children. What might surprise you, based on the random rantings I sometimes hurl into the blogosphere and then just wait for somebody to challenge me (which I actually like, because it makes me think about and solidify my worldview), is that I actually follow a huge variety of bloggers. Not just the folks that agree with me, although there are lines that can be crossed and we don’t go there. So, in the interests of growing as a family and singing songs about compassion and trust, let’s take a gander at some blogging categories.

Here we go…

ONE. The Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret.

I actually follow several erotica blogs. In fair disclosure, I can say that most (all?) of them present stories focused on participants, activities, positions and outfits that I would never, ever, consider pursuing. (“I would do anything for love, but I won’t do that.”) I know what I like and things have worked out swimmingly for 50 years. But the appeal, for me, with these sites? The writing. A good writer can take any topic or situation and turn it into music, it’s that simple. And that really applies to the theme of any blog. If your words make me want to come back, I will.

That doesn’t mean I will necessarily renew my visa, though. If you get exploitative and trashy, as some writers do once they have a steady supply of johns on their roster, regardless of the genre, I’m done. There might be fifty ways to leave your lover, but the most effective one is to hit the un-follow button. Bye.

TWO. Conservatives who are so tightly anal they will never be able to get a proctology exam.

I’m a liberal. Go tell it on the mountain and dance in the streets. And the fact that some people are doing their very best to associate liberalism with all the darkest facets of society just strengthens my resolve. Still, I’m all about a quality argument. If you can present your case in a factual and considerate manner, I will listen. Why would I not want to read an articulate, thoughtful opinion piece, even if I don’t agree with it? There are so many idiotic people in the world, let’s be honest, belligerently repeating lies, without an iota of thought-processing in the mix, running with the shadows of the night.

Dialogue is key, in basically any situation there is. If you want to talk intelligently, I want to sit down and have a virtual beer with you. (And maybe some nachos. A good plate of nachos, prepped just right and served with equality, can lead to world peace.) So I follow a number of conservative blogs, freely admit. Silos don’t work. Conversation does.

THREE. Jesus and the Jamming.

I’m a very spiritual person, despite the rumors and a certain heated comment thread that I’m assuming most of you did not see, because many of my posts fall into the Abyss of Nothingness and are never heard from again. (But it’s still there, if you want to get all Sherlock and dig for it.) Of course, “spiritual” means one thing to me and a different thing to Eleanor Rigby down the street, pulling up to the bumper with her insistence that there is only one path to enlightenment.

When someone new follows me, I do the full-out body search. (No one gets an automatic follow-back from me. Sounds harsh, I suppose, but I consider following to be a commitment, one that you should be able to honor with some degree of respect for both yourself and the person you’re following.)  I look at the recent posts, I check the archives to see how long you’ve been posting, and (this is often the deal-breaker) I check the “About” page.  (Why would you not have something on your About page? It doesn’t have to be a thesis, but slap some words in there. Damn.)

Anyway, point is, if your blog is crammed full of Bible quotes and little else, I’m not going to follow you back. This is not being disrespectful of religion, at least in my book. I want to hear your thoughts, not someone else’s. If you have to depend on the words of others to define yourself, there’s really no definition at all. A quote or two and then you branch from that? Great. Let’s hear what you have to say. (And that’s why I follow a number of strongly-religious blogs. It’s the writing, folks. Can’t stress that enough.) Simply parroting scripture? Not my thing. Teach me, papa, don’t preach.

FOUR. The Shell Game.

Easy rule, here: If you have less than five posts on your blog, and your “like” buttons and sharing buttons and archives and essentially everything else is non-existent, with me getting a message along the lines of “This is where the About Page would be if the author really cared enough”, I’m not going to follow you back. Yes, I understand that new bloggers need some love, and some guidance. But I’ve been in this particular dating scene for some time and the Golden Rule is this: Flesh out your blog before you try to flesh out your followers.

Get several posts up in your playground, with as much variety as possible, and make sure that you pick a theme and layout that works. This might take a little time to figure out, and that’s fine, we were all babes in toyland at some point. But show some respect for your potential readers. This is not a place where everyone gets a trophy just for showing up. Earn the trophy. You don’t get to be Jessie’s Girl just because you have a flattering profile pic of you flopping around on a beach in Cancun. Speaking of…

FIVE. Supermodel (You Better Work)

This one’s a bit of a retread in that I have babbled before about fashion blogs. I do follow some, and it once again goes back to the writing. I don’t want to buy anything that you’re promoting, but you’re funny and engaging when you do it and I can respect that. Not engaging? 74 pictures of you wearing the same exact outfit in 74 ill-defined locations. (Why is she standing outside Alice’s Restaurant? What the hell?) And nothing else. Just you, and maybe a portable fan blowing your locks about while you pout your lips and exhibit self-love with a vengeance that is mind-boggling. Honey, you’re not all that. You are not all that. But thank you for providing Exhibit A in why there is such a cultural divide right now in our world. Some people are only in it for themselves. Other people are in it for everyone. And only one of those teams is the right answer.

Cheers.

P.S. Bonus points to those who caught all the song references in this bit. (Tony? Are you there? Neil? Dirty Seppy?) There’s no real prize, just the quiet satisfaction of personal accomplishment…

 

37 replies »

    • Yep, the About page is the first place I go. And I’m not expecting what I find there to be a grand piece of literature, but there should be at least something that helps me know a person just a wee bit better. On the flip side, there are some sterling bios out there where the writer completely entrances me with just a sentence or two… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Well, I guess you passed me by. I don’t have an “about me” option….because I don’t know how to do it. I don’t have a “contact me” option….because I don’t know how to do it.
    It took me six months to figure out how to “edit” something. I’m not a computer whiz…I’m not a writer…..I just sit in front of my computer and “bleed”…ala Hemingway.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I didn’t pass you by at all. I’m definitely following your blog. (Right now I’m in the midst of your trilogy about that annoying hurricane.) In your particular case, you actually had me at the moment I read the title of your blog, and I really appreciate the way you are fearless with your words. So many people aren’t, and that’s a shame. My ramblings above are just guidelines. I really do look for the good when I land on a new site, and you have it. (And you ARE a writer, from what I’ve seen. Embrace it!) I also bleed at my computer, I just bandage it up a bit with some twisted humor… 😉

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      • Thank your for your kind and encouraging words.
        I may have to borrow your line about bleeding and bandaging it up with some twisted humor. That’s exactly what I do. I am dark and twisty, sometimes coupled with my clown face. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Okay, I’ll play! Here are the ones I found: Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover, I would do anything for love, Go Tell it on the Mountain, Shadows of the Night, Dancing in the Streets, Eleanor Rigby, Papa don’t Preach, Jesse’s Girl, Alice’s Restaurant (perfect for this time of year!). Thanks for the Sunday fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wait, what’s the personal accomplishment? Are you making a sly reference to my post, or are you saying that you didn’t have an About page until now? I just checked it, and it felt familiar, like I’ve seen it before. I’m so confused. (This is what I get for responding to email in the wee hours, after watching THREE movies today and eating everything cheese-based in the house, because sometimes we’re lazy slackers on Sunday.) In any case, the “one-night-stand” bit is perfect for what I’m talking about. Be a good follower, not a poser…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m with you on most of these, Brian. I don’t follow erotica (too demure, of course), and I try not to follow political blogs that are bound to make me raving insane. Ha ha. I get lots of follows from brand new blogs without one post. It is a little mindboggling and too bad.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well, I suppose I should point out that the erotica blogs I follow are due to an appreciation for the craft and not any personal hedonism. (Not implying that you meant that.) It’s really no different from any other genre. If the writing is good, along the lines of what Anne Rice does with her A. N. Roquelaure pseudonym efforts, it can be fascinating. (As long as you don’t mind detailed descriptions of happy body parts being all perky.) And yes, the “no post” bloggers out there mystify me, especially when you discover that they have 1200 followers without a single posted word…

      Liked by 1 person

    • The song references were fun, so I’m sure I’ll be doing that again. As for the empty blog follows, they are incredibly annoying, especially those who keep un-following and then following again just so I get another notification, and I keep ignoring them. Fools… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • The worlds is full of fools, and foolish fools are full of themselves.
        What a weird word …fools, fools, fools. You know how a word just gets stuck in myor mind, now it’s in mind. I once had the word grass stuck in my head for days and couldn’t figure out why it would have been called that int he first place. Ahhh, late night thoughts before bed.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I know exactly what you mean. I constantly have word ear-worms going on, where I get fixated on a word, deciding that it suddenly sounds really weird even though I’ve been saying it all my life, and then being unable to get it out of my head. It makes worry about myself sometimes… 😉

          Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m embarrassed to say how long I agonized over my About Me page, how many drafts I wrote, how much research I conducted (yes, research! There are sites with a wealth of information on this very topic!). So it baffles me when I come across bloggers who got squat.
    And I must say that after reading this, I’m very honored to have you following my blog, Brian.
    Research works, my friends. Remember that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I wouldn’t be embarrassed, at all. I have spent a phenomenal amount of time on one sentence in one paragraph for a story that no one has ever read. Things have to be just right or Daddy’s not happy. (I go into a three-day depression if I find a mistake on something that I posted in 2009, even though everyone else in the world has clearly moved on.) But in YOUR case, Christi-Cathi, I happened to read one of your blog posts first, and I was so enraptured that your About page could have featured your mugshot and a long rap sheet detailing your crimes against nature and I still would have followed… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Loved the music references! 🙂
    I’m guilty of not posting enough lately and I need to update my about page.
    Back to the music topic…my current obsession is Gaga’s “Joanne” ….specifically Grigio Girls. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. LOL – I’m still here! Just mired in the muck and swamp of my mind as I wade my way through NaNo…and yes I got the song references!

    You picked some winners – they made me smile while I sucked down an entire six-pack of beer in an hour. I rarely drink before noon, but today was a day to do so…
    👿

    Liked by 1 person

    • “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” – Paul Simon
      “Go Tell it on the Mountain” – artist unknown (by me)
      “Dancing in the Streets” – Van Halen (I like that version, LOL)
      “Eleanor Rigby” – The Beatles
      “Papa Don’t Preach” – Madonna
      “Jesse’s Girl” – Rick Springfield
      “Supermodel (Better Work)” – RuPaul
      “Alice’s Restaurant” – Arlo Guthrie

      I might have missed one or two, there…my brain is fuzzy at the moment!
      😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • I fully understand everyone being on a slight hiatus yesterday and today. I completely stayed away from all social media, because I knew I would see that one post that would SET ME OFF. Maybe tomorrow I can dip my toe back into it, but not right now. (And I totally get the beer thing on a day like this. I’m having my fair share…)

      Liked by 1 person

      • And you did very well on the trivia. You missed a couple, especially the one that no one has gotten. Now that I look back at the post, I can see the I did change the words in the title for that song slightly so it would fit better in the flow of the story. I may have to disqualify that one on a technicality, but I’ll let it ride for a few days still to see if anybody gets it…

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