For various reasons, I don't write much on this blog about myself – my feelings, major (and minor) life-events, etc. I think I did so a bit when I started blogging (I did what a lot of new bloggers do, and wrote about my feelings of liberation as a result of discovering the medium) but do it even less now. I have written a bit more in the past about my daughters, when they were both blogging also and gave permission, but since they stopped doing that a couple of years or more ago, I have said less about them – the odd bit of "news involving them as passing characters", perhaps, but not any direct information about matters such as what colour they dye their hair or how often they trash the house (not and never, incidentally). I also lack the imagination to construct a fantasy life and write about that as if it were real, as I know some bloggers do (I've been taken in more than once.) This may be dull and lead to my blog being characterised so in some of these automatic tests that others have run on it for me, but c'est la vie.
I also steer away from reading "human interest" blogs, being bored by the unrelieved minutiae of the blogger's life, feelings and thoughts (usually not original enough to be distinctive), being much more drawn to blogs that are about ideas – expressed from a personal perspective, of course, that is what gives blogs their charm, but none the less, about ideas and thoughts compared with domestic details. I'm not suggesting that I only read blogs that are like factual automata, often the blogs I like do feature posts about other things, which is fine by me, and nice, as one feels one "knows" the author, via a previous discussion of ideas.
So, I scan the new blog posts in my RSS reader most days, scrolling through a few hundred blog posts and stopping to read a few here and there. (Apart from those in the category "a daily read", which I read in full.) Even this activity, over time, results in some bloggers and blogs having quite a strong "personality" in my mind even if I only read the odd post they write, if it seems likely to be of direct interest from the RSS fragment.
This week, in the past few days, actually, I've experienced unexpected pain by this activity. One person wrote about bloggers that she feels a connection with and plans to meet, but what if they die? She went on to name several blogs she follows or knows about when the blogger has died. Another person wrote about failure to get jobs she had been applying for (having previously written about the career choice she had made), from the perspective of having returned to doing what she had been doing in an earlier stage of her life, because of her lack of success. A third person, writing on a publisher's blog, wrote about how the publisher had rejected her new novel, after publishing previous ones. A fourth, a very well-known author and journalist, has just written a one-sentence blog post (the entire post is the title, so it is very big font) – "What do you read when your husband has just left you for another woman?"
Reading about pain, and experiencing its sharp pangs, when you are not expecting it is unsettling and quite dramatically affecting. It comes at you out of left field. This has happened to me before when reading blogs – I've suddenly come across a post that raises old, buried wounds and have been unable to read on. But this cluster in the past few days has been unprecedented. Would I write on my blog if I'd been rejected in some way, or was suffering from some particular cause? Probably not. I suppose that makes me a repressed coward in some respects.