Observer article on confessional blogging

Hello!  If you want to read the article, it’s here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/mar/13/blogging-fine-art-of-confessional?INTCMP=SRCH

It’s quite an interesting article about the roots and rise of confessional blogging.  Why do we share so much, and what are the pitfalls of using the internet like a box in a church?  In the print version, I was slightly amused that the strapline accompanying my piece was, “Bipolar writer blogs about her sad but darkly funny life”.  It was the, “sad” bit that made me grin.  I might get, “Sad” tattooed on one knuckle, and, “Darkly funny” on another.  I don’t have a sad life- I don’t think I’ve had a sad life, either.  Apart from the usual things of a troubled family and dead parent- and, of course, periods of being a bit mental- I think my life has been quite a good one.  Right now, it is a lovely one.  In general I’m not particularly sad in my demeanor.  I’m wondering if people who read it now think I blog in a darkened room, adorned in a veil, capturing my tears in a well. (I actually catch my tears in a saucepan, then add them to ink).

That aside, it’s an excellent article. Part arch cautionary tale, part wink-wink celebration. I know why I started: I’ve always kept a journal and I was worried about boring the knobs of the people around me with my tiresome bibbling about treatment. I know why I wound down, too- I started out as a barely-left-teenagehood mentalist and have ended up a 25 year old woman who was tied to the identity of a young mentalist. I’ve been quite lucky in terms of blogging.  I write about something that is intensely personal.  In the before-subbing version of my bit, I mentioned that this topic leaves you open and vulnerable to some very damaging criticism, or just plain malice.  I haven’t had much of that.  Apart from a few unpleasant commenters, the worst thing that’s happened to me as a result of this blog is somebody finding my address and harassing me via email and other means, threatening to come to my door.  If they had, they would have had their balls knocked into their throat by me.  That was ages ago, though.

Having said that, I am still keeping the majority of this blog offline for now. It isn’t trying to hide my past, it’s that my past is in a searchable archive that people keep quoting back at me. And also some of it makes me bite my fist in its melodramatic silliness. I’m not ashamed of my past, though, and not ashamed of this blog. I do feel less of a compulsion to write here these days, and I’m sometimes irritated at myself for finding it difficult to write about topics that aren’t confined to the few square inches of my own skull.  It’s not good.  But I am weirdly attached to it!

Anyway, go, have a read! And if you blog- why?

9 Responses

  1. Excellent work. I like that photo.

  2. Hi Seaneen. I have just read that article with interest, especially as today I posted on my blog for the first time in months!
    I wanted to start a blog simply as a way to vent the noise that is inside my head, that I find hard to speak about to another soul face to face.
    The problem was that loved ones couldn’t handle what goes on in this head of mine, and it being there in black & white was too painful for them. No different to a parent reading their child’s diary I suppose. It can hurt. I wonder though, where that leaves me, with these thoughts. Is it selfish to share? I don’t know. It’s ok to share happy thoughts, good news & humour perhaps.
    I gain a lot from reading others blogs & am grateful for the social aspect of commenting & shared experiences.

  3. I started blogging to record therapy sessions and to attempt to spot ‘triggers’. In the case of the latter, I’ve singularly failed. So why still bother?

    People seem to take a vicarious interest in my therapy posts, and I value them too as a record of progression, but those aside – there’s very little of any interest on it these days.

    Nonetheless, I’m glad I have the record of this period in my life, so for that reason will probably continue it for a good while yet. I also like the community and kinship, the sense of less aloneness, that comes from writing in this arena.

    The Observer piece was very interesting…kudos to you for being part of it!

    *hugs*

    Pan xxx

  4. Not a bipolar writer? But your blog is/was called Secret Diary of a Manic Depressive! And it contained many tedious missives about whether you were a manic depressive or not.

  5. Interesting article – I have a blog which deals with mental health as well as creation and a little education/entertainment. I confess due to the nature of it! Feels good to do so too!

    Please consider popping by and linking up -Monday Madness linky – http://wordsinsync.blogspot.com/2011/03/did-you-know-there-are-5-types-of.html

    Shah .X

  6. Very good feedback for you and you must find it intimidating not knowing who knows you from your blog. I would not knock at your door in case that tank fired a round at me. Good Luck,
    David.

  7. I started a blog to tell the world that it is possible to be a heroin addict and a human being. Then I stopped using heroin (by and large) and stuck to my methadone. I wasn’t in withdrawals but the very day I officially gave up spending every spare penny on heroin was the day the walls started talking to me. I’d had psychotic symptoms before but nothing this intense. I couldn’t tell whether I was thinking or hearing. Then I got diagnosed schizoaffective so I blog that.

    The difference between me and you is that you seem to write from a more thoughtful analytical standpoint whereas a lot of my stuff is written in the moment and posted with no editing whatsoever.

    If I couldn’t touch type there’s no way I could have blogged the extremes of mania. I was too out of it to understand anybody else’s blogs yet I continued to keep my own even though nobody seemed to understand it.

    My blog isn’t “themed” though I just write about anything I’ve done and unlike the guy in the article I’d be very careful what I put about somebody else. I believe they’re entitled to privacy so I alter detais and names of others.

    I love your red hair btw it’s amazing! And they did an amazing job of letting you have your say.

  8. Hi Seaneen

    I read your contribution to the Observer article, browsed your blog, and just found myself blown away by your writing – I am so impressed (and somewhat envious!). As a sometimes confessional blogger I still don’t really know why I do it (I have lots of theories), but I wish I could do it with your style! Thankyou for your blog.

  9. […] Hello!  If you want to read the article, it’s here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/mar/13/blogging-fine-art-of-confessional?INTCMP=SRCH It’s quite an interesting article about the roots and rise of confessional blogging.  Why do we share so much, and what are the pitfalls of using the internet like a box in a church?  In the print version, I was slightly amused that the […] Read More […]

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