petite anglaise

May 31, 2006

dislocated

Filed under: navel gazing — bipolarinparis @ 3:53 pm

I keep getting this unnerving feeling of dislocation. As though I’m looking down from far above, contemplating myself going about my daily business with an unhealthy degree of detachment.

It’s like an experiment. Or some sort of test. The aim is to place myself in interesting, unexpected situations, pushing against my own boundaries, moving further and further away from the rather mundane, pedestrian life I led when I first started writing petite anglaise; all the while this other me quietly observes from afar, furiously scribbling, recording anything noteworthy.

Sometimes I wonder whether I am living my life, or whether this blog is living it for me.

How much are the decisions and choices I make affected by the fact that I will not only have to live by them, but, more importantly, will feel compelled to spin webs of words around them afterwards? To what extent can feelings, whether of pleasure or of pain, become artificially intensified by the very fact of groping for les mots justes with which to pin them down? Does the act of dissecting thoughts and motivations bring me closer to some sort of truth? Or, conversely, adulterate it so thoroughlly that I no longer know my own mind?

I suspect the fact that Tadople has been waking me at 6.00 am every day this week has thrown me off kilter. I’m tired. A little low. Vulnerable to an invasion of creeping, insidious doubts and prone to self-indulgent navel gazing. It’s just the way I am.

But let me pose a question to fellow bloggers all the same: do you think that writing your blog has changed you in any way?

100 Comments

  1. “Sometimes I wonder whether I am living my life, or whether this blog is living it for me”

    Not long ago I thought I might ask you this question about your blog/life relationship one day, now you are posing it yourself :-)
    My contribution: we shape our lives by our ways of thinking about real-life situations, so we already construct coherent stories, at least in important situations. Writing it down is just the next step, but it also includes some “editing” of contents and form and the result can then reciprocally change our way of thinking…

    Comment by alcessa — May 31, 2006 @ 4:11 pm

  2. Oh yes.

    Now it is obvious to those readers who know who I am in real life that such-and-such event, person, situation “would make a great post”.

    Closer to what you point out, I have found myself rehearsing how to talk about X, just moments after X has happened.

    Only being very selective about what I will write about eventually protects me.

    Comment by Loxias — May 31, 2006 @ 4:13 pm

  3. yes, i do believe that my blog and/or writing has changed me. but only for the better. as i see it, it is just a way for me to gauge my thoughts and on occasion, emotions at the time of writing. i just can’t seem to see the wood for the trees on occasion and after all is said and done, i can look back on it later and realize that i was justified or just plum confused.

    or sometimes it simply provide a fantastic venue for me to vent my frustrations or lament the idiocy of others. but only sometimes. ahem.

    your honesty bewilders me. you’re quite fearless in a lot of ways, aren’t you?

    Comment by misshoax — May 31, 2006 @ 4:14 pm

  4. The fact of writing stuff down instead of it being abstract I think does have an effect on the way we perceive it. But I’m studying linguistics, so I’m a bit biased.. :) In my classes we’ve talked about how “la langue permet aux choses d’exister” and how when you say (or write) something, that somehow “makes” it reality. Otherwise it’s just a mass of abstraction in your head. I guess that’s why we write, eh? Now as to how that reality may be modified, that’s another story, not to mention of how it’s written depending on the audience. The way we record what happens to us can be so varied; we have to choose what we’re going to write about, after all.

    All a bit philosophic, sorry, but to answer your question, I think everyone gets the feeling sometimes that we’re living vicariously through some other means. I don’t know if it’s good or bad, but you’re definitely not alone in feeling it.

    Comment by O. — May 31, 2006 @ 4:29 pm

  5. I think it can. Think of it like therapy. Writing and disecting your life forces you to be not only analytical, but also inwardly reflective. You are forced to re-examine your experiences after they happen (even if you would like to forget about it) and think about how it affected you and what motivations/experiences were present at the time.

    Also, for me, I get to share ridiculous life experiences with strangers. Sometimes you just have to tell someone about something ridiculous that happened, but you would never tell people you know. The internet is full of the nameless and faceless who won’t judge you in a professional or personal context based on your revelations because they don’t really know you. (Except for that one weird guy with all the judgmental posts about your mothering skills).

    Comment by homeimprovementninja — May 31, 2006 @ 4:29 pm

  6. How can you say you feel this blog is living you life for you when you decline to put the important things into it? Everything you say these days is either very safe or impersonal. If I had started reading recently, I wouldn’t continue. I miss the girl I fell in love with. I want her back.

    Comment by Ben — May 31, 2006 @ 4:31 pm

  7. Safe? impersonal? “sleeping with ghosts” was impersonal? “the superficial”?

    Maybe there was so much drama previously that people can never be satisfied now unless my life continues to read like a soap opera?

    Comment by petite — May 31, 2006 @ 5:00 pm

  8. There’s good and bad I think. It’s a discovery alot of the time about how your life looks from the outside. When you put as much colour in as you creatively can and you’re surprised at the all the aspects and depths to your life and past that you can still reach and communicate.
    Obviously now you’re writing for thousands it would be foolish to assume you can sit there telling it all, though there will always be those who’ll stamp their feet.
    I think it empowers us abit. I take much less cr*p from those who know I have a blog :-) . “Ohmigosh what if she blabs on us!” ( Though I usually don’t. I’m fair.) However you’re a-non-mouse, so you’ve never had that advantage.
    I think your greatest asset so far has been your down to earth simplicity and frankness, your refusal to navel-gaze in the ohmigosuhshutup french way. Navel gazing is conceited and I’ve never seen you be that unforgivable thing. There’s no greater cringe than a conceited artist obsessed with his navel and whether or not ‘his life dominates his work or his work dominates his life’…( Ohmigoshshutupyoufrog). Keep up the down-to-earth relationship with your readers and I think you’ll make it. x

    Comment by fjl — May 31, 2006 @ 5:24 pm

  9. I think blogging has only changed me for the better. I also become involved in more daring situations (a healthy daring) than before, just so I can write about them. I also can handle frustrating situations much better, as I distract myself by thinking about what a great blog it could make, or constructing the perfect sentence in my head instead of feeling my blood pressure rise.

    Comment by BlondebutBright — May 31, 2006 @ 5:27 pm

  10. Well yes, somehow readers always assume that they also possess the story they are reading, and trying to direct some aspects of it, if not the course of events, can be quite compelling. It is something people do in everyday life, too. Rephrasing other people’s lives, often in quite banal ways.
    Still, there is no reason for a soap opera, as much as reading your blog is not just about “I like it/I don’t like it”.

    Comment by alcessa — May 31, 2006 @ 5:40 pm

  11. Whether I write it down or not either on my blog (which is still a baby blog really) or on paper (neither of which I have had much time to do recently, which bothers me), I always find myself ‘writing’ in my head. I go over and over, and when I do get to write things down, it all becomes so much clearer and from there I can start the next thought process and the development of whatever I’m feeling. Sometimes, this means that I end up taking a completely different emotional direction to the one I had originally started with. When I don’t get time to write things down, I just keep on thinking, having phantom conversation after phantom conversation, and eventually get the same result, it just takes longer. No one thought, however small, stands alone. The tiniest things develop, each of them affected by whatever happens alongside them.

    I’m waffling now so I’ll shut up. But, incidentally, I think your blog has perhaps been even more intense these last few weeks/months than your writing from the earlier days. Just like thoughts, people evolve too, that’s what makes them interesting and that’s one of the most attractive things about this blog.

    Over and out.

    Comment by redlady — May 31, 2006 @ 5:53 pm

  12. You mention “the rather mundane, pedestrian life I led when I first started writing petite anglaise”, but I think a lot of readers would agree that those early posts didn’t seem mundane or pedestrian at all to those of us not lucky enough to live in Paris! It’s your funny stories about day-to-day life in France that have presumably drawn so many people to your site, and it’s clear from past comments that some people actually preferred those sorts of stories to the more “sensational” ones. So not everybody is wishing a “soap opera” life on you.

    Comment by old school friend — May 31, 2006 @ 5:58 pm

  13. I’ve read right through your blog from it’s early stages to how it is now and I like it all, through all it’s different phases.

    Life can reflect art as much as art reflecting life – maybe if you look at the very stable parts of your life and tell us about these the soap opera effect will wear off?

    My life is no soap opera but i always seem to find something to write about. Sometimes I think I’ve run out of ideas and then something happens and I know it’s perfect for my blog (says she with a fledgling blog).

    An accomplished writer once told me to write for myself NOT for my audience. It’s much more enjoyable that way.

    Comment by northerncreative — May 31, 2006 @ 6:04 pm

  14. I started blogging a year ago because of you…I followed a link on The Guardian website and it took me to your blog…since then I have had about 6 blogs…keep deleting them because I feel my blog takes over my life…so yes..in answer to your question, it has changed me…sometimes I blog what I feel and am going through, sometimes I blog purely to entertain the few people who read it…but whatever, nothing can happen to me without me wondering how I can turn it into a blog post..which makes me wonder at times if I maybe live in an unreal world.

    People will always want you to make a soap opera of your life..it makes good reading and is an escape from their own problems.

    Anyway – you, like I, are one of those people that things will always happen to and your life will always be interesting and, at times, dramatic, and therefore highly bloggable…enjoy it.

    Comment by Wendy — May 31, 2006 @ 6:43 pm

  15. Your life has changed since you started writing – but is that because of your blog? Well, yes and no!
    As a newcomer to the blog scene I am in no position to speak from experience but I’m finding it quite good for relieving stress to be able to let off steam in a blog.
    Provided that you don’t feel stressed because of your blog I hope you will carry on indefinitely. All power to your elbow!

    Comment by Sablonneuse — May 31, 2006 @ 6:59 pm

  16. Reading your post and some of the comments reminds me of a trip that I once took in the US. The passenger next to me told me all sorts of personal things about herself, most likely comfortable with the fact that we probably would never seen one another again.

    That having been said, “an unexamined life is not worth living”, whether that examination be done through blog writing or therapy … it doesn’t matter. Keep on bloggin’!

    Comment by Lost in France — May 31, 2006 @ 7:00 pm

  17. I’m always somewhat prone to self-indulgent navel gazing, which may well be why I have a blog and write in it so often. But I never kept a diary before, so I suppose the fact that it is available to be read makes a difference: I am not talking entirely to myself.
    I don’t think it changes the way I act or react, or has changed me, but I have only a few people reading or commenting, very different from your situation.
    I thought alcessa made a good point, the same thought has occurred to me. You could consider turning comments off for a while and see if it makes a difference, the bewildering range of advice you are given could adulterate your behaviour more than the words you write yourself do.

    Comment by Z — May 31, 2006 @ 7:00 pm

  18. Why don’t you take a break from blogging for 6 months and see how it feels? Maybe you will find it really liberating not to have to scrutinize everything you do so you can write about it. Or maybe not. In any case, you would know.
    Just my two cents.

    Comment by anon — May 31, 2006 @ 7:14 pm

  19. I have those days sometimes, where you feel like you’re outside of your body looking at yourself going about the things you normally do every day. It’s a weird feeling being a spectator of your own life. I call those “my surreal days”.
    And yes, writing my blog has changed my life. Firstly, but not the most important thing that it has changed, is the way I write; my writing skills have improved. I am now able to clearly pick out what is in my mind and put it in my blog. Most of my friends who read my blog say that I mostly just tell stories about the things that happen to me, instead of just listing, “this happened and this and this and this…etc”. It’s partly because of you that I write like that. I started reading your blog and found your life in Paris so interesting (you may not think it is, but to us who read about you it is) and I got to thinking about why your blog was so easy to read. It’s because you mostly write in a story format. I love that.
    Secondly, writing my blog has helped me to take a good look at myself and realize, not only what is bad about me, but also what is good about me. When I go back and reread some of the things I’ve posted, I can pick out when I’m feeling sorry for myself, when I’m being unrealistic, and when I’m just being myself. I guess really all of those things are parts of myself, but for me, my blog helps me to bring those things out into the open where I can examine them.
    Well, I guess I’ve written enough about myself on your blog. ;)
    I love your blog. Don’t ever stop writing it.

    Comment by Anias Nin — May 31, 2006 @ 7:18 pm

  20. Is there a support group I could join if I did? 6 months. Two weeks back in May felt nice, but I don’t think I could go cold turkey that long..

    Comment by petite — May 31, 2006 @ 7:17 pm

  21. We all take the things we like from other blogs, don’t we. I started writing in the present tense after doing one experimental post in the style of JonnyB!

    Comment by petite — May 31, 2006 @ 7:29 pm

  22. Maybe you could start your own support group!
    How do you think your life would be different if you didn’t blog? Try listing the pros and cons of continuing or taking a break.

    Comment by anon — May 31, 2006 @ 7:31 pm

  23. To be honest P I think you should ride the wave and throw this book at the beach, don’t stop ’till you do. Some of us i.e. me have got specific subjects in hand and know we can take our time, the audience ( for the subject) is always going to be there, provided the research is good. But in your case, the wave you’re riding is one you’ve created alone. You take a break, the tide will change. It’s just the way it is. People are fickle. Once you stake your claim in the little patch of land, you can start building and the world’s your oyster ( h’ray! ;-) ) exciting. So I think the last thing you should do right now, is take six months off.
    Actually I’m in a similar position to you in terms of deadlines, and running the last lap, tho’ mine’s all hush hush. The last bit is hard, you can feel alone. But you’ll make it. x

    Comment by fjl — May 31, 2006 @ 7:35 pm

  24. oh I have no intention of stopping, am just having an off-day.

    Comment by petite — May 31, 2006 @ 7:44 pm

  25. Yep. I am much more aware of the “small” stuff that happens, looking for inspiration all day long basically. Also I am more aware of everything going on in my life, standing still to think things over much more often than before. If I want to to turn it into a good text, I do need to have some overview myself after all.

    So far, only positive effects. I am a newbie though, so we’ll see what I think in a couple of months time.

    Comment by kim — May 31, 2006 @ 7:56 pm

  26. Blogging is… cathartic for me. At first, I was timid… weary of the hords of psychopaths that will read my thoughts and stalk me until my life was ruined. Soon enough, the truth set in; hardly anyone was interested in my thoughts let alone stalk me. I felt emboldened to come forth with more truth… more detail. I began to exorcise thoughts that have been randomly zipping around in my head. After a while, I felt my head began to clear… free from thoughts and ideas irrelevant to situations at hand.

    Upside to blogging, which everyone seems to experience, is the motivation to do something just so that you can blog the experience. I think there’s nothing wrong with that as long as no one else hurt. If the quest for interesting content makes your life fuller, does it matter what the motivation was?

    Photos. Blogging got me to photograph the world around me in situations where I would normally opt not to. When memory fails the photos became a portal back in time. Looking at the photos, the moment comes alive in my mind.

    Last, but by far the least, I learned more about myself through the process of writing and reading my own blog. Example? I once wrote “perfection can be suffocating” when I was trying to describe the woman of my dream. Then I realized, my quest for perfection was suffocating me as well as those around me. I’ve since given up that naive quest for the illusive perfection… and I cannot describe in words how liberating it is to revel in my own imperfection and mediocrities.

    Comment by Sam — May 31, 2006 @ 8:01 pm

  27. Well I hope so. You are the strongest advocate for the attractive single Mums I’ve come across. If it wasn’t for you the next Conservative party would drown us in the river with the hampsters. They have no scruples, and never did, it is all about their repressed sexual dilemmas and feelings of inadequacy… – but I digress. :-)

    Comment by fjl — May 31, 2006 @ 8:03 pm

  28. Thus far I have experienced the inverse of what this particular of you posts seems to describe. Specific moments or episodes have been revealed as ‘good blogging material’ only after the fact. My waking moments have not been altered by the burbling, gurgling blogging that lies beneath.

    That said, blogging has “changed my life” in that I embarked on a path to which I was entirely unaccustomed and with which I was not entirely comfortable (a twisted nasty path for hussies!)

    Blogging was my way to talk about the life I had (have) that I couldn’t talk about with family or friends. It’s changed my life because its shown me I’m not alone. I’m not as unique as I thought. There is something comforting and liberarting in that.

    x,

    ellie

    Comment by ellie — May 31, 2006 @ 8:35 pm

  29. I started blogging a year ago…I did exactly two posts. I just couldn’t deal with writing stuff as an outlet for me knowing that it was going to be read by people I didn’t know and who couldn’t really give a monkey’s anyway…I found it really disconcerting; it’s personal and at the same time it can’t be. It’s one of the reasons why I admire your blog so much, Petite, cos you manage to be personal without being exhibitionist, literary without sounding stuck-up,
    and you can handle the fact that thousands of people read about your personal life!
    I do reckon it can be a dangerous game though, for exactly the reason that you write about!
    Maybe it’s a question of whether to write fiction based on real events, or to write a ‘real’ diary blog that’s not ‘soap opera’-y, not that I think yours is, but many people treat it as such.
    Just for the record, I’ve had a look at other blogs, but I’ve never found another one that I want to read everyday, or where I look forward to new posts…concerning for me too, maybe I should concentrate more on my own life!
    Sincere best wishes, Lucy-Jane

    Comment by Lucy-Jane — May 31, 2006 @ 8:52 pm

  30. You reminded me of a poem that I like, Silentium by Fyodor Tyutchev (1836). Here it is in prose translation (apologies to Dmitri Obolensky):

    Be silent, hide yourself, and conceal your feelings and your dreams. Let them rise and set in the depths of your soul, silently, like stars in the night; contemplate them with admiration, and be silent.
    How will the heart express itself? How will another understand you? Will he understand what it is that you live by?
    A thought once spoken is a lie; by stirring up the springs you will cloud them; drink of them, and be silent.
    Know how to live within yourself; there is in your soul a whole world of mysterious and enchanted thoughts; they will be drowned by the noise without; daylight will drive them away; listen to their singing, and be silent.

    This doesn’t mean I want you to stop blogging. You’re a great writer. But “a thought once spoken is a lie” is, I think, always true to a degree. And I do think you mostly write better about things you’re not so emotionally involved in – though “Adrift” is an exception.

    Courage.

    Comment by Claire — May 31, 2006 @ 8:57 pm

  31. Oh yes Petite! Writing my blog has made me about a hundred times more pretentious than I used to be!

    Comment by Antipodeesse — May 31, 2006 @ 9:16 pm

  32. I don’t think writing my blog has changed me. I do think it’s improved my writing. But then that was and is the aim and the point of blogging for me. I don’t write as personal a blog as yours, which may be part of the reason. I’ve been surprised to make blogfriends, particularly as some of those have become real friends – but that’s been a fringe benefit; I didn’t come into this seeking or needing to widen my social life. So, maybe a small change is that I am more confident about my writing than I was before I began to blog. But on the whole I think I’m the same person; any change is incidental rather than fundamental.

    Comment by Zinnia Cyclamen — May 31, 2006 @ 9:45 pm

  33. I also started blogging almost two years ago because of you. However to answer your question; has blogging changed me?

    Yes and no.
    I’m still have the same humor that I did before but now I have a place for it when I can’t express it openly. I also don’t tell every single little thing so as to keep things for myself. I think you do a good job of this here.

    Here’s where it changed me. I will sit back and take notice of the mundane or pedestrian because the I feel my/your/anyone’s observance of it makes it special or important, thus inspiring someone else to do the same. I have also decided to do certain things in an effort to expand my personal experience; like going to a club I’ve never gone to before or throwing myself into situations that can only be for entertainment sake.

    Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But, I’m never bored even when I don’t have anything to write about.

    It’s your choice to stay or go; some things must end for other things to begin. It’s not life without that type of balance.

    Comment by chantel — May 31, 2006 @ 10:31 pm

  34. Hi! I am no blogger, but I used to write a journal while traveling down under with my bicycle… It was a way of making order in my head in a foreign country, listening to my own thoughts and slowly finding out what a little man I am in this world. It was a way of getting to know myself better, even learning to think more organized. It is something everybody should do someday, even if only for a short time… With every word you put down you grow up a little.

    Comment by grind — May 31, 2006 @ 10:44 pm

  35. Yeah – it’s confirmed that my life is fairly pedestrian ;)

    Comment by Kasey — May 31, 2006 @ 11:04 pm

  36. I started my blog because I needed to reflect me to myself, because I realised that, for various reasons, I had lost my sense of who I was. This was my therapy – affordable, home-based, flexible. It has been by turns a delightful, disappointing, warming, surprising and perplexing experience so far, as I am not in the habit of expressing anything important, particularly the messy and darker material, to anyone. I both want people to read and respond, and fear making a freakshow of myself.

    At the moment (two months down the road)I’m quite obsessive about my blog, and very much aware that I need to restore balance – but at the same time, the blog is part of my project to restore balance! I have always lived too much in my own head, and arguably, blogging is just a larger version of that; but I have a sense of growth, which is actually quite disorientating at times, because growth broadens potential, which requires some kind of action! Am I ready for change? It’s happening, and I owe it to myself to grow, and to live with the change, which is not about becoming someone else but becoming more myself. I’m beginning to sound like one of those self-help manuals…….uh oh….

    At the moment I am writing far too much and being quite self-indulgent: I don’t have many readers, and few know who I am. It might (ok – does!) pique my vanity at times, but it means I’m under no pressure to ‘perform’. It has to be different for you, when you express something very personal, and 115 people rush to comment!

    You, invisible far-distant you, are part of my life now. I can’t babysit, or whizz out to the pharmacy when Tadpole’s got a temperature, but I’m part of your life too, part of this group of people (comfort blanket!) who care about you, wish you well, and would not dream of judging you – because you write it all down with clarity (and style! That helps!) – the good, the bad and the muddle, the walk in the park, and the triumph of Bad Mummy’s Three Smartie Strategy over emotionally constipated paediatrician’s opinions. Ha!

    I hope it’s good for you – I know it’s good for me. You’ve got your favourite blogs too, haven’t you? I have found that reading the blogs of other women who write honestly about their own ups and downs, and say exactly what they think, makes me feel steadier, more acceptable to others and to myself, because it shows me that I am part of a broad continuum of female experience, responses and attitudes.

    I think it’s so easy to feel dislocated,especially if you’re an intelligent and self-aware woman with a daughter to raise, a day-job to do, and an inner-life that also needs nourishment. I’m still working out how much of myself I’m prepared to put in the public domain – whether I’m able to give as much as others do – and I suppose I’ll work out what’s right for me at various times.

    Maybe you need time out for a bit, so you can get comfortable in your own skin again. Don’t write until you really want to! Radical!

    I love your blog.

    Comment by Mama Duck — May 31, 2006 @ 11:13 pm

  37. hey petite,

    good question, and one that will always (well, amongst blogging friends of mine) elicit the question: “‘ere – did you ever strike “cool” poses whilst alone in your room when you were a kid, just in case there was an invisible camera filming you?”

    no? might just be me then ;-) erm, what i’m trying to say is: this is it, the invisible camera. blogging. the Über-Ich. the “looking down from far above, contemplating myself going about my daily business with a(n) (un)healthy degree of detachment”. blogging hasn’t changed me a lot, in that i’m still censoring myself just as much or as little as i would in real life, because i know that real people i really know really read my stuff. which is cool.

    that’s blogging in german. blogging in english is different altogether. can’t give an emotional stuff about youse guys’ language at all. ;-)

    have you ever tried blogging in french, on a regular basis? under a nom de blog, maybe? might open up a new perspective on things…

    Comment by sydneysnider — May 31, 2006 @ 11:20 pm

  38. While I think it is true that writing, like speaking makes words, thoughts, potential actions, choices, fears (et al) more real, less abstract…the rub is that living through a blog (instead of blogging through life or something more like that) will pull you right out of the moment. =dislocation.

    I have recently relearned that examining something, and I mean, really dissecting it, usually kills that something in order that one may look at it more closely. Truly what a dissection is. In the end, its just an uncanny way to live (outside of time & inside one’s own head.)

    Perhaps live outside of the blog (and head) for a while? Though I would miss reading you…

    Comment by zeddie — May 31, 2006 @ 11:51 pm

  39. Do you identify with this? This is exactly the story of my research. I am so weary with the wonder that it is, that if it came over to me in human form I would take one weary look at it’s face and push it over.

    ….’Along the way, the alchemist tells him “What you still need to know is this: before a dream is realised, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realising our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved toward that dream. That’s the point at which most people give up. It’s the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one ‘dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon’. Every search begins with beginner’s luck. And every search ends with the victor’s being severely tested.”’

    Abit of a dramatic format, but it’s got a tinge of truth to it… Hang in there abit more, in other words. I’m telling myself this ( since everyone’s doing it!) but maybe it applies to your project writing aswell.

    Comment by fjl — June 1, 2006 @ 12:10 am

  40. I haven’t felt that it has changed me- I don’t do things thinking oooooooo. . . this will make a wacky Lucy and Ethelish episode in The Life of Nicole! However, when a wacky episode presents itself, I do think about blogging it.

    Maybe we need a support group?

    “Hi, my name is Nicole and I am a blogaholic.”

    “Hi, Nicole. . .”

    The small community of expat bloggers I have found that I read and who read me has been really fantastic- small words of encouragement here and there.

    Sometimes I do wish that I were anonymous so I could say whatever I want without my mother and husband reading. . . but what can you do.

    Have you thought about writing fiction? Maybe that would open things up for you a bit with your writing?

    btw- an offline subject- I’m in the middle of a fantastic book that I think you may like- Something May Happen by Julie Myerson.

    Comment by Nicole — June 1, 2006 @ 12:11 am

  41. Writing a blog definitely amplyfies the experiences lived. Whereas I don’t think that the blog itself influences my choices, after the choice has been made, I may think over how I should describe the situation. For example, something funny happened to me today but I have not yet found the photo I wanted to use to illustrate my story… By the way, if any of you has taken at the CDG airport a photo of the Radisson SAS hotel’s posters, please kindly share it with me! (the one with the slogan “how could we say NON to you?”).

    Cheers!

    Comment by Uranus — June 1, 2006 @ 1:08 am

  42. You know, i’m a newbie to the blogueing malarky … i started because my friends back home wanted to know what i get up to, how things are going etc … after a few months i find, already, that i have to be – in a sense – careful as to what i say (maybe i should start anew) whilst being honest.

    At times i do find it cathartic …it’s good to get things of your chest ‘Personal jesus’ has just come on réal plaire as i type !-Ô (spooky stuff).

    I envy people such as yourself who are able to throw caution to the wind; I often read things that, whilst salutary for their openess, i would feel uncomfortable writing – and yet i’m no prude.

    Nevertheless sometimes i feel that somethings are best left unsaid; i’ve just read someone’s blog who seem’s to be very vulnerable and although i don’t know the person i feel some concern about the potentiel for ‘cultivation’ and things like that.

    I’m off subject, forgotten the question Ma’m :)

    That’ll do for my two penneth.

    As a closing line i would just like to wish you and t’tite tetard (that sounds horrible in french !!)good heart and hapiness.

    Comment by Damiel — June 1, 2006 @ 1:26 am

  43. I’m a new blogger, so speak from very limited experience, but I think this is a fascinating question. My short time blogging has really given me a new lease on life – I notice things I didn’t before because I’m paying more attention to what’s going on around me. And I’ve discovered that there is something interesting to be found in things I previously took to be mundane (thanks, Petite, for inspiring me to blog – your writing is wonderful).

    Comment by Extreme Dad — June 1, 2006 @ 1:40 am

  44. Glad we’ve moved on from poo, but echo the commenter from a couple of posts ago for plus de Paris.

    Comment by Passante — June 1, 2006 @ 2:35 am

  45. While I am not a blogger, I am a freelance writer, and I can understand the cathartic effect that blogging can have. I suspect it is the act of writing and creating something that is the driving force behind it, but as for me, I could never put my life on display as petite has done. While there are some aspects about my life of which I have no problem in sharing, (my past work as a paramedic, my liver transplant and work with organ donation efforts) I am simply too much of a private person to put any more of my life on display.

    I have to commend bloggers like petite who can be this open with total strangers. I only did that once, in college, fueled by alcohol and the impending doom that I had become a father through a summer romance. Fortunately, it was only a single stranger to whom I poured out my depression. (and it turned out that I was being lied to by the girl in question.)

    There is a voyueristic (sp?) aspect to those of us who read this, and other blogs a fascination with lives not our own, but reflective of our own in some ways. (Perhaps more than we care to admit.) It is in some ways the classic accident scene: we don’t want to look, but are compelled to by some unseen force. (or a Jedi mind trick! ;-) )

    Keep blogging petite. I enjoy your style, and your ability to communicate the everyday in your life to make it seem less everyday, sometimes anyway…….

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — June 1, 2006 @ 2:45 am

  46. My blog has changed me but for the better I think. Initially i HAD to blog every day … now, I’ve got over it … I guess it’s like any new thing, it constantly nags at you, but then you get used to it and just do it when you want to … some weeks I won’t blog at all.

    My blog is not a tell-all of my life, though only two people in my life know about it (well, two people who were in my life pre-blog – since blogging commenced I have met 3 or 4 more people through the blog who I now regard as friends at various levels so there are more … but they are all aware that my family, especially, does not know about the blog).

    My blog is where I get out the stuff I need to get out, fun, quirky, snarky, the odd rant, notes about my upcoming wedding, work whinges, all that sort of stuff … I write about my family but only in passing, not getting out any of my angst. I’ve never been a diarist, for any length of time, so the blog is ideal … I don’t feel guilty if I don’t write it, it’s just there for me … I am not a servant of my blog :)

    Comment by Miss Lisa — June 1, 2006 @ 3:02 am

  47. I began my blog to chronicle my move to France and to sort out my feelings about the transition. Being able to write down how I feel forces me to be honest with myself in retrospect. I can’t romanticize life in NYC when I’ve finally moved to Paris and feel homesick…because there’s this blog that has already documented my true feelings about life in NYC.

    Thus far, I simply worry that my humor may possibly be misunderstood. I try not to consider what the reader would think or would be interested in. It’s more therapeutic for me and to help keep me grounded. And realistic about how things are/were in NYC. (I even take pictures for that very reason…no sepia-toned, unrealistic memories about NYC.)

    I romanticized NYC when I first moved to Germany and I was completely unrealistic in regard to my memories of how things were in NYC. With a blog, I can’t do that again when I move to France.

    Comment by Noire Dire — June 1, 2006 @ 5:05 am

  48. A very interesting, thought-provoking piece, PA. I like posts like this which make me think hard.
    Firstly, about you: Yes, I unashamedly admit that I kind of read this as a soap-opera. While I’m reading your more sensational posts, I stop myself from thinking that I am reading the thoughts of a real live person, and I just enjoy the drama, and I go away and think about how those events would affect me. I don’t apologise for that at all: I am an amateur actor, and when I present myself onstage, I do not want the audience to be thinking of Tom *******, I want them to be thinking of Ferris, or Billy Bibbitt, or Tony, whatever character I am presenting. In the same way, you are “Petite Anglaise” on here. I know that there is a real live woman behind the posts, but her online character is “PA”. I’m not saying that you make it all up or that it’s all pure fiction, but that by using a pseudonym, you can reveal as little or as much to your “audience” as you wish. I’m totally happy with that. Actually, blogging is much more akin to being a singer-songwriter than an actor, in that the singer-songwriter is (presumably) writing “from their own heart”, yet still performing behind a stage persona, whereas the actor is deliberately putting on false emotions, and weaving a fictitious story.

    As for your question, firstly, my own blog (which I don’t link to here, as I’m sure it would be of no interest to anyone at all) is not like yours; it’s not personal in the way that yours is; it’s more political/social commentary, with the odd bit of inane randomness thrown in. I don’t want to reveal my inner self on the internet in the way that you do, and I couldn’t do it if I tried, probably. I think that blogging has changed me slightly, and I’m not always sure that it’s for the better. As I go on, I am aware that it could become addictive or obsessive if I’m not careful. In a certain way, I admit that blogging can be a placebo for normal interaction. Thinking about what to write, and how people will react….Yes, I see you’ve caught the bug too, from your words.
    Blogging is a very interesting new medium of communication. For the first time, here we have a medium where both the performer (the blogger) and the audience (the commentators) can remain forever anonymous, never having to come “out of character” yet we are all still real people. If we were puppets/robots/ghosts/whatever, the interest would not endure, but because we know that we are interacting with real human beings, yet we can remain cloaked in anonymity, it gives us such a freedom for self-expression. Take yourself, for example: Relationships, break-ups, secret liaisons, guilt, inner thoughts, confusions, searching, motherhood….and it’s not just a story, it’s a real person! Yet shielded by the anonymity of the internet! That, to me, is simply fascinating. It’s a new 21st Century art form (when it’s done well). Yet even for a master such as yourself, I’m sure you sometimes struggle to define the boundaries between the public and the private: You hint at an emotional crisis (“She’s Lost Control” playlist, etc) yet you draw back from elaborating further on it. You tease! What shall I tell them? How much shall I reveal? I want to, I really want to, almost need to, but I can’t….I understand that.

    Comment by Tom Tyler — June 1, 2006 @ 5:20 am

  49. Well, you make me feel much better about my situation. My son has been waking up between 5.30 and 6am FOREVER (he’s 3 and 1/2). And the good thing about being separated from Tadpole’s dad is that at least you get to sleep in sometimes…

    As for blogging, I used to have one and quickly gave up. I found I had better things to do with my life than turn it all around in my head, then putting it down in writing. It was too time-consuming and I wasn’t feeling great when I didn’t have any inspiration. I honestly didn’t need that, especially with a 3 year-old at home (who gets up at 5.30am…). Have you ever wondered about the things you could be doing when instead you are writing in your blog?

    Just a thought anyway.

    Comment by A Frog in Oz — June 1, 2006 @ 5:37 am

  50. Ben: I think PA’s posts tend to be very personal…sometimes TOO personal (e.g. umm…poo).

    But, I also seem to enjoy her earlier posts, when she simply touched on every day musings, and the not so personal.

    Comment by Noire Dire — June 1, 2006 @ 5:39 am

  51. I often think that my blog might be boring, because I don’t go out of my way to find interesting stuff to talk about.
    My blog has evolved and now includes a level of honesty that was not there in the beginning.
    I think that putting my feelings out into the world makes me a more settled person, although I don’t know why.
    I have always liked your blog Petite, but you get many more personal comments on your actions than I do on my blog. I think if I had your level of comments and readership, I might blog for different reasons too.
    :-)

    Comment by Anne — June 1, 2006 @ 8:33 am

  52. Petite. I sense that you’re feeling low, self-doubts, lack of direction, between-relationship blues?
    Do not underestimate the enormity of single-parenthood, despite nearby Frog and family. It IS tiring and relentless and somedays it seems like you carry the weight of the world on your single shoulders
    Take heart… take a break… take a rest… take strong drinks… take what ever you need to restore your bounce…

    Comment by Julia — June 1, 2006 @ 9:55 am

  53. I only started blogging a couple of months ago and so far it has had a disciplining effect on me as a writer in the sense that I need to break down what would otherwise be bloody slabs of raw meat into chewable pieces.

    I’ve also only just started reading your blog but I’ve looked through your archives and
    it’s noticeable (and highly understandable) that your blog has changed over the years.

    I think it must be difficult to have such a large fan base (although not unwelcome!) and to strike a balance between tantalising people with your secrets but at the same time guarding some things for yourself.

    But I think you do a very good job at this. You give your audience enough to keep them interested but at the same time there is a lovely mystery about what you were doing outside those words you’ve squeezed into the squares on your blog.

    I don’t think that this turning point you seem to have reached – where you feel your blog is steering your life – heralds the death of your blog. I think instead that your blog will continue to evolve, as it has already, and I look forward to seeing where it goes.

    Comment by Catty — June 1, 2006 @ 10:06 am

  54. Although not a blogger myself,having observed the blogger species from the outside as it were, I ‘ve noticed a certain similarity in the way they are all sociable and ready to talk about things in their lives that anyone in the world can also see on their blogs. This means that I can encounter a complete stranger and yet, once I learn their blog moniker, I can converse about their likes, dislikes and what we have in common within the first minute. This usually takes at least a few hours if not several encounters. So as a non-blogging potential blogger I would say : seeing the real-life effect of blogging has made me completely reevaluate my potential blog. To make it more impersonal and anonymous in fact.
    Do any of you bloggers regret the amount of insight strangers have into the various intimacies of your life?

    Comment by Flighty — June 1, 2006 @ 10:10 am

  55. mmmm, interesting point Flighty, but I think if you had met me without reading my blog you would have found that I am like that anyway (especially after approximately 2 drinks), which is probably why it doesn’t feel too weird…

    Comment by petite — June 1, 2006 @ 11:27 am

  56. flighty, never.
    petite, I ask myself a similar question all the time, about whether it is I or the blog that lives my life.

    And, to answer your question, it HAS changed me and my life… I know I wouldn’t be where I am (not physically, but mentally), doing what I’m doing (which is all pretty fab and a long way from where and what I was three years ago..ie. pre-blogging) if it weren’t for the blogging… it makes me question myself more, question others more. and motivates me to work my arse off…THAT’s different for me! (a dyed in the wool lazy git). xxx

    Comment by vitriolica — June 1, 2006 @ 11:30 am

  57. Yes definitely. In some cases blogging made me far more anxious than I should have been because I kept delving into negative emotions.

    Comment by Past tense — June 1, 2006 @ 12:08 pm

  58. I actually started my blog as an extention of a monthly newsletter that I wrote to my friends during my (self-imposed) excile in France. It was partly to save on the postage, but partly also so that I could be more honest, share more of my life with poeople that knew me.

    Over time it’s changed. I forget that I’m writing to actual people. It becomes more about me, what I think, a way of sorting the junk in my head into some sort of order. I think that my posts sometimes express thoughts that I might not have said if I remembered that people would be reading! I admit that it catches me off balance now (firmly back in England) when my friends talk about some incident or the other, which I’ve blogged about. Brings me to my senses – reminds me why I started.

    The question now is whether my blog is to remain an extended newsletter – or more of a personal journal. And if it’s the latter, perhaps I should just invest in a good notebook and not publish my thoughts for all the world to see.

    All of your commenters seem to have remarked about the level of privacy in a blog. How do you know what should remain in your head and what can be shared? I think your posts are often very ‘brave’. That’s a level of courage that I’d like to have.

    Une Fille

    p.s. sorry about the length of this comment. It wasn’t intended as a mini-essay.

    Comment by Une Fille — June 1, 2006 @ 1:47 pm

  59. What Old School Friend said.

    Those “Slices of .. life in Paris” bits are great.

    Comment by Miss Nomer — June 1, 2006 @ 1:58 pm

  60. Hmmm fascinating post and comments.

    It’s a bit different for me because I started my blog as a marketing tool to get people to visit my shop.

    So I’m aware that I need to be ‘on brand’ with what I write – I can’t include too many sordid personal details (though we have also been discussing poo recently) and find myself slipping into the persona of a glamorous internet entrepreneur/yummy mummy around town which is somewhat removed from my rather scruffy and deeply sarcastic reality. (Tom Tyler is right when he talks about writing a blog ‘in character’).

    If anything blogging has made me become more like my blog persona in real life which has been interesting. Do we create a persona for our blogs which then starts to take over our real personalities?

    I also agree with Sam about the photos. I’m photographing my life in a whole new way now that I have an outlet and an audience to share them with, which again has been an entirely positive thing for me (though maybe not for my readership…)

    Comment by Paola at 'mirror mirror' — June 1, 2006 @ 2:03 pm

  61. I’ve been reading this blog for over a year – I’ve kept awfully quite, only commented once but really enjoy reading it (Petite you write beautifully). It’s been particularly interesting to read the comments on bloging. Its a topic near to my heart these days as I’m kind of in a bloging limbo and don’t know what to do.

    The back story is that just over 2 years ago I moved abroad. The first few months I would regularly send out e-mails to friends and family with short remarks on my life in the new country. It was well received but I felt kind of guilty of ‘pushing’ the information on people so shortly after I moved these thoughts to a blog and started writing something a few times a week. Now at the time I didn’t feel like writing for the whole world so I put a password protection on the site (the probably fake security of the password does mean that I put more information about who I am on the site than I ever would if it was not password). My blog is read by family and friends, but I sometime feel that I would like to write for a broader audience! Then I start feeling strange about wanting more people to read what I write, what kind of egoism is that? An inner voice asks and I stick to the original plan feeling confused about my identity as a blogger.

    Comment by Margret — June 1, 2006 @ 2:11 pm

  62. Oh, great, Tupperware party over and not a comical peep from Trevor…

    What gives?

    Comment by Noire Dire — June 1, 2006 @ 2:15 pm

  63. I’m fairly bored with blogs these days. Everyone says the same thing: heartbreaks, cheaters, cooler-than-thou, weird cultural references, good or bad restos, or auntie mamie advice, etc etc etc.

    At first I thought blogging changed my life. Then I took my life back.

    I also think that blogging takes away from real writing. It’s a polemic that many people are all up at arms about, but, speaking from personal experience, the more you blog, the less you live, the less you think outside of yourself (that means not looking at yourself all the time), and the more dependant you become on something that was just a hobby and has now turned into a screaming toothing one year-old. Real writers seem to be more interested in other people than they are in themselves, otherwise all those Hollywood monsters would be the greatest writers in the world.

    Blogging makes people think they’re actually doing something with their lives when really they’re just bored and feeling unimportant.

    Fudge, that was long.

    Comment by nardac — June 1, 2006 @ 2:30 pm

  64. it has. it helped to work out such a necessery thing as self-irony. writing and then reading it, I don’t feel so miserable as I would have felt before, sticking too much to the dark colours of life

    Comment by Mezzanotte — June 1, 2006 @ 2:36 pm

  65. Yes, I have noticed a difference in the way I think about things I am going to post.

    Comment by angela — June 1, 2006 @ 2:53 pm

  66. In this “log”, you explore the way your blog activity has changed you. I have to say that I’m not a blogger nor a fictional writer, and I have never written any diary. So, as I can’t speak about me and my experience, I’m going to turn to my favourite subject in your comment box, that is you.
    Since the very first time I read your blog, I have the feeling that you have always contemplated it, consciously or not, as a writing workshop. As a writer, I would say you belongs to the vast category of those whom work aims to go deeper in the inner knowledge of the human nature. More precisely, I would put you in the tribe of those who have chosen themselves as the subject to expose, albeit your way still oscillates between the diary and a more analytical introspective form (a way that would lead you, if you are really interested to go “closer to some sort of truth”, to something autobiographical in a vein like « l’âge d’homme » from Leiris). In that sense, this blog was bound to change you (“know you yourself” used to say Socrates).
    Now, the sensations that your choices can be more and more “affected by the fact that [you] will feel compelled to spin webs of words around them afterwards” or that “feelings, whether of pleasure or of pain, become artificially intensified by the very fact of groping for les mots justes with which to pin them down” are perhaps signs you are turning professional writer in the sense you devote quite a large amount of your thoughts (if not your time) to your writing work (a sort of new case of girl with a one-track mind).
    Perhaps, the thing that could help you, if any!, would be you to clarify the kind of “truth” you want to elucidate in your writing work.

    Comment by coutho — June 1, 2006 @ 4:03 pm

  67. I don’t blog but I can well empathise with your predicament, Petite Anglaise.
    From the moment I was born, it’s been “Trevor, this” and “Trevor, that”.
    I’ve become the shadow of the person I would have been if my life didn’t come down to just a relentless fucking exercise in pleasing other people. It sickens me!

    Comment by Trevor — June 1, 2006 @ 4:38 pm

  68. I agree with Nardac. Most blogging takes away from writing. Although a few bloggers, like Petite, do write well and do develop through the medium.

    Comment by Past Tense — June 1, 2006 @ 5:08 pm

  69. Yes, writing my blog has changed me, in a very positive way. I don’t exactly write anonymously because I do link between my blog and my “real” websites for my writing and web desigin businesses, so as a writer my blog has challenged me to walk the line of “edgy” writing. I constantly have to ask myself just how far off the diving board do I want to go when I write, knowing that family and friends may be watching, and might be offended by something I write? What if my writing or web design clients take the time to look at the blog (I do link to it from my business home page) and if I write about them will they notice? How do I walk that fence between my natural inclination to spill my guts indiscriminately to a global audience in the interest of being “totally candid”… and exercising some sense of restraint so as not to burn bridges?

    Writers have a tendency to self-censor anyway, but I know that the blogs I enjoy READING the most are those where there is little self-censorship going on — whether or not the blog is written anonymously. The less we censor ourselves, the better our writing.

    My decision to blog non-anonymously was a conscious choice, because I thought it might someday help me establish name-recognition and credibility as a writer. But like all writers who decide to both tell the truth and “go public”, I knew there might be a back-lash if I didn’t self-censor at least a little bit. So this past 16 months of blogging has really been a great exercise for me of balancing between creativity, wanting to tell the entire and sometimes ugly truth (it’s like therapy), and trying to be sensitive to the feelings of others. It ain’t easy.

    Comment by The Bold Soul — June 1, 2006 @ 6:19 pm

  70. Nardac, you’re the first person I’ve come across outside Enid Blyton stories that can use the word ‘fudge’ like that…a rare breed indeed! Cripes, old girl, do you play hockey by any chance?
    :) Golly, wish real swearing like that would make a comeback…much more fun!

    Comment by Lucy-Jane — June 1, 2006 @ 6:38 pm

  71. Trevor, know *exactly* what you mean. The other day I was unpleasant to someone just to prove that I can. It was wonderful! I.am.not.nice.

    Comment by Lucy-Jane — June 1, 2006 @ 6:43 pm

  72. I’ve found blogging useful. To be able to look back at times and see how I was feeling what I was doing at a time is great. I don’t have a big readership or lots of comments and I think that is better, for me anyway. When I do write really personal stuff mostly no-one comments but I know they read it. I know that I get more readers when i am unhappy and going through shit than when I am happy. Maybe you should take some time out and blog is a less watched place? I don’t know though, I’ve never been able to do that. I like my audience, the friends I’ve made through blogging, the people who know my history. I don’t care that people may read my blog and see a snapshot of my life now and think I’m dull. When I do care, but not enough to leave my three years of archive up. I think it is quite normal for a blogger to be thinking ‘how will I write about this’ even at the most inappropriate times, it’s normal, not sure it is right though.

    Comment by Tavia — June 1, 2006 @ 6:45 pm

  73. I started mine after I found a link to Vitriolica’s blog on the BBC Website after the London bombs. I liked her art and decided to start my own blog Screamers, a mish-mash of all sorts…

    I think it became a daily challenge to find out what would make people tick rather than the content of the blog itself…

    I went through feel-good posts to funny, informative, crap, personal… and I honestly feel that blogging has opened my eyes to reality…

    I’m forever thinking about ways to move on with my thoughts, my life, my procrastination…
    My blog has become my mirror…Shite when I’m feeling down and bloody amazing when I’m riding high!

    I have *met* many interesting people in this last year and wouldn’t change it for the world! The genuine readers are just reciprocating my daily visits to their own blogs… It’s like correspondence without the strings!
    I only talk if I have anything to say and I only listen if I want to hear…
    No pressure!

    So, I shall be blogging for a long time to come…

    Comment by Cream — June 1, 2006 @ 7:00 pm

  74. Nardac: By that same token, do writers in general feel unimportant…bored? How can a particular blog be any different from writing a memoir? (Namely blogs that serve the purpose of a memoir, that is)

    While I think your point is sometimes applicable, I don’t think that’s the case for all blogs, or even most. I’ve seen blogs that document a child’s growth, a family’s excursions, (most recently) a woman’s recovery from breast cancer, a writer’s attempt to develop their craft…

    The blogs that I see that fit the bill of what you’ve described are (for me, at least) far and few. Perhaps I’m just extremely selective about the blogs I read. I only read a handful.

    But, even scrolling through the Blogger blogroll, I find just as many meaningful blogs as those that are simply for fun and perhaps produced by bored teens.

    Comment by Dina — June 1, 2006 @ 7:08 pm

  75. Most certainly… I strive to become a better person, because I don’t want to write anything in my blog that I’m ashamed of having done… it has held my tongue in many times. The fact that my blog is read almost entirely by people I know, from many different walks of life, holds me accountable and real.

    And then, there’s always the review when I look back over my blog, and I can see what I’ve done, and what I’ve been thinking about. It’s always interesting to realize how much I’ve changed in the times that I’ve been keeping the blog, and to remind myself of old times.

    If nothing else, I love it for the memories… It will certainly be something that I keep for 20,30 years down the road, to look back over and remember. That’s worth it for me.

    Comment by Emma Catherine — June 1, 2006 @ 7:16 pm

  76. Yep

    Comment by andre — June 1, 2006 @ 7:27 pm

  77. Excuse me darlings, was out of the room for a while there.
    Anyway Petite, it’s true that you are really you but nobody knew that before they met you.
    And now there’ll be a stampede at the next blogmeet. Sorry

    Comment by Flighty — June 1, 2006 @ 7:55 pm

  78. Well I think we can conclude that on the whole all you bloggers have verbal diarrhoea (of the written form). Look at the length of all those comments.

    Comment by Mancunian Lass — June 1, 2006 @ 9:11 pm

  79. I’ve been reading your blog for a short time now, and now that there has been a question posed to me, I feel the need to comment.

    I’ve been blogging for about 2.5 years, and I agree with the others who have admitted their journals have changed them. In my case however, I don’t think I’ve been changed drastically. I’ve always been a fairly observant, reflective person, and this journal just gave me the outlet to ponder more things, and to put my thoughts into coherent sentences and paragraphs instead of loose partial thoughts swimming in my head.

    Of course there have been other, less introspective changes. For instance I’ve met and/or become close to a number of people through my blog that I otherwise wouldn’t have.

    But then I start to wonder whether it’s the blog that precipitated these changes, or just my own personal evolution? A bigger question to ponder there…

    – Meg

    Comment by maggieoshannon — June 1, 2006 @ 9:40 pm

  80. Yes, well, ask any blogger about a) blogging and b) themselves and you probably wish you had earplugs.

    It’s our two specialist subjects.

    I have a third: poop.

    Comment by petite — June 1, 2006 @ 9:41 pm

  81. lol. verbal diarrhea and poop. covers both ends.

    i guess a lot of us want to be heard & feel good knowing that people care enough about our little ol’ selves to revisit our sites faihtfully. and well, i can say that the possibility of 15 minutes of fame on the internet is an appealing little side dish. in a way, i find it emotionally comforting to blog, and that makes blogging such a natural coping mechanism during confusing life periods. i speak for myself.

    Comment by Nancy — June 1, 2006 @ 9:56 pm

  82. “I have a third: poop.”

    I’ll pass the diapers………

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — June 1, 2006 @ 10:07 pm

  83. I’ve just been re-reading through the posts and am fascinated by the notion ‘aren’t you worried about lurkers knowing your intimate details’

    i’ve gotta say, i’m more worried about letting slip things that my friends don’t know/shouldn’t know !!

    As for complete strangers knowing things about me on a personal level – it doesn’t bother me; they are and will remain strangers.

    I think you’ve got to be ‘blindé’ to a certain extent to even think about starting a blog – if you worry (i mean really worry) about what others might think: i would suggest don’t even start blogging.

    As i said before – whoaha 2 postings on one thread :) – there are somethings that for now, i wouldn’t write about; there are things that are all still too ‘fresh’.

    I look at it all as being a bit like “Kilroy woz ‘ere” for the twenty-hundreds

    Comment by Damiel — June 1, 2006 @ 11:52 pm

  84. I attempted to start a blog and it didn’t take. I am not a writer and I kept wondering what on earth I would say so that others wouldn’t be bored while reading. So I decided that wasn’t the way to do it and gave up.

    I think that you, petite, write for many great reasons…to reflect, to process, for amusement. Take more breaks if you need them. I hope that you continue to write for you, no matter what the comments box says and who gives “input” on what your blog should be or say.

    Comment by NicoleH — June 2, 2006 @ 4:12 am

  85. FYI Damiel,
    We don’t say twenty-hundreds, we say ‘the noughties’
    Apt in a Petite context, dontcha think?

    Comment by Flighty — June 2, 2006 @ 10:02 am

  86. Euhhhm .. flghty bébé, whilst i’m not adept at point scoring, néanmoins, we do tend to say ‘the nineteen hundreds’ n’est-ce-pas ?? … that must surly be quinze partout service à suivre ;-)

    Comment by Damiel — June 3, 2006 @ 1:29 am

  87. In the extremely unlikely event that anyone other than Ms. Anglaise reads this, I’ve taken the liberty of posing her question on my own blog. The link is here

    http://blogmeridian.blogspot.com/2006/06/are-you-this-way-because-you-blog-or.html

    I’ve received some thoughtful responses, and other readers have posted replies on their own blogs.

    You have a meme on your hands, methinks, Ms. Anglaise.

    Comment by John B. — June 3, 2006 @ 2:40 pm

  88. Dear Petite,

    I often worry about you (a gauge of your success) because even though you are such a wonderful writer, you are so honest that I wonder how a man worth being with will ever want to be on your page.

    My children read my blog (after one of them discovered it by accident while googling “eurotrash”), but no one else even knows about it, and I like it that way. I have been keeping a journal since I was nine, so I don’t find that blogging has changed me. Writing stuff down does, of course. But then I wouldn’t dare to write about my private and family life in public the way you do, even though it certainly increases the audience for your blog. I feel hypocritical because it is your honesty that makes it interesting.

    You are welcome to delete all or part of this comment if you like.

    Comment by Sedulia — June 5, 2006 @ 2:32 pm

  89. I think a fellow blogger would do nicely.

    But I am capable of self-censorship where necessary.

    And some people I have met recently simply prefer not to read it, and to get to know me offline instead. (Remarkable self-control, I’d never be able to resist, personally…)

    Comment by petite — June 5, 2006 @ 2:44 pm

  90. My blog hasn’t changed me at all. It’s really just for light relief – nicely superficial and doesn’t require any soul-searching whatsoever, thank goodness. I do agree with Sam about the photo thing tho’. I’ve started taking a LOT more pics since I started blogging (largely just to fill up the space) and have actually improved massively!

    Comment by rhino75 — June 5, 2006 @ 3:24 pm

  91. Yes.
    I keep an online diary. Other people read it. Because they read it I try to spend some time making sure my spelling is better than usual. I worry about my poor sense of punctuation.
    I also find myself sitting bolt upright more often wishing for a scrap of paper before a thought disappears.

    Comment by meredic — June 5, 2006 @ 3:34 pm

  92. I know what you mean.

    After I caught the blogging bug, I felt compelled to go out and do more, just so I would have more interesting entries.

    Soon I had to do something blog-worthy every weekend. It was exhausting.

    Now I have to tell myself that good writers can make the most mundane experiences interesting.

    By the way, I adore your blog. I’ve been a lurker for a long time.

    Comment by Pia — June 6, 2006 @ 2:46 am

  93. I’ve very recently started writing a blog, and I have to say that, so far, it has really helped me to channel and categorise my thoughts. But at the same time, I have become a little obsessed with what I want to say and which words I should use etc. even though I don’t have anyone reading it yet.

    It has become my secret hobby – none of my friends know about it, not even my boyfriend. I guess I am a little scared that people will judge me or think I am being pretentious or sappy, but I feel the whole process is helping to remind me that there ARE people like me in the big wide world!

    So, for now, my blogging will remain anonymous. Maybe I will share the secret when I feel more confident about what I have to say, and when I realise my words have not been written in vain!

    Comment by embrouillamini — June 6, 2006 @ 2:13 pm

  94. I think a frequent misconception with blogs is that most assume that someone is blogging for an audience. In fact, many people are simply utilizing the computer as a method of keeping a journal…as opposed to writing down their thoughts.

    I, personally, find it easier to type out my thoughts, as opposed to writing them down. It saves paper, I type quickly, so I can type my thoughts as they come…it would be a lot slower and harder to keep up with my thoughts if I had to write them by hand.

    As far as spell-checking, a blogger’s literary eloquence..etc. I think we should remember that bloggers don’t necessarily need to be eloquent or articulate. They simply need to write in the voice and method that is most appealing and convenient to them.

    Unless of course you’re writing as a precursor to a book or what have you.

    I just think it’s funny when I read comments from people stating how inadequate, poorly written, boring blogs are. I would never read someone’s journal, and then complain that they’re writing is poor. lol

    I guess the difference is the assumption that a person wants to keep a hard-copy journal private; and the assumption that a blogger wants to write for an audience or a reader, other than him/herself.

    Comment by Dina — June 6, 2006 @ 5:11 pm

  95. ummm Dina – that thing about bloggers not really looking for an audience. I suppose I might think that were true if it weren’t for the fact that no-one forces a blogger to make their writing public!

    If it was just that typing is easier than writing then why not just keep it on your own hard-drive? Or carry it around on a USB stick? Why inflict incoherent ramblings on the unsuspecting googling public? I suspect its cos all bloggers secretly imagine that their wondrous words will be picked up by a roaming publisher. Kind of the literary equivalent of the school-girls who sing at the back of the bus hoping a talent scout just happens to be sat at the front!

    Comment by Mungo — June 6, 2006 @ 9:56 pm

  96. Hmm, a bit harsh there Mungo. That might be the case for some, but it’s also a way of keeping in touch with people. I live in France but most of my family is in the UK and I’ve got friends all over the world, and the blog is an easy way of keeping in touch. I get enough public acclaim from my day-job, thanks!

    Comment by rhino75 — June 7, 2006 @ 3:24 pm

  97. Rhino – you’re proving Mungo’s point. Your audience may be your family but they still count as an audience! I very much doubt that anyone publishes a blog without even a very small part of them wanting someone to read it.

    Although Mungo may be wrong in suspecting all bloggers of covertly looking for a book deal. Although the idea of an X-factor style Blog competition is appealing…With a book deal as a prize…I think I’ve been watching too much This Morning.

    Comment by hmmm — June 7, 2006 @ 4:00 pm

  98. Mungo: I, for example, keep my blog private. It would never occur to me to keep my journal on a hard drive or USB stick, not only because it’s not aesthetically pleasing, takes up valuable space, or requires money…but because I simply want to use a blog to do it. It’s more convenient, free, and it’s my choice (or anyone else’s for that matter).

    I think that when you say that all bloggers secretly covet a book deal in the end, that you are simply speaking for yourself and perhaps your circle of fellow bloggers.

    Hmmm: Even though Rhino blogs to keep in touch with family, I don’t feel that he’s reinforcing Mungo’s point. Mungo is speaking of the general public, and an earlier comment posted here pointed to blogs in general that they happen upon. If someone’s writing on a blog that’s family-oriented to keep their family abreast of their situation, I wouldn’t expect it to be written artfully…I feel silly even writing that. It seems obvious to me…

    I just think it’s ridiculous that people are expecting Hemmingway, Camus, or Neruda from a blog. THEY’RE BLOGS! lol The Nerudas and Hemmingways of the blogosphere are far and few! If that’s someone’s expectations from a blog, then they’re setting themselves up for a large degree of disappointment.

    Comment by Dina — June 7, 2006 @ 5:37 pm

  99. Dina – lovely to have a dialogue with you! Just one teeny point I think you may be confusing your private blog which seeks no audience with the three billion public blogs out there that do! Oh the common error of imagining the whole world sees everything from our own very dear but blinkered perspective! Adios as they say…

    Comment by Mungo — June 7, 2006 @ 8:09 pm

  100. Mungo: I used myself as an example to state that your reasoning was flawed. This was your earlier comment: “I suspect its cos all bloggers secretly imagine that their wondrous words will be picked up by a roaming publisher.”

    I offered myself as an example to state that your reasoning is flawed. “All bloggers” do not secretly imagine being published.

    It was not to state that the whole world sees things as I do. It was to state that your reasoning, your sweeping statement, was obviously untrue. Hence, I offered myself as an example. Hopefully, that’s understood.

    Comment by Dina — June 7, 2006 @ 8:26 pm


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