When I walked last night at our local "man-made lake with a sidewalk around it" town park, one town over, I felt at home, in the way that I always feel at home at a few local places I frequently visit. I saw a flock of geese, just a few feet above the water, flying in formation, looking just *so right* as they transited the small lakeway. I walked under trees intermittently shading the trail, creating that dappled light effect. The changing of the seasons appeals to me, that feeling that things move on, improve, worsen, correct, defy correction. I like that sense that things are happening, and that the cycles are moving.
I've spent a few weeks just keeping the proverbial jeep out of the metaphoric work potholes. The worst seems to be over now, and things besides work seem to also be coming into focus. But as the seasons move on, I feel the need to make sea changes myself. I see myself as caught in a few ruts. Most of them are comfortable ruts, that I would not change for love or money. A few, though, are ruts I no longer wish to inhabit. I have seen their contours, and they get boring after a while.
I posited some months ago how every journal features only so many "themes". The "themes" of my own journal lately seem to repeat over and over. That's okay--this journal is "really" an exercise for me rather than a real "media resource" for my readers. The interactions are just an appealing bonus. But I want to begin using the journal again for some of the self-monitoring things for which I think a journal can be ideal fodder. I've begun doing more creative writing since I've been doing a journal, and I want to resume that groove. I've always been intrigued by the way the Puritans, who believed that salvation came only to the Elect, nonetheless journaled like mad, seemingly to prove to themselves they had been "elected". I love, and sometimes practice, the idea of using a written record to make sure I am actually doing what in theory I wish to do. I went to this cool seminar once, off-putting in just the right way, and yet somehow inspiring, about how to use a Franklin DayPlanner, of all things, as a life's mission handbook. I practiced that for months, finally stopped pencilling it in, but I loved that idea of journal-as-mission-statement. I want to begin using my weblog journal once more as a similar divining rod. Of course, this raises the age old water wizard question: am I hitting water, really, or am I just wandering the field with a crooked stick?
I have, since I came to understand the concept of a "friends list", generally felt that the whole "friends list" thing was a cool software convenience, but not something that really "mattered" on an interpersonal level. I guess I reached that conclusion because I have always followed a few journals that I never add to my "friends" list, and I have yet to use the "friends only" feature of my own journal. Thus, I refer to the "friends list" as a software convenience rather than an emotional thing--people write to me about my journal once in a great while who are not even on LJ, and I read journals frequently about which I never comment. Even among my friends' list journals, I read almost every one, but sometimes neglect to comment because I just have so little to say. I don't usually add or drop as "commentary" on a journal, even when I am disquieted or intrigued by its comment, although sometimes I'll ask if I can add one I like. In the past, when people have dropped me, I just assumed that they did not want to see mine pop up on their list, and that's cool. "I'm an acquired taste"
is the way I see myself, and I don't mind if someone loses the taste to fiddle with my over-eager and over-pretentious posting. I also don't mind that a few folks on my friends' list don't really wade through all the junk in my journal, but we keep each other as friends because it's nice to post a comment here or there once in a while. I love my former friend appledumpling, who consistently alternated between here and a Deadjournal weblog, and then promptly deleted her Live Journal soon after pronouncing that she had realized it was the only journal for her after all. I find a delicious and appealing consistency in utterly inexplicable and irrelevant inconsistency.
In this context, I am intrigued that it matters to me, just a little, that in the last 6 weeks, I've been dropped by three folks. My feelings aren't really hurt, so to speak, because in 2 instances the deletions made complete sense to me. Two journals are people who are entirely dissimilar to me, and whose journals had taken turns in which I found it hard to comment, because in each case the journalist had taken radical turns into places about which I had very little to comment upon. I love that many of my LJ friends are so exotic to my suburban ways, what with living in different places and living very different lives. So I don't mind, and actually enjoy it, if someone is just A to Z different than I am. But when people are aggressively negative in certain ways, which it would be too much trouble to spell out here, I just can't relate, and any comment I made might seem somehow less than fully appreciative of the journalist's points. I don't delete such journalists from my friends' list, but I follow my grandmother's precept about saying nice things or no things in such instances. With journals with which I can relate, but I just disagree, of course, I try to respectfully put forward my position to the contrary, perhaps to an extent that might be almost pedantic :). Of course, a few journals I love to read each day I never comment upon, which might be poor manners, but I just love the flow, I don't really have anything to say.
As to the two folks who "just" dropped me, both were people whose journals I had not commented much on lately, and who had not commented on mine in a long while. I completely "got" the reason that I was no longer worth keeping on their friends list. As to the third recent one, it was a bit more complex, and I was actually dropped one day after a comment from that person who much they enjoyed reading my journal. I searched for some faux pas I had committed, but did not see it. I reluctantly had to conclude that I was completely clueless on the issue--not that cluelessness on interpersonal matters is strange ground to me.
The point I'm making here is not "ohmygosh, I've been dropped", because, really, anyone should be able to add or drop as they please. I can think offhand of 3 journals I really like that I don't have any plans to add, because I think it's kind of fun to read them sporadically. I can think of 1 journal I used to read pretty often, without any thought of adding, because a comment I made once got a rather frosty response, leaving me more comfortable as a silent reader than a vocal one. That journalist, by the way, just posted a melodramatic post about "moving on" but leaving the journal as some fossil record, to be savored by friends left behind. I have dropped one or two journals, usually "second" journals or communities which considered material I found objectionable on one basis or another--it doesn't really matter why, as my definitions of "objectionable" would differ from others'.
I have been dropped by folks whose reasons for dropping me made perfect sense, and, really, what would it matter if it didn't make sense? LiveJournal friends' lists should not be some personal approval rating. Indeed, I rather like my persistent insightful anonymous poster, because although the insight the poster has suggests to me that the poster may even be a friend of mine who prefers anonymity, I am cool if that person is an entire stranger, and I sure don't mind if I never know just who reads and why.
But for all the "shoulds" and "oughts" and "haves" and "have nots" and "oh, yes" and "oh, no" of this post, I am left with the fundamental fact that this whole issue of friends' list is important enough for me to write this whole post about it. I think about the interaction with friends list friends and with others. I worry a bit if my comment was callous, and revel a bit if an exchange indicates connection. That's all cool, more or less--surely it's part of the LJ experience. But I get wary of the importance I attach to things. I wonder sometimes if I should be more mindful, and thus, seemingly paradoxically, mind less about such things.
It is curious, though, that LJ now seems an important feature of my life. Eight months ago, I barely understood the weblog concept, although message boards could serve some similar functions. I now feel connected to people I may never meet. I now feel aware of things I never thought about before I signed onto LJ. Sometimes it matters enough to me that I want to use LJ as a device to transform my whole life--a giant DayPlanner of the soul. Sometimes it matters enough I want to delete LJ. I don't write this post to make some bold pronouncement. But I notice that this particular goose now seems to have to fly on LJ, and what an odd thing this weblogging has proven to be :).