But, I don't like the blog prompt at NaBloPoMo today.
The prompt is: Has anything traumatic ever happened to you? Describe the scenes.
And my first thought on this is um, No. Just. No. Stop. Don't write it.
Blogs should not be train wrecks. Even if our lives sometimes are, the blogs don't need to be.
I read the prompt, early today, they come to me on my Twitter, so I often see them before I even get out of bed. Yes. I am one of those people. My phone is my alarm and I shut it off then roll over and scan my emails, Tweets and the ever insane Facebook. And yes. I'm aware it's not good for me. Instant media over dosing and all of that. I am completely aware. But I am an adult and if I want that to be my cigarette, then so be it, there is no second hand smoke to poison you, so leave me be. The point here though, was that I get the prompt right away and begin thinking before I'm out of my bed.
This prompt brought a particularly strong reaction and made me take notice. I usually find them to be interesting, often thought provoking, which is good. It means they are doing their job. And quite frankly, making my blogging job just that much easier.
My second thought about this prompt, after NO, NO, NO, NO, NO.....was a very conscious decision that I was not going to be stopping over at BlogHer today to read these. I don't want to. This is not the kind of blogging I want to read.
There was a post at BlogHer and a blog I read yesterday about empathy and that is a powerful thing, a powerful way to let our blogging lives change us hopefully for the better, hopefully in a way that shrinks the world down into an actual community made up of people who can simply recognize the humanity in each other. Wow. That would go a long way, don't you think?
But what about this trauma prompt? Why am I having such an intense backlash to it?
I think it's this.
All lives have trauma. Each one of us defines it differently. But if we spend even a single writing day focused on it, a single day of reading page after page of it, we're going to come out tainted and jaded and dark. Most of us will write these stories of our lives and our traumas, with the writers or story tellers dramatic flair. We will dwell on the drama and the pain. We will one up each other in the very gore of our lives.
Very few of us will write tales of inspiration, courage, faith, determination or the will to overcome. These will not feel like stories that build us up and encourage us to push each other along in this life. They will be overwhelming stories of sadness, loss and destruction.
I don't say these things as a woman without trauma scenes to write about in my own life. I've had the baby in the NICU. I've had the accidents that literally changed my face forever. I've made choices that were devastatingly bad. I've walked away from a car wreck that was mind boggling. I've lost people in my life that I never thought I could let go of. I've been down the money path. I've had the health scare. I could go on and on and on.
But that's not the point.
We all have those laundry lists in our lives if we really stop to look for them. Everyone has trauma of some sort in their lives.
But who wants to read it?
That's where we lose the fine line between a blog and a personal journal. You all know exactly what I'm talking about. It's the same reason you hide some of your friends on your Facebook, because you can't stand to read one more day of drivel. It's not fun or interesting or challenging or value adding to read a whole day's worth of: "Guess what? I woke up, peed and showered." "Now, I'm having cereal with milk." "It's time to take a dump." "I need another cup of coffee." And on and on and on.
You know exactly what I'm talking about. You skip over those blogs too. The ones that are just a long personal journal of I did the laundry and we had fish sticks for dinner, the kids did their homework and watched TV, then we went to bed. Day after day after mind numbing day. You stop reading those. Even when it's your real life friend.
Now, for most bloggers, not the professional work blogs, just the average one, our lives absolutely bleed into our writing. Our lives are where all the thoughts begin. Experiences are what tweak our thoughts and opinions.
And that my friends, is what I like to read. It's what I like to write. I want to be a little challenged or up ended by someone's thoughts and opinions. I want you to be a little side stepped by mine.
I want to read a blog and think. I do not want to read them and have it simply be a train wreck experience of one up-ing drama that is so overwhelming I can't look away from it.
And maybe I'm completely wrong here. Maybe there will be a zillion new blog posts today filled with courage and inspiration and thoughts.
If you find some of those today, leave a link in the comments. We could all use to read those kinds of posts and it's always good to be corrected when I'm wrong.