Monday, October 26, 2015

Caveat lector

Blogging has changed a lot since I started doing it ten years ago. Back then, most of my readers were regulars – the same handful of people who made the rounds of the same blogs I was reading. We had continuing interaction and conversation in a variety of locations on a variety of subjects. At that time, in most cases, it was safe to assume that people reading one of my posts had read other posts of mine as well.

Not so anymore.

Social media has changed the nature of blogging. If I want anyone to know I have a new post up, I pretty much have to post the link on my blog’s Facebook page. (I guess I could tweet it, if I didn’t loathe Twitter so much.) Once the link has made its way into social media, it takes on a life of its own. It gets posted elsewhere, people see that a friend has “liked” it, and they click to see what it is - and suddenly a large number of my readers are reading a single post in isolation, without any context about me, my writing, or my life.

This isn’t a complaint. It’s just an acknowledgement of a new dynamic – a new reality.

Back when despite being on the internet, the blog felt more insular, I did a lot of meta-communcation – writing about writing, blogging about blogging. I did a lot of deconstructing – reminding people of what I was not writing, and why. I’m guessing that many of my current readers haven’t read most of that writing, and so, here is a bit of a recap, ten years on.

1. Everything I write is true, but there are many truths that I don’t write about.
Everything you read on the blog has actually happened. If I say that Bud did something, you can count on the fact that he did it. But there are many, many, many things that happen in our lives that do not, and will not ever, make it on to the blog. They’re private.

2. If you only know Bud from the blog, then you don’t know Bud.
See #1. Here on the blog, you are getting a glimpse into a portion of who Bud is. He has greater dimension and more complexity and, I’m certain, he is far more interesting in real life than he is on the blog. Please do not make assumptions about his “level of functioning” (whatever that is) based on what you read here.

3. I make no attempt to universalize my experience or Bud’s experience.
As the saying goes, “if you know one person with autism, you know one person with autism.” I can only speak to my own experience, and I am not suggesting that your experience (if you have a child with autism) will look anything like it. As is true with every other element of the human experience, your mileage may vary.

4. If it sounds like I’m telling you what to do, it’s because I haven’t written it well.
This blog is not a “how to.” I don’t give parenting advice and I try hard not to be prescriptive. Anything here that sounds like parenting advice is reflective of my inability to phrase my story well, and not of my intention to tell you what to do. I don't pretend to have the answers.

5. I won’t apologize for being positive.
I am not trying to “whitewash autism” (and I apologize for the use of that phrase, but it’s the one I keep reading in the current press). My blog has a focus on the positive, because that is who I am. My life off-blog also has a focus on the positive, despite the fact that I have experienced some really heartbreaking things. If I were a different sort of person, I could write a different sort of blog, which would be equally true. (See #1 above.)  But I'm glad that I'm not, and that I don't.

So, there you have it. Caveat lector. Let the reader beware. Remember that anyone with a computer and an internet connection can write a blog. I’m just a person who loves her son and wants to share some pieces of her story.

Your mileage may vary.


Haley said...

Go you! I love you! Number 2 is so true (as are the other numbers). <3

zen said...

I hope you aren't getting a lot of nitpicky, aggressive comments. :( Please know that most of us really love your blog and that the people who don't like it, don't matter. You keep on doing your blog the way you want to.

Donna S. said...

Yes yes yes. Keep blogging about whatever/whenever/however works for you and Bud - those of us who appreciate you and what you share will get it, and be encouraged by it. The rest is just noise.

Anonymous said...

I loved your recent post about The Wiggles and have shared your hair dryer kid series with so many parents in recent years. I'm grateful to have found your blog when I was anxiously researching PDD-NOS three and a half years ago. I love the positive focus but then again over the years I've learned to embrace neurodiversity; so I think that doesn't mean "whitewashing" the tough stuff. I think the positive focus online is better for my kid and others like her so THANK YOU for sharing your perspective with us! -- D.C.

Kaethe said...

I should say how pleased I am to have you back.

angela said...

Acabo de encontrar su blog en medio de este mar de frases, palabras y textos escritos inspirados en tantos chicos. Y me encanta la advertencia que la entiendo totalmente porque soy escritora de un blog inspirado en mi hijo con autismo. Y me identifico con lo que usted escribe. Gracias.

Ami said...

I've missed reading your blog. When all the google reader stuff stopped working and life got incredibly busy for me I stopped reading quite a few of them. Still wrote on mine, though.

Thanks for continuing to share Bud with the world. I know we corresponded a bit about it, but I wanted to let you know that your understanding of your son and your willingness to share ideas has helped me tremendously in my work with children.