Monday, November 18, 2013

BEFORE I FORGET



Sometimes we read or hear something that answers a question we haven't honestly considered. 

I recently read  Before I Forget, by Leonard Pitts.  I was able to get it free as a teaser.   Sorry but now if you are interested, it is full price.  It may be at your libraries?  




I really found the book interesting and was caught up in the story on two fronts.

First thing that hooked me was that the fictional story centers around a 49 year old, 70's soul singer who is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimers. As my being of the age where memory loss is more of a probability than a possibility, the premise peaked my interest. I curiously wanted to read about this slide into oblivion that faces so many of us with out-of-warranty mileage on our brains. That story line made me punch "buy now". 

But the story is way more than a journey into Alzheimers. It takes one into the lives of three generations of black men who had no father to count on and how they passed the same legacy of loss on to the next generation.   The men are quite different but produce similar inherit patterns in their offspring. None have any idea how to be a father. 

Second. it took me into a culture that I only had vague, media fueled conceptions about and certainly no real understanding. Mr. Pitts took me into the bleak soul of the young black men who feel there is no hope for success unless they grab it by what ever means available.  Neither legality nor morality is a consideration. 

I felt little compassion for the hardened thugs in his story, yet felt so much for the few who tried to break the mold. It is  far from a feel good story, but I feel a worthwhile read.

November 20th. I just saw where Leonard Pitts book "Freeman" is being briefly offered free on Amazon for Kindle. Not sure how long it will remain free. I snapped it up. It is about slavery after the Civil War. You can check here.

Oddly, the title alone is what answered that question I hadn't really properly answered before.  "Why did you become a blogger" is a question posed often by fellow bloggers.   

Suddenly, as clear as day, "before I forget" was the answer I wasn't aware of seeking. I think I am so far free from Alzheimers (I satisfactorily passed the peanut butter test) but age makes memory a slippery slope for all of us and can't be taken for granted.  I think originally I wanted to record what I know--- before I forgot or was forgotten.

When I first started blogging, I was just a story teller , relating past segments of my life and my ancestors' lives that I thought interesting or funny that few, even some of my family, were not aware. My target audience was my next of kin. Interestingly, only one family member reads my blog. Thanks Jan for hanging in. 

There were the family history and events I wanted to get into print for future generations. There aren't many of us left who know the stories, some I am not even sure of. Being too lazy to write a novel, I found Blogging the perfect answer. Snippets of familia history, plus a record of a mostly fun life slowly slipping  away were the meat of my blog. My desire was to lock them into the permanency of the Internet--- how perfect. 

However, I am finding that the reason I started to blog is no longer the same reason I keep it up. While I originally started as a record keeper, most of those stories have long been told and were thankfully posted "before I forgot."  

I now blog almost purely for the social aspect. I really enjoy the interactions with my fellow bloggers from all over the US, different countries and from all walks of life. People I would not normally have met.

Five years later, I am no longer racing the memory thieves but just enjoying daily visits with interesting friends that you don't have to get out of your pajamas to share lives with and care about. Gotta love it. 

Do you blog now for the same reason you started??


35 comments :

  1. When Denny and I first started our full time RVing adventure I discovered I was writing the same email about our daily adventures over and over to a variety of people. Once I discovered blogging it was an "ah ha!" moment. No more retyping the same tale of our adventures multiple times; I just had to notify friends and family of the blog. Mostly it was for my mother who, it turns out, didn't read it anyway as she preferred the more personal emails from me. Then the blog became a bit of a personal journal/memory jogger/sharing of favorite places/habit. Now that we've left the vagabond life I don't feel the urge to share although I'm trying to get back to it,when I think I have something to share.

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  2. This is a very timely post. Yesterday I visited my original blog archives and posted an old one. It was from a time I basically wrote my journal entries online. Keeping a diary was my passion from childhood and my goddaughter introduced me to blogging when no one else knew what the heck it was. Like yours, mine has taken a less intense and emotional venue and is more social as I interact with new found blog friends from all over the world.

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  3. I started blogging at the encouragement of a friend who wanted to read ALL about every Broadway show I ever saw....OR any other Show Biz experiences of the "Golden Age of Broadway"....But I soon found I wanted to write about ALL sorts of other things, too----current and Historic....And that is still the case, though these days I am not writing very much at all----In a kind of Funk, I'm afraid....After more than eight years, I suppose these slumps are inevitable....! I'm hoping I will become inspired once again.
    But I am glad I wrote about certain things when I did, because having done that,I don't have to think about them so much anymore and they are here for as long as my blog exists....!

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  4. I started blogging because as a potter I was reading other potters' blogs and realized I might have a little bit to contribute.

    I live a fairly isolated life and blogging gives me a connection into the world. Where else would I have found you?

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  5. I started blogging for much the same reason as you did, and I've been extremely surprised at how connected I feel to many people all over the world. Many have become friends, some as close as family. I've purchased several items and read numerous books because of recommendations. Still got my salt light you pointed me towards! :-)

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  6. I had no concept of blogging when I started. My husband saw I loved to take photos and showed me how to put them on a website. Sometimes I would send the subjects of the photos the link with some commentary added. Today if I take a bunch of photos of someone I use Flickr.

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  7. I think you have captured the very essence of blogging perfectly.

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  8. And BTW--the peanut butter test is an amazing bit of news.

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  9. You have reviewed again, what sounds like another good read.
    The peanut butter test was news to me.
    As soon as I get up, I go to the Blog, Rhyme Time, by Pat Hatt and do my rhyme for the day. That is my little barometer for Alzheimers. If my rhyme still makes sense, I think I'm OK. Hahaha
    But seriously, I do.

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  10. I started out blogging as a way to record/remember my recipes but I know do it to keep tabs on my virtual friends at least in part. Between you and Maggie and Jenny, and a host of others, my life is definitely richer and more interesting!

    xxoo,

    RMW

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  11. We started blogging to have a journal of our new life up in Port Townsend, WA in late 2004. It quickly became a way to have social connections around the world. We loved it. Many of the early blogging buddies have stayed and have become Facebook friends. We prefer the blog to Facebook, though.

    Lately, the blog has served as a way for us to research things that have happened in the past 9 years that we have forgotten. It's been a fantastic way to "remember" what it was we liked about a certain place, or what we didn't.

    I'm noticing my ability to remember is changing. So, blogging has become even more important. We found a website blogbooker.com that will convert your entire blog into a PDF format. We now have it saved on a thumb-drive, in case blogger decides to go bye-bye. I highly recommend it, patti.

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  12. I started my blog as a way to write about my fear of being a bag lady, as I was close to leaving the workplace. Now, it's a combination of a diary of sorts and a way to connect with other bloggers, who have become my friends.

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  13. Hmmm--looks like an interesting book. I guess as we all get older, we do wonder a little about our memory.. My sweet mother-in-law developed some dementia problems before she died --and it was hard on everyone. I'm not sure there's anything worse than seeing a loved one with Alzheimer's.

    I started blogging to share my life and travels and experiences with family and friends…. BUT--like most people, most of my family and old friends do NOT even read my blog. That still bothers me --but it is what it is…

    These days, I blog mainly as a Journal --keeping track of our lives and travels. I enjoy writing and it's probably a good thing to write it down 'before I do forget'…. ha

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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  14. I just bought the book--it looks fascinating!! I started blogging because I was conned into it--now I blog because i LOVE it!!

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  15. Now I really want to read that book, too! Thanks so much for the recommendation!

    My reasons for blogging have changed a lot, too, in the three years I've had my blog. At first, it was because my literary agent urged me to because a blog is considered a part of a professional writer's "platform" these days. But, over time, as I got to know and care about other bloggers, my primary reason for blogging has been social -- getting to know and sharing tales of active older age with so many others. I'm at least as interested in reading others' posts and seeing how they and their families are doing as I am in writing my own posts.

    Even though my blog has brought me some professional advantages (I'll be posting something about that soon), what brings me to it day after day is connecting and reconnecting with my blogging friends!

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  16. My reasons haven't changed but I've only been at this for a little over two years. My goal was to create an audience for my storytelling. Like you, I do enjoy the fellow bloggers I've come in contact with.

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  17. Linda Braun,
    According to most of my blog buddies, few have family followers. Guess like your mom, it is too impersonal for them.
    I am glad to see you are blogging again. I missed you.

    Granny Annie,
    Possibly when we start getting comments from new people, our goals change and we get more involved in our followers.

    Naomi,
    I started following you for all the neat insights you have into the entertainment world. However, in time I got to know what a really special woman you are. I do hope your funk is brief. We all do get them.

    smartcat,
    And I am so glad you did. Isn't it so interesting how people we would normally never meet, cross paths and become blog buddies?

    Djan,
    It is amazing how we become involved in the lives of others through the Internet. We laugh with them, celebrate with them and feel their pain when it hurts. Amazing.
    Those lamps sure are cool aren't they?

    islandwonder,
    I am so glad John got you started. You really have a talent with a camera and I so enjoy your humor.

    Olga,
    Wasn't that peanut butter test interesting? Simple yet supposedly effective.

    Manzi,
    Hum, not sure I could rhyme with full capacity. Impressive. Stepping out of our zone is supposed to be great for the brain.Love simple tests that seem to work.

    RMW,
    Well you sure put me in good company. Thanks. You always make me hungry with your great recipes or ticked off by Dick's latest shenanigans. Someday he will get his and you will get what your should have long ago.

    robin,
    Blogging is great as a record to refer to. I use mine that way also.
    Thanks big time for the link to blogbooker. I will definitely check it out.

    Linda M.
    You are so far from a bag lady. Your have tackled retirement with intelligence and guns blazing.
    Love all the trips you take that you let us tag along are great.

    Betsy,
    Welcome to the almost no family readers blog club. Not very exclusive I fear.
    You and George are doing retirement right.
    You are so right about Alzheimers being brutal on the loved ones.

    fishducky,
    Oh, I hope you like it. I really did. Lucky for us that you were conned into blogging. You brighten my day.

    Dr. Kathy,
    Your blog is always such a wealth of sound, common sense approaches to everyday problems. Will be interested to see what those professional advantages are.

    Stephen,
    This really is a grand forum to tell stories isn't it? The instant feed back via comments is a huge plus.

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  18. I blog pretty much for the same reasons I started. I don't jot things down in a diary like I wish I'd done years ago. So it's kind of a journal of weekly (I'm not disciplined enough to write daily) happenings plus I'll occasionally write about something that happened in the past that I hope my children will appreciate some day. I kind of got away from that and need to do more of it.
    Secondly, I love taking pictures and it gives me a place to put a few of my favorites and also gives me the incentive to try to take better pictures.
    Another reason I enjoy blogging, is that I'm an introvert and blogging gives me the opportunity for being in touch with people without actually having to go out to meet them. I like to be with people once in a while, but as I get older, I make less an effort to do so.

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  19. I started because I heard you had to have a Platform to get published. I kept going because writing all the time made me worth publishing. If not, technically, published.

    The bastards.

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  20. I started blogging many years ago and then I pretty much blogged about what was going on in my life at the time. But when Chancy came into my life and all the kids had moved away my blogging has been more centered on pets, birds, animals and just things I enjoy taking pictures of. My blogs now are not as personal as they were before I moved to Wordpress. I now have blogging friends all over the world, some that have been with me since the beginning and still love blogging. I wonder what my blog will evolve into the next time now that you have brought up this subject. Keep warm sweet Patti we have another cold blast coming in. Hugs and some nose kisses for sweet Minnie

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  21. I started blogging, because my daughters told me it was interesting and nice to chat with people from all over the world. All those first contacts then, are now on FB which I don't like very much and therefore I visit them only occasionally.
    Blogging here is far more interesting. I have to look up a lot of facts, I can practice English, and some French. I have the feeling that I learn a lot from my blogging friends.

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  22. I can't remember why I started blogging...
    No matter, I have met some wonderful people thru blogging. Not very fond of FB other than family news.

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  23. I started my photo blog because there was no place for flowers & birds on my genealogy blog...and now that I have gotten to know all everyone..I think I share more personal stuff than I ever thought I would.

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  24. Cheryl,
    It really does make it easy to learn about others with little effort.
    I am glad you did start for you have one of my favorite photo blogs. Your pictures are great but I also enjoy when you share.

    Murr,
    It does give us a sort of discipline that we might not otherwise achieve. Hay, you have a book on the market, something most of America will never accomplish.

    Maggie,
    And I am so glad you did so I got to meet the adorable Chancy. I do enjoy getting my Chancy fix.

    Wil,
    Isn't it wonderful to read into the lives of so many people from different countries and cultures. This would never happen with out the Internet.

    Brighid,
    Me too on FB. My niece signed me up anonymously so I could visit their sites but it is just too invasive for me.

    Terri,
    I know what you mean about personal stuff. It is like the quote on my sidebar. I like to paraphrase: "Things I would not tell anyone, I blog about."

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  25. I started blogging to share a trip with family members. I blog now much as you do, for the social contact, as a way to share our daily lives as if we were neighbors.

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  26. I started mine just to try it out. It was more of a little farm, local food thing that has turned into more of a sharing of your travels, dog adventures and such. I no longer really do much with gardening, I went from a staunch supporter of grass fed beef/chicken/pork to a vegan with the flip of a switch. I look back on some of my posts and just shake my head. :)

    I want to do more of it, but my readership has fallen off to maybe one or two as far as I can see from my Sitemeter. I'm not confident enough to share the blog posts on my Facebook Timeline, but i suppose that could get me a few more readers.

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  27. Just found your blog & love it! I'm a new GFC follower :)

    PS - Thought you might be interested in the Almondina Giveaway I'm hosting
    http://www.domesticsweetheart.blogspot.com/2013/11/delicious-cookie-without-guilt.html

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  28. Like so many others in what I call my cyber family I started blogging when we left the Midwest to return to Hawaii. It was to keep my friends and family informed of what we were up to. Like you, it's much much more than that now. I treasure everyone in my cyber family and love to "visit" when I can manage to get myself organized. Isn't it amazing how much we start to care deeply for people we have not met face to face? I guess we've all met heart to heart and that is the wonderful part about blogging.

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  29. Linda R.
    I really like that description of bloggers being like neighbors. That says it perfectly.

    Barry,
    Don't count on site meter too much. I have found it doesn't record all visitors. However, I have also had my readers drop off.
    So glad you made the switch, I am still trying.

    The Domestic Sweetheart,
    Thank you so much for stopping by and sampling. Glad you enjoyed. I will check out your site.

    Kay,
    Isn't it amazing how we have come to learn so much about each other only via
    our blogs. The thing that amazes me the most is the variety of the people we meet.

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  30. I blog for both of the reasons that you state. I blog to record some family stories and history. I also blog for social aspect. It is that social aspect that took me by surprise. I had no idea how much I would look forward to visits with my friends that I've never met.

    I think blogging helps to keep the brain active too. That can't be bad.

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  31. Not really. It was mostly for the record and for my son living far away then and now. Later I realized I'd "met" some really interesting people and that I love to write "stories." Oh and I've received numerous offers to go fly fishing all over the country and especially Montana.

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  32. Interesting question and the answer for me is Yes and No. I did start my blog in 2006 as a memory book for my children ... but now I have turned it into a series of vignettes of things that interest me or that I feel will help others. However, I keep conjuring up life memories and those I would classify in my first category. I too love the interchange with other bloggers, you being among my favorites.

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  33. Sally,
    Wasn't the social aspect a pleasant surprise? I totally agree with you on it also keeping the brain functioning well. It takes discipline and creativity to blog.

    TB.
    I think a lot of us were a bit surprised at how blog buddies became like out of sight neighbors. A definite perk.

    Ginnie,
    Aw thanks and right back at ya. We both tend to share what we think are things that would be helpful to others.

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