the one thing

April 18, 2009 § 12 Comments

rebecca walker wrote a post a few days ago that i have been thinking about:

I just read a blog post about the importance of specifity on one’s blog. You should focus on the one thing you do, the one message you have, the one idea you want your readers to take away.

Which made me think, and look down at all my blog posts to try to find the one thing, the big idea, the one message.

What is it, exactly, I’m saying over here? Why do people visit? What are you looking for? How do I provide it?

so i am hoping to get advice from all of you.  why do you come to this blog? what are you looking for?  what is the message that you hear?  and how do i provide it?  please let me know.

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§ 12 Responses to the one thing

  • Aaminah Hernandez says:

    i’m not sure that the post Rebecca read applies to all blogs or is absolutely necessary. It depends in part on the purpose of your blog, and whether it is a personal blog space (much more leeway) or a “professional” blog. For example, you are familiar with my professional blog that just lists links to my writings with a small snippet, and where i sometimes muse on writing/reading related matters. Yes, that blog has a purpose and message, and ONE clear objective: promoting me as a writer. But personal blogs are just that, personal. We are not just one message. We may be many conflicting messages at times, even. 🙂 We are too complicated to distill into one message.

    That said, what i look for when i come to your blog is: that which is different than my experience/knowledge so that i always learn something from you. At the same time, we have some similar thought patterns, concerns, ideas, ideals, and i look for that affirmation of similarity and that what i want for my life and for the lives of other women is the same or similar to what you as a woman want/need, and what other women you come into contact with want/need. Basically, i love your blog as it is because it gives me a window to things i have not had the chance to see in real life but would love to someday, a window & perspective on things i have not thought much about before or don’t know much about, and a hope for the future.

  • prof susurro says:

    I’ve been hearing a lot about the “one message” idea in blogging lately and I think it is a marketing tool for people who want to up their hits and their recgonition online. I always counter with “how did you come to blogging as a form?” or “Why did you start blogging?” If, like most, you felt an urgency to voice certain things then why not follow the path that urgency leads you on?

    In answer to why I read here? Your experiences resonate, your interests overlap my own or illuminate issues, and I respect the tone of communication and moderation you use here.

    Ultimately, whatever you choose to write about has to honor your perspective and your interests and everything else will work itself out.

  • Derek says:

    I look at the website to hear what you have to say. All I can say is keep doing what you’re doing, and I’ll keep reading.

  • Fire Fly says:

    I honestly can’t say that there’s a unified thing that I come to your blog to read about. I like a lot of the things you post about, and I appreciate that there’s variety in your posting because otherwise blogs can get stale and repetitious.

    I like poetry, stories about your experiences with your daughter, thoughts on Gaza and the Middle East, activism, feminism, radical midwifery, relationships, all sorts of stuff. I’d be disappointed if you stopped blogging about any one of them!

    • mama says:

      i guess i start to feel really self conscious when i think about the complete randomness that this blog encompasses. okay that complete randomness is also a reflection of my life at times. and then they way that i process information.
      but to answer prof susurro’s question: i started blogging because i was working overseas, around alot of expats, and feeling disconnected from artist/activist women of color. also wanting to make connections between women of color in the states and palestinian women and women living in third world countries and in war zones. and to find a commonality to our experiences. i had this thought that rather than the third world constantly asking those in the first world for help or aid or solidarity or whatever…using the logic that those in the empire have the power and the connections…if we focused on third world peoples connecting with each other across borders and continents and sharing knowledge skills etc and coming together … the movement would be stronger … and third world women/woc living in the states could be part of this paradigm shift in what solidarity means…
      and i had just gotten preggers and was trying to figure out the whole pregnancy/birth/impending motherhood thing.
      and if i understand fire fly then all of that is what comes across.
      i am not really worried about how many blog hits i get. (im not even sure how to translate those numbers…into real people) i guess i was more thinking about what do folks expect when they come by and visit and maybe chat for a while.
      actually i decided to post this questions when i saw that someone had linked to the blog and talked about the mix of poetry and politics. and i thought that was so funny. because i have only started posting poems because it is national poetry month. and last month i posted a poem (randomly) and then for the past year and a half before that of this blog i have never posted a poem…ha ha ha…and now it is characteristic of the blog!
      and then i was like: oh shit! do i have to keep posting poems?
      if i keep posting poems will people stop asking me about why i dont capitalize?
      but i guess i just use this as a forum to work out questions and ideas. hopefully with others. because in my real world not alot of people i know are willing to think deeply through these questions and connections.
      so thank you for the conversations.

  • Sue G-R says:

    You are doing fine! You have a unique voice that is your own. That matters more to me when I read a blog than anything else.

  • pprscribe says:

    Once I am hooked on a blogger’s personality or style, I keep reading because of the blogger, specifically. There are only a few “one message” blogs I read, and these are mainly for information or stories I might like to comment on myself.

    I only recently discovered your blog so I do not know if I can answer your question. But usually when I decide to subscribe to a blog’s feel and blogroll it, it is because I have a “hunch” that it is going to be something I want to see on a regular basis. So I guess all I can say is that so far I have not been disappointed about my hunch with your blog!

  • prof susurro says:

    oh honey. One thing I learned a long time ago about blogging is both the lure to meet others expectations and the absolutely necessity of meeting one’s own. If you fall the path of your own voice, the rest of it my nag at you but you will ultimately be more satisfied with your writing b/c it will genuinely be your own and the people reading it will be people attracted to your actual voice.

    Your global woc collective idea makes my heart smile. I think many of us come from this place. It is also a decidedly feminist interpretation of “communalism,” a term coined by Stockley Carmicheal about black liberation being a global movement and ultimately, and necessarily, a diverse cultural movement encompassing all peoples liberation struggles. It was also articulated by black journalists in 1959 after Castro’s visit to NYC and their subsequent visits to Cuba and then the rest of the Caribbean. What is interesting to me is that this desire has always been a part of certain feminisms but not as well documented as male driven or male leadership movements. Blogging seems to be a place that is shifting that documentation by literally putting women’s commitment to global woc movements in writing and archiving them regularly. (forgive me for getting all academic, but that is what really excites me about blogs – watching, reading, participating in, an articulation of feminism that runs counter to the dominant narrative.)

    • mama says:

      @prof susurro
      i love it when you get all academic. it gives me hope for academia which i will be studying in soon. hoping to find a prof like you in my overly elite school.
      i remember reading carmichael when i was a kid (my dad made these weird reading lists for me back in the day) alot of that black liberation writing seeped into my bones. and is primary in how i envision words like: liberation, revolution, radical, community, etc.
      i would be interested if you had more info on feminist writers or activists who articulated a vision of ‘communalism’ or visions like that.
      i think some where in my is a lil academic waiting to get out in the sense that i am constantly thinking or evaluating writing not so much in terms of the impact it has now but as -documentation- for the future. like i am a historian thinking ahead/behind. this is part of the reason that i love woc presence on the internet.
      hmmm….actually this is making me rethink my disdain for academia. (i can be a lil snide about it…ahem…) if i think of academia as a place of documentation. kind of like a series of libraries (which i highly value) and place where we teach folks to document their lives. for future generations? so that current generations can read and share? so that there is some proof that we were here?
      still thinking it through. but it does give me a new place to think of what blogging is and why it is important. and why i put so much energy into raven’s eye.

  • prof susurro says:

    (my dad made these weird reading lists for me back in the day)

    Does your dad know my dad by any chance? ;P

    feminists & communalism – that’s hard b/c they tend to either not publish on it or publish in languages other than English. Elaine Browne, the only female head of the Black Panthers, speaks about “radical love” which is a feminist version of “communalism” (tho I don’t think Elaine jives with the “F” word), Cynthia Young’s research on “Soul Power” is another good place (tho the book doesn’t focus on women nearly enough, best to contact her directly), Winona LaDuke speaks about connections regularly and she is really approachable – all tho really busy, Vandana Shiva same thing, Eden Torres doesn’t publish on cross-cultural alliances but she and I have had some fascinating conversations about overlapping intellectual and activist connections and decolonizing feminism – she is usually at MALCS if you ever get a chance to go to a conference in the states, these are people you can contact or read but the real articulation is coming from places like the Latin American women’s unions, the Zapatistas, Afra-Latina feminist and cultural movements in Argentina, Panama, and the Dominican Republic, the Umoja women’s group in Kenya, the global feminist networks stemming from Beijing, the Indigeneity conference, the World Social Forums, and AWID’s meetings. There’s also the Sri Lankan Women’s Collective that recently issued a statement about global connections between women and working toward change together. In other words, a lot of it is grassroots and not as text based or text producing.

    academe – I’ve noticed a concentrated anti-intellectualism in the form of anti-academics on the internet and while I think academe needs reforming, I do worry about the universalizing of “the academic” that is always straight, white, rich, removed from the real world, and irrelevant except with regards to books. Most of my colleagues are none of these things and as I noted recently on my blog, education privilege does very little to insulate you from the barrel of a police weapon. (That isn’t to argue that there are not privileges associated with the profession, b/c there are tons.)

    The kind of thing you are describing in your last paragraph, reminds me of auto-ethnography which has been an important tool for communities of color and GLBTQI folks to write/right themselves in the record. I’ll come back by and leave some authors you might want to peak at if you’d like but I’m off to a meeting now.

    • mama says:

      ok i read elaine brown. i didnt realize or remember that she speaks of ‘radical love’ as well…do you have any more info about that? in what context does she speak about it?
      havent read winona la duke yet…i know i know i should have by now…
      have read some vandana shiva and love her
      eden torres…need to google her
      hung out with the zapatistas for a bit
      didnt realize that there was an afra-latina movements in argentina panama and dominican republic…wow! where can i find out more?
      need to google the umoja women’s group in kenya
      also must google the rest that you have mentioned…
      has anyone (hell have you?) been able to find an analytical connection between these groups? is there a book, paper, website that chronicles the history of women’s communalism from a transnational feminist perspective…
      if you have anymore info where i can begin looking i would be grateful. maybe i could start a series on raven’s about it…radical love/communalism/third world women…
      thanks! alot…

  • prof susurro says:

    PS. I love that you are doing Raven’s Eye. It’s an exciting project!!!

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