Life and Death in the Blogosphere


DSC_0005In 2012 one of the biggest changes and influences in my life was writing, and more specifically: blogging. As the year began, blogging was still pretty new for me. While I had begun to find my groove, it was all still a steep learning curve.  There were a few blogs I followed, but mostly I was doing my thing.  I think that’s how a lot of bloggers start out. Some jump right in and make the round of liking other blogs, “following” (or subscribing) a bunch, and making connections that way.  Others, like me, are focused on writing. I was grateful to find other bloggers who are like minded, or the bring something new and interesting to the table, and was more surprised when they found me.

When I first started it was about figuring out how to make my own posts more interesting, establishing my “voice,” and keeping up with only a few other bloggers. In 2012, however, I explored more and started to feel more connected to the broader blogging world. I took the time to leave more comments, and enjoyed getting to know the writers who responded, as we expanded the dialogues. I was surprised that blogging brought total strangers into my life, who I looked forward to sharing ideas with, and who I got to know and care about.

As I followed a few blogs and got to know their authors, I found myself connecting more deeply with them. There are bloggers who have followed my work closely and have gotten to know me through the things I’ve shared in my posts, and visa versa. The parameters of those blog relationships are often blurry and unclear on many levels however. I’ve come to know these talented writers, but only in words, only on the page, which makes it strange when life happens.

When a writer I began following almost as soon as I started writing, went from blogging about her unexpected divorce and the aftermath, to finding love, I felt her joy, and celebrated in her Me 2.0 evolution. As I followed along I rooted for her newfound happiness. Comments and emails were exchanged, and we got to know each other a little better. Life happens in blogs, and she found another life and announced her engagement a few months ago. That was her last post to date, and I’ve missed her witty updates and her hilarious take on life— as well as the fine thread we shared behind the scenes.

Life is not always funny, witty or entertaining. Within a very short period of time recently, some very serious events impacted a few very talented bloggers, who I’ve followed and have come to care about.  I think about these writers even when I’m not reading their posts; yet our relationship exists within the limited boundaries of our writing. Like me, these bloggers write because that is how they express themselves. They are writers, living their lives and putting it out there. The connections that develop amongst us are built within the surreal framework of the writing. So I’ve found myself stunned and confused— unsure of what to do when tragedy strikes “strangers,” who feel like cyber friends. These are not just posts, not just stories, floating around the blogosphere, but real life losses, blows,  that have happened to people— and I care.  It’s hard to know how to really feel, what to do with what I read.

Over the holidays, I thought often of an incredibly compassionate woman who found out that her twenty-five year marriage was over, when her husband called on Thanksgiving and said he wouldn’t be home for dinner. They were all set to move for his job— their house tentatively sold, new plans in place, and just like that it was all over. We have shared countless emails and comments, but have never met. It was hard not to think about her over the holidays.  Another mom I follow, who has struggled with her child’s ADHD and family issues, had to face Christmas day in the wake of her mother’s suicide on Christmas Eve. What do you say to such a loss? I hear you; I’m sorry.

One blogging friend, shared her grief over the death from cancer of a close friend and mentor. The post was Freshly Pressed.a We met at a writing conference and I have long appreciated her writing. It is sharp, intelligent and beautiful. Yet even as I celebrated the  well deserved accolades for her writing, I also knew that she was grieving a real loss—not just plucking out a story.  And in a blog that I have read several times, a post that truly took my breath away, a talented writer and woman I follow shared a shattering loss—the death of her seven year old son. Loss that is inconceivable to anyone with a heart beat, written with such heart breaking grace and eloquence, that I wanted to climb through my computer screen and wrap her up in compassion and support. All I could do was leave a comment. I hear you; I am so very sorry for your loss. Words escape me. 

Participating and sharing in the blogosphere has changed my life. I have found an outlet for the things I need to express. I have found a world of talented writers who make me think; writers who make me feel, who encourage and feed me. I have also had my feelings bruised at times, in a world of clever wordsmiths. I’ve been challenged to look at how I can experience so many thoughts and emotions via people who I only know through the world of writing and blogging.

I have shared things in my own blog, that I never imagined putting out there, often forgetting that some of the people who read these posts live in my grocery shopping-dog park-PTSA-going about my life in real time-world. While I may feel naked some days, when I run into someone who knows that I’ve been sitting at hospice for days, or I’ve been depressed or lost, or that I eat ridiculous numbers of Cheez Its, I am also sustained and blessed to have stumbled into such an amazing world. Life and death and everything in- between happens in the blogosphere, and I live in two worlds now.

Checking out this powerful writing, by amazing writers living life:  Goodbye Boyfriend Brett;  My ThanksgivingThis Post Has No Title;  She’s Finally at Peace;  Echoes; When A Person Dies; and Today I Cry

** I wish love, healing and peace, to my blogging friends who have experienced pain.**

About Dawn Quyle Landau

Mother, Writer, treasure hunter, aging red head, and sushi lover. This is my view on life, "Straight up, with a twist––" because life is too short to be subtle! Featured blogger for Huffington Post, and followed on Twitter by LeBron James– for reasons beyond my comprehension.
This entry was posted in Awareness, Beauty, Blog, Blogging, blogs, Daily Observations, Death, Death of parent, Dying, Freshly Pressed, Holidays, Honest observations on many things, Life, Musings, My world, Personal change, Tales From the Motherland, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

40 Responses to Life and Death in the Blogosphere

  1. Thank you so much Dawn. Not much for words right now. Just thank you and sending cyber hugs.

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  2. Agree- it has changed my life too. I get nervous when I can’t find a topic to write about and worry about my self-imposed deadlines or losing readers. Of course one of the most rewarding experiences of blogging has been meeting other writers and feeling that I have “friends” all over. And then creating Tangerine Tango from bloggers’ writing!

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  3. Patti Winker says:

    Thank you, Dawn, for expressing these feelings so well, and for sharing the confusion of this world. You have voiced the concerns many of us have. How close? How distant? What’s right? All I can say is Thank You, again.

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    • Poor Patti! I’m not sure why your wonderful comments keep landing elsewhere, but I’m glad you take the time to let me know! Thank YOU for being a part of the wonderful blogging community, and for sharing your thoughts here. Sorry for the crazy filter issues! :-p

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  4. The blogging connection can be very real indeed, and I too feel a close kinship to quite a few like-minded souls in this medium…yourself included, of course! I value that special kind of friendship, even though I’ve never met many of you IRL.

    And while I have nothing to complain about — especially in the context of some of the posts and challenges you’ve shared here — I find myself struggling almost daily by the sheer weight of my writing guilt. I’m overwhelmed. I feel so much guilt even thinking about blogging considering I’ve embarked upon a full-time freelance career; after all, if I’m writing for free, my kids aren’t eating! And then the biggest overwhelming challenge of all: I learned in September that I was pregnant. At the age of 39. The mother of a 13-year-old, a 10-year-old and a surprise fetus. Ugh.

    So life and death happens in so many iterations in the blogosphere: a “real” new life; the death of an old life; forced reinvention; the circle continues. And yet I have no words to express what I’m going through! However, I also find myself still wanting to reach out and connect — just unable to put it all together. I’m sure you and many other bloggers know exactly what I mean. At least I hope you do!

    Thank you for reminding me that this “virtual” world is also full of love and support and encouragement. I’m off to read a few of the posts you’ve recommended. And I’m looking for ways to put this experience into words.

    Thanks as always for the inspiration, Dawn! 🙂

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    • Mikalee… how to respond?! I have missed you and your presence, but (of course) totally understand that you moved on to freelance, and have been very busy with that. My point, and I hope you got it, is that the thread we share is tenuous and different than the people we share our day to day “real” lives with. However, your story and wellbeing are still in my thoughts. I miss the connection.

      A baby!! How incredibly glorious and wonderful— a shock, no doubt an yes, different given your stage of life, where you are, but how wonderful for you and B. There is no better revenge than living well. While your life is not about revenge, how wonderful to take the metaphorical brick and build such a beautiful new life. Much deserved and hard earned!

      Don’t feel guilty; let it go. Enjoy your happiness and all that is happening. Me 2.0 was about getting to a new, healthier place… you are living that now. good to hear from you friend! 🙂

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  5. Sally says:

    On reading your blogs, I grin, chuckle, or belly laugh. I tear up or right out cry. I get introspective and often I relate to similar situations in my own life. However I react to your awsome writing, I do react. You are such a talented writer and an inspiration. Just Keep on blogging, Dawn. Happy New Year!

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  6. Carrie Rubin says:

    You described it perfectly–it IS as if we live in two different worlds. I remember the first time I had a dream about a blogger. How odd considering I’d never met her, and I only had her little Gravatar image to go by. But I’ve had other dreams about bloggers since that first one, and the people I follow are as real to me as those in my face-to-face life, sometimes even more so because of the details they share. It’s a privilege to interact with other bloggers. They’re letting us into their worlds.

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  7. Dawn, I think you’ve really struck the right chord here. It’s hard to put into words how these relationships transpire – all I know is that they’re deep, meaningful and very substantial. I’ve cried (especially with yours) feeling as if I’m right there having the experience with you. It’s raw emotion and very powerful. Maybe it’s because you’re such a gifted writer?
    I think we achieve real intimacy when we’re able to bond over these painful human experiences. We’re completely stripped down to the most vulnerable part of who we are – thoughts and feelings. No distractions. Blogging has been a wonderful unexpected journey for me. The fact that I’ve become friends with like minded souls, good people who allow themselves to be vulnerable and who connect through these very human experiences, has been a Godsend. It’s difficult to explain it to my non-blogging friends. They look at me like I’m exaggerating or slightly off. I know what’s real, though, and I treasure these friendships and connections.
    Thanks for saying such kind things about those ‘real life’ posts. They were hard to write but very therapeutic. I needed to get fleshed out a little and being vulnerable is always the best way.
    Beautiful post, Dawn.

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    • Thanks Lisa; I’m grateful that you are ok with me sharing and I appreciate your support and positive encouragement. I think that the sharing does not always have to be painful or hard, but some of those posts definitely bring the readers in closer. Thank you for sharing that vulnerability!

      I must also tell you that once AGAIN, your posts have not been coming to my mailbox. Went by your site today to get a link and there were several posts that I did not know were there! I am listed as “following,” but the posts are not getting to me… I have some catching up to do, friend! All the best in this new year.

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  8. meagan mac says:

    Beautiful. I absolutely LOVED this post, Dawn. How you capture the intersections between blogging and daily life, cyber-relationships and human experience. Super honest and heartfelt and lovely. I was moved and it makes me want to hug you. XOXO, Meagan.

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  9. Miriam E. says:

    We do have a connection, indeed. Wonderful, moving post.

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  10. sarafoley says:

    Worlds within worlds…I don’t know any other bloggers, and not many writers either in my real life, so it is lovely to hook up with like minded people. When i think about how I had never even read a blog before I started blogging 6 months ago, and how much I have learned about writing and blogging since then…well. It really blows me out. i always like to read your writing Dawn. xxx

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  11. The blogosphere has filled the space once taken up by letter writers. The intimate details of people’s lives are shared with people we think of as strangers, and yet a new kind of relationship has emerged. For example, we have never met, but I feel like I know you better than my neighbors, which is true of many of those whose blogs I follow and read regularly. I have received encouragement and support for my writing, and given it to others as well, and six months ago I didn’t know how to start a blog.
    I see now that we’re in this experience together, and we are bonded by the depth of emotions we share. At times I am amazed what you and others are willing to share about your lives, and I envy your courage to share the emotions that I would struggle to be open about. In this way your writing is inspirational.
    I hope we do get to meet. In fact, I will be in the Northwest this summer to play with my grandson and to meet the new one I have only seen in photos. Perhaps our paths will cross. – Mike

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    • Drop me a line when you’re in the area and we can share a coffee; I’d like that.

      Yes, I often tell my kids that it’s sad that letters have gone the way of albums… replaced by email, blog, tweet, texts, anything but the written word that his put lovingly in an envelope and sent off wrapped in feelings. Sad, I think. But it’s also true that I’ve met amazing people on here and that makes it worth it some days.

      I can’t lie: I often regret what I share here. I do. I can’t sleep until I type it… It flows and I post, but then I forget how many people I will run into for real, who know so much… I have lunch with folks and they know so much about me, and I’m sitting there in the dark. It is who I am, in real life and in my writing, to be transparent and open, but the writing takes it to a new level that is both good and bad—for me. I appreciate that others feel inspired and while I don’t see myself as inspirational, thanks for the kind words.

      Best in your new travels Mike… can’t wait to see where you land! I would really miss those Hummers… mine have been flocking to my feeder lately. I’m probably the only one filling it around here and they are hungry. Such amazing little things. Be well.

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  12. kristc99 says:

    What a gorgeous photo! This is also an excellent post. It makes me think of another I’ve read recently. http://everydaygurus.com/2012/12/27/a-means-to-survive-a-justification-for-blogging/ We can make connections on line that are every bit as important as face to face relationships.

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  13. Jonesingafter40 says:

    Oh Dawn, I just happened to log on here today and found your post. It is so very beautiful and so very true and made me cry. To think that we can connect with total strangers through words and thoughts and come to care for them as we do the family and friends we see each day is an amazing thing, and why, ultimately, we write. Thank you so much for writing and sharing and crying with me. I’m hugging you back. :’)

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    • S- I almost emailed you today, to make sure that it was ok that I’d posted this. Honestly, I hesitated. I feel that your loss is so huge, and so beyond what most of us anticipate, I did not in any way want it to seem like a voyeuristic note. I think the post you wrote is so viscerally powerful; again, the loss so enormous, I wanted to be respectful of that.

      I have truly thought of you daily, and thought about how you are doing knowing the answer, even as the question forms. I have wondered how you get up, and go on. How you parent your daughter. How you smile, or move through the minutiae that still exists. It is all very big and beyond what I can work through intellectually. I have re-read your post several times… for a number of reasons, one of them being the opportunity to remember where you are, and reach out even briefly, to let you know that you are not alone. I do grieve with you, as I know others do as well. I hope that brings some comfort. Hugs and sincere thoughts, your way. xo

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  14. Nothing intelligent to add—just to acknowledge that i liked this piece very much–that i learned something and feel the depth of your thinking and the breadth of your perspective has broadened my own existence….thank you for the efforts you’re making.

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  15. Pingback: Life and Death in the Blogosphere « Reader's Choice

  16. Huffygirl says:

    My blogging community is the modern day equivalent of having pen pals.

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  17. Pingback: Asian Festival of Children’s Content and PPBF « Positive Parental Participation

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