The Golem Blog

Photograph by Paul Morriss

No Blog Is an Island

After a friend comments on the antisocial nature of this blog, The Golem ruminates on the true purpose of blogging, and whether “first” is more meaningful than previously thought.

9:07 p.m.

Something Jesus said to me, quoted in my last entry, struck a chord. He suggested that I don’t know what a blog is. I didn’t understand. There are different types of blogs, not all of them featuring animals urinating in their own mouths. After some research, I believe this is what Jesus was getting at:

People who have no experience blogging often fail to understand the essentially social nature of the activity. Blogging is convivial. Bloggers commonly blog in groups, whether formally…or simply through the haphazard accretion of casual connections. In these groups, what you contribute is obviously important; but so is where you choose to place your attention. Reading is as much a part of blogging as writing; listening is as important as speaking. This is what so many bloggers mean when they claim that “blogging is a conversation”: not that each post sparks a vigorous exchange of comments, but that every post exists in a context of post-and-response that stretches across some patch of the web, link by link, blog to blog.
—Scott Rosenberg

My blog does not lead to other blogs. It doesn’t quote from other blogs. It hasn’t “gone viral,” and in truth, it probably never will. I am not a part of the conversation.

I wanted to ask Ruth about this, being a person with seemingly endless social connections. She is Blogspot incarnate, except when she abandons one of these threads on a whim. But Ruth is busy with her Earth Day project: screenings of environmental documentaries at local libraries. (Needless to say, I’m lucky to be working as much as I am right now.)

Also, she might get around to reading the last post, and it would be nice to avoid that for a time.

You may recall that we were supposed to be blogging together. Ruth’s blog has been more or less abandoned. It still sits there, a lonely page floating in obscurity. It has gone the way of many social misfits: static, unvisited, not remarked upon, outmoded. My blog may be all of those things, but at least I continued.

What if “first” means the most powerful? The first in a tree of meaning? Ruth heard me say that once and loved it. Why? How is this better than keeping a diary? Don’t bloggers begin with the desire to connect? Even if I am essentially a “gatekeeper,” doesn’t that imply acknowledgement of the (supposed) masses to whom I parcel the goods?

I approach all tasks as I was made to: with a commitment that ends where the task does. Even when I’ve saved someone’s life, we don’t celebrate together afterwards. Most of my time on Earth has been spent engaging with humanity, yet it all seems like an impersonal stream. Only a few people became more than that. But the years I spent actively separating myself diminished me. Hashem did not want me to hunker in the forest.

Thus, you may now email me here.

And, in this spirit of communication and openness, here is an offering.

When one must learn many languages, it’s natural to wonder about the oldest word in existence. We can’t know it, but what if it still exists? What if “first” means the most powerful? The first in a tree of meaning? Ruth heard me say that once and loved it. What makes it true? Nothing. She just believes in the idea—in the poetry of the idea, actually. And yet, with a word I began; with words I continue.

Judah kept up the conversation with his poems. I think he’d be happy with my stabs in the void. Last year I learned—again—that I may not be counted in a minyan. Maybe this is my minyan.