Blogging at its best

Posted by jdg | Wednesday, May 09, 2007 | ,

I don't send readers to other deserving sites nearly as often as I should. A few weeks ago I started writing again for Weblogs Inc./AOL, despite the fact that the wounds inflicted by all those AOL-subscribing Wal-Mart defenders still haven't healed. The site is now called ParentDish, and part of my desire to return there was to use it as a forum to send some traffic to bloggers who want more exposure. I have only gotten around to featuring one site so far, and I'm now going to use this post to send you to that same one. And here's why:

Sometimes blogging can seem really lame. It is often rightfully criticized for what it is at its worst: a medium for unremarkable narcissists to prattle on about their favorite television shows or other prosaic aspects of their unremarkable lives. Nearly all of us "personal bloggers" are, from time to time, guilty as charged. It's hard for anyone to come up with something interesting to say nearly every day. But among the many personal blogs I know I can always visit to feel inspired by this medium, Sweet|Salty is the one that has most consistently captivated me. It is, perhaps, some of the finest writing I have encountered on a blog.

I don't mean to regurgitate praise. I am hoping you will visit the site today because something remarkable has happened to Kate and she is writing about it in a way I have never seen anyone do before. For several months, Kate (already the mother of a boy exactly Juniper's age) has been writing about expecting twin boys. Last Saturday, at the twenty-eight week mark of the pregnancy, Liam Stewart and Benjamin Peter were born, "after an acute case of twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome and a possible placental abruption." Liam weighed two pounds and nine ounces, but suffered most during the birth process. Ben weighs just two pounds. Both boys will be in the NICU for several months. These are all facts, and cold ones at that.

But beyond those facts, it is hard to imagine wrestling words from all the emotion and anxiety of the experience, yet Kate has been writing about it. This writing does not seem meant for us, though we can see it. I am not asking you to go read it because I think Kate deserves blog traffic (though she does) or to rubberneck beautiful tragedy and terrible hope. I simply think that what Kate is writing these days is important. I have long believed that what makes some writers great is the ability to imagine and portray the extremes of human experience with a grace that allows the rest of us to understand, to feel it ourselves, and know that even in the most extreme circumstances we are bound together by love, and empathy, and compassion. But what is happening to Kate is not imagined. It is not fiction. It is real, and unfolding nearly in real time and no one knows how it will end. In that way what Kate has given us and continues to give is more compelling and more powerful than any fiction. This is life in the present tense: a blog. And comments are open.

We might struggle with what to say. We might not have Kate's talent with words. But she is allowing us in, to become a part of her story, her community. So we might say something.

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The critics may be right. Compared to "real" writing, blogging is often lame. But I would challenge them to find me a real community made out of paper and printing ink, or anything at all like the unfolding life of this amazing woman able to distill such truth and remarkable beauty from the confusion of communing with twin sons through glass and wire as they fight with such ferocious strength to live.

Start reading here, but then go back and read the rest of the story.