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Making more headlines…(and talking about taboo topics?)

November 28th, 2004 · 3 Comments

Chris Holmes already discovered and posted about my two letters to the editor, one in each island paper this week… so I don’t have to! Thanks!

I wrote a note to the editor of the Bainbridge Islander expressing my gratitude for the recent piece on local bloggers. And I wrote another letter to the Bainbridge Review, in response to Cathy Nickum’s piece on loneliness (I mentioned last week in a post), suggesting we islanders could use the Internet to connect.

I’m grateful that both letters were published. However I didn’t like either of the headlines. My thank you note in the Bainbridge Islander (published by the Kitsap Sun) was titled Bloggers, let’s network. If all I wanted was local bloggers to network, I would write a post, or send an email to the handful of bloggers on Bainbridge. My purpose of the letter was to thank the paper for the prominent blogging coverage and also to encourage others to begin blogging, dialoguing and building community together.

The one in the Bainbridge Review was titled Looking for new friends. While that headline expresses a part of my letter, again I was writing to express gratitude to the columnist and paper for her piece on loneliness, and to suggest connecting through the Internet as an option, providing my email address as a contact point.

Making headlines – rather, writing them – would be fun. But it’s probably harder than it seems to summarize something in a short attention-grabbing sentence.

Is talking about loneliness a taboo? I realized that my first reaction when I saw the headline Looking for new friends was that a lonely person is an undesirable one. And if I am looking for new friends, what is wrong with me? I hope that none of my current friends read the title and suspected that I was not satisfied with them. What I was hoping to do in my letter was suggest connecting on-line, especially we moms of young children, who have a hard time making it out of the house when kids are sick or the weather is bad.

But who wants to admit she is lonely? Who will confess to this shameful social disorder? Who is willing to say she needs new friends? I feel a bit embarrassed by my own letter. Yet I believe we live in a society of isolation and that nearly everyone is lonely, at least at some time. And I hope I am always looking for new friends.

I was grateful for the column on loneliness. I was also grateful for the piece on local bloggers. I’m glad that the editors of the local papers are willing to publish my letters.

As I’ve written in this blog in previous posts, I believe that we islanders, including the newspapers, could connect on-line and build community, finding that civic space we need for growth and change. As I offered at the end of both letters, I am eager to help anyone. I have hope and I will keep waiting and working as I can for these goals. This is only the beginning.

Tags: blog

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Kai Jones // Nov 29, 2004 at 1:38 pm

    I don’t know why we assume that loneliness is unappealing; I can be drawn to someone whose neediness is so easily resolved, with just some company. Take a chance and spend some time to see if we could be friends? Sure. Pretty low risk, and I get to feel good about helping the lonely person.

    But that’s how I feel, too, when I admit that I’m lonely. Worse, I have a well-defined slot I wish I could fill, and I know both how awful that would be for someone to know (that they were applying for this particular slot in my life) and how unlikely it is that you can shape a relationship that way.

  • 2 annie // Nov 29, 2004 at 7:57 pm

    I’m so glad you came out on this topic. You and I met over my frustration when I wanted to see mom-blogs materialize as a discussion topic at bloggercon II. I’ve heard moms say the words, “the blog saved my life” and more than a few meant it literally. The isolation you refer to isn’t limited to your beautiful island. Our suburban-oriented garage lifestyles leave the workplace as one of the only sources for social interaction and people who exist outside of that realm, be it for working at home and/or raising children at home, are lonely. I think this is the key reason more women blog than men. It’s a topic that fascinates me, and your bravado makes me want to explore it further.

  • 3 Cathy Nickum // Nov 30, 2004 at 3:12 pm

    Hi Julie, someone just sent me a link to your blog… what fun! Wish I had your email address, as this won’t make a very interesting post…

    I’m glad you found the women’s loneliness column relevant. I received an anonymous letter from a woman who says she fits the description. No return address, just a heartbreaking confession of loneliness. *sigh* What to do?

    I think blogging is a thrilling revolution in journalism, especially in communities like Bainbridge, where we’re isolated and stuck together at the same time — and have one local newspaper that doesn’t connect people.

    I’m so glad to know about you, your site is wonderful. I’ll spread word of your blog. –Cathy Nickum

    P.S. Blogs and websites offer too much creative potential to sit on the sidelines… I’m also experimenting with a website. I’ll let you know if and when it’s “live.”