27 March, 2009

Time and Energy, Or Lack Thereof

This amazing post and its follow-up by Anna at Trouble in China have got me thinking. [In the interest of full disclosure, my Shakesville post is in there as an example of the problematic nature of inclusiveness.]

Whenever I mention this blog in, say, a contributor's or artist's bio, I nearly always include the qualifier "sporadically updated." Regular readers will know that this is partially my style--the dash of self-deprecation--but it masks something else. Namely: I very rarely have the energy to write a whole blog post, to respond to comments, or, hell, to comment on other blogs with wit and insight. This does not mean that I do not exist. It only means that I, quite simply, don't always have the mental or physical energy to contribute to a medium that is, by and large, designed in favor of the non-disabled.

Before the inevitable questions of "why don't you just quit?" arise, I keep and have kept this space for a very specific reason: I cannot just give up. Certainly, there are better writers out there than me. There are better blogs. I have blog friends who are more articulate, more stylistically clever; some of these folks who blog more, or have more readers. Yet I know that the blogosphere is a bit wicked in that one is only as good as her or his last post (to use a worn cliche). Some of us can crank out quality posts nearly every day. Many of us cannot.

I often cannot keep up with a 'sphere in which other voices--more able voices--have the luxury of time and actual emotional/physical energy to blog. The conspiracy theorist in me wants to chalk this up to the blogosphere's--and to a lesser extent, the internet's--design as yet another space where able-bodied folks can "fit," and can be "productive" in terms of number and quality of posts. For all the talk of the internet as a utopia where one is free to not be embodied, the same old shit seems to keep coming up, along with the big ol' Cthuluphant in the room: that the world is designed for able-bodied (and preferably white, straight, middle-class, and male) individuals. Productivity, fitting in, responding quickly: These are things that non-able-bodied folks may not be able to do, whether because of issues of time, energy, ease of access, or many other factors. What happens when one cannot type because of searing pain in her hands, wrists, arms? What happens when one finds that he is too brain-fogged to write a post, much less comment on an existing post that many other people have already commented upon? When one is confined to bed because of nausea or all-over pain that forces her to lie for hours, staring at the ceiling, doing nothing because it's all too much? What happens is that much-needed voices are not part of the conversation. They are lost, but not because they are not there.

This is shameful. There is no other word for it.

Do I know where to begin in pursuit of a solution? No.

Does anyone? I am not sure. I would like to hope that someone does, but I remain unsure.

We're here. You just might not know it, yet.


ouyangdan said...

Well said.

Some people are willing to spend all their spoons doing some things, and others are not.

How you choose to spend yours is your business.

I think it is sad how right you are. Sometimes, though, if I wasn't housebound some days, I wouldn't find the time or energy to write at all. I fight through it some days b/c when I lie around doing nothing, my brain still goes full tilt. I have to get it out somehow. But for people who don't want or aren't able to expend that effort, I understand completely. It's like the shoe analogy you once told me.

No matter how often you update, I like reading your blog. I hope you find moments where you can continue to keep at it.

Anonymous said...

There is no need to quit because someone suggests it either. The mere notion of quitting is ridiculous. This is your space and if someone is trying that crap, eject them summarily from it.

You aren't alone, and posting sporadically is better than not posting at all.

Oh and I can think of plenty of white, male, able bodied, stereotypical guys who have blogs or net presence and never update. They just don't have a good reason for it and you do.

Tiana said...

I feel the same way sometimes.

(LOL. The length of this comment sure fits the topic.)

amandaw said...

You're still my bloggy friend. I miss you when you're absent. But I know *why.*

It bothers me that it seems one's participation is only valued -- or at least is valued much more -- when one has the time to be up and informed on current events and the current course of conversation. People who can keep up are much more likely to be heard. People who come along weeks later, or people who are there now but weren't there for whatever happened last week, tend to fall through the cracks.

And I don't really know how to fix that.

amandaw said...

see, look, i finally just read anna's posts. and glanced at liss's. and now i'm upset. but i feel like i can't participate in this discussion, because i know i'm not in on the whole conversation, i may not have all the background (esp considering liss didn't link to anna's posts that i saw) and so forth. so, my feeling is, i don't have a "right" to speak about this issue.


myriad said...

wow. thank you so much for posting this. i've had this experience *so* much and it is so damn frustrating. i've never heard anyone online talk about it before.

i wrote about some of this issue here.