What does this mean?

One of my favorite blogs is Stay of Execution, written by a former lawyer-turned-sailing-coach who lives in Portland, Maine.

Apparently one of her readers is irked:

"An anonymous reader has announced that s/he will no longer be reading this blog because 'the narrative arc has stalled.'"

What the heck does that mean?

I like the author's post in response, but it makes me think about blogging and what it means and why I do it.

I blog because I think it's funny. I treat it like the paper journal I can never find that I feel I should be filling with deep intimate secrets. It's a place where I can dump whatever happens to be on my mind. It's a way for me to record my knitting hobby and to connect with like minded fiber addicts. I know it's silly. I don't pretend to have anything useful to say, much less anything entertaining, important, instructive, or anything else. I do this for me and I like that.

I find it fascinating that someone stops reading a personal blog because "the narrative arc has stalled." Why does this person think he's entitled to a narrative arc from this blogger? It's not like she's writing for his entertainment. People don't have narrative arcs, people have lives. Those lives usually involve jobs, relationships, stressors... Most people are not professional writers who live to chronicle their narrative arcs for the entertainment of anonymous blog readers. Life gets in the way. The reality of blogging for most of us is that there just isn't a narrative arc. Really, do lives have narrative arcs? I don't think they do. People live, stuff happens, but is it "narrative"? Yes, you can get in a funk or be on top of the world, but is that "stalling" of the narrative arc?

I also find it fascinating that someone who wants to stop reading because "the narrative arc has stalled" feels the need to tell the writer. Who does this guy think he is? Why does he think the writer will care that he has stopped reading? Especially for such an inane reason? What purpose has this notice served, other than giving me something to write about? People are so weird.


Wendy said...

Great post. I've been tempted to randomly add extremely fictionalized accounts of things to my blog just to see if anyone notices ("Today at the LYS we were attacked by ninjas...)

ksh said...

"People don't have narrative arcs, people have lives."

Good point. I think some of us get so used to the running narrative (in our heads, on our blogs, wherever) that we forget just where it comes from...

beverly said...

I AM a professional writer, and in a million years, I would never look for a narrative arc in someone's blog, nor try to force one on mine. Sometimes a post might have one, if I'm telling a story. Mostly, I'm doing the same as you, Jenny: having fun, blabbing about my crazy love for fiber, trying, sometimes, to make sense of life. Sounds like that reader might be better off reading Best Short Stories 2005 than blogs.

Norma said...

Your last sentence tells all. I had someone de-link me because I was critical of people who blogged when they should be working. Guess we know what she was doing!

I got here through nablopomo, or however it is spelled. I have 9 blogs. I just like to write. . . about everything excepting gaming, knitting, music and sports. But I LOVE knitting blogs.

Mit_Moi said...

-> -> Fellow NaBloPMo writer here. I saw, I clicked, I read.

I agree so much with you on why I blog. I get it out. To entertain (me) and to think it through. I also know why I read - to see if I'm insane or have company. I hope the reader over at Stay of Execution doesn't find me! Good grief.

meg said...

Good lord. How can we EVER live up to other people's expectations?

I would hate to be that commentor's child. What if my 'character development' is unfulfilling?

SaraS-P said...

Came to your blog from the NaBloPoMO list. I heartily agree. Thinking that blogging is done for the reader's entertainment is just plain egocentric.