It's odd for me to think that a blog serves something of that purpose, but I have been touched by the kindly responses from strangers. Now, don't get me wrong, I'll hardly notice if there are unpleasant comments since I'm steeled against them, as anyone with my background, in particular, and experience as an (artist...I hate that word, but I'm going to use it now since I've branched out from still photography to video and writing, poems and memoir, and what could I call that? generalized commenter on what I see around me? Yes, that's better...)... my experience as a generalized commenter has, naturally, led to lots of rejections. I don't mind them at all since that's in the scheme of things.
When I was just starting out, taking photographs around to various editors in New York, and staggered out from a meeting with an art director who hardly liked my low-key, let's-have-lots-of-distractions-in-here-because-otherwise-the-photograph-would-be-boringly-specific-like-those-we're-trained-to-think-are-significant-in-magazines-and-newspapers images, I called a friend of mine, the man who taught the only course I ever took, "The Photography of Human Behavior, at Columbia, and he said, "You wouldn't take your penis to a nun and expect her to admire it."
I thought that was great advice, a quick way of teaching me that there are some people who will respond to my style and many who won't. (He, Paul Byers, was finishing his PdD in anthropology and cared only for the information in photographs, not for the aesthetics. I happen to care, to some degree, for both, though I'm more interested in information.)
Aside from that neat bit of advice, I have been isolated from the need for response because it's been such a hard road to find my own voice. After my mother died when I was twelve, and I lost almost all memory of those years, all sense of who she had been, what it had been like living within a family, the chaos of my teenage years made defining myself even more complicated. My goal was to know what I felt, other than by the evidence of ulcerative colitis, all that blood in the toilet bowl. And it's taken years ....
And, with the loss of that important relationship, five years ago, at the beginning of this blog, I became more inward. I'd been quite sure of what I felt with him, the long years of being thrilled and embroiled, the pleasure and insecurity of knowing and loving his sons, the fast way he could silence me with a barb since I was a fish in a barrel, pseudo-waspy-weakling, the way I could get angry and want to straighten things out, (oh, by talking, what a bad choice).
So, for these past few years, I've put my head down, talked through writing, and tried to get a sense of my self back. It's always been easier for me to write than to talk, but that was a particularly silencing experience since he and I were comically tuned to different stations. And I took the loss to heart, as is my want.
So, this is a thank you to my blogging community. I hope I'm as useful to you as you are to me.