I Love Blogging

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I love blogging and have several blogs by now. It became clear to me that I totally focus on one blog at the time.

Which absolutely does not mean I am not interested in my previous blogs anymore, but I get totally drawn in the subject I am writing about. Spellbound by each subject or maybe even obsessed at times. But fascinated to say the least.

Fact is I love all my blogs. I started blogging about a year and a half ago and really love doing that. No idea why (still trying to find out exactly why) but I just do. I started my first blog in the beginning of 2008 and this one is my 6th WordPress blog. Most of them are not self hosted, but this is the second one that I do selfhost. And I must say it is really quite an experience.

Because I want this to become my about page and because I love structure and overview I will try to make it chronological. And it will give myself more insight in where my focus was at what time in my life. And at the same time it might become more clear what exactly I want to do with this blog. I already know what will be the focus but not exactly yet how to structure it.

Best seems to start with why I blog.

Being online at first meant for me: reading. I was a member of many discussion forums, but it mainly was a very passive role. Not that I had no opinion or did not want to discuss. I have an opinion about almost everything and I really like discussions. And if it where discussions in real life, I would have participated all the time.

But it was not. And in order to give your opinion or participate in any discussion online I would have to do one thing I really did not like: I would have to WRITE my opinion. And that made all the difference.

So actually I often wanted to say a lot, but ended up saying nothing.

Then at the end of 2007 I read many homeopathy blogs and other blogs that were critical of homeopathy. I often wanted to jump into the discussions but felt not capable of writing down my own thoughts on the subject.

But apart from that I really liked the blogs, the idea of having such a space myself. But what would I do with a blog if I could not write.

Then suddenly one day I knew what to do.

In the years previous to that, I had been working hard on making a website. No writing skills needed as it was more a visual thing. So I decided to start a blog where I could better explain my thoughts of that website in many link exchanges between the two, the website and the blog.

So that was where my online journey started, by making my own website.

 

Designing my website

Website HomeopathicelementsThe first step I took to start creating my own webspace was by making a website. Before that I was more of a reader on the web. And of a lot of books.

But it was not always like that. When I was young I hardly ever read a book. And if I did, it needed a lot of pictures to be of any interest for me. I hated school and never was interested in learning.

Until I got to a design school for fashion. From that moment on I loved learning. I loved all the classes, but especially those of art history. And after a while, when fashion did not interest me much anymore, arthistory still had very much my interest.

That interest lead me to many other interests and suddenly one day I found myself reading every spare minute. If you could not find me I was most likely in the library, and bringing as much books home as I could carry.

Non of them, or hardly any, was a novel. It where only books about ‘life’ especially philosophy, psychology, art, music and science. I loved those writers who could write about a subject, like gravity, in a way that I more or less could understand it.

After that I got interested in homeopathy and astrology. Homeopathy had my interest at the level of the basic elements in nature, the periodic table, and astrology was mainly interesting to me on an archetypal level.

I had been thinking about it for years to get it a bit more understandable for myself, but it was not before I could work with a simple webdesign program that I could get it visual clear.

It was the development of the periodic table compared with the development of the zodiac and both with the development of the human individual.

Later on I recognized it also in the theories of Integral theory, but that was after starting the website and the first blog.

From then on I worked on my website every day. Every spare minute and until deep at night I was designing it. The colors, the navigation, figuring out webhosting, uploading and so on. Very exciting!

Later on I found out that the program I used, Studio Webdesign, was perfect for what I wanted to do, but it was not suitable for using on other sites and blogs. That I found out when I made the next step in creating my webspace, starting a blog.

 

Entering the world of blogging

Homeopathicelements WeblogWhile I was still working on my website, one day I started blogging.

It was at the beginning of 2008 and I was following some bloggers who were discussing homeopathy with critics on their blogs. It was very heated at times, but also really very interesting.

I did not have any intention in discussing it at the time, because my thinking was not that mainstream and it was difficult enough to get it straight in my own head, let alone defending my viewpoints.

But while working on my website, I did get a better insight in my own thinking and suddenly I had the need to expand a bit into a less static medium. As I liked the dynamics between bloggers and as it was so very easy to start a blog I just signed up.

Those bloggers were mainly on WordPress blogs, so that is where I started. My approach was to start very small, without linking to others or any blogroll. Not that I did not want to, but homeopathy is so very controversial, the debates where so heated at times and my own thinking was not exactly clear to myself yet.

I knew myself good enough that if I would get into the discussions, it would take far to much energy to be able to get my own thinking clear. I would get drawn into it and that was not my intention at the time.

My thinking was mainly based on a part of the homeopathy world that was controversial enough on its own. It was an approach that considered all elements of the periodic table as equally important, while homeopathy as a healing art is mostly based on well known remedies, the so called polychrests.

In the Netherlands there is a homeopath, Jan Scholten, who wrote several books about that subject. From the start of my homeopathy study I was completely fascinated by those writings and it influenced my thinking largely.

After a while I got interested in astrology and it struck me how much similarities there were between the theories. Especially the development of the zodiac and the development of the remedies in the periodic table where very similar.

That was what I was trying to visualize on my website but what was miles away from the discussions that were going on between homeopaths and critics. Those discussions were mainly about the scientific relevance of homeopathy. There where more and more studies done with very interesting, but, at the same time, controversial result.

So I stayed out of the discussion for the most part and focused on my own blog. And I loved it. As difficult as it was, and as much as I struggled at times to get a post done, I totally loved it.

And it was perfect to link to my website, each word I used on my blog could lead to a webpage that gave a visual overview. And on my website I linked back again to each element I was describing. Perfect!

But as perfect as it was, as soon as I wanted to upload an image to my blog I got into trouble. I found out that the program of my website, Studio Webdesign, was not compatible with my blog. Also on my own computer the program did not interfere good. In the beginning I thought it was just me and my inexperience to work with things that where actually way over my head.

But as I would find out later, it mainly had to do with the program, that apparently has another ‘language’ than programs like WordPress. And, as I would also find out later, other programs like Paintnet, work perfect together with WordPress.

But at that time I was mainly linking and that was brilliant of its own. Also the linking on my blogroll, that was growing as I found interesting and relevant websites, blogs, forums and online journals.

And integrating pictures and graphics was something that would come after a period of being totally into videos, Youtube and how to integrate those into blogging. That was on my next blog, my Gaiablog.

 

Blogging with discussion

Gaia blogThe next step was my Gaia blog. I had been blogging for a few months and had gone through about 70 elements of the periodic table.

It was still a lot fun to do, but I also would like more interaction. And at best on several subjects that had my interest especially philosophy.

I had been on several forums, but my real interest at that time was on Gaia. It is a community with lots of really interesting people and the discussions where very lively, controversial but at the same time respectful.

And you could make a profile and a blog as a sort of centre on that site. In the beginning I did not blog because I had my own WordPress blog, but after a while I found out how easy it was to upload a video from Youtube. So I started searching for my favorite music, which was mainly classical at that point. And I got a great collection on my blog there and an interesting interaction with other bloggers.

That was the beauty of that community, you could discuss easy on the different forums but also often got a very interesting discussion on the blogs, with many linking to other interesting blogs.

But while searching for music on Youtube I found many live videos of Camel, a symphonic rockband that I had been listening to a lot before I got interested in classical music. I always loved their music, had many of their albums and saw them live twice, but lost track at some point when I got into classical music.

But now I saw many of their live performances and was completely blown away by it. Spellbound and really taken over by music at that point. And I started a new blog, well two actually, one with videos and one where I try to find out what it is about music.

 

Spellbound by music

Camellive videosLooking back now at my time at Gaia I see two things were happening. The first was that I really enjoyed interacting with other bloggers. It was very easy to comment on other blogs and to keep track of those comments.

I also really like discussions on forums, but the way you can have discussions, debates and just interactions with other bloggers was even so much more exciting. I did not know why exactly but somehow it was different and I liked it a lot.

But the other thing that was happening was that I became totally spellbound by music. Music in general, but especially by the music of Camel. And with all the new found videos on Youtube I could just not stop listening to them. There was something about their music that really did connect on a very deep level.

Just before that, I found a video on Youtube of Leonard Bernstein where he gave a lecture about how music is a metaphorical language. I uploaded that video (on my Gaia blog and copied it later on this blog on the page Leonard Bernstein: Metaphorical Language) and wrote down what he said. And he concludes with the following:

Metaphor accomplishes the supremely difficult task of providing a name for everything. And by everything he obviously meant our interior lives. The things that can’t be named otherwise. Our psychic landscapes and actions. And it is thus that poetry and music, but especially music, through its specific and far reaching metaphorical powers, can and does name the unnamable. And communicate the unknowable.

I very clearly felt that this was happening with the music of Camel at that time. And I really wanted to write about that.

But first there was just listening and more listening. So I opened a new WordPress blog where I could easy upload all their videos I found on Youtube. And at the same time I could categorise all the videos. They made a lot of albums, and played many live concerts over more than 30 years and, although one better than the other, they all had some magic over it that was just amazing.

So this blog became a sort of catalog where I had all their history in one place. But then I wanted to start writing about it and opened another blog, a selfhosted one this time.

 

Perceiving music

CameLive The blog that came next was the one that gave the biggest struggle, but it is the blog I love the most. Well, until now than. It was the first blog I was selfhosting. No idea why I wanted to do that exactly, but somehow it felt right to just get it started. Very exciting as I actually had no idea what I was doing.

I found some interesting videos (how to become a blogger or something like that) that showed step by step what I had to do. I already had a host for my website which was cheap but good, so I used it also for my blog. With the help of the videos I managed to get it all working and got a look at the enormous amount of possibilities such a blog had.

So at that time it was a very exciting exploring of everything WordPress had to offer (loved all the themes and the plugins) and a frightening phase of having to write.

While listening to the music of Camel I knew that this music was telling the story that I wanted to write about. Of course that is the story that I perceived from their music, maybe not intended like that.

But while listening to the music, watching the videos, reading the history of the band, looking at the lyrics, analyzing the albums, reading reviews and discussing on a music forum it became more and more clear to me that it was the perfect manifestation of how I consider human development.

I tried to write about that, but it was really very difficult. I never wrote as much in my whole life as I did in the first months of that year. And still did hardly get a fraction of what I wanted to say on paper. From some posts I have about a dozen drafts, but the final result is to cluttered and chaotic to make much sense.

And I might want to rewrite it all some day, but at this point it still would be to hard. I wrote about 6 posts in 3 months or so. It was exhausting, but really very exciting at the same time.

I might have continued the writing, but in April I was away for a few months. I traveled through Europe as a supporter of a group runners that wanted to run from the south of Italy, Bari, to the very north of Norway, the Northcape. It was a journey that would last 64 days with a total of 4500 km.

So this blog stopped at that point, but another one was born, FootRace.

 

Traveling through Europe

FootRaceSo the day came in April that we left home for a few months. My husband wanted to participate in a footrace through Europe, with a group of 66 other runners.

And I was coming along with the group to help with the checkpoints that they had every 10 km. And as the distances each day had an average of 70 km, that meant they needed a lot of people to help.

The start was on April 19, but we left about a week earlier. So from that moment on there was no time anymore to work on my blog. But I did have internet connection and was planning to keep Twitter updates from the Footrace. I also wanted to keep a blog, at least for some photos and some updates or so. And was hoping I would have a bit of a good internet connection.

Well, that turned out the be a very good one. Just a few places where I had no connection, but most of the time it was perfect. Well, not as fast as I was used to, but not bad at all. It was at times so much harder to have electricity and a place to sit, as we most of the time had to sleep in sport halls or schools and with so many people there was not much room most of the time.

But right from the start I was writing about what happened with the group. And I really enjoyed doing that. It was more of an extended version of Twitter. I used it to upload photos and those were a starting point to write about what was happening.

And it was amazing to have a connection with people at home. There was even a friend who used Twitter to post weather updates of the places we were going to. And that support was also very welcome when my husband got an injury and was not able to run for a while. They were very supportive in telling that we just should go on with the final goal of the Northcape.

I really liked this kind of blogging. It was so much easier to do, then I did with my CamelLive blog. The writing almost went by its own and the searching and uploading of pictures took so much more time than the actual writing.

And I really only wanted to write what had happened that day, or better still, what was happening at that moment. To me that was the best part of it, that and the immediate reaction of those who read the posts.

Back home we both had a rather hard time to get into the day rhythm again, but once we were, I started another weblog. One where I wanted to continue with my interest in human development, but now more focused on Integral theory, which I got really interested in, in the time at Gaia and just before my interest in music and the interference of the Europe travel.

But again this blog went a bit different than I was planning it to be.

 

Learning to write

Developmentals When we got back from our travel through Europe, I knew one thing for sure. I wanted to keep on blogging. I wanted to blog about a subject that I found out was the core of all my interests, but was difficult to write about, human development.

That was the subject that came back every time, with each blog. But it was (and still is) very difficult to write about how I see that. There is a similarity in the periodic table as well as there is a similarity with astrology, with Integral theory and with the music of Camel. And I desperately wanted to write about that, but just did not know how.

I wanted to use the graphics from my website on my blog, so that I could make it better clear. But that was a huge problem as the website was not compatible with WordPress blogs.

And that had nothing to do with the WordPress blog, as it had to do with the website I had built. That website was also a stranger on my own computer, I could never save or find a file outside the webdesign program itself.

So I wanted a new program to make graphics that I could use on my blog. And I found PaintNet to be exactly what I was looking for, although it took a while before I could use it a bit easy.

In the meantime I had started a challenge, NaBloPoMo, to write one blogpost each day, because I wanted to force myself to learn writing a bit easier. So I posted each day but most of the time did not get done what I wanted to do. Which was to compare those theories.

But it did learn me to write a whole lot easier. Not that I ever will become a real writer, as my writing is more a collections of words for each concept I want to cover. And will never be a flowing river (if only) but the challenge did learn me to loosen up, to write anyway, even if it was not exactly how I intended it. I could always adjust, change and alter what I had posted and write new and better posts.

And when the challenge was almost over I started another blog, this one, because I really wanted to get my own domain.

 

An ongoing stream

My latest blog Mindstructures is going to be a reflection of what I have been writing about so far. In fact it is not so much different from all those other blogs but more an attempt to find a better way to describe what I want to say.

On my previous blogs I often did not get my thoughts well on paper. It had to be  perfect in reflecting my thoughts. But I found out (especially with my latest 2 blogs FootRace and Developmentals) that it does not matter so much that my writings do not exactly show what I want to say. I can always make another attempt. And even more if necessary.

That is the beauty of blogging. I see it as an ongoing stream of manifested thoughts that are not static but are meant to develop.

Annemieke

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