Monday, February 9, 2009

Bloggo, ergo sum

I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody too?
Then there's a pair of us--don't tell!
They'd banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

Emily Dickinson

Bloggers out there are brooding again, about...blogging. Andrew Seal at Blographia Literaria weighs the relative virtues of serendipity and focus in literature blogs, while Cheryl Fuller at Jung at Heart ponders the overlapping of clinical and personal material in psych blogs. Bloggers are out wandering in a wilderness of words and feel the need, every now and then, to pause and wonder, "Where the heck am I?" or "Where did everybody go?"

Depending on the blog, one might occasionally visit a site for news or information, but more commonly I would say that one goes there (and much more important, returns at least once) because the sensibility and the perspective are worthwhile. Similarly, I read, say, The New Republic not because I agree with everything therein or find all of the articles noteworthy, but because I know that I'm likely to find something compelling in any given issue.

As I've written before, the narrow subject blog is not for me--I could write about nothing here beyond psychopharmacology or psychotherapy, but that would bore both me and potential readers. So I write about whatever bee is in my bonnet on a given day; in that sense, my idiosyncratic interests motivate me more in this blog than psychiatry does. But my bonnet attracts only certain varieties of bees, and I can think of any number of subjects that never will be refracted through this eccentric sensibility: cooking, ballet, pro wrestling, ice hockey, big game hunting, etc.

I started this blog at a time when I had moved to a practice that is in some ways relatively anonymous. I work with public patients over a limited period of time. Nothing prevents patients from hunting down a computer (at a public library if need be) and looking me up, but because of the nature of their problems and of our interaction, that is much less likely to happen than if I worked in a private or psychotherapy setting.

I may at some point in the future add on a part-time private practice, which probably would be psychotherapy-focused, and I've wondered what that would mean for the blog and vice versa. Perhaps I would alter the content significantly, or perhaps it would remain the same and merely be "grist for the mill" as the cliche goes. But inasmuch as the site would have the potential to be a recruiting tool (or, regrettably, a deterrence tool), I would probably feel obliged to upgrade the professional content a bit. But I'm not sure I'm motivated at present (I'll have to come back and edit that out though if I do get motivated...).


neuronarrative said...

Narrow topic blogging is not for me either. I try to contain a wide variety of interdisciplinary interests within a flexible framework; I try not to go too far in any one direction, and bring the focus back under the big top if I feel it drifting. For me it's all about interest -- do I find something interesting; do I think others will too. I need a "yes and yes" to start writing.

Cheryl Fuller, Ph.D. said...

It's an interesting problem, how personally open to be when also blogging about psychotherapy. I am careful to disclose very little that people knowing me casually would not already know. Besides I live in a small town so anonymity is not really much a part of my life. Nonetheless, I have found that the patients who come to me via my blog like that they have a sense of me from it. I suppose were I a Freudian that would be a serious violation of neutrality, but I am not so it seems to work out fine. No doubt there are people who wouldn't come to see me because some of who I am personally is there for them to know, but I suspect that they are counterbalanced by those who come to me because those things are there.

I wonder if any of this is different for men than for women? Knitting and the like are stereotypically associated with women as is the maintenance of domestic life. My fantasy that I would like to see patients in my ideal kitchen seems to me a very gendered fantasy.

More to think about, I guess...