"Meta" comes from the Greek preposition μετά, meaning "after". So metaphysics is after physics physics. A meta-analysis takes place after many studies by pooling their data for statistical significance.

Meta-blogging as a term seems to have been appropriated to mean blogging about blogging. (What takes place after blogging?) Words derivations can be weird, but I think it comes from a mistranslation of metaphysics. (That makes metalanguage a real bastard, especially since it's a linguistic term.)

A meta-post is therefore navel-gazing. Which is what I intend this post to be.

I was reading through my blog archives recently, and I noticed something: I used to care. I would post about magazine articles that had spurred my thinking, my politics and what made me mad, and occasionally my hobbies.

Lately, like the last year and a half, I only post DIY projects and meta-blog (the former being a type of meta-post).

Quō uādō?

I have no inspiration to take on a theme. My day job is taxing enough, and with the writing on the side, how could I get anything done?
Politics is popular subject, but I can't blog like Kos or Atrios nor would I want to.

Some people choose cooking as their existential task, like the woman who cooked all of Julia Child's recipes (this lead to a book deal for the blogger) or baked all the bread in The Bread Bible (and the pita are delicious!). And my good friend has a cooking blog too (she's on hiatus right now, but people still send her free recipe books). Cooking seems to be many people's self-chosen hell.

I like cooking, but the only bizarre recipe book I have is "The Roman Cookery" by Mark Grant. He's a classic scholar who reproduced many ancient Roman recipes, supposedly updated for the modern (British) kitchen (He's a better classicist than chef). Most of the recipes aren't that interesting to the modern palette and also most of the dinners involve meat (usually hard-to-find ones, too).

I could blog about writing, but that's a bit depressing. "Hey! I got another rejection today."
Status quo isn't entertaining, least of all for me. (I did recently finish a new short story. I'll soon begin submitting it through the rejection machine.) I once tried blogging book reviews, but it only depressed me further about what passed for publishable.

I could blog about how I'm teaching myself ancient Greek, but I think that would bore people as much as my attempt at Latin lessons. (Ancient Greek is much harder than Latin, btw. Far fewer cognates, a new alphabet, and what the hell is this optative mood?)

So I'm at a loss for what to do with this space. In the meantime, I predict only more navel gazing until further notice.

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At 4/5/08, 5:42 AM, Anonymous Paolo said...

I have had the same problem. What to blog about? Am I blogging because it is in fashion? and who would read?
So I often find myself during the day thinking "I could write about this" or "I could write about this part of my inner life" - but then I go "who cares about it? cannot I just call a friend and talk about it? why put it on a blog anyway?".
So I only blog every once in a while - when I find something really interesting, inspiring or because I want to share something to the world. I just hope it might be of help to somebody ending on my entry, if ever Google manages to index it. For example I recently wrote my impressions moving from a Point and Shoot camera to a DSLR. It took me a LOT of time to write it and correct it (I hate mistakes and mis-understandings in my posts). I am pretty sure that nobody read it or will read it.

Is all this important? Maybe. It's up to us bloggers to decide.

One solution could actually be very simple: simply not to blog at all.

And instead call up or write to friends (even "mass-emails") telling them what you think/did - because after all these are probably the people we want to keep up to date with our blogs.
And as you correctly say, our jobs can be already taxing enough to make blogging a "drag" rather than a full-time entertaining activity. Sometimes even writing an email for me becomes "work" - I write emails all day at work - writing emails to my friends becomes work as well. I'd rather call them.

We have survived and had fun for a long time without blogging - we can clearly do without them if we wish to. Getting depressed because of them is the last thing I want to do.

Carpe diem, and simply write when and if you feel to - otherwise shut the blog down and feel happy about it. Your readers will have to understand and if they will feel let down because you don't write anymore - well, it's their problem... ;)

At 4/7/08, 5:19 AM, Blogger Michael Stone said...

To blog or not to blog... I can sympathize with your attitude, Vince. I've had similar thoughts many times when I read my friends' journals and wish I had something to say on my own page. But my feeling is, your blogspace is here, it's not eating any meat (as my dad would say), so why not leave it for those times when you do have something to share? I for one would miss reading your posts, whether they be about sewing machines, bees or fixing washers. Seriously. I think there's a bit of the voyeur in all of us.

The only other thing I'll say is I've found LJ to be better than Blogger for community spirit, which sounds twee but I can't think of any other way of putting it. I was a lonely blogger a couple years ago, but when I started cross-posting to LJ I found I had a lot more friends and readers leaving comments. I dropped eventually dropped Blogger.


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