Ah well. Anonymous finds me irritating because I sometimes whinge about missing my absent offspring. I should count myself lucky that I have them.
I sympathise with Anon because I too frequently find myself irritating. I apologise to her and anyone else who feels the same. The trouble is, no matter how much you feel you should count your blessings – and indeed no matter how much you do count your blessings – it doesn’t necessarily make you feel better. Not all the time, not completely.
However, though I can’t help how I feel, she may be right that we bloggers should stiffen the upper lip. One of the questions this raises in my mind is: who do I imagine is reading this? The rather naïve answer is: the twenty or thirty regular commenters whom I’ve come to think of as friends, even though we're unlikely ever to meet (though in fact I’ve met a surprising ten of them). And they probably don’t all that much mind me complaining, as I wouldn’t if they did. (Indeed, some of them sometimes do.) Another hundred-ish people read the blog most days but I very seldom think about them because – it's hard to think about people if you know nothing about them. Do I write for them? Well, perhaps slightly. Really I write for myself. My natural reaction to life is to write. The comments are (almost always) a bonus, an accumulating relationship with individuals.
Most of us, I imagine, have burdens of sadness that we carry around; usually we never find out about those of passing acquaintances. The bloggy world is rather different – we’re mainly strangers to each other but some bloggers unburden themselves to some extent – in some cases, a lot. By contrast, other brave souls are consistently sunny. But no one tells it all. We present a picture of ourselves on our blogs. It’s probably true but it’s not the whole truth. I have other big worries that I don’t blog about. Does that get me any credit?
Yesterday morning on Radio 4 a chap was offering to suggest poems to console people with particular sorrows. He asked listeners to contact the programme. There was an immediate response, and I smiled wryly to hear him say that the vast majority of the first responders were parents missing their children who’d just left for university. I wondered if Anon was listening to that and tutting.
Anyway, I do take your point, Anon, but … a suggestion. If I irritate you or anyone else, I really am sorry but - just don’t read me. There are lots of better, jollier, funnier, more interesting blogs around.