July. The month rolls in gently. I trace my footprints from last July until now. Small, hesitant, and then larger and bolder. Yours criss-cross with mine. I smile and laugh. I cry, but not for long. I cannot tell my story without telling yours too. This is what blogging has meant to me. So, what next? I narrow my choices, but refuse to sign the dotted line. Fear? Maybe. Hope? Maybe. Fluid like water, I look at the sky. In the meaning of the shape of the clouds, my answers are there. Tell me, how have you been?
My first weekend away from blogging, I was attacked by intense “blogorophobia”— the fear that you’ll lose your readers because you’re not blogging. While others slept, I stared at my monitor. Insecurity and desperation have only produced compromise in my life.
Rewind plot to earlier in the week, to that conversation with a friend.
“When will you start blogging again, so I can read your blog?”
“Oh, in about three weeks, but I’m reblogging stuff I like, you should read those.”
“The reason I drop by your blog is to read your stuff.”
“Whatever, don’t stay away too long. You know how fickle internet relationships are.”
Did I know?
Two more people shared similar sentiments that same week and I felt like the mother who on dropping her child at day care for the first time, experiences severe separation anxiety.
I went to bed without writing. Anything of value, that is. I remembered that when I left my son at day care for the first time, his cries followed me all the way to work. That as I immersed myself in reports and meetings, his voice could not compete. And when I returned to get him, his tiny arms clung to me and mine to him, as if our being apart had taught us to spell together differently. Thereafter, our parting became easier as we learnt to trust.
My stats did not nosedive. You visited and left comments. I visited you and sometimes I left comments. Internet relationships can be fickle, but you, yes you, you’ve hung around longer than most. It seems fitting then that I leave you with a poem by Richard Ntiru1.
The Gourd of Friendship
Where is the curiosity we’ve lost in discovery?
Where is the discovery we’ve lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we’ve lost in communication?
Where is the communication we’ve lost in mass media?
Where is the message we’ve lost in the medium?
And where is the community we’ve lost in all these?
It is easy to go to the moon:
There, there are no people.
It is easier to count the stars:
They will not complain.
But the road to your neighbour’s heart –
Who has surveyed it?
The formula to your brother’s head –
Who has devised it?
The gourd that doesn’t spill friendship-
In whose garden has it ever grown?
You never know despair
Until you’ve lost hope;
You never know your aspiration
Until you’ve seen others’ disillusionment.
Peace resides in the hearts of men
Not in conference tables and delegates’ signatures
True friendship never dies-
It grows stronger the more it is tested.
See you Sunday?
Take lemons, make life, and then jump for joy!
©Timi Yeseibo 2014
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
- Ntiru, Richard, The Gourd of Friendship, Poems of Black Africa, ed. Soyinka Wole (London: Heinemann/AWS, 1975), 169.
Image credit: tattoo ink painting by Mina van Berkum
49 thoughts on “Returning, Blogorophobia, and the Gourd of Friendship”
“I cannot tell my story without telling yours too.”
Girl, go find something real to worry about. I don’t see you losing readers bc you step away for a bit. ^^
How reassuring Diana. I am amazed that people want to hear what I have to say! I don’t take it for granted. I feel the weight of responsibility, a weight that I’m not shy to carry. Thank you!
That’s cool that you take it seriously, which I wouldn’t expect otherwise – from you. Same here. I’m all hung up about (the value of) readers’ time as I am about mine.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I’m the one who left blogging for a whole 3 months and I really felt itchy in the first two weeks off. The way I kept worrying, you’d have thought I had a thousand faithful readers from the White House who’d be disappointed. Eventually, it turned out that I needed the break to focus on other pressing issues – I got a girlfriend after 5 years of faithfully distancing myself from girls and romancing my write-ups and poems.
Are you back now Tito? Even if only ten people read our blogs, if like me, you’ve demonstrated consistency in word and/or action, then a sense of responsibility towards our readers is normal, I think.
So your time out was ‘very’ productive 😉
I wish you every happiness with your girlfriend!
Reeeaaally productive 🙂
I guess I’m back now.
Yay you’re back! I missed reading posts with the “Timi touch,” welcome back 🙂
Hi Clara, yes I am! Ah, the ‘Timi touch’ I’m still discovering what that is 😉
I hopped over to yours, and from there to some of your friends. I had a nice read. Thanks for being here.
Argh, you know “I just got back” (Sounding like a Nigerian returnee) and with my blog, it’s different. I don’t feel as responsible as I think I would feel if I was not anonymous. Putting a face to a blog increases the attachment of readers to the blog (in my opinion). Maybe that’s why my level of blogorophobia is infinitesimal compared to yours. I love to share my stories though and there are days when I desperately want to share my experiences with my readers just because I feel they would understand more than the people around me.
Welcome back. Your type doesn’t lose readers. Thats a compliment. You write beautifully.
@anonymity, I know what you mean. I agree that readers feel more connected when they can match a face to a blog. If you write a personal blog, the ring of authenticity becomes smaller when your photo is out there and you tend to reread what you put out there 1000 times because people who know you are reading your stuff! I feel a sense of responsibility for the consistency and quality of posts on my blog, but I’m like that in other aspects of my life.
Writing is a wonderful medium to air your mind, and readers, who don’t know you, can’t really hold you accountable 😉
Thank you for your compliment. It means so much to me! I’m glad to be back.
Lovely art! It’s surreal and seems prepared by one of my favourite artists from ancient times.
“I went to bed without writing. Anything of value, that is. I remembered that when I left my son at day care for the first time, his cries followed me all the way to work. That as I immersed myself in reports and meetings, his voice could not compete. And when I returned to get him, his tiny arms clung to me and mine to him, as if our being apart had taught us to spell together differently. Thereafter, our parting became easier as we learnt to trust.”
Touching. The kind of scene that makes me wanna write some microfiction 🙂
Welocme back, Timi. Weave words amazingly, yet again.
Samuel, I don’t know when my blog started to really feel like my baby. I have a sense of responsibility towards my readers that keeps me burning the midnight oil. I’m not complaining. It feels good to be back.
@Microfiction, yay! Go and do ya thing! 😀
@Art, my friend Mina is amazing, yes! Thanks.
Yeah, “…true friendship never dies…” And it’s the one that counts. Not ‘friendship stat(u)s’ that alter like the weather.
The poem tells it all.
I’ll toast to true friendship any day.
Here on WordPress, I’ve received a very generous welcome and had conversations with depth and meaning. The poem says:
Where is the curiosity we’ve lost in discovery? . . .
And where is the community we’ve lost in all these?
I guess we can still find community in mass media. It’s possible. Thanks Bunmi for your support 🙂
Hi Timi! I enjoy reading your posts. I have experienced the same. See you Sunday if I could.
Hi Benn, blogorophobia aargh! But we’re marching on anyway 😉
Warms my heart to know you enjoy reading my posts. I hope you make it Sunday! 🙂
Hi Timi! Your blogosphobia (right?) can’t be as terrible as mine. I’ve been gone for months! Perhaps, it might make you feel better if I told you yours was the first blog I came right over to visit as I KNOW I’ve missed some great stuff.
Will be here a while….(pulls out chair)..x
Yes, you made me feel better 😀
How have you been and where did you go? Have you resumed blogging?
Ahhh, been working on a project that kept me away from blogging, but hopefully, I’m back now and I should be able to strike a balance.
Welcome back! Striking a balance that’s right for you, I agree. I’ll drop by soon 🙂
You’re doing great Timi. I find your post creative and enjoyable. Welcome back 🙂
Ah, thank you Shade. Your encouragement warms my heart. How have you been? See you Sunday!
You’ve been sorely missed. I’ve had it with stats. They never make sense and they remind me too much of my fifth grade teacher who graded our journals. HOW can you grade thoughts, feeling, hopes and dreams? I don’t know….but stats make me feel very pressured. Welcome back, Timi!
Stephanie, I see you have been fine, you haven’t lost your ‘humour’ bone 🙂
You make an excellent point when you say, “HOW can you grade thoughts, feeling, hopes and dreams?” It’s subjective isn’t it?
There’s so much I’d like to know about my readers that I don’t, so for now, stats are my friends. I feel the ‘pressure’ in a good way. I missed you too, it feels good to be back!
Timi I liked reading this. Well done!
Thanks Nnenna, it’s good to have you here 🙂
Welcome back Timi, you were dearly missed..and oh blogorophobia?? You’ve too much to offer to keep us away..love dat poem by the way
I think blogging breaks are the cure for Blogorophobia. I stopped worrying about stats when I took a very long break.
Let me just mark attendance and chill till Sunday. See you then.
@ cure for blogorophobia, face your fear head on right? I’m glad I took the break, gladder still that you’re here. I’ve marked you present on the register. See you Sunday 😀
I’ll always come back.
I know what you mean about the fear of losing readers. Sometimes I go a week and think, “I had better post something, and it had better be worth their (my readers) time.”
Yay! Thank you Eric for your support. I need to read the rest of your series to solve the mystery 😉
” . . . and it had better be worth their (my readers) time.” You hit the nail on the head. I like to think that good content served consistently can foster loyalty. See you Sunday!
Welcome back with a big hug 😀, thou shall not be afraid for your blog speaks for you. It’s good to be afraid thou, .. You know what they say, A man with no doubt is one with too much arrogance.
Good to have u back
Healthy self-doubt, lest we forget we didn’t get “here” all by ourselves!
Busola, I missed you. It’s good to be back 🙂
Yes! See you on Sunday!
Yes, Ife, Sunday! 🙂
Nice one Timi, I read your blogs weekly and they are really nice and inspiring. I’m not much of a writer but appreciate a good piece of writing expressing sometimes one’s innermost thoughts and expressions. My favourite piece was the one on body magic, I still roll in laughter when I remember my experience with body magic, your words were exactly a reflection of my experience. Good job girl and please keep the words flowing….
Hi Usi, how your comment warms my heart because satisfaction comes when something I’ve penned resonates with another, after all, we’re doing life together. Thank you for reading faithfully.
The Body Magic 😀 Why do we torture ourselves so? I like the way the humour masks my vulnerability in that post, so that I’m a mirror for many, who would feel self-conscious otherwise.
Never fear, Timi… you have important things to say and you say them so well. Plus you add a twist of humor. We’ll be around to hear what you have to say. 🙂 –Curt
Hi Curt, I will not be afraid! *gives a salute and marches back to her place* 😀
Thanks for the shout-out!
Timi and Blogorophobia? Who knew?! But I’m glad you’re back.
I was beginning to worry about your absence but decided to wait it out—until Sunday that is.
Writing is a process, a journey, and I believe nothing affirms writers more than their readers’ thirst for more. You should see me rubbing my hands gleefully with a mischievous glint in my eyes!
I hope your holiday was fun 😀
Hi Maggielola, I’m glad to be back! Thanks for the warm welcome 🙂
Last year, I took a break in October. Perhaps because I didn’t have the level and quality of engagement I do now, I felt as if it was okay. No one complained to my hearing, at least. Maybe my consistency has brought me loyalty, who knows? This experience has given me useful feedback.
I needed the break more than I realized. My holiday was mostly fun. How have you been?
I’m not sure I’m having fun. I’ve seen the price tags for the required books…and my life hasn’t been the same. I’m considering turning to fairy tales and cartoons to ease my anxiety and I hope someone wakes me up in 2016 and hands me a degree at the same time! Lol 😀
Lol, you and I know you’ll be fine because I will wake you up in 2016 and hand you that degree! A better fairy tale, a Korean prince will wake you up . . . 😀
Blogorophobia is an apt description! Though I don’t have a hoard of readers yet, but I feel the same way even with the few that I do have
Hi Nida, I think most of us do, whether we admit it or not. You know when I think about what writing means to me, I conclude that it’s a platform for engagement. If I didn’t have readers, I probably would only journal. But, I don’t want to be motivated by fear . . . Finding the balance for me, that’s what I’m working on.
Exactly! Balance is important. For me it would be to write for myself, my readers. And to never let go of the main drive behind it all – self satisfaction and discovery.
“the main drive behind it all” An interesting thought Nida, thanks for sharing. I’m constantly evolving, even now, trying to find what they are for me 🙂
I like how you put it, that writing is a “self discovery process” and that the blogging community provides affirmation. True. Have you gone AWOL again?
In my case, it was a planned and announced “holiday” from my blog, which I sorely needed, so I don’t regret it. I didn’t stop writing though. Apart from journalling, I wrote blog posts and worked on collabs with other bloggers. I didn’t take off from blogosphere either, I was still reading and leaving comments on other blogs. After the initial attack of “blogorophobia” I decided to have “faith” in my readers 🙂
See you Sunday!
I felt the same sentiment when I took an unceremonious break from my blog too…What I find is that it crept in on me like a nightmare. I’ve since discovered that I miss a lot more than the flattery comments but also the self discovery process that writing affords one and the community of affirmers who push us on in the process.
Yeah, see you on Sunday.