Death By Blogging?

I know there’s likely to be another explanation, or a whole host of them. How can someone actually die from too much blogging? But that’s more or less how it was reported in the press a few days ago: two confirmed (unrelated) deaths of passionately committed bloggers, both of whom appeared to have been caught up in their work so intently that they failed to notice that their hearts were wearing out.

Of course as a neophyte blogger, this story confirmed all of my secret fears in spades. Not that it ever occurred to me that I (or anyone else) could die from the habit, but in truth the thing that kept me from starting a blog for so long was the dread that it would take on a life of its own and create one more thread of obligation wrapping around me. Once I got started I would be bound by the duties that come along with ownership, kind of like taking on a new pet: feed it, clean it, take it out for a walk. For God’s sake, don’t be neglectful, don’t leave it by itself for too long! If you can’t commit to that stuff, you don’t go out and get a dog, right?

Maybe back in the old days, like five years ago, blogs could be cared for by posting every week or so. Now it appears there are kinds of blogs, like the ones that proved fatal, in which it’s critical to write a post the very second that breaking news occurs; otherwise, readers (who I guess are also hovering over their keyboards, sleepless at 3:00am?) will go elsewhere.

I am not in danger of death by blogging, but I am having doubts about whether or not I’m cut out for this commitment. Some of us are more susceptible to this kind of doubt than others. If you are the type of person who lets the poinsettia linger (pathetically) until April and feels guilty even then for letting it die; the type who feels like your ethics are slipping when you throw out over-ripe bananas instead of dutifully making them into banana bread; the type who is compelled to capture the errant ladybugs in the house and march downstairs to release them… well, you get the picture. It’s a tendency toward obligation overload. Anything that is yours (even by virtue of unintentionally ending up in your home) you must attend to. And if a blog is yours (as a blog is now mine), it must, of course, be attended to.

But so must the garden be tended, and this is the first week when we’ve had any decent spring weather. So I have been out there raking leaves, cutting dead branches, digging up the sweet dark dirt and listening to the pileated woodpeckers holler at each other. The lettuce, peas and kale have sprouted; the crocuses, daffodils and forsythia are in full bloom, and the spring frogs we call peepers are singing their little hearts out, hoping to get lucky.

Somewhere out there, people are so intently melded with their computers that they don’t know the earth has tilted into springtime. I know, it’s hard and you might feel guilty, but here’s some unsolicited advice: Give it a rest. Take a sabbath. Go listen to the peepers tonight, or to whatever sings in your part of the world when the earth starts to warm. And please — get your heart checked out!

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