A headline on the front page of the Styles section in this past Sunday New York Times caught my attention: “Forging A Bond In Mud And Guts”. It was a story about “Tough Mudder”. Which is, as Joshua David Stein (the writer) explains, “an extreme obstacle course that is becoming the macho sport of choice for Type A men (and some women) who find marathons too easy and triathlons meh”.
My interest in the story had nothing to do with any desire, on my part, to roll around in the mud. Not even with some hunky ‘warrior’ type. I was intrigued by the pulling together, the teamwork and the camaraderie between these guys. And also by the encouragement they gave each other. Even though, for the most part, they’d entered the event as strangers.
They were bonding. It was instinctive. Primal. In this case, it was happening because of the gruelling challenges they were putting themselves through. Workouts, at their most extreme.
Instantly I thought about my experiences here, on WordPress. About the people I’m ‘meeting’. All of whom are total strangers. And by that, I mean, we have never met in person. Never seen each other ‘in the flesh’. We’ve never gone for coffee. Or a drink. Met for lunch or brunch or dinner. Enjoyed the companionable silence of a walk. Shared a bench, in the park.
And we probably never will.
Yet, like the ‘mudders’ we, too, are forging bonds. The difference is, our bonds aren’t about the ‘physical’. We’re not pushing our bodies to the max. We’re pushing our minds, our intellect, our talent, our spirits and souls to the limit. Our love of telling stories is what’s bringing us together. Storytelling is our bond. Regardless of how we tell them. Regardless of ‘how’ we express ourselves. Whether it’s through art. Or photography. Writing essays. Or poetry. Short stories. Or flash fiction.
Through the sharing of recipes. Or music. Personal experiences. Times of adversity. And triumph. New beginnings. And endings. Hopes. And dreams. Fears. And desires. Political discourse. Spirituality. Or religious beliefs. Ours is a bond of pain and sorrow. Laughter and joy. Love and loss. Ups and downs. In sickness and good health. Through marriage. Divorce. Birth. Death. Even thoughts on re-birth. We share it all here on WordPress. We put ourselves, and our thoughts, out there. For all to see.
What fascinates me, though, is that we find each other. How we find each other. Whether it’s through the use of ‘tags’ or ‘categories’. Simultaneous publishing on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Tumblr; or everything else that’s available to us, to help carry our messages to the masses. Whether it’s through the recommendations of friends, because we leave comments on other blogs, or just plain serendipity.
The point is, we find each other.
We come together from as far away as India. Australia. The Far East. The Middle East. And Europe. We come together from all over the United States and Canada. From as close by, as streets or blocks from where we live. It’s astonishing. Amazing. And as Claire, ‘Word by Word‘, whose stories can be found here, expressed so perfectly to me on Sunday, “It is indeed a wonderful universe, the blogosphere, so much more full of like-minded souls than any other physical meeting place could ever be.”
When we like what we read, we check back, to see what’s new. That leads to ‘following’. Subscribing. ‘Liking’. Sometimes ‘re-blogging’. And commenting. Conversations begin. Discussions abound. Suggestions are offered. Encouragement given. Experiences shared. Jokes exchanged.
Bonds are formed. And as untraditional, as unorthodox as they may be, so are friendships. Relationships that, in all probability, will never extend beyond this WordPress world of ours. Which does nothing to diminish their significance in our lives.
In some ways, we are closer to each other, than we are to those we can reach out and touch. Because we share WordPress. We’re here for the same reason. In this regard, we’re soul mates. In this regard, we understand each other. Far better than those who haven’t experienced this world. Those who aren’t as compelled as we are to bare their souls. Make others cry. And laugh. And nod their heads in agreement. Or disagreement.
Kindred spirits. That’s what we are. And it is really nice to know you.
The way things are nowadays. Yeh, it’s trippy. And kinda nice! 🙂
It is kinda nice. I always look forward to ‘getting together’. And it’s interesting how much we end up knowing about each other.
I love it. Thank you for saying it so beautifully. 🙂
Thank you! Glad you feel the same way.
So true! Let me know if you’re ever in Philadelphia, and maybe we could grab that cup of coffee (or, in my case, tea). 🙂
I would love that. And same offer to you, if you’re ever in Toronto. Maybe we should think about organizing a ‘meet’ someplace in the middle of where most of us live. At least those of us on the same hemisphere.
That would be fun!
Our New Year’s resolution.
A wonderful post Fransi, and so beautifully expressed.
There is indeed a little magic in discovering what sticks to our blogs and realising how motivating the feedback and comments are.
We are sociable creatures and yet sometimes we wish to express ourselves in solitude uninterrupted. It is one of the reasons why I am still a fan of letter writing. I like the long uninterrupted conversation I can have with my father and I enjoy his equally long epistles which talk about completely different things, subjects important to him. These are the conversations we can almost never have, because our worlds have become so different and the lengthy conversation would fizzle out before its end or go off in another direction.
It is perhaps the reason that as we age we are drawn more towards those whose thought processes concur with our own or interest us; in day to day life, there is comfort to be had in those we can communicate with who are on our particular wavelength or invoke that which we are intellectually attracted to.
The blogosphere has inadvertently created a virtual way of doing this, and our neighbourhood has expanded exponentially. It has become something that no longer requires a physical presence, we are appreciating minds, though I do believe there is something inherent in using images and faces to connect as well, it is not just our words.
Thank you for the mention, all your wonderful comments on my blog and for this wonderfully perceptive post. Bonne Continuation.
Thank YOU. I also love letters. I love writing them; and I love getting them. I have several books of letters. Some from Winston Churchill during the war, John Kennedy to his brother Robert during the Bay of Pigs. Letters Napoleon wrote to Josephine when he was exiled. They are FABULOUS! You would love them, I’m sure.
You have said it very beautifully, Fransi. In a way a string of attachments forms between us…. and we become soul mates. That’s beautiful. Thank you – from Bangkok. Jo
Thanks for reading all the way from Bangkok. Enjoy your holiday.
I find it so much easier to make friends on the internet than in real life…. for some reason, my personality just flows out even more via the computer than when I’m face to face with someone. What you said is so true though, and I’m now experiencing it for a second time…. first through my friends I know and love through the message board I first began posting on in 2000, and now via all the wonderful people I am meeting via WordPress!
There’s no pressure on the internet. And frankly, if you’re shy, which so many creative people are, it’s a good hiding place. And I know, first hand, that writers are often much more articulate writing, than speaking.
Beautifully said, Fransi. I’m always blown away by the diversity of bloggers we come in contact with, yet we all find common ground here on WordPress. If we could just bottle this there would be an end to all the darkness in the world. I’m sure of it!
I know. Here we are focussed on our similarities, not differences. Age doesn’t matter. Religion doesn’t matter. Income levels don’t matter. Geography doesn’t matter. There are no agendas. Just appreciation. It is such a simple idea, really. You’d think we could practice it in our own lives.
Reblogged this on Book Peeps and commented:
I couldn’t have said it so well…
Thank you so much. I am honoured.
The honor is truly mine.
ok, now the confusion is gone, a reblog! all so true, funneling through the both of you. found myself justifying blogging to a brilliant woman, non blog reader or writer this past weekend. i poked around at these ideas but in no way stated them so elegantly. if what one talks about is both true, and kind, should we worry about being so public?
Funny you should ask that question. I recently wrote a post about that. My point was about feeling weird, that particular day, reading all the comments and conversations on other writers’ blogs. For a moment it made me feel like a voyeur. But I talked myself off that ledge (with the help of some of the comments left on my post) because it is the whole point of blogging. So my answer to your question is “no”. Particularly as how much (or how little) we choose to reveal is just that: Our choice. And if we are revealing info that involves others, we don’t have to mention names. At least it’s how I deal with it. Thanks for reading; and commenting. Hope you stop by again.
My favorite blogsite vanished today. The blogger just said that due to personal problems she was deleting her blog. It was the most beautiful blog I have ever seen. I am so sad over it, and suprised that something so remote could affect me this personally. Blogs are living representations of the author. And when the auther is no more, the loss is palpable.
What a shame! Hopefully she’ll return. Having trouble responding to your comment about your poems, by the way. Will try again.