Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Why I Write And Some Medical Blogosphere History

It was the sitemeter. The damn sitemeter. I couldn't take my mind off of it as I sped down the highway to the hospital. The sun inched over the horizon and a blur of headlights swarmed and then passed my car.

I should have never put a sitemeter on my blog. I didn't need to stare down the barrel of cold incontrovertible proof. I already knew that my posts disappeared into the ether as fast as I pushed the publish button. But I sure didn't need confirmation.

*

I remember back to when I started blogging. I built a web site selling artwork. I called it Fine Art Doctor. It was a hobby to fulfill the emptiness from those early years of practice.

The blog was a companion to the web site. I wrote about various art related topics. But I was flat. Uninflamed by the controversies of the art world I searched the Internet for more.

What I came across was a well known blogger named Gruntdoc. When I surfed his site I knew I was onto something. I left a comment on one of his posts and started to change the direction of my blog to focus on medical topics.

It was 2006 and the Grand Dame of the medical blogosphere was a woman named Moof (I know your lurking out there somewhere!). Moof followed from Gruntdoc and introduced me along with Doctor Anonymous (Mike Sevilla) to the community.

It was an inspiring time. I remember reading the likes of Charity Doc and Doctor Charles (before he left and then came back). TBTAM was on hiatus. KevinMD still rained supreme but in a slightly lesser way.

*

I turned the radio up as Adele was playing in the background. Her voice, sweet and soft, was becoming bigger and more powerful each second.

In the beginning I had quite a following. I started with medical narratives and poetry. Eventually I graduated to writing fictional stories. I celebrated with each comment. Sometimes I got as many as ten per post.

I felt creative and liberated. Like part of a community. I even got some face time on KevinMD. Sure I would sometimes fall off the bandwagon and go days without posting. Maybe even weeks. But I would always come back.

That is until the morning I had a car accident. I wasn't hurt but I was shaken. And then I arrived at my office to turn on the computer and find that my blog was gone. A word press glitch.

I finally got the content back weeks later but it was imported to a new web address.

With the snap of a finger I lost my blog. I lost my community. I lost my voice.

*

Adele is now barely audible. Her voice vibrates with charisma but soft...emotional.

I migrated over to blogger with little fanfare and little following. I would have loved to be able to brag about my stamina but I couldn't. My blog had been mute for weeks or sometimes months at a time. Posts came and went. Sometimes barely audible.

So why did I do it. Why did I keep writing in such a public way to an audience that had all but disappeared?

*

My mind slowed. My shoulders relaxed and I listened to the music:

I hate to turn up out of the blue uninvited.
But I couldn't stay away I couldn't fight it.
I'd hoped you'd see my face & that you'd be reminded
That for me it isn't over.


As I listened to the lyrics my emotions swelled. A few words masterfully twisted and tangled with a little melody brought up such vivid feelings. Snapshots. Memories. It reminded me why.

*

I write because I envy people like Adele. I envy the master craftsman who with a twist and flourish can reach down deep into our souls and produce something different in each and every one of us.

I yearn to use a few words to paint a million pictures on each reader's private canvas. To pull out from them that which they secretly want to expose but hold fiercely close to their hearts. To teach. To learn.

I would write if there was no blog, or paper, or pen. I would scrawl my awkward musings in the sand with a stick.

I would write because I have to.

Even if no one is listening.

7 comments:

Maggie said...

Don't know what your sitemeter says. But this reader is listening, regularly. Thanks to blogspot's collection of posts from blogs I've been following, I get to see whatever you post, whether it's once a day or once a year.

And I truly appreciate what you post. As I come to the end of a working life in which I never quite made it into medical school or any of the medically-allied professions, I am charmed by your reflections on the experience of serving your patients.

I am glad you are driven to write.

Thanks for sharing.

tracy said...

i'm listening too, Dr. Jordan. i don't always comment, however, i do so love your work and even gave a copy of one of your pieces to my Mom's Doctor a while back....Ummm, i hope that was okay........

Anonymous said...

Yup listening n reading!!

Chrysalis Angel said...

Your site meter won't pick up all of us that are reading. And Moof is still around. We chat on our gmail, when I can get in touch with her. She is a dear, and I think very highly of her.

I enjoy your writings. So write away like no one is listening, and enjoy the process.

dr lasermed said...

You absolutely stole the reason that I write. I write because I have to. I just found the blog world. I love yours.

Moofie said...

The worst thing about no longer blogging is that you lose touch with your friends ...

Dr. Jordan, you have always been a favorite, and I can see that you're only getting better! I hate to be missing out.

And so ... when are you going compile all of your works into a book for the edification of those of us who don't get to read it on a regular basis? I'm still ready to edit. :o)

Thanks to Dr. Bates for giving me a heads up ... !

drcharles said...

I really identify with this post, and I admit I am upset with myself for not making more time to write with the passion and sincerity you do. Keep writing, as you've discovered, it is exercise for the soul!