I have several blogs I read on a regular basis. Thirty-nine, if my del.icio.us account is to be believed. Of those, I read maybe 10 with any frequency, and the others are just there so if I wanted to, I could check up on some fun and interesting thinking. And pass the time at work, which just doesn't keep me as busy as I'd like sometimes.
But all of them have been blogs of strangers, until recently. One way or the other I've stumbled across people whose writing and sense of humor and take on various things intrigues me, and brings me back for more. Regularly, I'll read Lileks and the advice column in Tomato Nation. Sirenita is infrequent, but has wonderful, quirky stories to tell -- and interesting photos at the same time. And when one just goes away -- oh, Shelleyness, come back, come back!
Such good times, and with people I've never met. And thus the distant intimacy of the internet takes hold.
That changed earlier this year when my friend Lynda let me know she keeps a regular blog at LiveJournal. She's got a regular group of friends who respond and read her, which was funny because I guess it never occurred to me to find out that any of my friends did this, too. I don't tell most people about this blog, and if anyone stumbles across it fine, but I guess for some reason I thought I'd know if she had one. So now I keep it in my list and it's one of the first ones I go to in a day. She'll do anywhere from 1 to 5 posts a day and then reply to her replies (having a boring job means even more free time to do that kind of stuff) so I feel like I "see" her with greater frequency than ever, considering she's in Baltimore and I'm in NY. I know more about what's going on here and there in her daily life, and that's fun. It's almost better than shooting emails back and forth.
At the same time, it feels like having a conversation while standing just outside the group; I'm getting the information, but what I may or may not say about it is irrelevant, because there's all this other feedback coming in. And now I sometimes wonder if, because she knows I read the blog, whether I'm supposed to respond all the time and know these things even if I haven't been personally told the details.
All of which is a useless hang-up, frankly; we chat and get together and hang out, and it's kind of fun to see her other, more local friends, at least virtually so. But again, there's that odd Internet distant intimacy. Which apparently pops up whether you know the blog subjects -- or not.