Why friends and family don’t read my blog.

by K.W. Leslie, 26 June

Or just plain won’t.

They don’t, y’know. I can tell.

My views aren’t mainstream. Though I think they’re fairly predictable, other people follow other trains of thought, so my viewpoint often catches them off guard: They’ve never thought of it that way. Or they’ve just plain never thought of it. Anyway, the surprised reaction makes it fairly obvious they never read it… back when I previously wrote on it.

No, I’m not offended by this. It’d be really arrogant of me to be offended. I can’t require people to keep up with what I write. I write a lot. Always have.

I’ve known people like that. Man are they a pain. I don’t wanna be the guy who’s regularly telling people, “Well you should’ve read my blog. Why aren’t you reading my blog? I’ll send you a link. You’ve never read my starfish poem? I’ll recite it: ‘A thousand starfish on the shore…’ ” I’d have no friends left. Deservedly so.

I used to expect people to read everything I wrote… back in first grade. See, I had a free weekend, so I finished my entire grammar workbook. Since Mrs. Stinson now didn’t know what to do with me, she had me sit in the back of the room and write stories. She made the mistake of putting one of ’em in the school newsletter (something about Martin Luther King Jr. where I added a few lines to the day’s lesson), and from that point onward, everything I wrote was annotated, “For the school newsletter!” I got the writing bug super early.

Did the school paper in high school. At first, my family’s response was, “Look, he’s got something in the paper!” In very little time it became, “Meh, he’s got something in the paper.” I’d write 15 articles a week; they’d print ten. I’m prolific. Their usual complaint is I don’t write a paragraph or two, like your typical blogger; I write “a book,” which gives you an idea of how little they read, but still. Fifty-one paragraphs on simony is way more than they care about the topic.

Doesn’t help when they’re not Christian. I write about Jesus a lot, y’notice. Any pagan and not-all-that-Christian friends ’n family don’t care: To them I’m just babbling about irrelevancies.

Doesn’t help when they’re Christian either. Some of ’em are in the Fundamentalist camp, so they’re pretty sure I’m a false teacher and steer clear. Others aren’t, but they have their own opinions about Christianity, and don’t care to hear anything which might challenge ’em too hard.

And some of ’em honestly don’t read: They have tiny attention spans and busy lives. There are a million things to do, and they can’t be expected to keep up with the thousand words a day I regularly spit up.

I do appreciate the regular TXAB readers who do, though. Thanks.

Being “the liberal one.”

My immediate family is also pretty conservative. As we were raised to be: Conservative Christian mom, conservative atheist dad, conservative church, conservative Air Force high school. Raised in more-conservative-than-average Vacaville. Though in the heavily progressive state of California, where Democrats outnumber Republicans by two to one, in Vacaville they only outnumber Republicans by 7 percent—though that’s not including the many no-party-preference folks, who skew conservative. All of us still go to theologically conservative churches, with pastors who sorta lean rightward… well, obviously all besides Dad.

I was always more political than the rest of ’em. I was the one who wrote about politics for the newspapers. I even got involved in the party: Went to the conventions, walked precincts, did the fundraisers, and so forth. But I was also the one who had a crisis of faith over those politics, and had to quit ’em lest they become an idol. Consequently I rethought all my views, came out as more of a right-leaning moderate… which makes me more “liberal” than they. Registered in the “wrong party.” Occasionally voting for the “wrong candidates.”

Because they didn’t share any such faith crisis, they never felt the need to rethink their convictions. They don’t know why I think like I do; I regularly have to explain my train of thought, because they just find it dumbfounding. Sometimes they care. Sometimes they really don’t; they’re not all that political till it’s election time. And then they wonder why on earth I voted for the other guy.

Really, there’s only one issue they care strongly about, and that’s abortion. They kinda want smaller government and lower taxes, as do I. But whenever they find out a candidate is prolife, that takes precedent. (Unless the candidate’s a prolife Democrat; then they’re not so sure the candidate is really prolife. Old prejudices die hard.)

Thing is, while I’d prefer to vote for prolife candidates, it also makes a big difference to me about the candidate’s fundamental character: How corrupted are they by Mammonism? See, Mammonist policies about economics and social programs keep people so poor and desperate, so unable to escape their circumstances or find help, they can’t help but seriously consider abortion. That’s why abortion rates go down every time they’re not in power. But friends and family simply won’t believe the statistics: It runs so contrary to everything they’ve ever been told by their conservative friends and family. They can’t see the connection between economics and abortion, and they just wanna vote prolife so Planned Parenthood kills fewer unborn babies.

I’m prolife, but politics is the art of compromise. You’re never gonna wholly get your way unless you’re a despot. So you cut deals. Work the system till you get most of your way. Most politicians understand this; most voters don’t. I gotta promote politicians who care about economic justice, because in the long run my desire actually isn’t an abortion ban; it’s people choosing life. It’s not about punishing evil, but redemption. Y’know, like Christianity.

Not holding my breath though. Both parties are too selfish to change anytime soon. In the end, the only solution will be for Jesus to return, overthrow our government and set up his kingdom. That, all Christians should be able to agree on.

Well, enough politics.

The fear of exposure.

Lastly there’s their fear I’ll talk about them.

Which is what I’ve done in the past, back in my early days of commentary-writing. Still do, but to a much lesser degree. I write about my life; they’re part of my life. Sometimes they come up.

I discovered that, no matter how embarrassing my stories about ’em aren’t, they object to the way I tell them. Y'see, nearly everyone has an idealized view of themselves. Our minds project us in the very best light. Which ain’t always a realistic light, and this is why some of us absolutely hate to have our photos taken, or are bothered by our reflections in the mirror: It doesn’t match our idealized mental image. In our minds, we’re thinner, we have fewer zits and wrinkles, and we don’t look like a donkey with bad teeth when we laugh.

The rest of us see the reality. The way I describe them is as accurate as I can get it. But it’s not the ideal them, ’cause it’s filtered through me, not them. No matter how brilliant a storyteller I am, or how well they come off in my stories, it bugs and embarrasses them. So, like they shun mirrors, they shun the blog, just in case they’re in it.

I’m not trying to embarrass anyone. (Well, most of the time.) So when I do talk about ’em, I tend to change the names to protect the easily embarrassed. I refer to them but won’t identify them. Even so, they’re still gunshy.

I once had a boss who was an occasional reader, but he admitted he was always worried I’d “tell on him” whenever he said something dumb. I never did… well, not while I worked for him. I have since, but I never identify him by name. Yeah, he did dumb stuff from time to time; we all do. He may never recognize himself, ’cause I kept the details minimal.

Still, many embarrass easily… though you’d think a relationship with me would get ’em used to that.