My favorite free theme, Fruit Shake, is no longer supported by WordPress. I would never have changed it, except that my list of followed blogs and Arabic language resources had become out-of-date. Most of the links no longer worked, and most of the blogs had not been active for years. I realized that the period of time during which I was writing and reading blogs has now passed, not only for my blog but for most of the ones I used to read.
Because the Fruit Shake theme was no longer supported, I was unable to customize it, to remove the defunct links or add active ones. Reluctantly, I perused the free themes that supported custom colors and headers, and was disappointed with the pickings. I finally settled on one, and when I activated it, was dismayed to see that all my links have been eliminated. The only list now present is my archive list.
After getting over the shock, I decided not to add a list of Blogs Followed or any other reference to other bloggers or links, at least not now. I wonder, though, what happened to all the blogs I used to read. Why have their authors stopped writing? What has happened to those authors? We sort of got to know one another through blogging. We became familiar with each other’s stories, and we looked forward to each other’s posts.
One of the facts that contributed to the dispersement of my particular circle of bloggers was the passing of Carol Fleming in 2011, whose blog American Bedu formed a hub around which so many of us fluttered. She succumbed to breast cancer, two years after her husband succumbed to leukemia. She blogged about her illness, as well as his, but she always maintained the purpose of the blog, which was to educate and entertain Westerners who found themselves in Saudi Arabia, and to inform those who remained behind. No successor emerged from that milieu. No one could have taken her place, but why did most of us drift away from blogging? I don’t know, and I am one of those who drifted. Maybe I did feel the hole left by Carol’s passing, and simply did not return to my blog after a time of getting used to her absence.
I am happy to see that two of those blogs are still functioning. I am also happy to report that I have continued an on-line friendship with another blogger, who spends more time on Facebook than she ever did on the the blogs.
Has Facebook superseded blogging as the way to socialize and reach out to kindred souls? I have spent more time on Facebook during the past few years, but I do not feel nourished by writing short Facebook posts in response to someone else’s comments or links. I do not feel inspired to start my own discussions or post my own links, because my Facebook page is visible to all who know me.
I would never want the people in my life to read on Facebook some of the words I’ve published on this blog. My blog is deeper and more honest than anything I would write on Facebook, and for that reason, my identity behind Marahm is not discernible by anyone who actually knows me. For that same reason, my blog is more valuable, even though I have neglected it for months a time.
Maybe the other bloggers whose blogs I used to read lost interest. Maybe they moved out of or into the Middle East or divorced their Arab husbands or decided to leave Islam. Maybe none of that happened, but they merely moved on, in terms of interests and activities.
The important point is not that a whole group of bloggers moved away from their blogs after a period of intense involvement, but that they did it at roughly the same time, as if an invisible energy flowed through each of us but then slithered under another door, leaving us flat and disinterested. None of us planned that, discussed, or even noted it, I daresay. Could blogs, as entities, as vehicles for the transmission of news, emotions, ideas, and narratives of their writers, be subject to a sort of life cycle, much like the persons themselves are subject to the life cycle?