A Small Thing About This Community.

I’m genuinely hesitant to comment on posts I sometimes see in my feed.

Because some bloggers simply want whoever reads their work to agree with whatever they’re saying. And if it’s not that — the reader needs to be able to capture the specific subtext and nuance in a poem that the poet is trying to convey without deviations. Without even taking into account or reflecting on what the reader may have elicited.

Some context:

A few months back I came across a poem that was so well written. It was amazing and truly heartbreaking, arguably nihilistic art at its finest. I left a comment about how the poem was well written and how I enjoyed reading it.

The writer’s response to my comment was. “I find it odd how you could enjoy my pain”

Um, okay?

Perhaps they simply misinterpreted what I said as “I enjoyed reading about your pain.”

I left another response telling them that when I read poetry, I remove the poet from the equation and simply enjoy the poem for what it is. Because I can never claim to know what any poet is feeling, and I would imagine it’s a little insulting to comment with “I hope you feel better soon” when I don’t even know if the poem they’ve shared is a direct reflection of the poet or how they’re feeling.

And even if I can miraculously identify the specific feeling, I can’t understand the feeling as accurately as the poet. I simply take the most objective stance if there’s no accompanying text that specifically tells me that the poem is a result of grief or otherwise.

To their credit, when I explained my position they seemed to understand where I was coming from.

But I would be lying if I said the whole interaction didn’t ruin any desire I had to binge their lovely work. Because now I knew, If I was to comment, I had to mirror their emotions or at the very least “not show appreciation for the art itself” when I “assume” they are suffering or are happy based on what “I think” their words are saying (?)

I don’t know, that just sounds like a lot of homework.

I understand that people are different and that we all have different expectations for our blogs, readers and content. I suppose I got a little relaxed and made the mistake of thinking that when poetry is concerned, objectivity takes centre stage and not the poet’s subjective experience. That what the poet publishes is an account open to critique and other insightful connections that may be found by the reader outside the poet’s knowledge.  

If you’re grieving, and there’s no sign on your blog to show you’re grieving apart from an amazing poem that can be left to multiple interpretations. What am I, as the reader, supposed to do in that situation?

Am I supposed to, perchance, ask you whether you’re in pain or if you’re happy before I eventually tell you that you wrote an amazing piece?

See, by that measure, the most harmonious approach in any comment section is checking what everyone else is saying, noting what the author finds agreeable and responding within the same vein.

Because that’s how we connect right? Through mimicry? Through discarding any other possible interpretations in a world full of so many gifted people?

I don’t like commenting and just saying “Nice” or “Cool” or some other variation of this. I want to speak (with respect of course) about what connections I’ve made. And if we know each other well enough how the author’s work affects me personally. 

I’m not saying “if this is what you like you’re wrong”. I’m saying “if this is what you like we probably won’t get along.”  

I don’t write content so people can agree with me or echo exactly what I’m saying. I write my experience and in doing so ask “have you come across anything like this in your experience?” and if not, that’s okay, it doesn’t take away from the validity of my own experience.

There aren’t many people who can separate themselves from what they write, but I’ve seen enough of them to personally take notice.  Please don’t ever feel like you need to agree with me to comment on my posts; I won’t come after you. Say what you want to say. Truth first.

That’s how I learn or at least get to think differently.

If I wanted to write for an audience that simply agreed with everything I said with little to no resistance I’d be looking to publish my next posts in a morgue. More accommodating, no?

– O.D. ©2022

Art by: viktorow

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