I don't know quite how it happened, but this morning, as I was adding a name to my Blog List, it disappeared. Uuuuh...?
It isn't a disaster. I can instantly remember the shining lights on the old list, and will reinstate them. You know, the very active bloggers who always deserved to be on the list. But maybe this is a good time to let the fallen lie quiet. I know of at least one blogger who wants to let her posts slide into oblivion, and this is an opportunity to assist. I won't therefore be reinstating a link to her old blog.
Perhaps it's also an opportunity to rethink what a Blog List is for. I want to it to serve at least three purposes:
# It should say 'this is my community'. These are the online writers I like to read, because I get something from what they have to say. That doesn't mean they are like me, or share my outlook on life, or that I aspire to be like them; but I do appreciate what they stand for, and if they are trying to achieve something amazing then I find them inspirational.
# It should say 'these are the areas I'm interested in'. So it's going to be things like history, arts and culture generally, and people who have gone through the same experiences that I have.
# It should say, to anyone visiting my blog, 'don't just read my posts - have a look at these too'.
People judge you by your friends. I think they also judge you according to whose blogs you read! Should one then play for safety? Should one have a pretty showcase full of 'fashionable blogs' that one claims to follow, but which are listed only to impress? That seems very dishonest to me. I am going to continue with a policy of listing only those blogs I genuinely take an interest in.
If, that is, I can track down where to find them!
Most trans bloggers, for instance, do not publish under their proper personal names. I am in a tiny minority where naming my own blog is concerned. From the very beginning in February 2009 it was 'Lucy Melford' - and not 'Lucy Incognita', or 'A Life Unleashed', or 'Phota McFloater' or any number of possible alternative blog names that would disguise who I really was.
I wanted to be plain, unadorned, unveiled; and if necessary take the consequences of such risky openness. I could afford to present myself truly-named because I had retired, had an independent income, and had no dependants. Nobody could get at me in a meaningfully serious way unless they found my front door. I therefore took care not to reveal my precise address, and to this day you won't find any pictures of the front of my house. Not on the blog, nor on the Flickr site.
And I respect the issues of other bloggers. Most trans bloggers have a motive for being discreet. They still work, perhaps; or they simply need to separate their blogging persona from the day-to-day person that family and friends know. This is entirely understandable, and indeed prudent. The world as a whole is still not ready for utopian frankness; and it's good to remember that the Internet reaches across the globe to less accepting lands and cultures, and is trawled by many prejudiced, narrow and fanatical people with an axe to grind. And, everywhere - perhaps very close to home - there are out-of-control nutters, and mad persons of all kinds. It's sensible to keep sensitive stuff well-hidden from them.
So I have every sympathy for someone who is really, say, Samantha Smith (an invented name) blogging as 'Silk Stockings'. And I claim no particular kudos for exposing myself nakedly as 'Lucy Melford'. So far - apart from a little mockery from GenderTrender at the start of 2013 - I've got away with it. But as regards reviving her blog on my list, you see the problem where Miss Smith is concerned. If I can't quite remember that her occasional posts have been published under the banner of 'Silk Stockings' then she'll be off my new reconstructed list until I can track her down, perhaps on a hunch.
But not off for long: the excellent T-Central will have her somewhere.
Bottom line then: please don't be offended if I don't seem to be following you any more. I'll find you, and when I do, you'll be reinstated. Or just email me and tell me what the URL is.