I was really trying to avoid writing this post, or thinking about this as a possibility.
But I really need a break.
I have been feeling very overwhelmed with obligations. And I have been feeling really angry about some of the behavior I have seen online in the blogging community recently. Perhaps I am entirely too sensitive about some of the things I've seen.
But it is hard to come home after working with struggling kids all day to see grown adults bickering and picking stupid fights online. On blogs. My students don't act that way. And they might have a reason to. Some of the kids I am teaching this semester need a lot of help. They've been told that they're stupid, that they're not going anywhere, and that even by trying as hard as they can, they'll never be a good student. I struggle with them every day to build up their esteem and give them encouragement to keep reading, keep trying. And for some of them, this is the first time they've had an adult cheer them on. For some of them, this is the first time they are understanding a book in an English class.
The last thing I want to see when I come home from school are adults, bloggers, nit-picking posts, judging the merits of projects and challenges, spewing filth and anger on their blogs that is directed at another group, or leaving a nasty comment on a blogger's post who is only trying to do good things for the community. I am also sick of getting judgmental e-mails in my inbox about what I choose to share here. Because really, no one has a right to judge what I do. This space is for me, and for me alone. My goal has always been to talk about why I love literature, not to cater to the needs of self-righteous individuals who need to feel validated by putting others down.
And honestly, I don't care if this post makes you want to stop reading any future posts by me. Good. Stop following my feed. I never started this place for you, and I will never bow down to make sure I fit in the box I am "supposed" to fit in.
The last thing I want to do is feel like I am giving the negativity excess attention, but I can't hold my tongue anymore.
I'm stepping away for a week or two. I'll see you when I come back.
If you need to, get in touch with me on twitter or email me (on my profile page).
I think these days I am very sheltered. I have only seen one small negative thing in the last couple weeks, and it seemed to be resolved fairly quickly. I know the list of blogs I read is really small though, and I recognize your feelings as I used to have them often when I was more active in blogging and on twitter. I think a break sounds like a good idea.ReplyDelete
What really makes me angry is hearing that people are sending you emails about your blog content. WTF??? Your blog content is just fine the way it is! I for one love what you do here. Your blog remains one of my very favorites. Your content is consistent. And, you know, if you are posting about subjects I'm not interested in, I simply skim those posts and don't comment. Like with Shakespeare. I avoid Shakespeare at all costs, so I avoided those posts. No big deal. I came for the other posts, you know? I expect people do the same for my blog, that the people who want weight loss posts will skip my book reviews and vice versa. Etc. None of us can please anyone but ourselves 100% of the time.
Have a good break, Allie! I'm taking one too, haha, though I still have some pre-scheduled stuff about the cruise going up on my blog. :D
I think I care too much and that's the problem. I seem to have lost sight of my real purpose, and I am letting others who don't know me, get to me. I just need to step away and reevaluate.Delete
I do the same on blogs I read. Not everything is interesting to everyone, so I am never bothered when one posts gets a ton of comments and another gets none. It makes perfect sense.
I was talking more about the teaching posts I've been doing recently. Apparently talking about teaching literature "isn't appropriate for the book-blogging community." Well, I don't really care!
Thanks-you enjoy your cruise. :)
Wow, I am shocked at how you've been treated Allie. I'm sad that there are people out there, and in our own community, that choose to hide behind the safety of the internet to post nasty comments that they would never say to someone's face. And I really don't know how anyone could find any fault in what you do- because aren't books and reading and talking about books and reading what brings all of us together? I think it's awesome, getting someone to read a book who may never have picked one up willingly on their own. You are doing a great job, never doubt that!ReplyDelete
I understand you need a break, but I hope you come back sooner rather than later- I don't read a whole lot of classics, so I always like to read your take on them. I'll be here whenever you return!
Thanks Kate. That means a lot.Delete
Not everything I mentioned took place here. Some of it happened on some other blogs that I read regularly, and it sickened me as a bystander.
There is also a lot going on personally that I need to take care of-some family medical issues, etc. I think the longest I'll be gone is 2 weeks. I just need a breather, you know?
Amen to that. Sending good thoughts and wishing you a good rest, Allie. xReplyDelete
Thanks Jillian. I know we talked about this in a post on your blog. Another e-mail last night sealed that I needed to step away and cool off.Delete
I'll be back in a week or two.
Another one? That's utterly ridiculous. Your blog is a treasure and remains my favorite.Delete
"Book blog appropriate"? In what label-fadtastic world do we start corral-ing authors into markets when they aren't even being paid for their work?
I imagine you feel very much like I did the other day, Allie, and righteously so. I find it cowardly to email a person and complain about free merchandise. Perhaps this naysayer should head for a library and try reading literature rather than thumbing through the free blog library and attempting to curb it to his/her taste. Spreading the importance of literature might also be a good use of this person's time, though doing so does require one to have guts enough to permit his words to appear in public. Something that takes courage, clearly, since it has a tendency to attract the anonymous and the unpleasant.
It's fortunate this person has Allie as an example of how to make proper use of one's time, and promote positive change rather than anger. Teaching is what literature does best. Joy in learning is what it has the potential to spread, and if this sorry emailer can't see that, he/she should thank God you had the time to share it. Maybe it will affect him, if he has the guts to let it in.
THAT is why we do this. That is who we are. Not "book bloggers" shriveled behind our computers hoping we fit into the box, but souls that can only swell beyond the box, when encountered by great literature and by people like you, Allie. YOU inspired me to do what I'm doing now. People like the complainers I have seen lately are the reason so many people today don't read.
Shame on you, any of you who create this sort of reaction by who you are and the choices you make and the way you treat people. You should be inspiring, not stifling. And you should be ashamed of yourself. YOU need to go back and read that post again. THAT is what THIS is about.
I can't believe people are treating you like that. I really enjoy your blog and always look forward to your posts. Shoot, I don't think I would have ever read 'Heart of Darkness' without your readalong. :) Anyway, I hope you have a good break!ReplyDelete
Thank you for all your kind words. And while I can't say I'm glad I'm the reason you read "Heart of Darkness" (because I hated it ever so much), I'm so happy you took a chance. Classics are so rewarding if you allow them to be. :)Delete
I just want to clarify that the e-mails I am referring to are connected with the teaching content I have been posting recently, not my posts on books.ReplyDelete
I am in no way a perfect teacher. Heck, I don't even have a permanent job. But since my job is closely tied to WHY I started blogging in the first place, I thought it would be fun to write about what I AM doing with my students. If you recall, I started reading the classics to help myself become a better teacher. And I certainly think it HAS helped me. So when I post things I am doing in my class, I see it as a further reflection of my overall goal.
I do not post those items to "show off" or force my "misguided" theories on teaching. I do it because I love teaching literature and want to explain what I am doing with my students. There is a serious problem with kids and literacy. I am trying to combat that in the best way I know how.
If you judge me for it, come try it for a day and see how YOU do.
I did not realize there were rules about what content we're allowed to post on our own blogs. O_o I've enjoyed reading your teaching posts. Anyway, online life can get too much at times and sometimes a vacation is a good idea. I'll look forward to seeing you again in a little while.Delete
That really sucks - I am sorry you have to deal with t hat. Personally, I love those posts. My husband teaches 7-8 grade English and I share all of them with him and he is super impressed with your dedication and creativity (and I always wish I had a teacher as cool as you when I was in school). Sorry that some people suck :(Delete
I love reading your teaching posts Allie:)Delete
I'm so sorry that you've had this experience. How ridiculous that people are complaining about your blog content. I didn't realize that all bloggers were supposed to follow some unknown code for what we can and can't post about. That's ludicrous! This is your blog. Keep doing what you're doing. Those of us who aren't crazy judgmental will be here to support you whatever you choose to write.ReplyDelete
I'm glad I'm not really a popular blogger with a large following because it seems like the newer people joining the community are not here for the same reasons that we all started blogging. This is supposed to be enjoyable for everyone--a community where readers can gather and share their love of books. The criticisms that have been thrown around lately are shocking.
Enjoy your break and I hope your efforts with your students will pay off. It's wonderful what you're doing for them, but sad that they don't have anyone else encouraging them.
Enjoy your break. I'm grateful for people like you who are determined to be tactful. A positive blog is a light in the dark web-world! Don't let the angry, spiteful stuff wear you down.
We all have different points of view. There is nothing quite like a healthy, respectful debate to take a person to a new level of understanding; however, tact and dignity are often lacking in the blog realm.
I just recently started following your blog. I was introduced to you through Jillian. I am so glad to know about your enthusiasm for your students. That is just beautiful. Prayers for you:)
Looking forward to getting to know you better through your blog.
I'm sorry, Allie. I hate that you have to put up with coward bullies just because you choose what content you post on your own blog (content I personally love and find wonderful and interesting, by the way). I don't get why adults act this way either.ReplyDelete
I'll miss you, but I understand why you have to take a break. We'll be here when you're ready to come back.
I actually enjoy your teaching posts, too.ReplyDelete
I don't know, I wish I had more to say - but there will always be people out there who are determined to tell others what to do, how to think, what is or is not "right," etc. Just try not to let it get to you. A break might be a good idea (it's understandable - we all need them from time-to-time, for various reasons). But don't make it too long because 1) We'll miss you and 2) It lets "them" win if we stop talking and/or stop being ourselves on our own blogs.
I really enjoy the teaching posts, THREE! :)Delete
I used to post much more about teaching than I do now, but when I do, I get interesting emails from people interested in what I do or how I do it. Hate that you are getting the opposite.
Also, HOW do I always miss the drama? I'm on Twitter A LOT. Yet whenever people talk about the drama, I am totally clueless. I guess I should be glad. Instead, I feel like I'm not following the go-getters who are getting criticized. Craziness.
Enjoy your break! (Or try to.)
I don't blame you a bit, Allie. I have been blogging since 2009 and I have never bought into the mind set of what a book blog "should be", "should look like", etc., etc. Back then it was...you shouldn't have auto play music on your blog, your design should be clean and simple, and on and on and on.... Well, guess what? I kept the music on my blog (and I get tons of compliments about it) and my blog is not clean and simple (I call it artsy). If you don't like it, turn the music off or don't follow me. Ditto regarding the design. Thankfully, I haven't had any negative feedback or emails about my blog content, but you can bet if I do, my reaction will be similar to yours. "I didn't start this blog for you, honey, so if you don't like it....well, you know." I'm appalled that anyone would call you out at all, especially on a classics blog. Honestly, what do they have to complain about? Oh, that's right. Some people can always find plenty to complain about. Are they bored?ReplyDelete
Yes, take your break for your peace of mind, but don't stay away too long. You can't let them 'win'...can't let them keep you from what you love. Have a lovely rest. =O)
I just realized that the complaints were about your teaching posts. Give me a break. Who better to talk about books than a teacher, especially in the position you're currently teaching in (awesome Hunger Games class project, by the way). Teachers are second in line in the fight to get our kids reading (often first, if the parents aren't stepping up). You post about your teaching every day if you want to. I think it's wonderful.ReplyDelete
Ridiculous! But that's what happens when anyone can hide behind a computer monitor. You're entitled to post anything on your blog! I feel sorry for those sad people and can't wait to read this blog after the break!ReplyDelete
I am another one who enjoys your teaching posts. So many book bloggers are librarians and we hear about their jobs so I can't imagine why it would be inappropriate for you to talk about teaching when that's your day job! Seriously ... ignore them. Enjoy your blogging break, recharge and come back and write whatever you damn well want to write about!ReplyDelete
And I'm glad that I haven't gotten wind of any other blog dramas that are circulating at the moment. I get really angry about them. Recently I've been unfollowing blogs and twitter feeds that are overly negative or try and stir up controversy for traffic's sake and I've been a lot calmer. Of course, then there are the other things that just force themselves into a perfectly pleasant space, right?
I think there are times when everyone needs a break. Just life alone can make stepping back necessary sometimes, and negativity on top of that never helps. It's a shame that people can be so judgmental or negative towards others or others' ideas. (BTW, I really enjoy your teaching posts!)ReplyDelete
Take care of yourself. Get the rest, the break you need.
Oh no I hope everything is okay. For what it's worth, I really enjoy your blog and I'm going to keep following you :)ReplyDelete
Nolite te bastardes carborundorum!ReplyDelete
(Don't let the bastards grind you down!)
Totally ridiculous. Of course, you can post whatever you want to on your own blog, and those who don't like it can . . . . not read? I've been enjoying your blog for a month or tow now, and I'll be happy to read what you have to say when you get back.ReplyDelete
This is why I "divorced" myself from the book blogger label awhile back. The drama and monetization and bickering is just ridiculous. And I stopped following anyone who feeds that or plays into it. Like you, I started my blog for me, and I can post whatever I darn well please. So just keep on doing whatever you feel like doing.ReplyDelete
LAME, I SAY! LAME UNTO WICKED EMAILERS! It's ridiculous that people are telling you what's appropriate for your space. I hope you have a kick-ass break and come back ready and rarin' to read and teach and do whatever the hell else you feel like doing on your own blog.ReplyDelete
Teaching "in da hood", I can get pretty hood myself. Let me know if you want me to Carina on them (my hood name, btw).ReplyDelete
People are ridiculous.
Keep it up Allie. I've always said that you're needed in education and have no idea why someone would criticize you sharing your experiences IN education. Barg!
It bothers me that cyber bullying has become more of a problem, not only is it cowardly but can be just as hurtful as someone spiting in your eye. This is your blog with your content, so I say screw them, it is their loss. Your blog is wonderful with amazing content!ReplyDelete
I hope you have a refreshing break and come back with some great teaching posts!
Well, I hope you come back! Though I understand your frustration. I haven't really seen the negativity, but I suppose I'm not as active and consistent as most. But I really enjoy your blog and your classics quest. I hope you keep writing because I learn a lot from you!ReplyDelete
Wow, I didn't know there was so much drama! Like Amanda, I feel like I've become fairly isolated from the book blogging community in recent years. If that is how it's become, I'm fine with that :-) I'm sorry people have been unkind to you. I really like your blog, though I don't comment much, and I completely understand your desire to take some time off before getting back into it. I think one lesson that seems really simple but is not is- the blog is yours. It is not your audience's. So do what you want with it :-) Easy to say, harder to follow!ReplyDelete
I've distanced myself from the blogging world. When I first started blogging, I was much more involved, but I lost interest, and also became a bit disillusioned by the bickering I was seeing and reading, so I think we're likely in the same boat. I come and write when I want to and read the blogs I love and avoid what I don't love and hope that those people grow up, eventually. Enjoy your break. Come back soon.ReplyDelete
Like Fizzy Jill, I shut myself off from the bloggers/blogs that choose to pigeonhole themselves and expect the same from the rest of us. Your blog is your blog. If readers are not adult enough to read what they want, comment on what they want, and leave the rest alone, then they have bigger problems than those that exist in the book blogging world. No wonder kids have such problems with social media; even their parents are imbeciles.ReplyDelete
I've been out of the country and drowning in grading papers so I've missed your recent teaching posts...as a fellow teacher, you know as well as I do that there is no one way to teach students...they are all different, semester to semester, year to year and class to class. You are obviously a much nicer person than me, Allie bc I would have likely told whoever this is to kiss my arse. And, then I would DELETE them. I love what you do here...take a rest and come back refreshed and empowered. This is your space; don't let anyone take that away from you.
I recently came across your blog a few weeks ago and love it! I enjoyed your entries on the teaching aspect. I am an English Language Arts teacher and a lover of literature. Recently, I have been pondering having my own book/literature blog. Additionally, I just came off a temporary contract where I replaced an ELA teacher on medical leave. I had the opprtunity to teach high risk kids (who hate reading) and some AP kids. Hope to see you soon :)ReplyDelete
I've only been following your blog for a short time, but I consider it one of the mainstays of my blog-reading time. I'm sorry you were disrespected on the blog. I also like the teaching posts. You don't really know something until you can teach it and I think the hardest teaching job is being a sub (even a long-term sub). Take what time you need, but, like others above, I look forward to having you back. I'm so glad I found your blog (and through you some other wonderful blogs) so that I know that I'm not the only one reading the classics.ReplyDelete
This is all sad to hear. I mean, I mainly hang out in YA circles where hahaha HIGH SCHOOL NEVER ENDS. But still, I love your classics blog and this is coming from a mostly YA with like a shot of classics every now and then girl. So obviously, you are doing something right.ReplyDelete
Keep on keeping on. Hope your break has you feeling refreshed and filled with passion and joy for your space/ruminating on the written word.
I'm afraid I'm going to have to write a similar post soon...ReplyDelete
Hope the break is what you need it to be.
I'm sorry to hear things have been rough, Allie. I've been so out of the loop these last few weeks I haven't seen any goings-on. I hope it all clears up and you can enjoy blogging again soon.ReplyDelete
Ugh, I am sorry for the drama. It is disappointing that someone has been choosing to spread their negativity around just for the attention, which takes away from the positivity most of us enjoy from your blog. I hope you have a good and refreshing break from blogging, but I do hope you come back. You've inspired me to read many classics I never would have picked up had it not been for your posts.ReplyDelete
Also, if I was still in high school, I would be ALL OVER your Hunger Games elective. You are so creative, and I think your students are lucky to have you!
Love your blog. I hope your break helps and that we see you again soon!ReplyDelete
Allie, yours is one of my favorite blogs to visit, and to tell the truth, your teaching posts add that extra bit of personal to your blog which I love to see. I love seeing more about the blogger behind the blog and as for the nay-sayers, I say forget 'em. I hope you enjoy your break, and I look forward to your return.ReplyDelete
I know I haven't commented on your blog in a long time (I'm finally getting a chance to peruse my reader at leisure today - well for another half hour at least. I may make it through the A's). :)ReplyDelete
I somehow miss out on most of the drama, and I consider myself lucky. Enjoy your break! I hope that you come back refreshed and ready to blog about whatever strikes your fancy.
I haven't been following the book blogging "controversy" or whatnot but I'm glad to see you came back after this post :) Taking a break is always a good thing.ReplyDelete