Day 2479: Why should we care?

Since last month, when somebody told me that something I wrote didn’t pass the “Why should I care?” test, I’ve cared too much about that comment. I’ve tried to let go of caring so much about that by

  • rewriting very carefully,
  • caring about other things,
  • spending time with people I care about and who care about me,
  • starting a new original song, “Why Should You Care?”, and
  • caring to take this picture:

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Sometimes it seems like cats and people don’t care, but why should we care about that?  Let’s just keep caring anyway.

Here are the beginning lyrics of “Why Should You Care?”

Why Should You Care?

by Ann Koplow

Why should you care about me?

Why should I care about you?

If I should share about me,

Maybe you’ll share about you.

© Ann Koplow, 2019

Why should we care about the other photos I took yesterday?

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Why should we care about “Why Should I Care?” sung by Diana Krall?

I not only care, I express my caring with gratitude at the end of every post.  Thanks to all who helped me create this “Why Should We Care?” post and — of course! — to you, my caring readers.

Categories: original song, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

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26 thoughts on “Day 2479: Why should we care?

  1. Today I’m caring and reminiscing… it’s “our” anniversary…. flowers are on the way Carole…
    https://ivors20.wordpress.com/2019/09/09/once-upon-a-time/

  2. My past experiences tell me that when you serve your thoughts to the public, Ann, it’s quite common to care about what they think in return.

  3. We should care for each other every day, Ann 🙂

  4. Ann, I am pretty upset about that comment and disagree. Everything you write passes the “Why should I care?” test, which is why I have been reading your blog for 7 years. Each of your posts fits into a longer storyline, if you will, which is the storyline of your life. With every photo and thought, you share something of yourself. I care about what you write, think and feel.because I care about you. You have made me care about you through your blog; we have never met in person, so that is totally the power of your pen. Because you share your life and thoughts, I also learn from you, am entertained, ponder my own life, feel connection, and am enriched. Sometimes you write things that are instructive, for example ideas for overcoming self-defeating behaviours. Sometimes you share an anecdote or describe a particular moment or incident.; then, I may purely enjoy the blog entry for what it is, a sharing that helps me know you better. I may also get more from your entry than is described in those few sentences because I know you quite well and I can fit that blog entry into the larger story of your life. I fit that day’s post into my memory of other posts and observe that despite your childhood raumatic experiences with doctors, you now have some of the most compassionate and skilled doctors and other medical caregivers I have ever heard of and you have chosen to work in a hospital and I feel awe and affection and am inspired to do better in my own life.

    The person who made that comment doesn’t speak for me. I have to wonder what he or she meant by it. Could these words have landed harder with you than they were intended to? The meaning of her comment comes down to who she is and why she came to your read your blog. Let me look at three scenarios, because of course I know nothing about her.

    The first scenario is that she could be a friend or family member. In this case, she may have spoken thoughtlessly, perhaps partly out of guilt for not following your blog, and she may have meant something like, “I have 400 crises going on in my life and I’m triaging everything, and your blog doesn’t make the shortlist because I already know what’s going on in your life and nothing that you write demands my immediate attention or would let me know you better than I already do.”

    I assume that that is not the most likely scenario because you probably wouldn’t have taken the comments to heart..We all make accommodations for relatives who are a little bit thick at times.

    So the second scenario is someone who thinks that your blog is intended to be helpful and instructive like a self-help book.. You are a therapist and they are expecting daily tips or gems that will help them live their own lives better.They are not there to get to know you as a person. They want every post to help them improve themselves. They may have a particular issue in their own lives that they are trying to overcome. (They could even be one of your group therapy patients who sees you primarily as a mental health expert offering a service to people like them.) Because of where they are coming from, they don’t see that the blog offers two ways for people looking for self-improvement to benefit. One is that sometimes you do share psychological tip or insights, although if she wants things so distilled she may prefer to go to your website or to a self-help book. The other way is that you offer up your own life as an example, sharing your struggles and successes and anxieties, like a character-driven novel where the reader has to notice the protagonists growth themselves and gleann their own understanding. If readers are here to be taught, then I think those lessons are richer and more profound then any tips that can be listed off with bullet points, but the reader has to hang in long enough to know you. If she isn’t patient enough to do that, that’s not a criticism of your blog, it’s a reflection of her personality.

    A third way I could understand the comment is if she is a writer and her intent is to grouse about her own manuscript that she’s working on. or her own novel. In that case, she may have tossed off the comment thoughtless Leewhile trying to explain to you why she is struggling with her own piece. It’s true that if you are writing a book for publication, you do have to remember that readers will eventually put the book down if they don’t care about what’s in it. What are the stakes involved for the character? What is the central question or problem being tackled in a nonfiction book? Whether or not she is she is a writer, she may have looked at one or two blog posts and then thought that each of them should have stood alone like an essay or book would.. But that person has forgotten that the blog is a creation that changes and stretches over time and that you are it’s central character and not just the narrator. Every entry is part of the longer work. We, your readers, bring to the blog our memories of what you’ve written in the past and who you are and our hopes for your future and we are interested to find out if you reach the goals that you set for yourself, like singing in front of an audience, because we care about you as the character or person starring in your blog. Your blog is like a memoir in real time and it’s got a unique andunconventional structure. That critic may not have considered that if you open any page of almost any novel except for a thriller, a single paragraph may not meet that test either. A passage from Forrest Gump? Or from Contact? No matter how beautiful the writing is, a small bit cut off from the whole may not capture us enough to care. but if an editor went back and chopped out every part of the book that didn’t mmet that test on its own — every passage where nobody was being murdered or dying of leukaemia — there would be nothing left but the beginning and the inciting event and the car chase. The work would be destroyed. The reader has to put in the time in order to benefit from any longer work if they are going to jump in at the middle. And the story that is primarily character-driven, as yours is, is going to be different from one that is primarily plot-driven, like a Michael Connelly novel.

    No blog or novel or movie or memoir or self-help book is going to suit everybody. But there are a lot of self-help books and even memoirs in print out there that are self-congratulatory and basically filled with air. I find yours to be consistently worth reading more than many books I have paid $30 for. I start most days by coming to your blog and that’s because you do meet the “Why should I care?” test. You are an excellent writer, for one thing, somehow managing to publish pieces that are polished, thoughtful, and concise even though you write every single day. You are never overly self-indulgent or self-pitying even when writing about things that de-stress you, and you always keep the welfare your readers and others in mind. You have a knack for finding things to share that are both new to me and yet true to the familiar voice of the narrator (you). It’s a joy and a privilege to be able to tap into your life ( as one of your readers). Your blog is alive because you are sharing in real time. I think you work hard to share meaningfully, to be fresh, to examine yourself, to notice what’s going on around you. You dig deep but you also revel in the moment, like a friend over tea. Maybe the person who made that comment doesn’t have the patience to get to know you, or just doesn’t like to read longer works very much – and although each of your blog posts is quite short, as a whole it must be considered a longer work.

    I hope you will put that comment out of your mind. I know you are quite sensitive to criticism because you set the highest standards for yourself and you want to be helpful to others. You probably know better than I do what that person meant and what’s going on in their life. But, a reader who likes to read Churchill’s memoirs might make the same comment about a Jodi Picoult novel. Someone who loves to read Jodi Picoult might ask why they should care about Romeo Dallaire’s Shake Hands With the Devil (about genocide in Rwanda). There is no work that doesn’t fail to meet the “Why should I care?” standard if the reader isn’t at a moment in their life where they are inclined to care. She may feel differently at another time.

    I hope that you carry on being Ann in your delightfully unaffected way, and don’t allow that person to become your evil editor. They probably meant no harm but if you let them mess with your head, you and your blog will suffer.

    I dictated this is in Google voice recognition and I hope there are no weird word substitutions. I hope you have a good day, Ann..

    • Thank you, Maureen for caring so much and for this wonderful comment. You did make an assumption — the critical comment was not in response to my blog, it was in response to something else I had written. However, everything you wrote is helping me care less about that critical comment. So thank you, again, for your caring.

    • P.S. I plan to read your caring comment many times over the next two weeks. ❤

  5. Maureen has made such a perfect comment that I feel that, ironically, there’s no reason to care about what I have to add, but I’ll add it anyway. I’ve been reading John Cleese’s autobiography and, describing his early days in the theater, he says that audiences accepted mistakes so willingly he wonders why he and the other actors even bothered.
    What’s strange is that a few pages earlier he described a night when he put on a perfect performance and how he knew after every performance would leave him feeling disappointed in himself.
    I wondered, didn’t he or even his editor notice the contradiction? But his memoir is written in a very conversational style, and in conversations we can change our minds. More importantly, though, he and the other actors did work hard because they cared about putting in good performances, and they were performing for those in the audience who did care, not for the ones who didn’t.
    So that’s it: you write for the ones who do care, not for the ones who don’t, and there are quite a few of us out here who care.

  6. We care that little bit extra to compensate for those who could not care less. Thankfully, there are more of the former!

  7. Some of us care too much about too much and others don’t care enough about far too much. Confussed? Me too

  8. I really like the lyrics to your new song, Ann. I care that you make a point every day to share from your heart. I believe you care about us, and we reciprocally care for you!

  9. Pingback: Day 2480: Different | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  10. We should care because that is how life should be

  11. puella33

    Caring is innate, we care because we love others and ourselves, and our surroundings. We see this even among animals, the mother protecting her cubs, etc. People start revolutions because they care- they fight for justice.

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