As some of you know, I had a traumatic experience last Sunday. I wrote another one of my typical posts, whining about this or that. I plugged in a few internet-scavenged photos to keep it sexy. I didn’t use actual sexy pictures, I just know that a page full of nothing but words can be scary to some people. A couple of pictures with snappy captions may keep them from switching over to travel blogs composed of nothing but snap-shots of someone’s trip to Italy last year. As is my habit, I included the source of each photo in parentheses after my caption.
I did my usual bit of half-assed proof reading, then hit “Publish”
I hadn’t fully taken my finger off the computer key when the giant pink box with red lettering took over my screen. WordPress had “deactivated” me, effectively shutting me out of my own blog – my online home of the past 11 months. All 124 of my posts were gone from me, including the one I’d tried to post merely seconds before. Anyone trying to look at my stuff got a message saying my blog was deactivated and no longer available.
The pink box described people who would violate the terms of the website, using WordPress for ulterior motives; spammers and slicksters trying to sneak advertising into posts and comments. It was made clear that these sorts of people are not welcome at WordPress. It was implied that if my blog had been deactivated, then I had likely proven myself to be just such a piece of vermin.
There was a link I could click to report that my deactivation was in error. I clicked it frantically, pleading my case wherever I could. I tried to identify myself as a good blogger, not some spam-planting reprobate. Sure I make poop jokes and I once wrote a post all about a professional athlete’s urine, but I’m generally a good person. I’ve got followers to think about, for heaven’s sake!
I sent the request for reinstatement. As the minutes dragged by, I started to panic. I Tweeted a few of my WordPress cohorts. Then I wrote emails to a couple of them who had foolishly let me know their online addresses. I got some helpful support from them, but as the time dragged on with no word from WordPress, I started to accept that my blog was gone. My many posts, strings of comments back and forth with blogging chums, pages and pages of unbridled goofiness, all vanished forever into the black hole of “Crap-that-disappears-from-the-computer-without-warning”. Despondent that my blog was gone, I even tried to send farewell messages to a few people telling them my actual name and asking them to watch out for my novel, which I would surely finish and publish with all this newly available time-not-spent-blogging. I’m hoping that not too many of those tearful goodbyes made it through.
I finally gave up on staring at my in-box and got cracking on my non-blog chores for the day. As I strolled the aisles of the supermarket, I pondered life without a blog. I couldn’t even consider going and starting a new one. Putting in that amount of work and time to build a new audience and community for something so fleeting seemed like an idiotic idea. By the same token, I couldn’t imagine how I’d go on without this forum. Blogging is the creative outlet which I’d been seeking for so many years.
On the other hand, I felt pathetic. How had I become one of “those people” who write blogs and then insist on trying to get everyone I meet to read them? Worse yet, what kind of odd nonsense would I move onto next? Maybe I could get a clip-board and go door to door getting signatures for or against some cause or other. I could just start hanging around the local coffee joint and talk about the weather or “kids today”. I could become one of those doomsday preppers who I made fun of in several posts – without a blog I’d be well on my way to a life without technology, living off the land and shooting anyone who got too close to my bean field.
One of the free-sample people at the store gave me a nibble to try and asked how my day was going. I hesitated, trying to figure out how to begin to tell this guy how my world had been shattered. Before I could put it into words, he gave a piece of cheese on a cracker to the lady next to me and asked how her day was going. I turned and walked off toward the paper products, relieved I hadn’t been midway into my story of blog-love and blog-loss when he turned to the lady. No one would understand except my fellow bloggers, and I’d lost them.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, I got an email from someone at WordPress whose job title was “happiness engineer”. The last time I dealt with someone whose job title was happiness engineer, they were trying to sell me a latex-free marital aide which ran at several speeds and had “life-like” features. The batteries weren’t included. The WordPress happiness engineer asked me to please remove the reference to a certain website from my blog. The website was where I got one of my aforementioned photos. I had typed in the web address in an effort to give credit where credit was due. As it happened, the website was on some WordPress no-fly list and had triggered the shut down. One stupid little web address in a photo caption had caused all this turmoil?
Obviously my scrape with near deletion has had an effect on me. Hopefully I’ll eventually be able to get my old swagger back and start posting poop stories and making adult-diaper jokes. For now though, I’ve got to take baby steps and work my way back into blogging in tentative little strides. I hope my readers can understand how difficult that time was, and how deeply I missed each and every one of you, for every minute of those several hours away in deactivation limbo.