16 Jan
2006

A Blogger’s Story

Well, that whole delurking business turned out to be…how do you say?…AWESOME. So many nice comments, so many lovely people, so many fricken cute bloggers! (Seriously, you guys are a good-looking crowd.) I am also pleased as punch to announce that thanks to you I will be donating a nice, round $50 to the Red Cross. (I know I promised fifty cents a piece, but I just got a raise, so I’m feeling a little flush right now and want to spread the wealth.)

One of the most exciting things to come out of this little game was learning that for a couple of you this humble space was your first introduction to blogging. That’s pretty cool for me because I also happened upon this strange world accidentally, and I vividly remember the first blog I ever read, and I still have a soft spot for its author.

A story: When I was a junior in college, I was part of an honors society that did a volunteer project bringing books to underpriviledged kids in crappy schools (with mean teachers). While a part of that project, I met a little seven-year-old girl who was so sweet and so grateful to be able to take home a book of her very own and so eager to climb into my lap and hug on me as if we hadn’t just met five minutes earlier that my insides turned to goo and I wanted to take her home. My group was scheduled to visit her school only twice, but I went back again alone on the last day of school because I told the kids I’d come and see them again. On that third visit, they’d all just gotten their school pictures back from the lab, and I felt like a celebrity when a handful of them gave me little 1 x 1 photos of themselves and asked me to “autograph” pieces of construction paper that they could take home and keep forever and ever. First-graders are my favorite.

The last visit was bittersweet, however, as it turns out that that one little girl–Leandra–had moved away. I didn’t think to get her last name from the teacher, and who knows where she is now, thirteen and stylish and surly, or thirteen and awkward and shy.

Go now to Fall 2002. I had been living in Berkeley for a year, my boyfriend was a 24-Hour Study Person, and I was passed a lot of time Googling for people in my past. I searched “Leandra” and found instead ericandleandra.com. Specifically, I found wedding pictures, a daily journal, vacation photos, a sidebar with Dooce and Injust-Spring and only two or three other links. I was intrigued. I was inspired.

I stole my brother’s HTML for Dummies, checked out a few basic web-design books from the library, made pages and pages of mostly-useless sketches and flowcharts, and paid the folks at Moveable Type $40 to install the stuff that makes my blog go. For the first few months, I posted stupid quizzes and designed hideous banners and left 90 percent of my own comments, but I also got hooked on blogs by people who actually knew what they were doing and did it well. When I got engaged and announced it on the blog before I’d told all of my extended family, I discovered that my mother had told several of my cousins about the blog even though I’d specifically instructed her not to, and I shut the thing down while I threw a gigantic fit and learned the lesson we weblifers all eventually learn about public access and selective censorship and parental nosiness. A few months later, in November of 2003, I started a new blog–agirlandaboy.com–and have grown up right before your eyes. I’ve changed boys, reinvited my family to share this part of me, and become a better storyteller and photographer. I have also met a ton of fantastic people who have helped me become a fuller person myself.

You have inspired me to be more creative, more daring, and more friendly. In you I have seen glimpses of my future, my past, and my alternate present. I have felt at once kinship and awe; you surprise me, you challenge me, you make me laugh. Through you I am wiser, tougher, and cooler. And so much more.

Thanks again for giving a rat’s about my life. I’m humbled.

By    7 Comments    Posted in: Regular Entries


7 Comments

  • What a very sweet post. It will be very interesting to see your future self…but I suppose we will as long as you continue your blogging life.

  • Wow, to think that I started reading so close to the beginning!

    If I embody glimpses of your past, I can only hope that I turn out to be half as awesome as you. Heart!

  • Daring? I DARE ya’ to (actually) read (as in scan ALL the glyphs with your eyes) the Protocols of Zion! Awwww! I KNEW ya’ wouldn’t do it! Scardey cat. Nah nah nah nah nah!

  • Of course I give a rat’s! That’s because you give just as much IF NOT MORE to me. I’m so happy that you’re living your bliss.

  • Of all the blogs to accidentally stumble upon, I think I lucked out when I found yours first. I’ll be reading for as long as you keep writing. :)

  • I am absolutely speechless! (hard to do, i assure you) and thanks for finding us, so we could find you… :D

  • you are the best, I am lucky to know you.