Ginger is hosting an everyone-write-on-the-same-topic-and-leave-the-link-type thing called Bring Back the Words, and I’m a fan. I realized a while ago that I used to write about a greater range of topics–my childhood, my hobbies, why cooking is stupid–whereas lately (probably since having kids), blogging often feels like a scramble to hurry up and journal daily events before too many more days and events pass by unjournaled. As riveting as I’m sure it is to read about whatever darnedest thing was of late quipped by Mr. Personality of the Preschool Set, I do have other things to say. I think. At least…I’ll try. And so: This week’s prompt is “Why’d you start blogging?” (If you want to play along, “>do it, do it!)
I wrote recently (buuuuuh, in 2006) about how I first discovered blogs and how I shortly thereafter contorted my humanities brain into something that could code primitive HTML, but I don’t know that I’ve ever spelled out the why of it all. Why writing? Why this format? Why ten years of my life?
The short and easy (and embarrassing and true) answer is that I blog because I like to show off, BUT I like to show off without anyone actually looking at me. Behold, I am a truly complex and unique individual (read: annoying because I make no sense sometimes). I guess a good way to explain it is that I like to talk and talk and talk and talk about things on which I consider myself somewhat of an expert (perhaps you’ve witnessed one of my extended Twitter seizures over use of the serial comma?), and since I’m the world’s foremost leading authority on ME, I am naturally my favorite topic. Add this personality trait to the happy fortune that THANK GOD I learned somewhere along the way how much everyone loves a know-it-all (i.e., not at all), and it was grace-saving to have found an outlet for my twentysomething navel-gazing that did not involve renting out a hall, filling it with chairs, filling those chairs with strangers, and then committing to pop in sporadically for the next decade-plus to wax philosophic and personal on important topics of the day. My ideas for peace negotiations in the Middle East. My plan for job creation and tax relief. The great question of our generation: Bangs or no bangs?
Yes, of course it’s handy to have a blog so my long-distance family can see what I’m up to, and yes, I’ve made invaluable friends through blogging, and yes, I’ve been inspired to do more and better in the shadow of others, and yes, it’s been awesome to have turned this hobby into job[by], and yes, it’s saved my sanity during this year of W/SAHMdom, but yes, I was (am) really, honestly drawn to this medium because I relish the idea of being able to talk about myself ad nauseum yet do so into a void where no poor souls are held captive. Seriously, don’t come up to me at a cocktail party, ask where I’m from, and then invite me to tell you about growing up around Mormons unless you’re committed to spending the night cornered by the cheese plate (which, all things considered, isn’t the worst fate). (CHEESE.)
I also just really love writing. Perhaps surprisingly, I put such a mechanical mind to creative pursuits that writing is hardly ever a right-brain-dominant letting go or wandering as it is an equation. This plus this minus this times this equals this. When I write, I feel like I’m solving something. Building something. Writing is the architecture of my life. I construct countless tiny structures, towers and parapets, a house of a million gables, the better to see not just my immediate environment and the rest of the world but also myself. Writing allows me to climb above myself and look down. Sometimes it lets me dig deep and look up. Writing gives me perspective. Writing is the perspective–the very thing I spec (from the Latin spicio, “to see”) per (“through”).
That anyone ever read this blog was like finding a gift left on my front porch. That anyone is still reading is like opening my front door and walking into a porch party full of old friends, new friends, and friends-to-be. Thank you for letting me talk to you about the things that matter (and sometimes the things that don’t.) Thank you for letting me show you all the family photos in my virtual wallet. Thank you for accepting my invitation to come inside, to watch my vacation slideshows, and to have some cheese. Thank you for letting me be myself.