Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Whither Words

A popular topic I have seen tackled in several blogs recently is the question of why people blog. The pundits would have us believe it is because we are narcissists who enjoy talking about ourselves to anyone who will listen. While this theory may have some degree of merit, I don’t think it tells the entire story.

I started this blog when I arrived in India and found myself further away from friends and family than I had ever been before. And let’s be honest: I’m not a very good correspondent - I still have unanswered emails from five years ago sitting in my inbox. A blog was my way of keeping in touch with people back home. It was my answer to the annoying form Christmas letter that people send to everyone - boring news that no one cares about but you felt needed to be shared anyways.

But the blog has become more. Orson Scott Card once said, “Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any.” That describes how I feel about blogging.

I have always been that weird girl who stared at you on the subway. What you didn’t know was that I was secretly writing a story in my head about how you were a CIA agent who couldn’t tell his family the truth. You had just finished your latest assignment and realized that what little was left of your soul was dying – like the man you left on the stairs behind the dumpster at the Eaton Center. You wondered what your wife would think if she knew the truth but would never tell her since it was her innocence to your world that loved the most. Of course, what you didn’t know what was that she figured it out years ago – your dirt caked boots and the secret notes you never read because she put them in the briefcase that you only used as a prop.

I could go on – and often did on those subway rides. Everyone I saw was a potential target – everyone was a story yearning to be told. I have now turned my imagination in a different direction. Now, I share the seemingly everyday-ness of freezing libraries, language barriers, and how the best diet on the planet is living in a country where you sweat away five pounds per day walking to and from the shops. Of course, I just put my own spin on it and add a dash or two of literary license to protect the not so innocent, but at the end of the day, this blog is about me and my life.

I’m not sure what it says about me that I devote all this time to something that equates to an adult, online diary. (Hold on. That sounded dirty. Although it does give me an idea…) Despite what I may dream in those vodka infused moments between dusk and dawn, I know I won’t be “discovered” because of my blog. And I’m not in it for the money for fame. (Although I wouldn’t reject them if they were offered…)

I blog to meet new and cool bloggie friends. I blog to share bits and pieces of my life with family, friends and Devoted Readers all over the world. I blog because I see stories on the street that scream out to me that they want to be told. And when all is said and done, I blog because it makes me happy.

13 comments:

psychoknitter said...

Sounds like pretty good logic to me! I blog to procrastinate.

Connie said...

I cannot bring my family to my home, so I bring my home to my family, and in doing so, I also hope to share a bit about the part of the world I am blessed to explore, with other curious readers. I have always enjoyed traveling by internet.. so I might as well return the favor for others like me.

Christine said...

I concur. There are stories flowing everywhere. Hidden truths behind every face. I like seeing that, imagining that. I know it's just me, but sometimes it turns out I'm right. Sometimes I see a face staring back at me that see what I'm seeing and the world suddenly makes sense.

Love your blog! Thanks

Louise, Carmine Superiore, Italy said...

Nice post -- I love the quote. When I started blogging this is exactly what it felt like. Suddenly in my tedious day-to-day life my eyes had opened and there were stories everywhere!

Louise, Carmine Superiore, Italy said...

PS When I first met him, my now-husband was so mysterious about his international travels that I thought HE was a spy - the Indiana Jones-style academic persona didn't cut it at all!

Casey said...

Well put!

DRL said...

I always think it's just living in Brazil that provides me constant inspiration for blog entries... but you have me thinking.... maybe it might be my busy little brain... but thank goodness I live in such an "inspiring" place !

Bluefish said...

I blog to vent about stuff that happened to me on daily basis. Plus, when I go to Denmark I blog about my adventure.

Jacki said...

Amen and amen! I blog because it allows me to meet people I would never have the opportunity to meet in real life. I've met some great friends this way, even if we never meet in person.

Kat said...

You are so correct...great minds for sure!

My original intent with my blog was to create an accounting of our homeschool time. And then my mother made me feel guilty - like only mothers can - about leaving out my other child. And then...the blog just morphed into being all about me. And the friends that I have made...well they are such a life line for this homeschooling mom without socialization :-)

LadyFi said...

Well written. For me the real upside of blogging is that it is a two-way communication in a way that the diary I kept as a kid wasn't. It is the sense of dialogue with those unknown readers, their input or quirky views on stuff, that is so addictive...

GutsyWriter said...

You know what I love? Getting excited to check first thing when I wake up if anyone has written to me. Now that people no longer write letters, or rarely, it's a nice way to share with others and relate to women from all over the world. It's a nice feeling.

Brenda said...

I secretly want to be a writer, but know I am not good enough. So I blog. I put those things down on paper that run through my head as I travel around town. Its great therapy and very economical.

Thanks for linking to me :)