Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Tell me why

Someone asked me today why I blog. The question made me feel defensive for some reason and I gave a hurried answer along the lines of "because."

But I've been thinking about it all day, trying to articulate to myself why I do this. I have more reasons than you probably have the patience to read so I'll just give you the most compelling.

1. I am a writer. I may not do it professionally but it's as much a part of me as my brown eyes or my size 7 feet. Even if there were no internet I would still write. My post about Boston from yesterday? Yeah, not a blog post. Just a thing I wrote because that is the thing I love to do more than anything on the planet. My computer is full of half-written pieces that I may or may not finish but had to get out. The backs of church programs, work notebooks, hotel message pads-I will write things down anywhere I find a blank space. With or without a reader, I am a writer. Having a place where maybe a few folks get to see what comes out of my head from time and time and even like it now and then is just sort of icing on a cake I was already going to make.

2. This is not a journal. Trust me, I still keep a handwritten journal and it is not something the world ever has to worry about seeing. I do like to write personal things here but there is a difference between things that are personal and things that are private. There is plenty of stuff I don't think is appropriate to post in a public forum and I am careful about what ends up here. I don't complain about my job and try to only talk about work in general or vague terms. What I say here is always genuine, but I try very hard not to cross the line into giving too much information. (my sister says the bikini wax post did indeed go too far but that's still one of my favorites!)I would never post anything that I wouldn't mind getting back to my boss or to my mother which I think keeps me pretty safe.

3.Blogging keeps me connected. I had a roommate who used to tease that some people collect stamps but I collect people. I feel incredibly blessed, and sometimes almost embarassed, at the sheer volume of quality friends I have made over the last 30 years. I love having a way to stay connected to them. I love that even though it can be so hard to keep up on phone calls or emails, I can go read about my cousin's kids or my friend Kelly's job search or Betsy and Rebecca's awesome adventures anytime I have a free moment. It's nice to be able to talk about things that are happening in our lives beyond the "hey how are things-good and you-good-gotta run" conversations that are often all we have time for.

4. I believe that communication is powerful. I believe that sharing experiences and ideas with others is part of the reason we have those experiences in the first place. I have been moved by the things I've read on other blogs-whether those of a good friend or those of someone once removed. I've been following a blog written by a woman whose mother died of cancer. Her writing is beautiful and inspiring and I feel lucky and a little humbled that she's letting us into this part of her life. A few weeks ago I wrote something that led to a conversation with my own mother that I've been wanting to have for years but never knew how to start.

5 And finally, how awesome is it that because of tools like Blogger and YouTube and MySpace I can read and watch and listen to a whole myriad of things I never would have been exposed to fifteen years ago? I am madly in love with the idea that what I read and watch is no longer controlled by a few networks, publishers and record labels.

So there are my top five reasons for my raging blog addiction. Like anything, I can blogs can be good and blogs can be bad. I guess I feel lucky that my own experience has been overwhelmingly positive.

Many of you have blogs...what are yours?


Katie said...

Something that I love about blogging is how it affects the way I look at activities I'm doing in real life. I'm often thinking, "how would I blog about this? What story would I tell?" and it helps me see the humor, tragedy, beauty in the world around me. You are a great writer, K8. I'm glad you're obsessed with keeping a blog.

Chloe Elizabeth said...

Amen! I am all about your list, but another reason is the ability to get to "know" people I would never otherwise have "met".

And on the whole writing thing, I went to a forum yesterday about "coaxing the muse" in reference to writing. The lecturer's two biggest pieces of advice were to read voraciously and write regularly (at least 15 minutes a day) if you want to improve your writing. Blogging gives me both of those opportunities.

And, you are a fabulous writer!

MissEm said...

Blogging is cathartic for me! I use it as a way to be a virtual bossy person and obsessive shopper so I don't have to be those things in person :)

Oh, and I love the people too! It's like having 100 friends with you anytime you want.

Kelly said...

Not that you can tell from my blog lately, but I've always been a writer too. I've made an executive decision and am actually doing something about it this summer by taking a writing class at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education.

I also like the ability to keep in touch with people I might have otherwise lost contact with. Kind of why I like email.

I have an urge to have an anonymous blog where I write about the secrets, but I haven't started that up yet.

B. said...

I started my blog because I wanted to take my act to a bigger stage and also I wanted this one girl to see how clever I am. I'm a writer too, and if I devoted the same amount of time to my unfinished projects as I did to the internet I might be able to actually finish something.

Miss Hass said...

I originally started a blog to kvetch about work, but then I read dooce and changed my mind. Now I blog to keep in touch with people, to get to know people I don't/hardly know, and to serve as a storage spot for all of my random thoughts. I hate scrapbooking, and blogs look so pretty.

bets said...


f*bomb. said...

I blog because nobody loves me.

elizabeth said...

cause i'm desperate to be cool.

Rod Clifford said...

I think it's in your genes, kid, except that you're better than your genes.

tom said...

i blog because i long to be the urban hipster you are, katie. please oh please, tell me of your ways.

aporitic said...

Oh. All this time, i thought you were just in it for the money.

Daisy Paige said...

I blog so that I *do* keep a journal. I'm too lazy to write anything down on paper with an actual pen.

Hope you don't mind I found your blog and linked to it. Do you know if Jed have a blog somewhere?? He gave me the addy for Chris & Keri's coming out (great read), but I haven't found him linked anywhere on that yet.