a little east of reality

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

the blogging experience

It’s been two weeks since I've written a post here. It's always so lame to come to the blog after time away and say, just like everybody else, "Sorry I haven't written. I've been so busy. " etc etc. But the truth is that the blog is not a job, it's an interest, and it sometimes has to take a back seat to the rest of life.

Even so, I miss writing when I don't do it. Last month when I was in Sydney I mentioned to my sister that I wrote a blog. She doesn't have a lot of experience with them and she was asking questions about why people write them. By the end of the conversation it became clear that she saw them as a vanity - like publishing your private journal because you think your personal thoughts are just that profound. She so missed the point.

Have I ever thought I had a witty thought? Sure. Have I ever wanted to tell the world I'm lonely or going through some painful experience? Sometimes, yeah, though I'm not as open as some in that sense. Do I think my life and thoughts are fascinating and must be made public for the benefit of humankind? Of course not.

But I do like writing things out. Something about the process is satisfying and I enjoy imagining that what I write will be read because it helps me choose my words. I also like the feeling of connection with other people. I hope I'll always get just enough comments that I know someone's reading my posts. How many people doesn't really matter, but I discovered early that writing to (perceived) empty space feels odd and even lonely.

I like blogs because they capture life in small moments. It's possible to get a sense of someone's life in the everyday, rather than just getting the big events like in one of those newsletters people send out at Christmas summarising their year. I'm often struck by how interesting an everyday life can be.

Sometimes it goes way beyond that. A few weeks back I read a blog entry by a woman whose daughter was born with a serious handicap. She's a happy kid, but she'll always face certain challenges. I'm being deliberately vague here, but at the time of the post, a member of her family had just made a huge decision that had a major emotional impact on her. It was raw and painful to read (and, I imagine, to write). I thought about how I would have felt in her place. I don't know if I really could understand exactly, but I wanted to try. People are interesting, puzzling, inspiring, and their experiences can be deeply moving.

I don't know all the reasons I write a blog, or why I read other people's blogs. I don't feel like knowing exactly why is important. I know I like having a blog of my own - not just being a tourist, but also having my own little spot in cyberspace. I also know that over the last year or so I've emotionally invested in a few people's lives. Where I used to see their blogs simply as a good read, I now see them as links to people whose lives and happenings I care about.

Even if I don't always have the time to update my own.