So this is something that I never ever thought I would do! "Blog?" I had to call a friend a couple of years ago to ask "what in the world is a blog, anyway?" Maybe that was the time frame when blogs and bloggers were all just getting started; I think I vaguely remember hearing the term "weblog," could that have happened? I mean did that term really exist at some point?
Anyhow, my sage friend explained that a blog was "a deal on the internet where people who need other people to read their most inner thoughts and every detail of their private lives can write it all out. Like a diary only instead of hiding it under your bed and praying nobody ever finds it, you're letting millions of people you never even heard of read it."
Hah! What a bunch of baloney, thought I. A: who wants to hear what I have to say? and 2. who wants to hear what I have to say?
It was until recently that I would have called myself a "blog snob." I admittedly shook my head at folks pouring out their innermost feelings or the minutae of daily life, in such a...well, "public" forum doesn't quite cover it, does it? I was, however, having a good time writing a weekly column for our little home town newspaper, the Mountain Mail (Socorro, NM.) I would jot down something cute my children had done that day, or my feelings about losing a family member or how crazy I felt during a pregnancy, just any old thing I thought to write about and that came out coherent and fairly complete in around 600 words. I would sit down to write and just let the words flow as if I were talking to you, very little editing and very from the heart.
It started with a piece I wrote and submitted to the editor, about my youngest (at the time) child eating nothing but hot dogs for two weeks straight. Pretty funny, something lots of parents could relate to, and when a friend read it and said "you should send this to the paper," I did. Thom (owner/editor at the time) got back to me about a month later with a "so sorry I lost this email, of course we will publish this and if you have any more please send!" type of thing, and my column "Home Fires" was born.
I enjoyed the writing, but was taken entirely aback by the amazing compliments I recieved! I just couldn't fathom anybody missing me when I was absent from an issue, and when a lady came up to me in the grocery store parking lot and said "...when I read your piece, I felt like you were sitting with me at the kitchen table, talking over coffee," I cried all the way home. Me?! Wow. Because that's just the effect I was going for -- I wanted every reader to feel like I was talking to her. Or him.
Well, I got lazy last summer and "took a break" from writing my column...still on break, can you believe it? Shame on me for letting go the habit and shame on me for disappearing -- I've actually had people encourage me to start up again, "ASAP!" (Thank you so much!) I've missed doing my column, and been so uplifted in knowing others have missed it too.
Though I did read my fellow newspaper columnists, I haven't been one to read blogs, feeling as though I were almost invading someone's privacy. I know, it's on the internet, how private could it be? Still...then I found out a friend of mine has a blog about her "micropreemie" daughter's life and times, and in reading about Kiera, it occurs to me that her mother is doing so much good by sharing her struggles and successes as the mom/nurse/advocate of this precious little girl -- how many other moms in the same situation are feeling comforted and even informed by my friend's writings? So this is what blogging is about? It's not voyeurism or that ism where you feel compelled to tell everyone you see your entire life story in the liquor store parking lot, it's that ism where we're all in it together. I can do this!