I've been talking with a non-blogging, real-time friend of mine about why I blog. She said: "You are one of the busiest people I know. With all you have to do, why do you spend so much time writing personal things for strangers to read?"
Well, when you put it THAT way, it does sound sorta self indulgent and foolish I suppose.
But it also misses the point.
Writing for me is a way to better understand my own view point. I'm not just expressing / explaining them to those who will read this stuff. The very process of writing helps me get clarity in my own thinking. Sometimes emotions, ideas, attitudes all tumble together topsy turvy in my brain. I use the writing as a way to sort out what part really fits for me and what does not. Actually there have been MANY posts that never made it beyond "draft" status because they were a little too revealing, too close to the bone for public consumption. But when I limit all of my writing to isolation with no intention of ever allowing it to be read it somehow doesn't serve the same function as laying it out on the table and allowing others to see it and give feedback.
I have no illusions about being a great writer. I ramble. I too often have choppy mechanics from unchecked typos to dangling participles. I have run on sentences. While I would love to be Edith Wharton and Anias Nin all rolled into one, with a sprinkling of Wallace Stegner thrown in for good measure, I KNOW that is not the case. But I enjoy the process and that's what counts for me.
I do not sing well. (That's putting it mildly.) But singing feels good, so I belt out ballads on road trips and croon in the shower just for the sheer joy of it. In public I am much more reserved with my voice. But I do still sing carols with neighbors and friends at Christmas and I join in with congregational hymns at my church. I'm not PERFORMING. I'm PARTICIPATING.
That's how I view my blogging. I use my time at the computer to connect, to ruminate, to explore ideas, to share a story or a resource.
Besides, even though the relationships are very DIFFERENT from my regular-life friends, I enjoy the companionship I weave with my blogger pals. Even though we have never met face to face, I have a sense of "knowing" Mimi who loves baseball and looks beautiful in bluebonnets,
I adore Jaquandor, the writer guy in buffalo who shares my love for a good pie in the face. He may be on a blogging hiatus right now, but I have every confidence he will return to the scene eventually - and if not we'll keep in touch through occasional e-mails.
Jen over at Lords of the Manner is someone who shares my faith which gives us something in common, but more importantly someone I can "talk" to via e-mail about things that really matter.
Papa Herman started out as someone I only knew through blogging but I now count as a friend in my REAL life, where as Rozel is someone who started out in my REAL live but then moved away so now we stay in touch in part by reading one another's blogs.
Probably one of my most faithful readers of all is my dear friend and sometimes vacation partner, Pat B. in Wenatchee. She does not blog herself and almost never leaves a public comment - but by reading my blogs she knows what I'm doing, what I'm thinking...and often responds in our private e-mail conversations. I would generally not write the kind of stuff I put here in an e-mail - but sharing this stuff HAS helps she and I grow closer. Pat has got some challenges goin' on right now so I ask that ALL my blogger buddies that are so inclined please say an extra prayer for this dear woman who I love with all my heart.
Retired teacher Ruth D. over at Upstream and Down is someone whose point of view I very much appreciate.
And of course every now and then I have to check out Dragon Slaying Laura to see what she is up to.
There are others I read more sporadically. But this collection of folks are people who make me laugh, make me think, make me appreciate who they are as individuals - even for those I will NEVER know in real time physical world.
So even though from time to time there will be periodic lapses during seasons when my "REAL" life gets particularly insane, I keep blogging. For me, it means being in the company of good friends. I don't have to agree with them or live the same sort of lifestyle. But by knowing each one of these folks my life is richer. During all the angst and changes I had going on over this past summer my blogging friends were a support to me in more ways than I can name. Sometimes I really do appreciate the INFORMATION the internet puts at my disposal. But every single time I pop in to peruse the pages of my core circle of blogging friends I am ever so grateful for this tool that has allowed us to find each other in this big complicated world.
If I were Vulcan I'd say "Live Long and Prosper." But instead I'll offer up my own closing salutation - May you all one day know the joy of a big gooey Pie in the Face!