Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Why do I blog?

This is a topic I've visited to various degrees before, but a recent post from Tony Karrer got me thinking that it might be time to take another look at why I blog. As ever, it is in the comments on Tony's post that many gems lie - don't miss those... and I don't just say that because I am one of the commenters ;o)

This blog is not my attempt to win the wider world over to my own particular brand of (ahem) wisdom. It is instead the place where I hang my ideas, experiences and thoughts out in the wind and stand back from them to see whether they have value, whether they stand up to scrutiny. I like the fact that others stop by and share their views. I like the fact that I can do the same with their blogs. I treaure the relationships that have come out of my time as a blogger.

When I read some of my older posts, I find that I have moved on from those views and ideas - sometimes to such an extent that I cringe to read those words which are permanently linked to my name. And this has been largely due to encountering the thoughts and views of fellow bloggers who have been brave enough to send their fledgling ideas out into the world.

I know that there are those who consider blogging to be an egotistical pastime. Many of my colleagues feel this way. However, in an attempt to share how untrue this is, let me relate something totally left field:

My younger son is a wrestler. Sadly, not the noble art of Greco-Roman wrestling, but its showboating relative to be found in the world of WWE. He is still fairly new at it, and is scheduled for his first bout at the end of May. Excitedly, he told me that I would finally get the chance to see him compete.

It took every ounce of parenting skill I have (which is probably not a lot) to explain why I would not be there.

I have been in the crowd for every single thing my kids have done. Every stage performance, every chess tournament, every sporting endeavour. I have screamed myself hoarse. I have applauded until my hands stung. I have tried endlessly (and totally without success) to whistle through my teeth. I have "Woohoo-ed" more loudly than the rest of the crowd put together. I have mopped up the bitter tears of the loser and coached the art of winning with grace and losing with dignity. I have always made sure that my boys know that, win or lose, there is someone in that crowd who is rooting for them and doesn't care who knows it. I have no shame!

And yet, I am opting out on this occasion. How could I?

Let me explain that there is no way I could sit in the crowd and watch someone hit my son, especially since, as a "face", my son would be coming up against a "heel". I know it's all fake (although you didn't hear that from me!), but sometimes the wrestlers really get hurt. Also, part of the idea is to "sell" - to pretend to be in enormous pain. Would I be able to tell when he was selling and when he was genuinely in pain? I have worked hard on my son. He is the product of fourteen and a half years of a labour of love. He is "flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone". and I didn't do all that so that I could sit by and let some "baddie" to try to smack the living daylights out of him! Bear in mind that this is the son who has been the victim of much bullying in his life, which I have shared before on this blog.

Fortunately, he understood. His Dad and elder brother (hardier souls than I) have agreed to make a valiant effort to make as much noise as I would normally be expected to make (they are unlikely to succeed - there are only two of them, after all).

So, what is the point of that saccharine sweet revelation? Simply this. I am not detached from my thoughts and views. The line between what I think and what I feel is not very clearly drawn I am a naive soul and I invest myself in everything I say and do and think. There have been times when I have shared my theories in this blog or in comments on others' posts, only to see them mercilessly demolished by someone else. Sometimes, when the debate is purely academic or intellectual, that's no big deal, but there other times when I react in much the same vein (although to a lesser degree) as I would were I to see my son taking a beating in the ring.

Blogging can be a humbling experience. It can even be humiliating. But, if you make it your goal to learn as much as you can from the process rather than simply to bare your own soul, you will find that you learn more than you thought possible. Stretching and growth can also be uncomfortable, as you are forced to hold some of your less well formed notions up to the light and recognise that they are unfounded or inaccurate. But, at the end of the day, it must be a worthwhile experience... otherwise we wouldn't keep it up, would we?


Anonymous said...

You said that very nicely! I totally agree. I can't help to think (character flaw) what other people would say if they read my blog. It's one of those stupid rules I'm thinking about like, "don't write anything you couldn't say to you mother." My mother would have a stroke over some things I have written. I've said too much. Or something really stupid...something I should know. Perhaps something resembling word vomit.

I also cringe at what I have previously written. I've been set straight several time. Embarrassed a few times. It won't be the last.

Although, like you, I cheer on everything my kids are involved in without shame, I am generally pretty shy. So writing is an outlet for me, an introvert.

Rina Tripathi said...

This is true, thanks for the answer. I think you are right this is a phase, a kind of transition but this is very confusing. Loved the pictures of your relaxing spaces. The colours are lovely, the basic reds, blues and greens do bring life into a room. I collect shells, stones and wooden things. Now see here you are so right, we learn so much while we blog. Suddenly attention is on the colours and their relevance.I read the post about your son participating in wrestling, agree with you for a mother the image is of the tender life, the day when you hold the child for the first time! No, it's difficult to go to such an event.
Blessings and regards Karyn, well to meet kindered souls that's why we blog!

Anonymous said...

@janet (1) your blogposts are anything but shy, so I've just learned something new about you! (2) I always try to mind my manners online, whether in my own posts, in my comments on other people's posts, or in my contribution to discussion forums. While I contribute so that I can learn and so that I am adding my 2p worth to the community, I also bear in mind that a potential employer or client, or indeed my mother... or even my sons may come across what I have written, and I have no wish to cause offence to those people, or to besmirch my reputation by some needlessly inflammatory material.

Oddly, I think my writing is more introverted than I am as a person.

Anonymous said...

Karyn, you're last paragraph says it all. Sometimes it's so hard to say publicly "I'm not sure," or "this is my idea, which might be stupid, but what do you think?" Blogging has made me more comfortable with being that way, although, like you, I definitely have some posts that I cringe over. It's part of the learning is what I tell myself. Then I have a glass of wine. :-)

Anonymous said...

@Michele Sounds like a good plan!