Thursday, December 11, 2008

Blogging

It's a day that invites me to do not very much, though I will get the Thursday chores done, plus all of the very little actual Christmas shopping I'm doing this year. (The rest of it's been done online.) The temperature outside is so warm and the air is so wet with rain that it's actually close in the house and I feel damp. I turned on the overhead fan just to create a breeze and evaporate the humidity gathered on my skin. This won't last long. The dreaded Wintry Mix sets in tomorrow.

I've imagined trying to describe blogging to people who not only don't do it but have never even entered this sphere except by accident, and only peripherally, such as when a friend sends a link to something inflammatory written by some hot-headed brother blogger. Those people probably believe that all blogs are political because that's all they've seen. That's what I used to think before I discovered there is a vast variety of communities out here. None of the blogs I read are political except in a very sideways fashion (pointing me to links elsewhere that usually have an interesting or amusing take on some issue, but never inflammatory). And the only time I get "political" is if some example of egregious injustice pushes my buttons, which is not so often.

So now that I do it, what is it? I started out by mentally characterizing blogging as something retired people do, but then I immediately pulled back from that thought, realizing that most of you reading this now are busy contributing to (what's left of) the economy in your respective work places, and maintaining your own really interesting and fun sites at the same time. It's true I'm retired and had not given blogging a thought until I entered this blessed state, but I don't really think of it as a retirement activity. As I was leaving the ranks of the actively employed, the most common question from friends was, "what are you going to do now?" (And it was always asked in that disbelieving "you're really retiring????" way, as if it was just unthinkable.) I always answered, "I don't know. This is a time when I can truly allow something to bubble up." I know it's terribly un-American not to have a production plan, but that's me.

Blogging is what bubbled up. It was purely organic, just as I had hoped. I like to write and always wanted the time to do it. I thank Kat for opening my eyes and disabusing me of the notion that blogging must be political. All I do is string words together in some coherent way, and I love doing it. You read it and for some reason you seem to like it. That's icing on the cake, but then again, it's what writing is all about. It's words. Words communicate. And at bottom, that's really why I do it.

When I was a young man and it was still appropriate to ask me, "what do you want to do with your life?" my otherwise incoherent response always included communication. In the "motivation statement" part of my Peace Corps application, I said, "I want to communicate." That's all I've ever hoped to do all my life. Teaching, singing, explaining, writing, talking, and any other thing you can think of that requires words. This blogging thing wasn't just plucked out of thin air, it turns out. It's just an extension of what I've been doing all along.

6 comments:

Eclecticity said...

I'm glad we connected Ralph. Keep up the good word. It's always fun to visit. Now...

What are we eating tomorrow? ;-) E.

Zoey and Me said...

It's funny how bloggers come together. I rescued a kitten Himalayan from a pig farm south of where I live and over a week or so, once Zoey came around to approving of her new environment, because she favored me (especially my home office) my wife encouraged me to create a blog for the two of us and I did. Early blogging was mostly about her growth days, then I threw in some humor, some pictures, a few regular ideas and boom, I'm making friends all over the world. I find that amazing. Good post today Ralph, thanks.

Ralph said...

That's what it is, amazing. Friend Ravel said it first when I started here: computers don't have to be alienating. I've had just the opposite experience. They help us form communities.

Ravel said...

A computer pluged on the Net is like a phone: a way of communication. A most extraordinary one too...
Ralph, a word that caught my eye in today's entry: TEACHING. Blogging as a another way of teaching (?). All bloggers are teaching their experience of life (?). Maybe I am tired but it came to my mind...
Hi to Zoey and its Masters too.

Nan said...

You are communicating! So glad you are.

Jeff said...

There's something in sports called the sweet spot. When your senses come together, and the ball hits that particular spot on the bat, or hit's the right intersection of strings, or the truest part of the wood, it sails to the highest of heights and most accurate of targets. And it makes a sound - something sweet, something musical. And you feel it with all your senses. It just feels...right.
And so it is with words. When you string those vowels and consonants together, it creates a musical note that you feel inside and out - it sings. You feel it literally, phsyically, emotionally. It just feels...right.
That's what brings you back.
And so what I've said before - the words will out. :)
- J.