Okay, you got me. “Blog” is indeed a four-letter word. More on that later.
Let’s talk about pencils. Smooth, shiny, six-sided stalks of serenity. A graphite core tucked away, hidden, enveloped in a cocoon of quiet promise.
Pencils are patient. They don’t act as harbingers of deadlines, rather, they offer sustenance to the challenged mind. Who hasn’t tasted the metallic triumph of chewing on an eraser’s casing at the end of a pencil? Who hasn’t drummed a pencil on a desk, twirled one to tune out a teacher or broken one in half, releasing an unleashed dormant Lou Ferrigno?
Here I am a decade ago, looking decidedly not dorky in my sweater set and sneakers. Though, a week ago, in the operating room with my son, I did transform for a few terrifying seconds into The Hulk. Had to be done, and nothing was really harmed except an errant spotlight.
Back to pencils.
Pencils offer nothing but hope. The chance to express yourself, any way you see fit. (Beginning to see my connection to blogging here? Not yet? No problem. Let me be more obvious.)
Blogs offer nothing but hope. The chance to express yourself, any way you see fit.
Let’s pause for a moment, and reflect upon why you’re here. Most likely you have a blog of your own, and most likely it’s here on WordPress. If you leave me a comment (and if you’ve linked your Gravatar like a good little blogger) I will, using my commonly available one to two brain cells, be able to find your blog and leave a comment in return. Pretty neat. Comments are definitely a reason to blog.
I’ve been blogging a little over a year. Learned a lot of “netiquette,” and seen my share of horrors (check out the video link in that post’s first comment). Yet one giant, overarching, ever-present theme I’ve read in the posts and comments of fellow bloggers is, “I don’t tell people I have a blog.”
I can think of a few reasons for this (not counting the above-mentioned horror in what I otherwise believe is a fantastic blog!). Most of the time, I don’t tell people I have a blog either. Or I do it by way of a pre-apology. A “please don’t feel like you have to read this” warning brief. Accompanied by a hidden message, “Of course I think it’s awesome or I wouldn’t have mentioned it to you.”
Blogging is a very private endeavor, by virtue of it being a written expression of your soul.
Yet at the same time, blogging is an incredibly public endeavor. And that’s what took me the better part of a year to reconcile. How can something so intrinsically good and open and downright illuminescent — you learn about yourself, when you write — withstand the ravages of the open internet?
Through BBFs. Best Blogging Friends. Never was this more clear to me than when I first posted about my son’s need for a third surgery. He’s five. And the outpouring of well wishes, the mountainous amount of sympathy and prayer and good thoughts directed my way — it changed everything about the way I viewed blogging.
I looked around at other platforms before I started my blog here on WordPress. Scratched a few pencil marks over with the other guys. Tried to get a feel from the zeitgeist about where I should house my adventures. In the end, I chose WordPress (clearly you know this, as you are reading my WordPress blog right now and you are a smart individual). WordPress is classy, elegant, and full of all the hopes and promise of a fresh pencil. Also, it’s full of more smart individuals than I’ve found on any other blogging platform. It’s versatile, like a hoodie. Something you enjoy for the simple reason that it’s comfy, there when you need it, ready for anything, and accepting of who you are at this very moment.
But wait, there’s more.
Every time I need a new surface to scratch on, WordPress delivers. VideoPress, Customizable Themes, Widgets — it’s like I can reach all the prizes tacked to the temporary walls at a carnival. Many of my very favorite blogs have changed their themes more than once during my tenure here. Like all good ideas, monkey see monkey do. I think I’ve had four different themes since I began. Because I keep learning new features. And WordPress keeps launching new features. Or updates. Like we’re all working together to make this blogging journey a finely tuned machine. When WP first rolled out those little orange notifications, I remember many of us squealing with joy like we’d found the last seat in musical chairs.
Yet beyond the technical, lies a humming, roiling undercurrent of reality.
Through blogging, I’ve read about birth and death and new jobs and old memories in a way that just doesn’t exist anywhere else.
For many years, I was a TV News Reporter and Anchor. I’ve worked in all mediums of writing and reporting. Television, print and online. I’ve been a print editor, a video editor, a writer, videographer and photographer for those media. I’ve sat as Board Member for local chapters of national writing groups.
Yet there’s something quite different and special about blogging.
In the year that I’ve been blogging, I’ve enjoyed so many wonderful posts, visited amazing countries, seen breathtaking photos, read heart-pounding stories, learned recipes, learned history, learned the soul of a people all from the blogs here on WordPress. We are a community, are we not? And I am glad to be a part of it. An online writers’ group such as I never could have dreamed just a year ago.
If it weren’t for WordPress, my path to travel on those difficult days would be shy a good number of encouraging intentions. And my guilty admissions (too much chocolate) would have about a hundred less minds to enjoy them. I would never have heard of geoducks (see horror, above), seen professional portraits of the world’s beauty or lost myself in the grandeur of homespun memories.
Blogging is — a chance.
My parents had an electric pencil sharpener that sat like a mini monster on our kitchen counter. Loud enough to drown out all other sounds, tempting enough to draw me to it over and over with a yellow pencil poised in my eager palm. Just daring me — to write something new.
It’s a great feeling.
Whether or not you share your blog, really, it’s never something to be ashamed of. It’s not a four-letter word, forbidden in mixed company. Well, as I previously conceded, it is a four-letter word. But let’s lump it in with this four-letter word, from Will Smith.
Blogging is, well — DAMN!