"What's your blog about?" a friend, who'd recently discovered that I had one, asked me last night. I opened my mouth—and started stuttering some lame response. It's hard to say what my blog's "about," and I've been thinking about that question all day. There's not a topic I can answer with, because it isn't about just one thing. Not only books or gardening or hiking, not scrapbooking or quilting or writing on their own.
Plenty of people blog to keep in touch with their family members, to let them know what's going on in their lives. Most of my family, though, lives fairly close to me, so they already know what's going on. My sister reads my blog, and sometimes one or two of my nieces, but for the most part it's not about family updates. In fact, most of the people closest to me don't read it. ("I don't need to read it," Kendell is known to say, "I live it," which thoroughly annoys me.) I also don't blog very often about my kids, especially as they get older. This is because I don't want to embarrass them by putting "out there" something they don't want other people to know. I want the details of their lives to stay their own, so I write about them a lot in my journal and only blog when there is a way to relate their experiences to a wider context—or if something is irresistably way-too-funny-not-to share hilarious.
Yes, 'tis true: I keep both a journal and a blog, although occasionally, my blog discourages me. I think about other blogs—blogs of the well-known variety—and wonder why more people don't read mine. I start to ponder about those other bloggers' lives, their seemingly-perfect marriages and homes and children and extended families and skills and connections and successes; I start to reason that their blogs are so well-known because their lives are so awesome, while mine moves around its wandering, lackluster track. Perhaps if I were more perfect: if I stopped writing about my issues. Perhaps if I were more exciting: went on trips to exotic locales, or stopped off in New York City to go shopping, or, well, did anything. Perhaps if I were more focused: only on scrapbooking, or photography, or running, or quilting. Perhaps if I were more dedicated: a thoughtful, insightful post every single day.
Maybe if I managed those things, I'd have a well-known blog.
But of course, that begs the question: do I blog to become well-known? Probably not. I mean, sure: I'd like it if my blog brought me some otherwise-unattainable success as a writer. But mostly, I blog because I like writing, because I filter my experiences through my "how would I write this?" glass, because finding a "so what?" is one of my coping mechanisms. Because I am not perfect, and I don't want to portray an illusion, I blog about the truth: I fight with my husband and my kids hate my cooking and I am a lazy housekeeper.
Like Michel de Montaigne (the father of the modern-day essay), "'I am myself the matter of my book" blog. My blog is "about" me—the way I think and the conclusions I draw (or don't). I try to write entries that might make someone consider a different perspective, or thumb their own similar wound, or smile in recognition. I don't always succeed at this, of course; sometimes my blog is just a collection of thoughts without a point. But I try to not let it become a daily agenda—I did this and then I did this and then I went here. Instead, I strive to make my posts mini-essays. "Strive" is a good word because "essay" is based on the French word for "attempts." Like Montaigne (whose writing is much better than mine), I want to put myself into the world with words, by looking at a topic through the only lens I truly can (my own) and to figure out what I know (or what I don't know).
Probably I will never be one of those well-known bloggers. I won't get spots on the local afternoon news; no one will write newspaper articles about my blog. But if I stay true to my original intent, a large audience isn't really the point anyway. If I flip through my blog posts, I discover the translation of my own psyche here on the computer screen. Whether or not it matters to (or is understood by) anyone else doesn't matter. Getting a bit of myself down does.
Why do you blog?