Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of questions from my non-blogging friends. “I don’t really get blogs in general, but yours is cute,” a friend will say. Or, “What’s it for?” Or,“What’s the point, why not just send pictures, or keep a diary?” Good questions.
I guess I wondered these things myself before I started blogging. Isn’t it a bit, well, self indulgent to keep a blog? It is sort of like a diary, but with pictures, and more importantly, an audience who is reading that diary. Which makes it sort of narcissistic, too, a bit of “look at me! Look at me!” Yikes. I don’t really mean it to be that way, but there it is…
And it’s not totally honest, either. It’s not like I’m posting the countless bad photos we take, or the disorder that seems to follow us in the course of the day. Having two little kids is messy, and exhausting, and sometimes disheartening, that’s all there is to it. That stuff doesn’t usually make it to the blog posts. At first impressions we are all sweetness and light. Hence the need for a “get real” Monday (thanks Randi, at I Have to Say).
Now I’ve concluded that keeping a blog reveals some of my more base qualities--my self-indulgent or narcissistic tendencies—talk about dirty laundry! (Look at our messy, messy studio these days!)
But honestly, doing the blog serves a bigger purpose for me, and for most bloggers, I suspect. Connection.
We are so busy, all of us! Connection is the casualty of all that “busy-ness”. How often do we see our closest friends and family? For someone like me, far removed from family, it’s not often. Of course, we are on the phone all the time, but that’s something else again.
And while we may have lots of activities with friends and colleagues, I think I’m so busy running from thing to thing, getting countless tasks “accomplished” each day, I don’t get the chance to spend time with friends the way I once did, before grown-up life happened. No lazy days at a beach swapping secrets and jokes, or late nights in the dorm, waxing philosophical and dreaming of the future. Grown-up life eats up almost all the extra energy and time, and for me, most of my mental energy gets tied up in the practical, day-to-day management of our home and family. And that’s how it should be. Our focus is our family.
With the little bit of leftover energy I have, I like to make things—crafts, food, words. I like fabric, and paper, and hand-written notes. I like to cook for my family and with my family. I like to take pictures. I like to read. I like to design little projects. I like to plan, and play.
This blog gives me a little outlet for all of these things—it helps me make new connections to other people who like to make stuff. It’s a way to update our friends and family on what we’re up to, what we’ve been thinking about. Blogging about my plans for making things makes my plans public, and that tends to make me more accountable to myself. Thinking about a blog from a rhetorical perspective, it is like a diary, a day-planner, a Christmas letter, a sewing circle, a letter, a photo album, and an email all rolled up into one.
Of course, our life is blessed in that I do get to make daily connections with my daughters, and my parents, and my best friend—my husband. Keeping a blog shortens the distance between me and the rest of the great people in my life. So that’s why I do it…for real.
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