So since I told my friends that I’ve started blogging, I’ve noticed that they tend to react in one of two ways. They either:
1. Kinda nod their heads in the complete opposite of surprise as though it were only a matter of time and ask “Why?” Then they ask me what I write about. Or:
2. They raise their eyebrows in consternation and ask “Why?” Then they ask me what I write about.
The variation in response seems to correspond with how well the person knows me, and how acquainted they are with my ego. They “why?” of the first type seems to be more of a “why now?” as opposed to the more existential question of the second type. They seem to be undaunted by my desire to bore other people with my opinions and commentaries. The ones who know me best realize it was only a matter of time. Those who respond in surprise question the value of writing for an audience of none. Or worse yet, being the sort of solipsistic egomaniac who feels the need to expose my every waking thought and story to the entire Internet. There is a certain amount of egotism in the act of writing. Whether it’s a novel or a blog post about a new restaurant, the writer has to have a healthy self-confidence to put his words and ideas out there. Whether its true or not, the writer has to believe that there are people out there who care what he has to say. It’s no coincidence that some of the greatest writers of all time were rampaging narcissists. If they weren’t, they could never have summoned the courage to type the first word on the page.
There is one (and only one) fundamental characteristic that makes a writer different from everybody else. Writers write. Most people do not. Maybe I haven’t quite figured out how this whole thing will fit together yet, but I’m starting to enjoy having a reason to write again. Maybe if nothing else this blog will be the dojo where I hone my literary techniques to a lethal sharpness, perfecting the emotional/intellectual jiu-jitsu that I’ll need to face the enemies every writer has to fight: the white page with its virgin promise, and the fuzziness that make clear ideas hard to make out.
Or maybe I subscribe to the Socratic notion that an unexamined life isn’t worth living. Maybe this is Proustian attempt to find deeper meaning and significance in the minutiae of everyday life. Perhaps if I write about trips to the movies and the books I happen to be reading as I take the bus home from work I’ll be casting myself as a Bloom-esque Everyman, the hero of my own epic of the mundane. By shouting into the vast empty cave that is the blogosphere, I’ll be able to glean some insight from the echoes. In that case, my blog will be a place for me to find out how I think and feel about things by writing about them. There really is no better way.
In either case I have to answer the second question with an “I’m not sure, yet.”