Blogging continues to be a nebulous concept for me, namely because I don’t like following rules when there are no established rules to break. As a technical writer, I was taught that “you cannot break the rules until you know them.” As a poet, I wasn’t taught anything but to pay attention to rhythms, as if I were holding a stethoscope up to the chest of my verbal acumen.
We’ve all read those endless lists of “blogging tips,” provided by “experts” in “the field.” I’m not sure what that “field” would be, exactly, since, to me, blogging was born with this universal premise that there wasn’t a template for this thing we now call a blog— a hybrid name derived from web log, hence blog.
A personal blog is a bit of a paradox then, isn’t it? The mere fact that we journal online—in this public space where anyone can peruse the archives of our private lives—seems narcissistic and a little unsure of ourselves at the same time, as if we cannot decide if we want to put on makeup and stand on stage under the hot lights or hide in a closet somewhere in a pair of sweatpants.
So why do I continue to blog? I could ask why Steinbeck wrote Grapes of Wrath, or why Ray Bradbury thought it was important to write a critique on censorship with his signature novel about book burning, or why, at 16, John Kennedy Toole wrote his version of To Kill a Mockingbird, but slipped it into a desk drawer to be discovered posthumously by his mother, who was oblivious to the fact that some day it would be the title to a heavily political album. Yes, I could.
But here’s my writerly answer: Because books and letters continue to be the most accurate records of our existence. As humans, there is nothing more or less than poetry, oral history. As poets, there is nothing more or less than music, metaphor, marvel. Nothing more than these commas, and periods I carefully place before you. And as modern humans, nothing more than just another monkey with a blog.
Whether I write about my life or Pablo Neruda’s life, there is nothing more than this blog post, right now. Whether or not I deny the existence of a formatting toolbar, kitchen sink, or co-opted font, I write to make a record, to mark my X on the papyrus, to tell a story. I write because it is all I know how to do, and do very well, apparently.
Recently, various friends and readers have made the following comments about my writing (none of which are in any particular order):
“My god, you can write!!”
“Got a pulse to it”
“So much talent for such a small person”
“You’ve got what it takes…”
In my twenties, I would’ve agreed with all of those blushworthy compliments. Now that I’m older, I feel more like a classy penguin, or a clumsy teenager tanning in the snow. I am not here as a genius or to showcase my talents.
I am here to make history. And perhaps to re-make it. I’m here to write it all down, maybe put some background music to it, as I navigate my way through this thing we have named without knowing what it will name us.