I want to write about blogging, the challenge of finding my legs. I feel like an infant writing about walking. “This is cool”, it might say. “I fell down on my butt, but that’s understandable. It didn’t hurt, because the floor is right there. This is really cool!”
One thing about blogging is I can cover my tracks. I can make a fool of myself, hit “publish”, recoil at something I said, and make it go away within minutes. But what am I doing? What is the point? The point is to find my blogger- voice, which is going to be different from my poetic voice, my email voice, my phone voice, my conversational voice, etc. Blogging is about freedom of speech but that’s not all. There has to be rules, but here the only rules I have to follow are the rules I impose on myself. I can make up my own ground rules and if I don’t like them or, if I outgrow them, I can throw them out. I am my own boss in a blog. I can be irreverent. I can rant! Or I can dispense entirely with the boss-worker paradigm and sit in council with my various voices, and just pass the stick. If I’m pissed about something, then that pissed-voice is holding the talking stick.
I used to rant. That is what I used journaling for, mostly, for decades. My typical journal entry was like starting a fire: gathering material, lighting it, nursing a flame and adding fuel. Once it was burning I would throw in more thoughts and feelings and keep it going until everything was consumed. Then I would let it die out. When I was avidly journaling (in my 30s and 40s), filling blank books left and right, I began to try to replicate that process in my interactions with friends, but it was never satisfying. I eventually learned that what worked in the journal didn’t work with real people. When I met Shirley, I ranted once or twice about some global issue, thinking I was impressing her and she put a stop to it, accusing me of scaring her. That was the end of it, and then, after realizing that ranting was not cool or effective, I stopped ranting in my journals and then I stopped ranting period. I outgrew it.
I have no desire to rant in a blog. It is not an option.
What is my blog voice? Is it measured? How mature is it? How outspoken? How risky? How self-conscious? How circumspect? Should someone be able to guess how old I am by reading my blog post? Whether I am male or female? American? Should I even strive for consistency, worry about contradicting myself? Should I worry about the voice taking over, as personas tend to do?
Are my blogs, to date, representative of where I want to be going with this?
What if I feel like the world is coming to an end, which I don’t, but what if? Should I say that? Do I have any responsibilities to my audience? Do I have feelings for my audience? Who is my audience? Do I have an audience, do I want an audience?
Do I want them to be like me? Agree with me?
Do I care if they like me or respect me?
Do I want to try to get them to buy future books from me?
Should I address myself to them as a peer, as one of my tribe, or as a self-interested, albeit curious “visitor”?
Let me personalize this: Are “you” who are reading this “my audience”, or would you resent that label? Aren’t you a unique individual seeking connection in a world that has become so impersonal that most of us have resorted to searching for something real on a screen? I feel sorry for us — you and me. We all deserve to be listened to, but this site? This is where you listen to me. And I’m glad that you’re here. I want to figure out how to speak to that, how to be part of the shift out of the isolation that compels us to go to the cloud for real down-to-earth communication and affirmation.