Wednesday, February 28, 2007

228 Reasons Why I Blog (or just 1: Sanity)

This is post number 228. I know, random number. I meant to mention it when I hit post 100, but forgot, which is also why I neglected to mention my blog was a year old, about a year ago.

I mention it now because Rachel at The Challenge of Life tagged me with that "5 reasons I blog" meme.

I think there are 228 reasons...obvious within each of my 228 posts over almost two years.

But I'll give you the history, as briefly as possible, and boil it down to five reasons.

My early entries were short (I know, I know, barely believable, but true), and usually featured a piece of artwork I did. I was really uninterested in blogging and had only done it because my husband wanted me to.

Kaliroz of Fortune and Glory, Omegamom, and a few others (some of whom are MIA these days) started a blog group...a sort of carnival where people suggested topics and we all wrote about that. Most of us had been members of a writer's group and our energy went there, instead of into blogging. But the carnival was a nice exercise and it opened up a door for me. I suddenly saw the potential of blogging.

And that's reason Number One why I blog:

To chronicle events during this time in my life; a time which, I suspect, I'll look back on as one of the most amazing and interesting stages. To keep a picture of this time, for myself, and for my kids.

I've been an off and on diarist. I love finding little pieces of time preserved in a book or calendar, and often wish for more on either side of the brief period journaled. I had an elaborate web site for my first daughter, which was an early sort of blog, I guess. I detailed her life, frequently, mostly for long-distance family, but also for us.

I talk about her here, now, too, such as in Heaven, she said.

But my poor, poor second daughter, as is typical, is a little short in the chronicle department.

One day I realized that my blog can be a diary, and when Persistence was eight months old, I posted a little letter about her.

Shortly thereafter, I used the blog to process. And that's Reason Number 2 that I blog:

To work through, think out, and write out my thoughts, feelings, and opinions about personal and public events that affect me in some way.

My first post like this was What is valued? What is valuable? and it helped me process some issues bubbling inside me about Hurricane Katrina, what I did, what I didn't do, and how it affected me.

Barely two months later, I was recounting our Hurricane Rita experience, mostly with photos. It's a sanitized version of the story, but I can see my anger and post-traumatic stress seething under the surface...in all that I didn't say.

I didn't talk about:

the death we saw...how sick we all got...trying to help the dying woman, or how I haven't stopped wondering if she made it, and is okay...how we spent three precious hours of time and fuel trying to find an open gas station and another route out...our friends who had their gas stolen at gunpoint...running out of food and water 30 hours in...being so overheated that despite drinking a ton, we never needed to pee for two days...my children, how they held up (bravely); how both of them wore diapers the entire time, diapers that never needed changing...dumping things on the side of the road to move the dog into my car (which stayed cooler) when he quit responding to my husband's voice...my husband, near tears, as he said, "I don't know how to protect my family and keep them safe under these conditions!"...the fury I felt when public officials, such as police said, "You aren't my problem."...the relief we felt when we were finally rescued...how long it took me to come back home.


I think I am just now ready to talk about it, and maybe someday I will...or maybe I just did.

That right there...Reason Number 2...that's the main reason I blog.

As is art, which I briefly mentioned. And that's Reason Number 3 that I blog:

To share beauty, either through words or art. Initially, I only posted my own art, such as the one to the side there. My husband did start this blog for me, in fact, as a place to put up my art, and talk about it. However, I've expanded beyond that (obviously) and talk about much more than just art, and display more than just my own pieces. Each image I post, though, is (in my mind) specifically supporting or related to what I'm writing about.

Sometimes the words, images, processing, and chronicle elements all come together into one post, such as "I am obsessed...I think about it all the time...I compose poems and essays about it in my head..." The corn was such an amazing experience for me personally, and for the kids, too, who were fascinated by it. Thanks to a suggestion by our friend Halushki, we planned to make cornhusk dolls as a memento, but alas, the blog post will have to suffice due to a dog and overzealous cleaning.

I have also, on occasion, posted poetry. In spite of all the bloggy rules against it, of which, happily, at the time I was unaware.

And that's Reason Number 4 that I blog:

To have a platform on which I can talk about anything I want, to the degree that I want.

I can always talk about the amazing art of Emily Carr, and the book Susan Vreeland wrote about her here at my blog.

I can discuss politics, world events, my thoughts on issues and more.

And sometimes, people talked back. About a year ago, I started feeling my blog legs beneath me. And more people started talking to me. I started finding and reading blogs (outside of my little group of friends), and I began commenting on them. Then they commented back some more. I felt the warm fuzzy glow of Attention, and the even warmer glow of being Engaged in Something More Interesting than Laundry and The Wonder Pets.

That's Reason Number 5 I blog:

Attention. People are out there, listening to what I say, reading me, replying to me, gosh even sometimes giving me awards and tagging me with memes. It's a heady rush of pleasure to be listened to. It's an even headier rush of pleasure to be respected, to stimulate thought and discussion.

I look back and I see that I started getting a little interesting, and a little interest (outside my group of friends), in May of 2006.

Some people who I didn't even know or pay replied to my post about The Dumbest Question in the World, Bar None, Hands Down, Ever and the comments started coming consistently. People had things to say about my post, Big Brother is watching you: From 35 to 3501. In fact, one blog even backlinked to it, and rehosted my art.

People not only tolerated my ranting in The world in black and white: why the current immigration discussion saddens me, but encouraged me with agreeing comments.

And then the ultimate happened. Thanks to Jozet of Halushki, I got a Perfect Post Award for "What scares me? Jokes and science experiments," the post that put me on the map.

I ranted some more about life in my Passive Activists post; joked with my husband in So Sue Me, I Like Denny's; confessed to further misdeeds and misadventures by the children; admitted I liked missing my children; shared TMI about growing older and health troubles; got political about girls and workplace expectations, as well as political interior decorating; burst a lot of bubbles when I revealed that there is no magic word; shared the whole three part saga of how we became parents; got Dugg (et al) and published three times in a row when I talked about porn star Barbie, the penis story, and parenting as if I might get hit by a bus (which the very kind Masked Mom nominated for a Perfect Post).

Then suddenly, it was 2007, and I had a fresh leash on blogging.

Somewhere along the way, I got so much more than I ever expected from blogging:

* I gained personal insight

* Found a platform for discussing all the issues, large and small, in my mind and heart

* Discovered some amazing people with fantastic things to say who I love love love to read every day

* Learned a lot about other people in other places living different lives

* Cybermet some awesome people who I am so fortunate to have gotten to know through blogging

The first five are the reasons I blog, the second five are why I continue to blog and why I find it so valuable. How can I explain what it means to have a place in which to release the thoughts that flood my head every day...but I'm sure you understand. And how can I explain how much it means to have people to talk with, about these issues and others I hadn't known or thought about but am always glad I got exposed to.

Thanks Rachel, for this meme.

And thanks all of you, you know, just for being there.

And now...for the tags! (If you've done this meme already, linking to it is cool.)

First up: Two fabulous bloggers I've known a long time who really kept pushing and pulling me along the bloggy path (thank you): OmegaMom and Jozet at Haluski

Next up: Two bloggers who always impress me and are great writers and commenters: Gwen at Woman on the Verge and Jen at One Plus Two

Last but not least, a blogger I am just getting to know and like: Momish

copyright 2007 Julie Pippert

12 comments:

NotSoSage said...

Well said.

I'm glad to have finally gotten the kick in the pants I needed in order to come on over and check out what you've got happening over here.

kim said...

Wow. I held my breath during the part about the hurricane.

Your posts about blogging have made feel like it is a valid endeavor and that blogging can be so much more than the butt of a joke.

Thanks again for the HPV post. I just learned that my state is trying to pass mandatory vaccination. If not for your post I would not know all the issues surrounding the vaccine.

jen said...

you blog because you are freaking brilliant, sister.

hands down.

ahem. a challenge, i see. i'll work on it. anything for you.

Thailand Gal said...

What good reasons to blog.. and probably similar to many of us.

I took the time to click on your "workplace expectations" post and thought it absolutely brilliant. It's kicking the Sacred Cow but it needs to be done. I hope you will do more on the topic :)


Peace,


~Chani

Catherine said...

Hi Julie! I'm happy to "meet you." I found you because...I had posted on "her bad mother" that I might write a post on how marketing impacts how we parent. I saw that you later posted saying that you'd like me to actually write this...and I did, and wanted to let you know. You can find the post here: http://catherinemcniel.blogspot.com/2007/02/theres-no-guilt-like-mommy-guilt.html

How's that for a long winded introduction! Stop by sometime if you'd like...

In the meantime, I'll take a stroll around your blog...

Julie Pippert said...

Sage, ditto. And thanks.

Kim, I STG I'm going to have a Special Post to kick you in the pants. You are too good a writer to be MIA. It can be a valid endeavor and ought to be. Just because it sometimes isn't doesn't affect me, KWIM? I have an HPV update due to the new study released today. Just have to get my ducks in a row. I figured you were one of the targeted states. Hopefully your governor is not So Stupid He's a Waste of Planetary Resources with the Morals of a Rock (sorry rock).

Jen, I have a proposition: move in with us. We have water and beaches. Or hey, there's a house just up the way for sale. Be my neighbor. I need to see you first thing in the a.m. to open up myself to the Good in the Universe. I can't wait to see your results.

Chani, I expect so. I'm so glad you clicked through and found something you liked. I'm notorious that way, BTW. LOL

Catherine, bang up, truly. Thanks for letting me know! Thanks for stopping by!

Julie Pippert said...

P.S. Jen? Do not click over and read the hurricane story. Just sayin'

LOL

Gwen said...

Oh dear, oh dear. I've been tagged. Must respond. Must write to a topic. Oh dear, oh dear.

:)

Mrs. Chicky said...

Whatever the reason is (or are) that you blog, I'm glad that you do. You're one smart cookie. You make me feel smarter just for reading you.

Julie Pippert said...

Mrs, Chicky, luckily there are two houses near me for sale. You can have the other one! Keep talking that way, LOL. Thank you so much! Hey BTW, lots of MA folks here.

Gwen, I'll be checking over there. Can't wait!

Momish said...

Wow! Your reasons are so compelling, I quiver to think of having to try on my own! However, I will take you up on your challenge for sure, but as you can tell by this response, I am totally in catch up mode with my blogging. I will give it the thought it requires and post as soon as I can! Thanks for the tag!

P.S. It's been great getting to know you too! Like Mrs.Chicky said, you make me smarter (and dumber at times - but in that good teacher kind of way!)

Queen of the Mayhem said...

Julie,
I am so glad I found your blog! You are so insightful and honest. I have gotten some of my greatest comfort from your comments.

I had no idea about Hurricane Katrina. We were so blessed! We had to replace our roof, ( tree fell on it) lost electricity for a week, lost all our food in refrigerator and freezer...but no real harm! I can't imagine how you must have felt. I have talked to many people who experienced NOLA right after, and NONE of the stories are pleasant!
I am glad you are slowly finding some peace!