Saturday, November 04, 2006

Who's a Blog for, anyway?

I had an apostrophe in the shower, as I often do. It was relating to this blog, and how I was mistaken about it's true effect when I first started out. Travel through the wayback machine and look at my first entry in February here. In it, I basically equate this blog to a public journal. Now that I've been working on it for a few months, I know that's not correct.

This came about because of the entry I removed. In talking with someone else, I decided that the main problem was one of focus. Is the blog for me, or is it for other people? Initially, I thought it was for me. I wouldn't have referred to it as a journal otherwise. I have quite a few entries that are "journal-like," in that an event is mentioned and I spend the rest of my "paper" hashing through it. What does it mean, etc.

But gradually, and especially when I had to decide why to pull an entry, I have taken a different view. It's not that the blog is any LESS about me. I'm still the only content provider, my opinion is all that gets heard (outside of the occasional comment), I'm deciding what I'm going to write about... but I don't think I'm writing for me. That realization came when I noticed that I can't write whatever I feel like.

I take it back; I CAN write anything, but I don't want to. Because everything I write can effect someone else. Let's say I was madly in love with a girl. I wouldn't want to write about it on here, no matter how excited I was or how great the girl was. It wouldn't be fair to expose any relationship to such one-sided scrutiny in public. I made a decision not to write specifically about my students, too. Since my blog is attached to my name, it is possible (though unlikely) that anything poor I said could come back to me.

So it's not a journal. I can write anything in my journal, because almost no one has the opportunity to see it. On this blog, who knows who reads it? People I've never met could read it, or (even worse!) people I used to know. So I'm not free to talk about who used to wet their pants, or who kissed me because of a bet.

If it's not a journal, what is it? It's a social outlet. At the risk of sounding pathetic, I live by myself. My neighbor alternates between mistakenly reporting me for noise violations and bringing me pie to make up for said reports. When I turn off the TV, it gets quiet. However, I'm not looking for sympathy; I like living alone. That quiet is very relaxing, and when I put stuff someplace, it stays there! But there's a part of me that wants to connect to other people.

Sure, there's going out and drinking, but the chances for serious conversation aren't good (and I don't mean things that *seem* serious when you're drunk). So by updating my blog, I'm touching base (in a way) with everyone who reads it. People know what I'm thinking about that I might not get a chance to talk about while I'm rehearsing or taking a test. The reader and I get to share an experience.

One thing that my last serious girlfriend and I agreed upon was that a good relationship is maintained in strength by shared experiences. If I know what you are going through, that allows me empathy. It allows people to feel connected, even when the distance between them is great. By distance, I'm referring to mileage, temperament, or philosphy, to name a few.

So, much as I have stumbled across pictures of actor friends in productions, taped audio lectures from friends who work in art galleries, and papers of friends who are in scholarship (and felt close to them because of it), I create this blog to leave a signpost. I'm writing this for you as much as for me. And when I say "for you," it's not a situation of obligation, as if I gave you a scooter for your birthday and now you have to write a thank-you. My blog is not designed specifically to help you, hinder you, or illuminate you. My blog is not a gift or present any more than a business card is a gift for the guy you interview with. That's an impersonal metaphor, but my point is:

You are the intended audience.

PS. I still think it's tremendously funny that Blogger's spell check doesn't accept "blog" as a word.


  1. Thank you for your kind words, Andy. I'm lucky to know you (:

  2. Now that youy mentioned it...I do want a scooter for my birthday.