If you're a blogger, you've probably gotten "those" looks from friends who don't blog. "Why," the look clearly says, "would you put that much time and effort into writing when you can...cook, play with the kids, clean the house, watch reality TV, take a long hot bath, or sit and twiddle your thumbs instead?"
Why, indeed? I've wondered myself about my compulsion to chronicle the small joys of life. I've lain awake plotting tomorrow's post when I really should be falling asleep. I've drifted into consciousness at three a.m. with an idea for a post insistently interrupting much needed R.E.M. sleep. I've postponed projects just so I can grab my camera and snap the perfect photo. There's no doubt about it--blogging takes time and energy.
History major that I was, in a long-ago era, I lamented the lack of source material that could have breathed color into the beige chronicles of wars and dynasties that were assigned reading. History isn't facts and dates. History is Story. The story of mistakes and heroism and gambles, of common footsoldier as well as general, of a peasant wife as well as queen.
So much of the story is lost because no one wrote it down. My grandmother immigrated from Alsace when she was a young adult. All by herself, she voyaged to a country where she didn't speak the language and knew almost no one. My mind just explodes with questions. Why her and not one of her brothers or sisters? Was she scared? How did she learn English? What happened on the trip? What did she think when she saw the Statue of Liberty? What was Ellis Island like? How did she adjust to California? Did she miss her mother when she birthed twin daughters while she had a fifteen-month-old son running around? She's not around to answer those questions, so the answers are lost.
So I began to journal in fits and starts over the years--camping trips and vacation experiences and the stories of my sons' birth days. Vague memories of growing up in a simpler safer environment, among a zillion cousins and various ranches. I'm more than a name and the dates of the most important days of my life. My gardening passion and love for my dogs, my cross-stitched ornaments and my quilted wallhangings, my collections of sheep and bunnies and birds, my favorite authors and the books I've read and re-read, my yellow walls and homemade bread--those small details are the brushstrokes that complete the portrait.
My off-and-on journalling evolved into blog format--easy, relatively fast, flexible, illustrated and still sporadic. Perfect. Eventually I began writing for more than myself and my family as I shared the Dollhouse Remodel, the Fence Rebuild, Constructing the Pond and Gardening Triumphs. My little blog has been visited by readers from every corner of the world--from Thailand to Slovenia, from Canada to Brazil.
I wasn't the only one sharing tips and DIY experiences. The Mommy Bloggers reached out for help and offered support to others. Decorating blogs sprung up. Sewing blogs. Dog training blogs. I know there are many more categories, but those are my favorites. And I realized today that we blog not only to document and share, but also to inspire (even if we don't know it).
Because today I visited 525,600 Minutes, the blog of a twenty-two year old volunteering at an orphanage in Haiti for last seven months and I was inspired. Molly Mackenzie Hightower accomplished more in her brief years than some people will in seven decades. She wrote occasionally about the future she'll never see and made plans that she's not here to finalize. But mostly she wrote about the children she worked with, helped, loved and was loved by. I imagine she began her blog to keep in touch with her family and friends back in the Pacific Northwest, but she ended up leaving us words that celebrate her spirit and comfort the ones left behind. I don't know why she died, but I know she left a legacy. We all die. We don't all make a difference though. She did.
I couldn't hope to compare to her as I move through my calm and ordinary life and it would be hubris of the worst kind to imagine my teeny corner of the Blogosphere has inspired anyone to do more than cook soup. As I log on and read through my bloglist and admire the fortitude or creativity or kindness of my blogfriends, I suspect that they don't know how much they are inspiring me. They've made me more tolerant. They've helped me be kinder to myself and my family. They've helped me make my home a nicer place to live. Little things. But little things add up. Simple things. But foundations are built on simple materials.
Thanks, bloggers, for taking the time to build a better world one post at a time. And if you stuck with me through the whole philosophical rant and you're not ROTFLYAO at me, double thanks!
Back to our usual trivia tomorrow: my most recent crafts. With yummy photos.