I hit publish on my first blog post twelve years ago today. It’s a blog anniversary bringing up the usual question: why blog ‘in this day and age’? The answer remains ‘because I have to’. This post attempts to explain why – for myself than to anyone else.
Blogging is a mental health version of brushing teeth. Giving up threatens inconveniences which worsen over time. Twelve years on, its morphed into another bodily function. Like the morning latrine ritual.
The blogging I do, have done, is self centred – the real meaning of ‘personal blogging’. It is rooted in the subjectivity of my experience. If the superficiality, frivolity, stupidity and weirdness of what I type has anything deeper, it’s unintentional.
What ends up in the blog has varied ingredients. Crumbs eavesdropped off the next table. Recollections of conversations, profound and mundane. Stray sentences refusing to fade. Details of eternal drama: at traffic lights, at family New Year gatherings. The significance of an obscure cricket club’s white haired security guy with a betel reddened mouth keeping chaos at bay in the parking lot. A comment made while ironing.
The unsaid, broadcast through shadings of voice, posture, gesture, glance, mannerisms. The symbolism of an after lunch song. Fragments of what I read, hear, see. In the visual sphere: the inescapable wisdom of Trishaw slogans, odd/mundane signage and mysteries of bus graphics.
The Voices in My Head picks them with a reasoning beyond logic. They link unrelated things into jolting thoughts. Which pace around in the mind with the restlessness of large animals in small cages. I have to free them. The only way is typing out those thoughts. Then hurling them into a public space. The bottom of the sock drawer won’t do. The release of hitting ‘publish’ has become a near physical sensation of relief.
The process of typing these thoughts clarifies what they ‘mean’ to say. What I thought was X turns out to be Q. The path between the two meanders like a new river looking for the shortest path to the sea. In the process something specific insists on emerging. I have no choice but to clear the way. It’s a relentless, frustrating and humbling process.
Making the ‘idea’ emerge requires brutality. Favourite sentences and clever sounding phrases must be slaughtered. Paragraphs die to keep things short and to the point (whatever the point may be).
It’s not the traditional pyramid structured essay writing. I had my fumbling failures at that in the early years. Typing out the words is the only way to sift through what they are meant to say. Even if that comes out a being stupid, shallow and weird. It is the physics of my blogging, the reason I refuse any claim of being a ‘writer’.
At best I am a typist of the subconscious; which defines my blogging. It’s purpose: to flush out the weird stuff in my head. Without an outlet, these thoughts make me blank out at the dinner table. My vacant stare lost in the depths of a hopper. While someone has to wave a paw at my face to bring me back. This blog saves me from such mishaps.
In the beginning, I was doing a post every other day. An era I remember as a long gone youth. May be it’s a preview of old age. I’ll find out soon enough. But I’m still here. Nibble writing in three minute snatches. It shocks me that others over the years found what I type worthy of their time.
This post is dedicated to them. Those of you have read, commented, and inspired. Particularly to bloggers I nostalgically call my ‘contemporaries’. Now silent and doing better things. Their input made the process easier for me. Helped me endure, then enjoy reading what I type.
Thank you for your thoughts. It’s helped me benefit from blogging. If anyone else also did, I’m delighted by that happy accident.