One year ago today, the wife cheerfully announced, “You’re starting a blog.” Which, when translated, meant that she would set up the thing and worry about all of the complicated stuff, but I would begin writing on it. This sounded like a big commitment, but at the same time like a good idea.
At the time, I was coming out of a couple of years of mild-to-medium depression. Recovering from a church plant that had come apart at the seams, leaving a miserable job, finding a new church, and in the wake of yet another marathon, I think the wife just wanted to help me get a foothold on my newfound personal progress. A way to solidify some shaky steps. To establish some camps on the mountain in front of me. To put it negatively, to make sure I didn’t slide back into my own self-absorption. Funny that writing about yourself can keep you from being selfish, isn’t it? Welcome to the inside of my head.
So with the ‘purpose’ tenuously and intuitively defined, we moved on to practicalities. Audience, content, frequency, and scope were settled without my needing to get off the couch. I would rigorously write as myself, for myself. I would write about absolutely everything that makes up my eclectic life (well, almost everything…), and I would try my best to write each day. More pedestrian concerns about theme, address, and art required a forty-minute run to sort themselves out. The Awakening is widely known among DC parkgoers as a bleak and depressing statue in a bleak and depressing place. But to me, the statue and venue are somehow hopeful; cheerful, even. “Awakening” was unavailable, “Awakenings” is this annoying teenager who never posts, and “The Awakening” is some perv’s clumsy attempt to describe a magical encounter between two people in the back of a van. So I shifted the metaphor a little and put ‘er up. And faced my newfound fear with a bold shot across the bow: a crappy poem.
I was eavesdropping on a new friend recently, and he was whining about the difficulty of blogging. “I tried it, and I just couldn’t figure it out. I mean, what am I supposed to write about? ‘My wife and I ate carry-out, painted the wall, and watched Lost’? That’s boring.”
I wanted to say, “Well, if your life is boring, then do something to make it interesting. You only get one turn here, so make it count. Read a book, or listen to some music, or enjoy some food, or talk to a two-year-old, or surf the web, or think about life (or eavesdrop on people and then passive-aggressively rant about them on your blog!). And if that doesn’t work, then make something up! If your life bores everyone else, then imagine what it’s doing to you!”
Which got me thinking. Part of what I’ve appreciated about blogging is the chance to read what I write and see what has been dominating my thinking, what’s giving me clarity, or what’s occupying my mental space (for good or for ill). To write myself to clarity on things that vex me. To remember feelings, days, and events. To vent about stuff that bothers me. To force myself to write poetry, and to challenge myself to describe things that are vivid in my mind.
But I couldn’t know then what I know now. That these 365 days would encapsulate the craziest, roller-coastiest year of my life, so far. And that this ethereal medium would give me a place to gather with friends to share my heart and feel their love. So, at 12:01, I raise a glass of scotch to you. Tomorrow, I’ll once again write as though you’re not there. Peace.