>My own observations tell me one of the most common topics amongst those who blog is the question “why blog?”. I ask myself this question. I see others doing so. I see some questioning the validity of blogging, some quiting their blogs, some taking extended breaks from blogging, and many writing about their reasons for blogging as though they are justifying their actions. I also see many expressing a kind of obligation to provide blog content; they apologize for not having posted in a few days or a few weeks. I see some stating they are re-committing themselves to their blog. Some of those do, and some do not. I frequently see blog posts explaining why other things, mostly life, crowd out the time otherwise used for writing blog posts. Some of those life “things” are big things, like a death in the family, or a birth. Other times those things are rather ordinary, like a busy week at work or preparing for final exams at school. And I see many blogs continue to exist largely because those who provide their content do so out of a kind of obsession; those blogs exist because, in some deep way, they must.
So why blog? Blogging is a somewhat new thing. Writing and journaling is not new, but in historical terms blogging, and its technological underpinnings, are very new. On the other hand, blogging is just another form of personal expression, and there are few things in all of human existence as old as that. The reasons people blog are as numerous as those who blog. And yet, the reasons are universal as well: humans need to, and will, express themselves, extend themselves into the world, seek meaning for their existence, and connect with others. If not blogging then something else will fill the gap. When bloggers give up blogging they do not give up expressing themselves. They go down new routes, other pathways of expressing. But blogging is a great path, and so many blog.
For those with an aesthetic sense, which includes everyone but in some it is more pronounced, blogs allow for some design around the verbiage. In some cases blogs will consist only of images with almost no words. For others, blogs are about the words and the ideas they can express. In any case, blogs are generally about ideas, about existence, about the present, about being human. A catalog of blogs would show, most likely, a rich cross-section of all that it means to be human, both specifically/uniquely and universally. Blogs breathe and bleed our humanity.
Why do I blog? Like most people there is a story behind my decision to begin blogging, and the reasons I continue are also drawn from my life. I came to blogging by way of curiosity and a “need” for some creative outlet. I put need in quotes because I can also say blogging became a diversion from what I truly needed to be doing a the time I started blogging, that is, writing my thesis and getting myself graduated. Regardless, I wanted to do something that was more creative and connected myself to others in some way. Fortunately I also finished school.
But there was a bigger reason for my starting to blog. In January 2006 my second child died. We had spent a great amount of time in hospital caring for her. Months had been devoted to her life, and then there was nothing more we could do. This was a crisis for me, and my family. The process raised a lot of personal issues and question, not least of which included questions of who I was and who did I want to be? I realized I had gone down pathways that, step by step, moved me away from my love of the arts, and more specifically, cinema. This may seem like a lightweight realization in such a context, but it reached all the way back to my childhood and brought up a host of deeply personal issues. It was not, needless to say, the only realization I experienced, but I digress.
I had studied art history, film history, and film production at university. I received two undergraduate degrees and one graduate degree in those fields. I had planned on getting my PhD and then becoming a professor at a film or media studies department somewhere. As the saying goes, if you want to make God laugh tell him your plans. So there I was, a long way from my old plans, working at a software company, reacting to the loss of a child, and wondering who I was. I wanted to start connecting to like minds, reconnect myself to my love of cinema, and learn more about on-line communities. Mostly I just wanted a creative diversion that might also mean something.
I began with MySpace. I created a page and used their blog tool. I grew tired and frustrated with MySpace for a host of reasons and switched to Blogger. Sometimes I am frustrated with Blogger too, but here I am almost a year and a half later. I am considering switching to something like WordPress. It may not be worth the trouble, or it may.
Like many bloggers I wonder if I have anything to say, if what I have to say is worth the fuss of creating and maintaining a blog, if blogging is worth the time and effort when I could be doing other things, and I wonder just how permanent is my blog. The click of a button could take it all down in an instant. So far I feel that blogging has been mostly good for me, but I also am thinking of moving somewhat away from it and try to channel my energies more toward action rather than words. I would rather my daughters know me as a father who interacts more often with them more than the father who is always at the computer. I also want to be a more active person, get outside more, do more of the things I dream of, like climb mountains, go snow camping, take my kids to ball games, hang out with my wife, etc. Regardless I do know this, in one way or another, I will continue to express myself.
For now, PilgrimAkimbo continues on. I have begun to include other topics of interest to me beyond cinema. I see this blog as becoming my public journal more than merely my way to connect to the on-line cinephile community. My desire is still for a creative outlet, but my needs have been changing. I do hope this blog continues to be a means of enriching my life, and I hope, in some small way, it might actually enrich the lives of others. And yet, who knows what tomorrow may bring.
Wilder says, get outside!