Why Blog?

SOME THOUGHTS ON BLOGGING

This morning I was thinking about blogging and why I or anyone else would continue to post information, ideas, hopes, and dreams into what the writer Armistead Maupin called “the void, into the grey ether of faceless strangers.”  I suppose that one reason I continue to blog is that it is an incentive to organize and express my thoughts almost on a daily basis. Maybe it’s my way of postponing Alzheimer’s. My friends are always in mind when I’m writing, though I don’t express my views based upon their comfort zones, or anyone else’s.  People send prayers based upon faith that those prayers will land somewhere and be heard and in hope that they will be answered in time.  In a way blogging for me is like that.  Each day I imagine someone reading what I write and either agreeing or being stimulated to disagree.  Sometimes I envision people reading what I’ve written and saying things like, “Ah yes, he’s right on the money about that,” or perhaps, “This guy is completely nuts!”  Either way, I am heard.

Ego certainly has a hand in my writing and probably in that of most other writers.  As I never had children, there is usually an unspoken desire that I leave something behind to be considered after I’m gone.  Though not a consistently conscious reflection, it is, I believe, often just under the surface of my efforts to leave behind something well written.  In that respect, the five books of mine that have been published bring me comfort on some level, and working on the next two books gives me a continuing creative purpose.

In the Middle Ages, even monks had the desire to leave some of their own thoughts behind in writing.  Though monks were often scribes copying sacred texts in breathtaking illuminated manuscripts, many also wrote little notes in the margins about their personal views on earth and heaven.  In 1953 the American composer, Samuel Barber (1910-1981) compiled ten such improvisational texts by Irish monks from the 8th to the 13th Century in translation and created a song cycle from them.  One is about a monk and his cat, each pursuing his purpose, one immersed in study, the other preoccupied with catching mice.  In another, called “The Heavenly Banquet,” the monk scribbled in the manuscript margin that he hoped to see in heaven the Virgin Mary and the Holy Family ‘round a great lake of beer.  I’m not sure that he ever really expected to be read and remembered for that verbal image, but he felt a compulsion to express it on paper, nonetheless.  That “compulsion” goes back even further to those who carved messages in stone or pressed them into clay tablets.  Maybe they too were “blogging.”  Those who tell their stories to bartenders or to grandchildren are perhaps satisfying the same need to share their experiences and views. 

People who feel the need to text daily, to e-mail, to create graffiti, are all “bloggers” of different sorts.  Again, it all goes back to the need to communicate, which is a very human pursuit.  For perhaps the first time in history, we are all able to share our thoughts with hundreds or even thousands of others at once without having to be on the radio or on television.  There is, therefore, all the more reason for us to refine or distill our thoughts in writing in order to express something in the best ways we can, whether for sheer entertainment or enlightenment, which often overlap anyway.   JB

About John

John Bolinger was born and raised in Northwest Indiana, where he attended Ball State University and Purdue University, receiving his BA and MA from those schools. Then he taught English and French for thirty-five years at Morton High School in Hammond, Indiana before moving to Colorado. He spends his winters in Pompano Beach, Florida. Besides COME SEPTEMBER, Journey of a High School Teacher, John's other books are ALL MY LAZY RIVERS, an Indiana Childhood, and COME ON, FLUFFY, THIS AIN'T NO BALLET, a Novel on Coming of Age, all available on Amazon.com as paperbacks and Kindle books. Alternately funny and touching, COME SEPTEMBER, conveys the story of every high school teacher’s struggle to enlighten both himself and his pupils, encountering along the way, battles with colleagues, administrators, and parents through a parade of characters that include a freshman boy for whom the faculty code name is “Spawn of Satan,” to a senior girl whose water breaks during a pop-quiz over THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS. Through social change and the relentless march of technology, the human element remains constant in the book’s personal, entertaining, and sympathetic portraits of faculty, students, parents, and others. The audience for this book will certainly include school teachers everywhere, teenagers, parents of teens, as well as anyone who appreciates that blend of humor and pathos with which the world of public education is drenched. The drive of the story is the narrator's struggle to become the best teacher he can be. The book is filled with advice for young teachers based upon experience of the writer, advice that will never be found in college methods classes. Another of John's recent books is Mum's the Word: Secrets of a Family. It is the story of his alcoholic father and the family's efforts to deal with or hide the fact. Though a serious treatment of the horrors of alcoholism, the book also entertains in its descriptions of the father during his best times and the humor of the family's attempts to create a façade for the outside world. All John's books are available as paperbacks and Kindle readers on Amazon, and also as paperbacks at Barnes & Noble. John's sixth and most recent book, Growing Old in America: Notes from a Codger was released on June 15, 2014.
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