Friday, January 19, 2007

What's the point of the blog?

I don't know. Who knows why anyone writes? To tell a story, true or false. To entertain? To convey knowledge, information, or wisdom? Any or all of these reasons are good enough I'd imagine. One friend asked me if I was still blogging. Sure I said. "But Why?" she persisted. And I really couldn't give her a valid reason.

I'm not especially wise so THAT can't be the reason. I'm not especially knowledgeable so I don't really have much to convey to others so THAT can't be the reason. I'm not especially funny, so entertainment is not part of the equation. Why then? I simply don't know. Why do people draw, paint or create poetry? I guess because we like to create. I think I'm creating a story when I write. It's like breathing to me. It's very uncomfortable to hold my breath for any length of time. I need to breathe. Writing is breathing.

But then, why the public blog? Why not write privately? I do. But it's still not enough for me to just write privately. I feel like this is a good place for a voice. I mostly write for my friends.

I used to write newsletters and send them out by snail mail. That was fun. Once we went on a camping trip and I wrote up a single page of little stores with drawings about our adventures. Stuff like: frogs in sleeping bags, spearing fish, campfires and marshmallows. There's is nothing like a campfire after a swim at the beach. It was a good time. So I wrote about it in a newspaper style, main point at the top with details down below. In Journalese it's called the Inverted Pyramid Writing Style. It uses the first paragraph to give the story in a nutshell. The reader can just scan the first paragraphs under any subhead and get essence. If they are interested, they can read on. Often the general details are at the bottom. This also gives the newspaper company the option of cutting the last paragraphs or sentences if they need room on the page. Since the main points are at the top, it doesn't really affect the story.

Here's an example:

The family was seen roasting marshmallows around the campfire just after a swim in Kailua Bay. Eric dropped his into the flames thereby causing a great outcry. It had been perfectly crisped to a golden brown just before sliding into the heat. He was able to obtain another from the large 32 oz bag. Marshmallows come in 32 oz. bags at the nearby grocery store. Smaller marshmallows are available in smaller bags often called mini-marshmallows. However, these are two small to mount on coat hanger wires for campfire roasting.

So in the story above the real excitement was in the first two sentences. I know it was a gripping story for you. The last few sentences could have been eliminated altogether and not affected the exciting story.

So where was I? Oh yeah, the newsletter.

The trouble with the newsletter is that it costs a postage stamp for each mailing. I have about 40 regular readers of the blog. Let's see, at 39 cents each that would be $19.11 every mailing! Not to mention the big hits I got on the story about the Moleskine tabs. In one day I received 450 hits. That would have cost $178.62 to send out a mailing to all interested in the story. The Internet is free. I can blog for free. You gota love the Internet. It ain't all rosy, but it's got some redeeming features.

And so I write on. All about nothing.
After all this is over, all that will really have mattered is how we treated each other. -Ziggy