Wednesday, January 8, 2014

On blogging

I've been blogging on some platform or another since I started college. That's about 10 1/2 years now, and it's still not something I do well, but it's something I've been doing differently these days.

In 2003, as an isolated and terrified first year undergrad, I was desperately throwing thoughts into the void of the internet, hoping that something would answer back and tell me that I wasn't alone. I made "internet friends" this way- some with whom I still exchange Christmas cards and witty Facebook banter. There's nothing wrong with that (provided that you're careful about who your internet friends are). I also found blogging a venue for communicating more deeply with a handful of friends who were far off or pressed for time. When an unforgettably dear friend committed suicide in 2005, it was my blog community and my books that pulled me through.

Then, I started over. I moved to the MidAtlantic coast  and did an internship. I moved to the Deep South and started graduate school. For the first time in my entire life, in graduate school I wasn't "the weird kid." Things were hard, horribly hard. Three grandparents lost- first to Alzheimer's and then death.  A chronic illness diagnosis, followed by two years of trying to find a treatment plan that worked. Things were often good, too. I made some of the best friends of my life. I worked hard-I wrote, I published, I received enough diplomas to wallpaper a room. I managed to navigate young adulthood with a bit of poise and dignity and to offer others some grace, instead of stumbling through things. Somewhere in this process, blogging stopped being about reaching out and started being about saying things well. I needed to learn how to build my sentences, to practice choosing the right words. Blogging has been an exercise, one that keeps my mind and typing fingers limber and ready for emails to research participants, papers, reports. Blog posts have been mostly read by strangers on the internet, pointed here by google, and quickly passing through.

But it seems that season has ended. Lately  I haven't been able to document small projects or make many carefully crafted observations about life. I've moved again- this time to  the Frozen Northlands- and I have a practicum to complete, a dissertation to write, and an illness to manage. I have no idea how it's all going to go, but I'll gladly invite you to pull up your virtual chair and the warm beverage of your choice to join me.