At the end of my interview with Tania Pryputniewicz, Tania asked me a most pertinent question, one she considers worth asking of all women who blog – what impels the blogger to blog, or to turn it on to its subjective head, why do I blog?
Why indeed! What an impossibly heavy question, overloaded with content and musings so deep that it might take a lifetime to reach the bottom, a canyon so deep, dark and perhaps even a little bit (a lot?) menancing that one is almost afraid to even peer over the edge of the precipice, afraid that one might fall into the chasm, hurtling down the hole, whistling past the crevices at break neck speed.
The question, indeed, is more like a Zen koan or a question posed by a Desert Mother or Father to their novice monk seeking a word with which to guide their path, than anything so simple that some closed and definite answer might be assumed.
Why do I blog?
Perhaps I ought to start at the beginning, with ‘why’. Such a small word, only three letters, hardly conspicuous enough on a blank white page to appear to have any more significance than a splodge of ink, a smear, a drop which fell by mistake, requiring only that it be blotted up, obliterated, forgotten. But of course we know that it is still there, try as we might to forget that it fell, like a portent from the sky, heedless of its arrival.
Though ‘why’ belongs to a family of other, mostly ‘w’ question words, such as where and what and whom, none have quite the import or the significance as ‘why’ [unless of course you are lost in some foreign land, waterless, language-less, bereft, alone, in which case ‘where’ becomes a question about your survival, and ‘why’ belongs to your other life, the one where dalliances in philosophical games and musings are dependent on all your basic needs having been previously fulfilled.]
‘Why’ searches beneath the obvious, it dives under the rippling surface and delves down deep into the murky caves below. ‘Why’ is not interested in facile talk, chit-chat over an espresso coffee or a cup of green tea. ‘Why’ wants to know more than the first answer which pops into your head; it insists itself, persisting, relentlessly asking, over and over again, until you feel as if your brain will burst, that you have said all you can possibly say, that you have plumbed your own depths. But of course ‘why’ is so much wiser than we are – it knows that we can always go deeper. For there is no end to ‘why’.
Three and four year old children have prehensions, intimations, of such wisdom, they are bearers of the truth, albeit unwittingly. They drive their parents mad with constant questioning, refusing to let go of what they hardly even know that they are asking, yet still they keep on demanding that we answer, over and over again, their whys (but never wherefores).
‘Why’ suggests an element of choice too. Why ‘this’ and not ‘that’? Why, to return to our subject matter, blog and not journal? What (ah, a different ‘w’ question – will this take me deeper, or am I side-stepping…) is the difference between writing in a private journal, and writing in a public space, like a blog, like this blog, where anyone and everyone (and preferably no one I know) can read my words, gain access to some of my most private thoughts. And yet not, for I only blog about writing and never about my personal life, or that of my family, though this too raises questions about what constitutes a personal life…what is my most deeply, ‘personal’ life….what constitutes the language of my soul…and I must admit, I am forced to admit even, that it is when I set down my inner most thoughts and musings, such as I am doing here, now, maybe when I blog, or at least when I blog like this, I am exposing myself, peeling back my own layers, displaying my innards at their most raw and fragile, revealing my vulnerability, for this is my ‘truth’.
And maybe this is why I blog. Maybe I want to be heard, maybe I am like a voice crying in the wilderness, hoping that I shall hear an echo of my words calling back to me, but the echo will not be the sound of my voice, but that of another who has seen and heard and witnessed what I have said and done. For blogging offers the opportunity to discover a tribe of like-minded people, individuals who are searching for their truth too, just like me, and who also ask themselves each time they sit at their lap top and write something for their blog – why, why am I doing this?
The only possible answer is that I am hoping that someone like you, dear reader, is asking the same question, and that maybe, just maybe we might both be able to ask the questions together and like Rilke* learn how to live our way into the questions, and not try and foreclose them by jumping in too quickly with facile, easy and ready-made answers, such as we might bat about over our coffee and tea cups.
Why do you blog?
*I would like to beg you dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.
Rainer Maria Rilke, 1903, Letters to a Young Poet