I recently read a book review which included this observation: “Some people are good writers, just not about themselves.”
It’s rather difficult for me to write here. I’ve never been good at keeping journals–why write about myself to myself? I am also an introvert–I don’t necessarily feel the need, or always enjoy, sharing my thoughts with others. What is a personal blog but a public journal?
I suppose it is good to challenge myself this way. It’s strange to write about my own thoughts, not to be writing facts, or footnoting my assertions with academic sources (“See! Smart people back me up on this!”) It’s strange to not know my “audience”–unlike papers for school, or writing letters to friends, the internet feels like an empty room full of people. When I write here, it seems that my words are flying off into the high corners of an empty, open room, and echoing back at me. I know that when I click the “publish” button on this screen, my writing will be available to the entirety of the internet-connected world. I know it, but I have no real notion of what that means. That high, empty, open room actually has myriads of people crammed into it–but will anyone look up and see my words? Do I want them to? Who are they, and what do they hope to glean from what I say?
I wonder if I should be cluttering up the internet with myself. There are bloggers/writers out there whom I admire. They seem to do the public journal-thing really well, and I am grateful that they write down their thoughts and experiences so I can read them, think about them, maybe become a little wiser through them. On the other hand, there is so much drivel out there on the internet. So much narcissism. Am I adding to that? Are my words truly so important, that the larger world should read them? Is my life so important, that it should be recorded and read by strangers?
On the other hand, I like writing here. I like having a space to tell a little bit about what I’m doing, to record places and people and times that I don’t want to forget. Does it matter that no one notices? Am I content with the echoes returning to me, and staying?
I wonder what is too personal for this space. Sometimes I want to write down some of my innermost thoughts, and share them. But should I throw the windows of my heart and mind open to total strangers? Our culture consumes people’s lives as a commodity. It is voracious, and it can be vicious. It especially likes it when those lives appear to be “real.” It practically demands it. What shouldn’t I tell the people in that crammed-full room? What might it be good to tell them? Am I only feeding that appetite for lives?
What do I write here, and for whom? And why?
The echoes return to me, and they do not answer.