Last year I wrote a blog post that suggested to readers that they ask themselves why they blogged. This was in response to a few people in my sphere expressing disappointment that their blogs weren’t generating a lot of followers and comments, and they wondered if they should keep at it. Here’s that post.
On a spring day about a year ago, after urging another particularly eloquent friend to not give up on his blog, I realized that I hadn’t really answered for myself that question of why I keep a blog. Why do I write, and in particular why this blog? I’ve been mulling over this for over a year now, and here’s my answer: This blog is my legacy.
Permit me to explain. And apologies in advance, as I think this will be a bit convoluted.
I firmly believe that when we die, we’re gone. No golden-streeted afterlife with harps or virgins or whatever we were taught in our childhood indoctrination myths.
I like the stories from native beliefs that say when a person dies, only their body is gone: they will continue to live as long as they still linger in the minds and hearts of those who knew them. I like to think that when I die, some people who knew me will have some vivid memories and strong feelings that will keep me alive a bit longer.
James Corey put it nicely:
The only thing that will survive is what is remembered and said about me.
But who really knows anybody? I mean, sure: people know that I’m a middle-aged sortof-creative nerdy person with a fully-packed skeleton closet who’s a somewhat pompous atheist trying hard not to be an ass about it.
But that’s all surface stuff.
Do people know that I can easily be moved to tears by a sunset? That I find immense pleasure in just watching trees dance around in the wind? That sometimes I laugh so hard that it’s hard to stop? That I almost physically feel sound? That I’m actually a bit whimsical?
I think that to really know a person, you need to understand the synergistic sum of all the little moments that make up who they really are: the flotsam and jetsam of impressions, ideas, gestures, idiosyncrasies, preferences, and opinions that speak more completely of who they are than anything they’d ever say about themselves. This is why, even though I mostly abhor it, I find value in using Facebook. All those pictures of meals and puns and goofy photos add up to showing me a true “flavor” of the people who are my friends. Here’s more on that.
And this leads up to why I keep this blog. I have been writing little notes and mini essays and storing them away for more than 30 years, and I’ve been gradually adding those writings along with current-day musings to this blog. All of this stuff can augment what people already know about me and provide a more realistic impression of who I am. I think. I hope. And someday when I am gone, anyone who knew me in life can come here, read my thoughts, and — at least for a few moments — I’ll exist in their mind.
Even though I am obsessed with writing and plan to publish as much as I can when I retire, I have no delusions or expectations that I will ever find fame. Sans that fame, my writings will make up the only legacy I can expect.
And this is why I blog.