I once read a quote by (I think) a Greek philosopher (I’ve goggled it but to no avail). It was something along the lines of, “A man should spend the first 30 yrs of his life experiencing things; the next 30 thinking about his experiences; and the next 30 writing about them.” Now given that he would have lived at a time when the average lifespan was 40-50 years, he was probably being overly optimistic. However, I do think he has a point.
Now that I find myself in that second period he talked about, I find I have a lot I want to say. And I’m not alone. This ties in with why I blog. I wrote a post called “What’s the Point of Blogging?” and I’ve often been asked, “Why do you blog? What’s the point of it?” The answer I would usually give is that I wanted to get my writing and my music out there and a blog is a great avenue for that. And that’s true. But I have a sneaking suspicion that perhaps there was a slight subtext to that answer. Which was, “Well, obviously that’s the reason. It wouldn’t be because I think anyone is interested in anything I have to say.” And maybe that’s an Irish attitude. But I also think there may have a slight subtext to the question as well. “Why do you write a blog? Why do you think anyone would be interested in anything you have to say?”
Apart from the fact of trying to get my music and my writing out there, the fact is, I do have something to say. And I think most people have something to say. That’s why we blog. So, are we trying to make sense of our life experiences, as the philosopher advises us to?
The short answer is – I don’t know. And I don’t think any blogger really does. I think we simply have a need to express ourselves. It’s more than simply about putting our songs or our poems or our stories or our thoughts about politics or whatever it is out there. It’s a simple need to express ourselves. We have thoughts, ruminations, mediations – whatever you want to call them – that have accumulated over however many years. And now, perhaps, we’re at the stage when we start to think about them. But rather than wait until the third chapter to write about them – which is 60-90 years – we’ve chosen to write about them now. Because the ability is there now to do so in a way that wouldn’t have been available to us previously. And, maybe, we do so in the hope that it will connect with someone else, maybe help them make sense of their experiences. As Henry Miller so eloquently put it:
“What we all hope in reaching for a book, is to meet a man of our own heart, to experience tragedies and delights which we ourselves lack the courage to invite, to dream dreams which will render life more hallucinating, perhaps also to discover a philosophy of life which will make us more adequate in meeting the trials and ordeals which beset us. To merely add to our store of knowledge or improve our culture, whatever that may mean, seems worthless to me.”
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