Thursday, November 16, 2006

Why Blog?

I am departing for a week to visit my family for Thanksgiving, in environs familiar, but not really my own.

They'll be a computer at the house where Wife and I will be staying, though I doubt I will be able to use it to write of the Bookfraud Dysfunctional Family Holiday. This post will have to do for a week or so.

Over the past month or so—a period coinciding with my birthday—I have neglected the blog, but also others' blogs that I regularly visit and comment upon. (The mere thought of it actually made me wince.) The combination of depression and insane busyness at work and home has not made a happy camper out of yours truly.

A couple of days ago, this blog was reviewed by a blog that reviews blogs. The site rates "humor blogs," and though I don't think of this blog as "ha ha ha, I'm gonna wet my pants!" funny, it was gratifying to be considered. Two areas stood out for reviewers, which I readily admit are shortcomings: design and frequency.

This got the gears working. Shouldn't I redesign this tired old Blogger template? Maybe I should add really cool features and links, and even get my own domain name. Add podcasts! Video! Free beer! If need be, I could write more entries. Everybody would then flock to Bookfraud.

But what purpose would that serve? Just why the hell am I doing this?

I started blogging because I fancied myself a columnist, thought I might have something interesting to say, and didn't have any other forum in which to do it. The fiction thing was grounded indefinitely, and I wasn't really making concerted stabs at writing non-fiction.

I promised myself that the blog would be about "the writing life," and I have tried to tie even the most arcane pieces of trivia to writing. Though my personal life often spills over into my entries, I try to make it relevant to spinning tales of fiction or fact.

I wasn't going to blog about how the waiter at the restaurant treated me like a dog, politics, or pop culture, a rule I broke in about, I'd say, 5 minutes. And I starting writing “concept” blogs (for want of a better description).

"I don't care how many people visit and comment," I proclaimed to Wife, but of course I do.

I had an extremely unpleasant experience with an agent recently, and while many writers would have blogged about it as soon as they turned their computers on, it didn't appeal to me, as would read like a six-year-old in an extended time-out.

The fact is yes, this is a "community," and writers over the age of 17 know that the practice of writing is difficult and solitary. Blogging can connect us for support and advice. While I didn’t set out for this, it's become perhaps the most rewarding part of blogging.

I received a simple comment on one of my entries lately: “Hi, Bookfraud,” from someone whose own blog I had not visited in some time. It made me a little queasy. Am I just going through the motions? Don't I owe it to others to visit?

Which begs the question: why do we blog? Why do we choose what we blog about? And what do we expect to get out of the whole thing?

Have a happy Thanksgiving, y'all.

And R.I.P., Bo. M Go Blue.