Well, hello there. I'm going to be writing a paper for my class "The Digital Word" about blogging. I'm thinking of exploring the blog as a sort of modern confessional, and I am wondering if you have any scholarly insight into such matters (being both an academic and a blogger). I'm told that you are quite the celebrity in the blogosphere. Thoughts?
Hello Ms. Blackwood
Oh yes I have thoughts. For one, don't believe everything you've been told. (It was only one video and it's only gone farm viral. Celebrity? Non.)
Really the reason I started blogging was as a way to redeem a corner of the Internet with real stories of a real life lived out. In my opinion there were too many Christians out there using their blogs to preach at the digital void, and I wanted my life and choices and struggles and successes to do the preaching.
So I worked hard to be honest with where I was at and what I was encountering on any given day. Inside my heart and outside. Yes a bit dangerous and a bit exhibitionistic I imagine, but I felt like if it was going to be worth anything, then it had to be honest, and if it couldn’t be honest, then it should at least be quiet.
The surprising mail I received was encouraging enough that this was a good direction. Surprising in who was reading it. Broad age ranges, belief systems, non belief systems, etc. I was really surprised at who was reading and occasionally leaving comments.
Yes it was a vulnerable thing to do but I felt like the risk of being vulnerable for another person to be able to connect with a story or a feeling was worth it.
Sometimes that would push back on me and I’d get nasty comments or emails, which would usually ruin my day.
Still, more and more readers would drop by and see what life was like in my corner on any given day.
I broadened my writing as I found my voice and included thoughts on church life and where the Church needed to go. I talked about community issues and would include occasional inspirational material as I came across it online.
Those were probably the heady days for this blog as local radio stations around Saskatchewan would occasionally mention the blog or quote a story from it. Once in a while I’d get a call to be interviewed for a news story or about blogging in general.
But one day my address changed as I moved to The Field here in right of center, rural Alberta. I think that post on my resignation from my old place in Saskatchewan had the highest hits of any post in the past.
What I learned as I moved to rural life is that it is a fishbowl where everyone knows everyone else, and that there are limited opportunities for friendships and work and even places to live. There is no room for anonymity out here, and that’s just how it is.
So pretty soon you learn to live your very known life, in private ways. That’s so you can have a private life at all.
If you add to that fishbowl the discipline of every day telling the world and your local community, what you think of it or what you think of your wife or your job or whatever, then it ends up being that there are no secrets in your life.
So the blog has taken a turn and been silent much more than it’s been honest.
I find myself again looking for my voice in this context where I live. It’s tough, but I continue to look.
As most blogs go, when they stop being personally honest or become too silent, they stop inspiring.
I like the image of modern confessional in a way. It’s been in those moments of utter honesty and clarity that my words have assisted a few to be encouraged or to find their way through a very dark patch. It’s given the world permission to examine my life and to even contact me if they wish, to share relationship. They have done that and relationships continue through this day, that are a deep blessing to me, and have caused me to say it was all worth it.
I think in a way my early goal “...to redeem a corner of the Internet with real stories of a real life lived out” has been accomplished. The good blogs are not about what you ate for lunch, although there are many who like a good picture of your lunch before you eat it, as much as they are about your struggles and successes and failures as you go at life, one day after another. Honestly.