Saturday, April 02, 2005

On Being Trendy

Wait a minute. I’m writing a blog. What am I doing here?!?

I hate being trendy. I admit that this is probably a character flaw. Trendy things aren’t automatically bad. (They usually are, though. Right?) But still, I don’t like being someone who blindly follows the latest fad. I’d like to think that I have a measure of discernment, which keeps me safe from the tossing waves and swirling winds of fads and trends. I am above such things! I am a wise, intelligent individual! I am Seth! Hear me roar! I even have credentials. I loved Lord of the Rings long before the movies came out. I saw The Matrix before the Columbine shootings (for better or worse) boosted that movie’s popularity. I saw Star Wars when I was young, before the current generation of fans sunk their teeth into the latest merchandising blitz. I am an early adopter. I am cutting-edge. I am a leader, not a follower.

So why am I writing a blog?

I mean, blogs are so very mainstream now. Everyone has a blog. I’ll bet that, if I looked hard enough, I could find a blog from the garbage collector that gathers my trash. Blogging isn’t just a geek thing anymore. It’s not an artsy thing. It’s just a normal thing. Everyone’s doing it.

And, how narcissistic can any one person be, anyways? Think about it. A blogger has the audacity to think that his puerile ramblings would be of interest to someone beyond himself. Hello, but should I care if you’re having a lousy day or that your drive to work was particularly boring today? WHO CARES? All these bloggers are wasting valuable bandwidth, spewing words across the Internet, pretending that someone cares. What a silly waste of time.

And readers of blogs are worse! Am I really so desperate for entertainment that I’m willing to stoop to voyeurism? Once upon a time, it was considered horribly rude to read someone’s diary or journal. But now it’s common practice.

But, um, well, here I am. If I have such a low opinion of blogs, then why am I writing one?

Bryan, this is all your fault.

No, that’s not fair. It’s not really Bryan’s fault, but I’m going to blame him anyways.

Last Thursday, I made the mistake of mentioning to Bryan, who is a friend of mine, that I had toyed with starting a blog, but that I had decided that I was not interested. After all, that would require discipline to commit to writing on a regular basis, and I wasn’t sure that I wanted that sort of burden.

So, yesterday, here comes an email from Bryan with a link to Blogspot.com and a brief comment that it was free.

Of course, I’ve recently been bemoaning my lack of discipline in writing. I love writing, and I have several projects that are currently languishing. I’ve also been feeling the need to be creative. I’ve been reading and thinking a lot about art and aesthetics recently, and I’m chock-full of good philosophy and theory about the arts. But I’m not doing anything with any of it. What good is it to decide that being creative is an important part of being human if I then wander off to play Half-Life 2 instead of actually being creative? What a waste.

Maybe writing a blog would be helpful.

If I were completely honest with myself, I’d have to admit that this isn’t really the first time that I’ve blogged. Three years ago, I moved from my hometown of Erie, Pennsylvania to Peoria, Illinois. This was a major life change, and I decided to write a journal during the first three months of our stay in our new home. That way I could look back in my journal and remember that time in my life. Also, I figured that this would be a good way to keep in touch with various people who would be interested in knowing how we were doing. Laziness is the mother of invention. I called it “Illinois Journal” and I sent it by email to those whom I thought might care. I extended the Journal a year later, recording the events and emotions of the ten days following the sudden death of my mother. Again, I sent this by email to those who I thought might care.

The frightening reality is that there were a number of folks who wanted to read my writing. People wrote back, telling me that they found it helpful. Of course, the really frightening part is that I enjoy the attention. Part of me likes hearing that my writings have been appreciated by others. Is that pride? Certainly it would be dishonest to pass myself off as having nothing worthwhile to say, but still… Well, that’s a discussion for another day.

So now, here I am, writing a blog. Even though it’s trendy and narcissistic and puerile. Why?

Because I need the discipline of writing on a regular basis (what my sister calls “creativity on demand”). Because I need to write to fill the aching void of desire to create. Because I would like to have a place to think out loud. Because I think that I might actually have things to say that would help others.

Because sometimes trendy things are still good ideas.

I guess that we will find out together. You’re still reading, right? Then we will take this journey together and find out where it goes.

Of course, there’s more to life than blogging. So now I’m going to post this entry and go help my wife spread fertilizer in the front yard. Spreading poop, hoping that something useful will grow. Sounds a lot like my goals for this blog.

1 Comments:

Anonymous DLR said...

Is not.

4/03/2005 10:01:00 PM  

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