How did I get here? Well, one day recently, with the holidays approaching, I happened to remember receiving a pink diary for Christmas when I was a young girl. It was about 4 inches square, hardbound, with one small page dedicated to each day of the year, and had a lock. I never wrote a word in it. In fact, I bet that if I looked hard enough, I could find it in a box or drawer somewhere in this house, still in pristine condition.
I recall feeling utterly inadequate at the prospect of putting my ghastly handwriting upon the beautiful pages, sure that I would ruin them with cross-outs or erasures. All the dramas of my life would never have fit within those narrowly-spaced little lines, and, of course, there was the matter of my mother’s belief that any item in her house was fair game coupled with the inadequacy of that flimsy little lock.
In high school, my girlfriends and I created journals in spiral notebooks. We filled up volumes and volumes with all of our dreams and disappointments, gluing in the notes we left in each other’s lockers and other priceless remnants of each day. I remember ripping every page into tiny little pieces before leaving for college.1 I wish I had those journals back now. It would be interesting to analyze how my perspective has changed through the years.
Aside from the pregnancy chronicles I created for my two sons, I never again tried my hand at journaling until I created my blog, Colloquium, in March 2005. It was born of pure frustration and a compelling need to write my way through a lot of conflicting feelings.
Terri Schiavo was dying after all of her parents’ legal efforts failed and her husband was allowed to direct that her feeding tube be removed. Having successfully litigated the biggest case to-date addressing the same issues here in California, I was horrified by the pain everyone involved in Terri’s case was suffering. My primary impetus was to detail my experiences during the six long years that Conservatorship of Wendland wound its way through the courts. My hope was and is that the telling of that cautionary tale will spare other families, caregivers, attorneys, jurists, et. al. similar stress, derision, and money.
At the same time, my mother was suffering the debilitating effects of Alzheimer’s disease and we were praying daily for her to be released, even as I was dealing daily with my son’s personal issues.
I discovered blogging software and began memorializing my thoughts and feelings, but long spaces of time elapsed between entries. I doubt that anyone was reading my posts because few comments were entered. Nonetheless, I kept sporadically plugging away, beginning in earnest during the past six months or so to chronicle some of the “long, strange” journeys I have taken in my life as a way of evaluating my experiences and gaining some insight from them.
So I resolved to learn more about blogging . . . Who are all these bloggers, anyway? What are they blogging about? Who is reading all these blogs I keep hearing about? And, most importantly, what purpose(s) is blogging serving for most folks?
What an education I’ve gotten! I’ve discovered what many of you have probably known for some time: Blogging is a full-fledged cultural phenomenon. Having now spent some concerted time surfing many blogs, blog rings, and websites, I realize how prolific, varied, and creative bloggers are. I am stunned by the quality of design and content I have found, not to mention the microcosmic societies I have stumbled into and the depth of personal information that people willingly reveal.
It is clear that blogs are the little pink diaries and spiral notebooks of the twenty-first century. Thank God for the delete and backspace keys, not to mention the spell-checker, passwords, and those clever programs that allow you to block specified IP addresses lest your snoopy mother or mother-in-law be co-existing with you in cyberspace. For writer’s block, there are plenty of prompts and memes available to get even the most stymied essayist started. And when all else fails, there are plenty of folks out there who are happy to read about and discuss current events or even politics (shudder).
I will be sharing my thoughts with you here each week and my hope is that my posts will be interesting reading . . . maybe even helpful or inspiring. I hope that you will leave comments and feel free to disagree fervently. I am a lawyer, after all (but please don’t hold that against me until you get to know me better), so I always welcome vigorous debate!
- Yeah, my mother’s snoopy nature again . . . and, of course, there were no shredders in those days. [↩]