Whenever anyone finds out I have a blog they are immediately fascinated, analyze it, and ask me questions about it. They almost always want to know what is fact and fiction.
Well, to answer this question, I have to explain why I blog. I do it for two very simple reason. First, it is a way for me to tell a story about something that happened or share a thought, without having to tell multiple people separately. Instead of messaging Tanya, and emailing Sean, and FBing several other people, I can just blog about it, post it, and be done. The second reason is for myself. When writing things out I understand them better, articulate details which would not have occurred to me, or simply look at events from different angels. Not to mention I very much enjoy doing it. So I figured if I am going to write all of it out anyway, might as well share it.
But my blog is rather successful despite itself. And I really do mean despite itself considering there is no overarching theme (there used to be, years ago), there is no appeal to any sort of sub-genre of people, and at first glance it appears that no one outside of close friends and family would ever read more than one post since anyone interested would have to be a friend who has similar likes and dislikes as me, being able to flip between reading about what I am reading, to tidbits of my personal life, to rather random parenting advice, etc.
But almost every day I get emails, Facebook mail, or Twitter messages from random strangers who have something or other to say about my posts. Some are congratulatory, as in “I loved that last post!” other are “What the Hell are you thinking?” and even more with actual questions, some of which mention previous chains of posts, meaning they have been reading my blog for a while. Since I have switched my blog I guess something about this new format is conducive to actual commenting, and now others can see some of the reactions I get from readers.
I know my blog is public and I am sure people accidentally stumble across it all the time, but what would posses people who have never met me, from different states and countries to keep reading my blog on what I assume to be a more or less regular basis?
I would like to think it is because my blog is well written, but seriously, there are way better things on the internet to entertain. Even my academic posts can’t be that amazing. I mean, there are actual journals for that sort of thing, vetted by peers and considerably more reliant.
But I honestly don’t know. One of my friends thinks it has to do with the voyeuristic aspect of blogging. When I am not writing about literature, or abstract ideas, I am pretty personal. And if you follow along long enough, you get a picture of my life. Of course I don’t blog about everything. Sometimes I blog about my teaching, but even that is limited. And I never blog about my office job. That’s off limits. My children are limitless, but that is only because they are still too young to have personal space. When they get older, that too will become negotiable.
So that brings me to the question of what is fact and fiction. For those that do not know me well, the line is blurred, and only close friends would know enough to, well, know.
But I am a terrible creative writer. I don’t do it, or attempt it, because I know I am not good enough. Perhaps if I practiced it I would get better, but honestly, I don’t wish to practice it. I will leave that to those who have actual talent. The closest to creative writing I come on this blog are what I refer to as my “midnight rants,” mainly because they are often written in the middle of the night (and I have learned not to post them immediately before some editing), and they rely heavily on the imagination. But even those come from myself. You see, the reason I am so terrible at creative writing is because I cannot disengage from my writing. So unless I am doing academic writing, or sharing some sort of actual information, I always fall back onto my own life and thoughts because I am incapable of actually creating like that. If I were ever to write a short story I would use my daily existence as inspiration and it would go something like this:
Then the heroine ate chocolate cake alongside her cats. She fed the cats, stared out the window, wrote for a bit, and then began distracting herself on Pinterest for endless hours before going to sleep.
Worst. Story. Ever. The most exciting part of this story would be an unanticipated spider attack in the middle of the night, which she wouldn’t even find out about until morning. She would look in horror at the tiny bites on her stomach before shrugging nonchallantly and getting dressed for work. Riveting. This is bound to be the next New York Times Best Seller.
So you see, none of it is fiction, just different ways of dealing with reality, exploring it from (sometimes absurd) perspectives, but always drawn from the real. The closest this blog comes to fiction is through my exaggerated pieces that purposely push the limits of disbelief, and even then I am sure it is pretty obvious what the real story is, simply because I am just not that good.
And I guess that is why I am pretty shocked when people become so engrossed. Of course I am partial to my blog and love it, but that is simply because I invest so much time into it and it is honestly my most favorite hobby. Yet when I realize others read as much as I write, I can’t help but wonder… Why?