Last year I wrote a blog post that suggested to readers that they ask themselves why they blogged. This was in response to a few people in my sphere expressing disappointment that their blogs weren’t generating a lot of followers and comments, and they wondered if they should keep at it. Here’s that post.
On a spring day about a year ago, after urging another particularly eloquent friend to not give up on his blog, I realized that I hadn’t really answered for myself that question of why I keep a blog. Why do I write, and in particular why this blog? I’ve been mulling over this for over a year now, and here’s my answer: This blog is my legacy.
Permit me to explain. And apologies in advance, as I think this will be a bit convoluted.
I firmly believe that when we die, we’re gone. No golden-streeted afterlife with harps or virgins or whatever we were taught in our childhood indoctrination myths.
I like the stories from native beliefs that say when a person dies, only their body is gone: they will continue to live as long as they still linger in the minds and hearts of those who knew them. I like to think that when I die, some people who knew me will have some vivid memories and strong feelings that will keep me alive a bit longer.
James Corey put it nicely:
The only thing that will survive, especially as I will not have any grandchildren, is what is remembered and said about me.
But who really knows anybody? I mean, sure: people know that I’m a middle-aged sortof-creative nerdy person with a fully-packed skeleton closet who’s a somewhat pompous atheist trying hard not to be an ass about it.
But that’s all surface stuff.
Do people know that I can easily be moved to tears by a sunset? That I find immense pleasure in just watching trees dance around in the wind? That sometimes I laugh so hard that it’s hard to stop? That I almost physically feel sound? That I’m actually a bit whimsical?
I think that to really know a person, you need to understand the synergistic sum of all the little moments that make up who they really are: the flotsam and jetsam of impressions, ideas, gestures, idiosyncrasies, preferences, and opinions that speak more completely of who they are than anything they’d ever say about themselves. This is why I find value in using Facebook, as all those pictures of food and puns and goofy photos add up to showing me a true “flavor” of the people who are my friends. Here’s more on that.
And this leads up to why I keep this blog. I have been writing little notes and mini essays and storing them away for more than 30 years, and I’ve been gradually adding those writings along with current-day musings to this blog. All of this stuff can augment what people already know about me and provide a more realistic impression of who I am. I think. I hope. And someday when I am gone, anyone who knew me in life can come here, read my thoughts, and — at least for a few moments — I’ll exist in their mind.
Even though I am obsessed with writing and plan to publish as much as I can when I retire, I have no delusions or expectations that I will ever find fame. Sans fame and sans grandchildren, my writings will make up the only legacy I can expect.
And this is why I blog.