Why do people write and read blogs?
I believe that a good writer is also an avid reader. Especially with non-fiction writing. The more knowledge you have on a topic, the better you can write about it. So, I read a lot – mostly non-fiction books on specific topics (for example the few books I read on veganism while being vegan), but since starting writing this book, I’ve started to read more autobiographical works. I’m really interested on how other people tell their story – specifically those who are also bloggers. I read these not to copy those writers, but only to get a sense of how they incorporated their own voice into the information they wanted to share.
One of the most famous bloggers turned authors is Julie Powell of Julie and Julia – about how she cooked her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. I’m reading her book right now. There is one section where she decides she’s going to “whine” on her blog about how she’s about to turn 30 and she doesn’t have any children, is a secretary at a government agency, and living in a small apartment in Long Island City, Queens, New York. The comments she received from her post where fairly encouraging, but then one of her biggest “bleaders” (what she calls her blog readers – I thought that was cute and links back to my post last week, with a slightly different spelling) wrote:
Julie, on my 30th birthday I was living in a homeless shelter. I made a homemade pizza for the other residents. That was my 30th. All I had to show for my life was that I didn’t have kids and hadn’t dragged them through the hell my life had become.
The bleader Chris goes on to say that things looked up for her, then offered some encouraging words to Julie.
I’ve had a few moments since starting blogging where I have whined about something and others have responded with times in their lives where it has been much worse. I had a hard time dealing with this and fighting between whether I should share how I’m feeling or not. Am I being narcissistic by doing this project? Being a blogger means sharing your life and therefore being “all about me”. But I also try to show my gratitude as much as possible for what I have and those who support me.
My uncle said to me the other day “why would I care?” He was asking why anyone would care about the ups and downs of someone else’s life. Why would anyone read that? He has his own problems to deal with, why should he read about mine? He was saying it in the most loving manner and as a serious topic of discussion, not as an insult. It’s true, though, why do we care? Why do we want to read about other people’s lives?
It’s a fascinating thing about this time of humanity that we are able to share our stories with each other so easily. I think of it like if you meet someone new and you talk to them about their life and you learn and laugh and cry with them – it’s just with someone you’ve never met and is most likely in another part of the world than you. It makes us all realize how alike we really are. We all go through many of the same things, just with different circumstances. And those who have completely different circumstances we can learn from and be more of a tolerant society.
I had a much shorter response for my uncle, though, when he asked me why people read blogs. I answered him with a question: “why do people watch reality television?”
Sorry, it’s going to have to be another week before I talk about the blogger award Pink gave me. I half wrote it, but am running late (as usual) to help my grandmother pack, so my thoughts on it and my dedications to other bloggers will be next week – I promise.
Finally, a photo, just for fun of the vegan tomato pasta sauce I made from scratch the other day. Take that Julia Child! (ok, I know – completely different kind of cooking – maybe if I added some cream, lots and lots of butter and some calf liver I’d be getting closer to her style…):