Oh. I need to think about this. Being the typical Aries I tend to just do things without seriously considering why.
I realise there are two parts to the question: the reasons I first started this blog, and the reasons I'm still blogging:
Cartharsis: The first blog I read regularly was the one set up by my comrade-in-infamy, The Brat. I don't get to see her as much as I would like to, but reading her blog has helped me stay in touch with some of what's going on in her life.
I hear her voice everytime I read her blog. The bitchy way she complains about the state of the world and her life. I soon realised the carthartic nature of blogs. You write something and cast it into the air. God be damned on the consequences. So, I guess the seed of my blogging life was planted by the confessional nature of The Brat's blog.
My earliest blog entries are self-indulgent complaints and rants against work, my bosses, my friends and various indignities "poor oh me" has suffered. Thankfully I have deleted most of those rubbish. I cringe at the memories of those days.
*Moment of self-awareness* Oh wait, I still write self-indulgent rubbish. Oh well.
I Was Under "House Arrest" At Work: This needs elaboration - For the first 4 years of my career, I was the front-list buyer for the Literature, Humanities and the Social Sciences sections at the bookstore where I (still) work. Then I got bored and I asked for an expansion of my job-scope. So about 3 years ago I was reassigned as the front-list buyer for the Lifestyle department. I was unprepared for the changes, and I felt inept and ignorant in my new posting. (I find myself ordering books on knitting, make-up and breast-feeding - what the hell do I know about these subjects?)
What made it worst was that they assigned a totally unsuitable candidate to takeover my previous position. I spent 4 years building up a credible Literature section - it was my baby, and they gave my baby to someone who did not love it as I did.
Nobody could understand the agony I felt whenever the new buyer decided to pass over a good title because she was ignorant of it. I was shocked when I found out the new buyer did not order Jose Saramago's Seeing. (How could you not order the new Saramago and still consider yourself a bookstore of any credibility?) But I couldn't do anything because she was on good terms with my bosses and I was desperately trying to learn my new job, and fighting off back-stabbing colleagues.
So there I was, unhappy and frustrated. I used to leave my desk for long periods to just walk around the bookstore. I wonder if anyone else feel this way? The simple act of walking among the books - touching their spines, their pages, their covers - it soothed me, and helped me calm down enough to come back to a unhappy job.
But my boss was unhappy about me leaving my desk. She felt I was slacking off. And she demanded I stay at my desk at all time. That year I had the lowest ratings on my Staff Appraisal ever. It was my boss telling me, if I don't do as she says, she will hurt me where it matters most. It was stupid and oppressive, having to acount for my whereabouts even when I was using the washroom. I was under "House Arrest" at my desk.
Then one day, I started a blog. Which is why very few of my colleagues know about this blog. Why I use a pseudonym. Since I had to stay at my desk, I would sometimes work on the blog when I was unhappy. It was like my long walks in the bookstore, except I do it online.
Bloggers Share: For me, bloggers are often just ordinary individuals with something to share. What they provide is a sincerity and heart-felt love for something they have enjoyed. It's beautiful to see generosity amongst the bloggers, whether it is the time and effort spent organising a reading challenge, or just sending someone a book - there's so much heart in it. So if someone just read a book and it made him/her cry, it makes me curious. What is so special about this book that it made you feel so deeply?
Somewhere along the way, I find myself wanting to share too. I want to tell someone I cried when I read The End of the Affair. That each time I re-read The Passion it still feels as though my heart is broken. That I read Elizabeth Bishop for the first time and I want to share. With the community of bloggers, you are rarely alone.
Blogging Made Me More "Sociable": By nature I am a lonewolf who prefers to listen rather than speak. Where I feel the other party is not listening, I tend to just stop conversing. But with the (almost) anonymity of the blogsphere, I found myself posting on the blogs of people I have never met. I am not the sort to approach strangers, and rarely do I initiate introductions.
I lurked for a very long time before I decided to take a leap and comment on a blog that did not belong to a friend. If memory serves me, my blogsphere "coming out" was at Involuntary Memory. Or was it on a post about Involuntary Memory? I wanted to read Proust, and the idea of a Proust reading group was just too exciting. Since then I've learnt it's okay to just leave a note once in a while on someone's blog. As long as I'm civil, most people actually appreciate it. This has actually transferred over in real life, where sometimes I initiate conversations with people I don't know but recognise, just to say hi, or just to pay them a sincere compliment. Just small gestures. And you know what? People appreciate this sort of thing in real life too.
Recently I feel open enough to post a picture of my work desk. Just a tiny glimpse of the real person. (Someone with Homer Simpson at the work desk) No pictures of myself yet. Maybe one day, when I feel more open.
I Learn: I've learnt so much from all the blogs I've been visiting. Very often I find myself reading someone's post and it just spins all sort of associations and connections in my head. One time, I was having problems writing about a book, then I read someone else posting about another book - and suddenly everything just click. The truth is, it's easier for me to pay attention to what I'm reading than listening. Maybe that's why I don't related well to people in real life; I am bad at listening.
Most of all, when I re-read my posts, I learnt something about my writing:
a) I tend to produce my best posts when I feel most deeply about the subject.
b) I tend to deviate and drift off-topic.
c) When I am restless and slightly snarky, I write some of my most bizarre (but occasionally funny) posts.
d) I am one self-indulgent blogger who writes long posts.