Saturday, July 28, 2007

MEME | Five Reasons Why I Blog

Stefanie tagged me for the Five Reasons Why I Blog meme.

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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

Er - who should I tag? Say, if you would like to do this meme, consider yourself tagged. Otherwise, Chris, Nymeth, Ah Leng, and precious - you're it!


chrisa511 said...

Great answers! This will be quite the challenging meme...I'll have to think for a little while on this one. Blogging has definitely helped me to come out of my shell a little bit as well. I love having people to talk to about things that I love and I've been exposed to so many wonderful books and other things since I've met other bloggers. to ponder on this one.

Ana S. said...

I really enjoyed reading your answers to this. I'll have to think about mine. I think some will be similar to yours.

Rebecca H. said...

Your account of your first blogging experience reminds me of mine: I was very nervous the first time I left a comment somewhere, and absolutely terrified when I published my first post. Now it's no big deal of course.

Anonymous said...

Nice post. It's always cool to see a little window into a blog author's deepest intentions ^^.

Mailyn said...

That was a nice post! I think the reason I started blogging was so I could post randomly on another friend's blog.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed your answers fellow Aries! I had to think about my answers too when before I did the meme because I hadn't thought about it before either :)

I was nervous to leave my first comment too, like someone was going to point their virtual finger at me and--I'm not sure what but it would have been bad. But no fingers were pointed and leaving comments become fun. Hope work is better than when you were under house arrest.

darkorpheus said...

Chris & Nymeth: I'll be waiting for your respective take on this meme then. Don't take too long though.

dorothy: It's silly isn't it? How just dropping a comment can be like coming out of a shell? And the self-consciousness about posting? And yet, now - it's nothing at all?

Kim: "Deepest intentions"? Ah, you mean my deeply buried self-induglence? :)

Mailyn: Hah. I posted on a friend's blog one day - without telling her about my own blog - and it puzzled her at first who I was. Then of course she saw some of the links and it dawned on her who I was.

Stefanie: I guess the blogging is often just spontaneous. But then things evolve.

Work - could be better, but thanks for the concern. As long as I stay at the desk most of the time, I am allowed a few quick hikes out to the bookstore. (My office is in the back, behind the main bookstore itself)

It's the books that keep me on the job, not so much the people. Because I have the ability to draw deep inside myself (or into books), it helps me endure a lot of unpleasant people.

Anonymous said...

I meant things you don't normally see advertised about why people choose to spend so much of their time behind the keyboard ;)

darkorpheus said...

KIM: Don't worry, get what you meant. Just teasing. :)