The BlogHer question of the year is: "How is your blog changing your life?"
This is my attempt to answer that question.
Blogging is what I have always wanted. I didnt know it until I started doing it, but it was the precise thing I always craved.
It started like this: I learned to read early. I clearly remember getting my first library card at age 6 after we moved into town from out in the sticks. I asked my mom how to spell my name and was embarrassed when she told me the letters - I already knew that - what I wanted was to write it in cursive, because I knew that a cursive signature meant something was Serious and Important, and this was as important a thing as I could imagine at age six.
Getting the library card was my first step toward being someone grown up. I could be trusted with books.
The library was only about 25 feet square but to me it was an endless magical wonderland where I wanted to be all the time. I made my mom drive me there every day they were open - three days a week.
I read constantly and I fell in love with authors. I had deep, intense relationships with books and authors. I was in love like a teenager, mooney and obsessive.
Laura Ingalls Wilder, Louise Fitzhugh, Walter Farley and his endless Black Stallion series. I loved them and dozens of other authors and read my favorite books over and over until the words were a bigger part of my life than what was right there in front of me. In my head, the authors were my friends, my family. I held inner conversations with characters and with the authors who created them.
I always wanted meet the authors, too. We lived in a tiny town where author appearances and book signings weren't common. The closest person to a real author I met was Danny Rife's mom, Joanne, who wrote for the local paper, which was published once a week.
When I was 12, I wrote a gushing letter to Ray Bradbury and was thrilled when he wrote me back a one-word answer "Thanks." That letter was more precious than a sheet of pure gold to me. I carried it around in my school binder and showed it to all my friends. It had come folded in half lengthwise and I kept it that way, until it almost tore in half from all the folding and unfolding, the crease growing soft and furry.
At 16, William Goldman possessed me with his book The Princess Bride. I loved the story, but the parts where he spoke directly to the audience were what intoxicated me.
An author, revealing his life and the story behind the story - breaking the fourth wall and speaking directly to the reader - that was a new one on me, and I fell hard, reading that book dozens of times in the next five years. It took me longer than that to realize that the "author" who was speaking was just another character in the book, that his dad was NOT from Florin, that there was no wife named"Helen" or fat kid called Jason.
Looking back, I seem so frightfully immature. At 19, my mom was having her first baby. I was carrying around a tattered paperback copy of The Princess Bride and quoting it to my friends. Oh well. I have always been a little slow.
But Goldman had given me a taste of what I wanted. I wanted to read an author and not just absorb their words. I wanted to be able to ask them questions and have them answer. I wanted them to know me and how they had affected me. I wanted them to...blog.
I remember reading Anne Lamott's Operating Instructions and being struck by her absolute honesty and her wonderful humor. I thought "There is no one else out there doing this." I thought she was amazing.
Now a dozen years later, I know that thinking Anne Lamott was unique was sort of like what a friend told me about the singer Marian Anderson - it wasn't that she was so uniquely talented. It was just she got to use her talent at a time when so many others were prohibited from doing so.
There are plenty of people out there as talented as Anne Lamott. Funnier, too. Its just that something in their lives kept them from getting an agent and publisher and a book deal. Now if they have a blog, they can hop on the internet and write a post and two minutes later I can be reading their words and nodding my head and laughing or crying. Then I can write them a comment and eagerly await a comment back.
Blogging has made writing and reading so much more rich and satisfying for me. I read new content from my favorite authors every day. (Some of them are over there in my sidebar.) I know about their real lives. They know about me. This is what I have always been searching for, and I feel like I am a teenager in love all over again - in love a hundred times over.
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