I am astonished by the pages upon pages I’ve written for school papers that only one pair of eyes usually ends up seeing.
One time in my undergraduate, after writing a 15 page research paper, I randomly inserted a sentence two-thirds in that said, “If you’re actually still reading this, can you make note of it at the end?” To my amusement, (and embarrassment,) sure enough, the professor wrote, “nice try, I read it all.”
My desire to know that someone is actually reading what I write gets to a core human issue of futility: Does anything I do really matter? If I write myself onto a page, will I be engaged? Will I move anyone? Do I trust that if I’m real when I write, readers will actually enjoy what I have to say?
I sometimes buy into a myth that suggests that everyone else’s lives are invariably sexier and more purposeful than my own. Who would want to read about my life? Speaking from my own experience, to share my own story, no matter how tragic, mundane, or uncool it is– it’s risky, to say the least. Of course there are others who can write, review, and photograph better than me. And yet, I believe that offering small portions of my life to those who desire to read, shows us something of our dignity, humanity, and value.
I have an artist friend who puts her “in process” and unfinished artwork on her blog. Some galleries prefer that their artists don’t present their work in this medium, because in their eyes, it creates a diluted version of the real thing. Which leaves me asking: “what is the real thing?”
I think my artist friend is on to something: it’s about where we are in the process of this thing we call life– When I blog, what I offer is raw, unpolished, and in progress. This is what I’ve found: people are moved.