I was never asked by anybody why I write this blog, perhaps because by the time it really got rolling blogging had become so well established that it was widely assumed to be as natural as breathing or having sex. Nobody asks why someone might want to do those things. By the way my advice is don’t forget to breathe (thanks Maynard James Keenan of Puscifer and Tool for those immortal words). The fact is thought that blogging isn’t like breathing or having sex, even if it is extremely habit-forming and addictive so that it can feel as natural as those things to a long-term blogger like me. So “why blog?” is a very good question to ask, and I do so now.
I’ve been thing about this a lot lately, because I haven’t been either healthy or happy. I’m going to keep the reason for that to myself, because it involves someone who’s identity I want to protect, and their identity is also irrelevant to what I’m trying to say today. The point is that while I have been depressed writing has given me, and continues to gives me, a reason to live and be positive. It actively pulls me along through the difficult days, distracting me from the pain. The open-ended nature of my blog makes it particularly good at this. What I mean by that is, although I keep coming back to certain themes here I could write about almost any subject. I always find a story that I want to tell without much trouble, because storytelling comes as naturally to me as wanting to love and be loved. That isn’t quite on the same basic level as bodily functions, but, as I say, it’s connected to the fundamental emotions. The only problem with storytelling on a blog is that there’s a maximum length to a blog posting which the regular readership will accept. That’s why I sometimes break a story up into a number of episodes. This is a minor practical detail though. Basically, a free flow of storytelling is possible here and that’s what excites me about this medium.
Although my blog does have guest authors (particularly in the German-language section) it has been suggested to me that this location in cyberspace is far too narrowly devoted to my experiences, thoughts, ideas and prejudices. The argument goes that the interactive social media are now the model for everything, and just as there is crowd funding, crowd sourcing so there should be crowd writing. I’m in favor of all those things being done, but not here and now. The reason for placing this limit is not just my ego, rather it comes down to the fact that a crowd can only tell a coherent story if they all share the experiences the basis for the story, or at least know the outline of the story they are jointly telling.
Beyond this, a story can only touch you if it has an emotional truth – believable characters acting in a believable way with whom you identify positively or negatively - and an emotional logic – a beginning, a middle and end, each leading to the next – to accentuate that truth. There’s no way you can throw together a bunch of people who write in widely contrasting styles and have them jointly tell a story that does this, because each time there was a change of author there would be an abrupt break in the storytelling. In fact, the story could easily get lost completely. So the answer is that everyone can join in the storytelling, but the best way is for each to tell their own story as well as possible. The whole point of my blog is that it is the place where I can tell my stories my way, and that is what your blog can give you too. Do it!
If I need more space that this blog can provide, because a story is big and complex, than that material goes into an e-book for Kindle. I am currently working on ROCK STARS OF WINE AMERICA #3 about the Finger Lakes in Upstate New York and publication should be some time the first days of April. Writing that book gives my life purpose just as writing for this blog does, and that has saved me from the worst effects of depression during these last difficult weeks. That may make it sound as if blog-writing is a form of therapy, but I would counter that by saying that this is what storytelling of all kinds is therapeutic for the storyteller and the readers/listeners. A blog is just one rather particular way of telling stories, and it’s one that I found suits me, although I didn’t believe it would when I started.
By the way, if you want to submit a story you are very welcome to do so. You may also comment at length on things I have written and be critical. The only rule is that because I earn no revenue through this blog, neither can you. We are all equal!