Back in the early years of the previous century there was a woman by the name of Ina D. Ogdon who had a dream: she wanted to travel and preach on the Chautauqua circuit. This was a respectable way for a lady to be a star in those days, but a problem arose. Her father became ill, and it fell to her as The Daughter (as it still often does) to set her plans aside and care for him. What could have been a bitter disappointment turned instead into a wonderful lyric, and I’ve always respected her song’s sentiment of doing the very best you can where you find yourself whether it makes you a big deal in public or not.
Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do,
Do not wait to shed your light afar,
To the many duties ever near you now be true,
Brighten the corner where you are.
Several years ago, in conjunction with our purchase of some business-only websites, my husband and I also bought our names for sites where we could create personal blogs. Michael (of MichaelStammer.com and CoachMichael.com and JUMProductions.com) gradually moved ahead with his blogs, but for me the purchase was more a precautionary measure than an aspirational action. It seemed to me that there were plenty of wonderful blogs out there already, and I questioned what contribution my writing might make. Still, there the asset sat, languishing. Its presence niggled at me, defying a favorite rule of mine:
Use it up. Make it last. Wear it out.
Over time, both my husband and I published a few thought pieces, but my writing tended to be instructional things, third-person, unimaginative but clear, and strictly impersonal. When excellent training resources for our service got developed by professionals, I cheerfully handed off that effort. Then, like Arthur Dent, I found myself a resident of NowWhat.
The newly open space made me think once again about that blog of mine. Would it be acceptable – finally – to do something just for the doing of it? Could I get away with that? The sheer frivolity of it made me gasp, but the idea just would not go away. Niggle. Niggle.
I know that I’m late to the party with this writing format and that much of the world has compressed its communication to the tweet by now. (I actually do have a Twitter account, but it doesn’t suit me, so don’t bother looking for me there.) Even when I post something to FaceBook, I find that my carefully considered status update flies past on the timeline like a rush-hour subway. “But…but…but,” my fingers stutter. “I was still telling you about…”
No, I’m too prolix for that to work. We’ll never find one another that way, you and I. Lets try this.
Even though I’m late putting a few entirely personal thoughts on virtual paper that someone may find useful, or surprising, or just plain funny, this is where I plan to do so. It may be of no consequence in the great swirl and bubble that is the Web, but I’ll try to use the space up and brighten it.
WordPress gives you a few questions to ask yourself when you begin to publish a blog. Here’s how I’m answering Question Number 4, “Why am I doing this?”
A favorite cooking instructor of mine, Nathalie Dupree, once asked her mentor chef why it mattered that he added an extremely small amount of some obscure ingredient to a recipe. Why not just leave it out altogether? His response?
“Madame, I would miss it!”
And, you know, I just might!