Before I had kids, I made myself lots of impossible promises. One such promise was that I would take every "why" question seriously. I bought a book of science questions and answers for kids, I read articles and books on history, pop culture and psychology. I thought I was set.
Then, the kids came. And they didn't ask "Why is the sky blue?" (because of the way the atmosphere reflects sunlight), "Why does the sun shine?" (well... the sun is a mass of incandescent gas) or "Why do good people do bad things?" (because people aren't simply good or bad, they are all things, because all people are complicated and messy). Instead they asked why cartoons are cartoony (wtf?) why scientists don't make nutritious ice cream so we can have ice cream for dinner (because they're sort of busy with more important things, I guess) and why do beebles bubble with kerfluggles (you are totally messing with me, right?).
Being a mommy and answering these ridiculous "why's" has lead me to a new why policy. It looks something like this: make it end. If "because God says so," is the shortest way to the end of conversation, so be it. If "because," is the end, great. Whatever works. Whatever will make it end. Because this was not what I signed up for.
The policy extends sometimes to adults, though. As I've been preparing to attend the Aiming Low Non-Con at the END OF THIS WEEK - HOLY PANTS, PEOPLES, most everyone has been excited for me - if slightly confused as to why I think this is going to be so much fun. Just wait for the pictures, guys.
Last night, though, someone asked me why. When I haltingly tried to explain why a blogger would want to go to a blogging conference, she said, "No. I mean why do you blog? Why do you want all those total strangers out there to know all about your life?"
I stumbled around some more and finally said, "I like to write. I want to write and this stuff is fun to write. It's fun to blog and I enjoy doing it. I do what I can to protect my safety and the safety of my kids, but I also don't stress it to any great degree. I just do it because I like to."
And that is true. None of that is any way, shape or form a lie. It is the essence, the one paragraph reason for my blogging habit. But it's also not the whole truth. Because I wanted the conversation to end.
You see, I spend so much of my mental time living in Bloggiland, that the question she asked seemed a little like, "Why do beebles bubble with kerfluggles?" I couldn't make heads or tails of it. Why do people breathe? Why am I me and not someone else? How many roads must a man walk down? I can't compute. 42. I don't know.
I've been thinking about it, though, and here's my short, but still a little more complete answer:
I don't think of you as strangers. I know that this is a huge, open book and that any psycho with an internet connection could be reading this right now. But, any psycho with ears could be following me through the grocery store. Any psycho with a car could be cruising past my house right now. We can't live our lives by the possibility of evil. Evil exists, but it is the minority. What I know is that just like we rely on the communities in which we live to have more good than evil, I rely on the blogging community to have more good than evil.
And I believe that we are a community. I worry about you all when you write something sad or when you disappear for a few days or when you seem to withdraw. I stress over your losses, your illnesses, you job losses. I consider you all my friends. Not just those of you who are reading these words, right now, but all the writers I read and the other commenters that read them.
There is an innate intimacy to words. I share my words with you and you know about me. You know about the things I share, my kids, my dreams, my distress, my struggles. But, even more, you know me through the words I choose and the images those words may conjure. How many people do you know in the "real world" who speak primarily in 500 word monologues? Probably not many, but if they did, you might know them better.
When I sit down to write my next entry, I feel connected by the magic of servers and clouds and mobile networks and wifi to a web of people all over the country. All over the world.
I blog because I like to write, yes. But I also blog because I like people. I like to be a part of something. I like to live in this world and hear from all of you and hope you are listening to me. I don't feel intimidated by the vastness of the internet or scared of the psychos. I feel shored up by those who have come before me and after me and concurrent with me - this great sea of people who want to share, to be a part of something bigger, to wallow in the words. I blog because I want to.