The great thing about a blog, besides the opportunity to endlessly tweak layout options and being continually surprised at which posts are the most regularly revisited (hint – I should open a help desk for backpackers going to Mozambique) is the freedom of the whole enterprise. I get to put my thoughts out on the interwebs and Darwin takes them in his gentle hands and decides to pulverise or popularise them. It’s a fair trade. I learn to write better or watch things become very quiet all of a sudden (cue tumbleweed). But having an audience is not really a sufficient reason to want to blog – no more than it would be a reason to stand naked in the center of town juggling small animals. Which would likely generate far more attention.
It’s been one of those questions that I have had the luxury of ruminating over in the occasional quiet times. Not, you understand, with any particular view towards finding an answer to the question in any precise manner (such as might be the case with other questions, such as “why is that man juggling naked in the center of town”). No, it’s more to ponder the types of things I have tried to write and would like to yet try to write. Sort of a reflect, learn and then try again approach.
Write a motivation? “You mean, something more than working through every synonym for please take me in, because your course would be awesome and I would learn so much?”, I asked.
Until recently, that is. When I was given a big fat piece of paper and asked to write a motivation for a journalism program I want to go on in the near future. Write a motivation? “You mean, something more than working through every synonym for please take me in, because your course would be awesome and I would learn so much?”, I asked. “Yup”, came the response.
And so came the inevitable demand to try and explain (in a page or less, mind you) why it is that I like to write. To tell the stories I do. In a way there are more answers than I could ever really do justice to. To entertain. To clarify my own thinking about the things I write about. Sometimes, frankly, just to vent. One reason, though, struck me as something less narcissistic, more intrinsically good. It’s one reason to write, to keep writing and to continue exploring the world for new stories – in a way, the soul of this blog.
In my undergrad I was a science dork (as opposed to a humanities dork, which is a wholly different breed). We were taught, fundamentally, when you look past the actual curriculum to the discipline’s underlying manner of seeing the world, that human issues are fundamentally reducible to rules. Complex rules, rules which may be beyond our ken, and may forever be so, but that underneath everything was something a metaphorical machine whose operations needed only to be divined. Whether or not that is true, I neither know nor care. When postmodernism and I had a brief hookup in third year, truth stopped mattering for a while. But I digress.
For all the technical knowledge in the world, the moment your heart first becomes a sloppy, besotted mess, you gain something you didn’t have before. The experience of love.
What stuck with me was this niggling feeling that in the issues, models and theories (from sociology to philosophy to even the very personal questions of my life and its purpose) something just didn’t seem to fit. Just as knowing everything there is to know about love is not enough. For all the technical knowledge in the world, the moment your heart first becomes a sloppy, besotted mess, you gain something you didn’t have before. The experience of love. That is the final chain which completes understanding the world. Not just knowing things, but knowing what those things are like.
And so it goes on. Beyond love, there is pain. Then there is justice and injustice. Being the underdog. being the champion. Being a stranger. Belonging. Leaving home. Returning again so different. In every large story, every understanding about how the world is, how the world could be, how it should be instead, how it once was, there are a thousand lived experiences. They are the glue that bridges what we think in the abstract to what we can say we truly know. It is the process of making truth into reality.
For every force in the world sweeping lives in one direction or another, there are lived stories. So many millions more than you or I would ever have the years to know firsthand. And so we do our best to share what we know the world to be like with each other. A sort of proxy learning, where we try to make real to others what we now know to be true – sharing individual experiences of what, at defining times, our lives are like. That is why I write. Why I want so badly to travel. to see what is new. To know it – in a way – and to bring it back , wipe off the dirt, polish it up a little and share its fundamental nature.
It’s a most visceral reason to want to write. To express.
It’s also possibly a bit much for the page marked motivation.