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why I don't want to be a "blogger"

I’ve been writing for a long time. You see, I was one of those girls who grew up idolizing Anne (and Emily!), Betsy, and Jo. They all wanted to be writers, and as for me, well, reading stories was my best escape. I couldn’t imagine anything better than being a writer, too.

And so a writer I was. I climbed into a mesquite tree, nailed an empty bandaid box to its limb (Betsy had used a cigar box, but I wasn’t sure what that was), and kept tiny notebooks inside, where I wrote stories about disobedient children who were struck by lightning or mauled by bears. My first novel was entitled, “The White Haired Twins and the Mysterious Light in the Woods”. In junior high and highschool I wrote down my prayers every single night, and I wrote a dreamy short story that won something somewhere.

In college, of course, poetry and I had a fling; but mostly I turned to creative nonfiction, the essay, and academics. I won some little awards, I was published in some Christian places. I moved to Asia at 22, and to keep in touch, I started a blog. In the early mornings, I also worked on my second book, a work of nonfiction critiquing syncretism in the American church (that American flag at the front of the sanctuary? Let’s start with that.)

In Asia, there was my spiritual tailspin, when God grew silent, and I got quieter too. Maybe I became a little less likely to think I had something to say that was worth saying, or that I was sure was true.

But when I came back to California, I kept blogging, at least enough to say, “Here’s what I’m reading, and listening to, and - oh yeah - the man I’m in love with.”

After we married, I created this blog, and it, like all my blogging, has been personal. I write as a personal record of my life for myself, primarily, and for my family, who are always too far away. I’m not trying to write for a public audience. It might be fair to say that any ambition for writing went down with my faith in that tailspin of 2004.

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A couple of years ago, my lovely sister and I were complaining about a certain someone who writes as a “voice of our generation,” a man whose opinions on pop culture and “hipster christianity” we often disagree with. Katie said, “Why can’t YOU be the voice of our generation?” and (though deeply touched) I thought, “May it never be!” I’m postmodern enough to know that I can’t speak for a whole generation. I wouldn't even want to, if I could.

There’s a loud cacophony of voices speaking for my generation on the internet right now. I tend to think there are too many, and I don’t want to add to the clamor. I want to make it my ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind my own business and to work with my hands. I want to exist in a physical world with bread dough sticking to my hands and dirt under my fingernails (though hopefully not at the same time), with my feet planted and roots spiraling down. I want to talk with the woman smoking on her front porch across the street and the artists down the block and the cashier at the Dollar$mart. I want to bring you a casserole when you have a baby, not just tweet some congratulations at your disembodied self.

Besides that, the relentless self-promotion that seems to be required of “bloggers” has always turned me off. Maybe I’m a part of this Millennial generation, but I can’t stomach the idea that being the entrepreneurial generation means “we’re always selling ourselves. We use social media to create a product — to create a brand — and the product is us. We treat ourselves like little businesses, something to be managed and promoted.” (If I was trying to create myself as a product, I would not have linked to my earlier blogs! This is my honest, messy, changing self, not a carefully polished product.)

And when people ask me about “my writing,” I tend to downplay it. “I’m more of a reader than a writer,” I say, honestly enough.

“I just wanted to be a writer because my favorite books were about writers when I was growing up.” I claim it was a childish ambition, like being a spy (another one of my childhood dreams).

“I’m really too young to know what I want to say, yet. Maybe I’ll have something to say when I’m older.”

But this spring I’ve done a little writing, and I feel something kicking inside of me. Maybe it's a love of recognition; but maybe it's a love of writing. I didn’t know how much I missed that feeling.

All my reservations and excuses still stand. But I think I'm going to be writing more.