Every last one, route one, rural hearts got a story to tell...
-- Miranda Lambert, Famous in a Small Town
Sometime around the early part of this century, about a half-dozen UBC'ers were in JD's Coffee House over on Austin Avenue discussing the importance of writing down our stories. Some of us had kept a journal earlier in our lives, but had fallen out of the habit. Others shared how they spent almost as much time writing as they did living and that, in a sense, their writing had become their living. And then there was a strange confession.
One of the girls in the group said she didn't journal as much as she'd like, but she did spend time getting some of her thoughts down on her blog.
Silence and confusion filled the room. The rest of us looked around to determine if we were the only one left in the dark about this new word she used. I believe it was Kyle who shared the question we were all thinking.
She explained, and a few days later, on May 2, 2002, my blog was born. The text of my first post was quite profound:
Alright, here is my first "This is a test" message.
I guess all great expeditions begin with a testing of the water.
I've made a deliberate decision not to delete or obscure any of my old posts, even though looking back on some of them makes me cringe. I had been in Waco for a couple of years, become part of a great church, and met the people that would shape my life. All that aside, I wasn't in a good place. I was living an unhealthy life and working at a job (teaching) whose stresses I was not prepared for. Spiritually, I was pretending to be the rebel, but I was unable to pull it off. This resulted in writing that was not much more than contrived authenticity, if such a thing even exists. Keeping these posts available for the world to see constantly reminds me about perspective, that no matter what we know to be true and real and good at any given moment will one day, with the light of time, be exposed for what is-- A snapshot of who we were and what we did, simply making use of the best available information and the world of emotions swirling within us.
Sometime late '03-'04, I began to change. I had spent the previous couple of years making up for all the drunkenness and revelry (it wasn't that bad) I missed out on as an over-churched adolescent. I was now in a job I loved, was encouraged by renewed and new friendships, and also finally coming to terms with growing up. I believe my writing began to mature beyond filling a simple need to put a crude spin on my daily frustrations.
Then in late '05, the death of the one who first asked "What?" upon hearing the word blog, changed how I approached this tiny window filling my computer. On October 29th, the day before Kyle died, I wrote a post about the death of my grandmother and how it is the seemingly insignificant things you remember when you lose someone you love. The day after he died I logged onto my blog to find more than thirty comments on that post, many from people I hadn't heard from in years and would have never dreamed they even remembered me, much less knew my blog address.
It was during the next few months that my writing transitioned from documentation to therapy. All my time that had previously been spent throwing around ideas, sharing frustrations, and just laughing about absurdities with Kyle, were now spent in front of this thing. I've been asked many times over the past year and a half if I ever received grief counseling, and I haven't. In a sense, this blog has been my grief counselor. I'm constantly in disbelief at the people who tell me it was theirs, as well, for a few months.
I now consider myself a "writer," if an illegitimate one. In the age of the blog, we are all writers. There are those who have written things for years and they probably look at me and say "You're not a real writer," and they are probably correct. Ann Lamott has made it ok for those of us who write for attention to admit it, and then move on.
So here we are. My blog turns five years old today. It will be starting kindergarten soon, and I'm excited to see it grow up. I've still got more stories, so as long as you keep reading, I'll keep sharing.