Several months ago, I was having lunch with two friends I hadn’t seen in a while. Both were retired librarians with new avocations: one is a potter, the other writes local history. The local historian, after learning that I had a blog, said, “Well, what do you write about?”
Unsorted past subjects flittered through my mind––the briefcase I stole from an Uber driver; Zyxt, the curious word, I found in the OED; a remembrance of author Brian Doyle. Before I could puncture the silence with something pithy my friend, eyebrows raised, offered, “Life?”
“Well, yeah,” I muttered. Undeterred by vagueness, she asked for the blog’s address.
Last week, following the examination of the first draft of Eyes Wide Open, a member of my critique group, said, “What’s the objective of your blog? What’s it about?
I said what one should not admit. “I’m not sure.”
I should think deeply about that. Or at least write an elevator speech to stave off palpable silences. Life. Hmm.
The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging says
“It’s perfectly fine to write about your life and experiences…and there’s no need to apologize for it…but if you want to take your blog to the next level, though, it helps to have some sort of theme to the majority of your posts.”
Level One is for me. I’m a dabbler. I go for whatever turns my head, catches my fancy, and then I stylize my sentences to avoid clichés that have to do with fancifulness and head-turning. I often land on words. Take, for example, the word “blog.”
I don’t like the word blog, but Peter Merholz, its creator, enjoyed the word’s crudeness, its dissonance, and its rough onomatopoeic proximity to vomiting. (Yes, he really made that connection.) Why didn’t Mr. Merholz, way back in 1999, keep his mitts off a noun that has such unpleasant sound siblings: bog, fog, agog, hog, clog? He couldn’t; the base word that he shortened was “Weblog.” Merholtz attributes its success to the creation of a new platform for publishing blogs:
“Blog” would have likely died a forgotten death had it not been for one thing: In August of 1999, Pyra Labs released Blogger, and with that, the use of “blog” grew with the tools success.”
Merholtz’s truncation of weblog took off and he has achieved the ultimate fame: he and his word are enshrined in the Oxford English Dictionary.
But, I ask you, can a serious writer use the term blogger as easily as a guy with a chainsaw who’s a logger?
Apparently, lots of readers would rather read a blog––and writers would rather write them, than, say, chop a log––because there are over 2,000 Huffington Post bloggers who initiate constant conversations 24 hours a day.
I’ve accomplished neither the deep thinking nor the elevator speech, but I did come to the same conclusion as the individual inadequately designated as “Marty” on the Brainy Quotes website, who said, “I think the word ‘blog’ is an ugly word.”
If you’ve made the slog through this blog, thank you.
P.S. Anybody know a logger I could interview? After all, the precursor to blogs (columns–before they went digital) were printed on paper derived from wood.