Why Do I Blog?
I ask myself this often, just to ensure that I keep focused and press publish for my right reasons. But lately this question has been plaguing me. What impact does pressing publish really have? What purpose? Why do I blog?
To be sure, blogging is often cathartic to me. When I began blogging I was resolute that this space would not be a diary and I have stuck to that. Over time though I have shared more than social and political commentary because this space has become part of my…awakening. The catharsis is often so welcome. Folks may think I’m joking but it’s real: the cacophony of competing thoughts in my head (most in my voice) is loud and persistent. Throughout the day (but particularly when I settle down for sleep!) my brain races with many thoughts..internal conversations about so many things. Too many things? Necessary things. From the personal to the professional to public affairs and whether I should sneak that slice of cheesecake in between. So, yes, catharsis.
And no cheesecake tonight.
But other times — most times — I blog to share information, to educate, and to encourage concrete action. I’m not wrestling with whether blogging is activism. It is. I wrestle with not becoming comfortable with just publishing for the sake of it or because “it’s time.” I’m afraid of complacency so I actively work to avoid it. Part of that work is a constant self-evaluation, checking to make sure I’m doing something meaningful. I’m told that I can ask questions that many Jamaicans cannot…I get it. But I also know that I cannot act only as a proxy; I must act for myself and according to what is and feels right to and for me. And because Jamaica has an epidemic of verandah chatter with the complication of Nine Day Talk, my self-evaluation about why I blog is often sharper and more intense. It’s heavier. I don’t want to fall into that pattern…this space is, after all, a significant investment of my time and energy. It has to mean something. I wrestle with this blog not being merely a 21st century manifestation of verandah chatter. That’s what Twitter is for, right?
I blog because I believe that words are powerful. I blog because I believe that the power of words is best used to provoke. Not needless or thoughtless provocation, but a more direct and intentional prodding of minds, imaginations, and consciences. I want to challenge opinions and provoke thought. When you read my posts, my main goal is not earning your agreement (although that’s nice :)). Instead I want you to unearth a new kernel that lodges in your brain and niggles at you…that makes you think. You may not change your opinion but that’s fine because you’ll have thought. I’d like you to discover information, or to realize that a certain action is absurd and requires your action. I would like you to become aware and empowered to act, perhaps in ways that I cannot.
So, this question will continue to plague me. I accept this. I think it’s my conscience’s way of keeping me in check…and though it’s pressuring and sometimes paralyzing I’m more afraid of flinging up any ol’ thing than I am about taking my time to post something sensible that is my own and that I feel right about. That makes the bother worth it.