30 September 2011

Let's take a stab at this.

A couple of weeks ago, I floated the idea of starting a blog.  It seemed that people were interested in reading what I had to say, but I had a lot of reservations.

First off, I wasn't sure that I really had much to say.  There are no shortage of really smart, funny, interesting things out there on the internet.  Is anything that I'm going to put out there really going to be something that is worth not looking at the million other things of far greater value that are out there?  I'll leave that one up to you to decide.  If there's something of interest here, hopefully you'll read it.  If I say something that you find completely idiotic, tell me.  If my reasoning doesn't seem to gibe with how you interpret the world and our place in it, engage me in a discussion about it.  

Secondly, I was worried that my writing skills needed some serious honing.  I went back and looked at some of my writing from university, and I wasn't really sure that I was capable of presenting ideas as clearly and forthrightly as I did back then. As most of you know, I teach ESL these days.  It's always a rewarding environment, and the teaching involved in it is pretty methodologically, interpersonally, and conceptually complex.  It doesn't leave me saying words like conceptually very often though, and I've been worrying for the past couple of years that my self-imposed linguistic simplification will hurt my writing in the long run.  What was I thinking though? Since when has being concise and paring language down hurt writing?  It might not look as classy and might not sound as erudite as those old university essays, but if simple and to the point was good enough for Socrates and Montaigne, it should be good enough for me.  Hopefully it'll be good enough for you too.

After that I was confronted with the fact that blogging seems to have some pretty contradictory motivations behind it.  What is really my motivation in taking some of my thoughts and putting them out there in the public view?  Am I doing it to seek affirmation from others, to check repeatedly hoping for comments that I can use to assuage my ego?  I decided to sit on the thought for a week and think about what I really intended to do with this.  I came to the conclusion that I can't use this format for knee jerk reactions to current events or to prattle on about topics in a search for approval for others; I have to be very conscious of what I'm doing and make sure that the material I put out into the public sphere is public in nature.

In my next post I'm going to spend some time discussing why I chose the name you see up there at the top of the page for this blog, and the types of issues and ideas that I hope to be discussing with you here.  Welcome!