I have been working on a short series of posts concerning the notion of god. In the meantime, I am trying to come up with a post a day to keep things going. Fortunately, while writing the series, I was reminded of a professor, Thomas Helm, who was decidedly Old School. He was especially Old School in the sense he adamantly and absolutely refused to reveal his personal beliefs about god, religion, politics, etc. I used to admire that about him.
Now, it might amuse one or two of my readers, but there was a time when I was a little bit like him. My second wife, for instance, called me, “aloof” and “taciturn”. My oldest friend once said to me, without the least sense of condemnation, “Your feelings don’t matter to you.” And all of that was true enough — even if not completely true — when, in 2004, I decided to experiment with blogging. I wrote about a dozen philosophical posts without once referring to any human, including myself. You know: “The consequent may be affirmed if and only if we first posit….yadda yadda yadda.” Which is pretty much how I had learned to write for the likes of Professor Helm. After a dozen posts, I forgot all about blogging.
Skip forward three years. I have a therapist now, Arun, and he wants me to take up blogging again. He nags and nags. For six monthly sessions, he nags. Finally, I break down and agree. So, to get started, I show him my old blog, and he is naturally horrified. “You are doing it all wrong. That is blog suicide! No one reads blogs written like that! Has anyone ever read your blog? Anyone?”
And I admit that my statistics show I have not had even one real reader in three years.
Then very patiently, Arun goes into great detail about how to blog. He tells me I must speak of myself and others. That I must personalize everything I can personalize. “Tell stories! Illustrate your points with your personal experiences! Put some ‘you’ into your posts! A lot of ‘you’. And when you are not talking about you, talk about others. Tell their stories! People are interested in people. We all are. Everyone likes to read about people.”
So, I do. Very painfully at first. Very embarrassed. Then with growing confidence. Then, of course, with wanton disregard for every rule of reticence I had ever lived my life by. Still, some side of me thinks, “This is wrong. Only, my therapist says it is helping somehow, and I trust him.” After awhile, I begin to get an audience. After that, I start to win awards — such as “The Honest Blogger Award.” So, a few months, and I ask Arun, who has proved to be exceedingly knowledgeable in these matters, “What do you think of my blog now? Am I doing it right? What can I do better? How can I improve it?”
“I don’t know”, Arun says, “I never read blogs. Yours included.”