My Message in a Bottle

Posted on 2011 December 30 Friday


It’s a day or so before New Year’s Eve 2011-12 and I am trying to figure it what I want to have ready to post for New Years Eve/Day. You see, since I’ve started this blog thing apparently I’ve been quite prolific (Thanks for the word, Teddye). I’ve managed to publish just over a dozen articles/blogs/whatever I need to call them and have received fairly favorably responses (Admittedly, the majority of you currently reading are friends and acquaintances, so, while I trust you to be honest with me and share your candid opinons, you are already, for the most part, pre-disposed to agree with the ‘meat’ of the matters that I choose to write about). In addition to what I have published, I have about 4-5 articles that I’m actively working on and the another 10 or so ‘idea’ pieces started, which may or may not reach fruition. The ‘trick’ I am currently trying to figure out is how to balance the timeliness of my topics (while not having to write solely about current events) while also not turning this into a purely personal reflection (a glorified personal diary) or, worse case scenario, a piece of vain-glorious fluff that merely salves my ego (it’s already big enough, I promise). Which brings us to this article. And, to some extent, the purpose of this blog. Why bother to write unless it makes an impact? On a larger scale, why bother doing anything unless it has purpose, meaning, a reason to exist?

Now, as is typical with me, when I become interested in something, I research. I want to know about stuff, see what others have to say about things, analyze and synthesize the information and come to a personal conclusion (Let me tell you, this gave my teachers fits and perhaps frightened a few dates… uhhmm… Never mind). Sometimes the research is minimal, other times quite extensive, but usually at least to an extent that I feel comfortable with the topic in casual conversation. I also discovered that the more corollaries I could draw between new topics and previous ideas, the better my grasp of the new (and old) ‘stuff’ became. In starting this blog, I’ve begun (and continue) to look at what others are writing. Not just about, but how. Some of the best writing advice I’ve ever come across was to read everything you can get your hands on, then write. In my exploration, I’ve come across a wide variety of writing, some of it quite good and some of it complete and utter shite. It’s been my experience that you should look at both types, some to emulate, some to avoid, and some to twist into your own personal style.

It’s said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I politely disagree. Imitation, while definitely flattering to the originator, is lazy and serves no other purpose than for us to copy others, do what they do (Monkey see, blogger type?). It tacitly absolves us from thinking for ourselves, discovering on our own the world out there and the world inside ourselves. If we were only imitators, we would still be living as animals. We are, at the very least, creatures of innovations if not creatures of creation. From the time we discovered the ability to imagine a thing as other than what it was, we have taken our world and shaped it to our own ends. Sometimes it has worked out amazingly well… other times, not so much.

I want this new venture to work out amazingly. I want it to have an impact on those who read it, whether they agree with my diatribes/rants/opinions/realizations or not. I want it to cause them (you, dear reader), for at least a moment, to stop and think of something a little differently than they did before. It doesn’t have to be an epiphany moment (Those should be like a standing ovation, rare, sublime and powerful). But mainly changes in little ways, subtle shifts in their thoughts, or even just having a thought about something they’ve never considered before, or seeing a different perspective, I’ll feel successful in this.

To this end, I have a couple of favors to ask of you. First favor: After you’ve read an article, leave a response or comment. It can simply be rating the article with the lovely star rating at the bottom, or it can be more involved and take a moment to write something in the comments below. Don’t be afraid of disagreeing with me, or taking me to task for some error you see (grammar and spelling, logic and process, style and argument). I won’t be offended (or if I am, I’ll try and see your side of the topic before I defend myself). But writing in a vacuum is fruitless and I won’t get any better at this. And you won’t enjoy it as much.

Second favor: If there is something you want me to write about, tell me. I won’t promise it will be written about, but let me know. I can’t think of all the ideas. And I don’t know that anything is out of bounds. How I respond may surprise you even. May even surprise me. Ask me questions.

Last favor: Share this with people you know. Send them a link to the blog, a particular article, whatever. I want to broaden the reach of this thing and see what happens from there. I want these things to be read. Otherwise, why would I put them out here in this ether of the web? This is my message in a bottle floating out on an infinite sea. I’m hoping someone finds it and reads it. And then send it on another journey.

Posted in: Holidays, Personal