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Why do I Blog So Much

After 13.13 Run 3-6-14

After 13.13 Run 3-6-14

Over the past few weeks I have been asked several times by many people…

Why do I blog so much?

  • Is it because I love to see my obnoxious whining about how a pair of running shoes don’t work for me or that I need to tell the world that I ran 8.0 miles at an 8:17 pace yesterday?
  • Is it because I am so very vain and want everyone to know how great I am?
  • Is it because I enjoy taking selfies to show everyone who wants to look photos of how “great” looking I am?
  • Is it because I want to become rich or famous?
  • Is it to represent a brand, get free shit and help them sell stuff?

The answer to all of those “answers” is:

No.

We All Become Memories

What in the hell are you talking about Harold?

Stop and think for a minute.

At some time in the future we all will die, that is just the way it is – we have a limited lifespan.

What will I leave behind?

  • Memories?
  • Photographs?
  • Fame, glory, or riches?
  • Writings?

Memories and Photographs 

Other people will have memories (good or bad) about who I was or who they thought I was, which will quickly fade away. I know this because it is happening to me with people who I love and those who have died.

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My memories about them are fading with each passing day and when I am gone, the memories I have of them will be gone, except for the ones that I pass on to others. Memories are fleeting things and do not last.

A memory

A memory for me and just a photo for others

Stop and think about old photos. When they were taken those photos were important to the people who were in them or taking them. When you look through the old albums from your parents how many of the people in those albums do you know?

Who are the people in this photo? I know but most people will not.

Who are the people in this photo? I know but most people will not.

I know that when I go back through our old family photo albums, I don’t have a clue about who many of the people in them are.

This photo is in my photo albums - Who are they?

This photo is in my photo albums – Who are they?

How many generations of family can you name when you go through the family photo album or when you try to remember your family?  I can reliably remember a couple of generations, perhaps an occasional 3rd or 4th generation back, but that is about it (usually it is just a name – not who the person really was).

All the others in those albums are strangers, even though they might have been my great-great grandparents or their family.

4 Generations is what is written, judging from where this photo was in the album it was taken in the 1920s. These people are in my family tree, but who are they? I don't even know their names.

4 Generations is what is written, judging from where this photo was in the album it was taken in the 1920s or 1930s. These people are in my family tree, but who are they? I don’t even know their names, but my grandmother could have told me that and the story behind this photo.

To be honest in most of the older photo albums I have from my family, I really don’t know all that much about the people whose photo I am looking at.

I certainly do not know what they actually thought about or believed – most people didn’t keep journals/diaries and even if they did not too many of them survive, the purge that happens when someone dies or later when their heirs or the children’s children clean out the “junk” in the attic.

Being Famous

Unfortunately or fortunately, depending upon how you look at it, I was not born rich, with great intellect or with the overwhelming need to be a great – fill in the blank.

I am just an average guy who plugs along in his average life that really is not important to most people.

No one will write multiple biographies about how important my life was to humanity, build huge monuments or statues to honor me and I am pretty sure that I will not be in any history books.  When I die I will simply be a footnote on some census note and that the successor to Ancestry dot com will use to say they were related to me in some way on their family tree.

Writing

Am I ever going to write the “Great American Novel” probably not.  Blogging is about as far as I will probably ever take my writing.

Everything that you or I write and publish to the internet is saved somewhere – for ill or good they are there forever.

Is there a lot of crap and stuff that no one really cares about out on the Internet – hell yes.

However, our ability to individually write down our thoughts and publish them to a world-wide audience (even when they don’t mean rats-ass), then have it saved in perpetuity and be available to anyone who wants to read it has never happened before in the history of our species.

As long as there is a an internet, my words will be available to others to read and others can know something about what I thought, believed and a measure of who I was beyond a picture in some damned photo album, in a trunk, in someone’s attic, garage or basement.

Legacy

Think about the legacy our writing leaves to future readers of our blogs…not only the ones who read what you wrote today, but the people who might be reading this decades, centuries or a millennium from today – if they last that long.

What will they think of what we wrote? Will they say were self-absorbed asshats or that we were not that different than they are with our dreams, aspirations or wanting certain things out of our lives.

Many will say that those readers in the future do not matter, the only thing that matters are your current readership metrics, after all that is where the money is in blogging and making money is what blogging is all about – isn’t it?

Not really.

Blogs were originally web log of the writer’s life, they have devolved or evolved into something else.

Actually I think that potential future readers of my blog are as important as the ones who read my blog today. Current readers can put what I write about into a perspective from today’s world and comment back.

Those future readers who will be our eventual audience, will be able to see the results of our actions and discussions from a different perspective in time, which I find fascinating. Much as I do when I am reading Civil War letters from soldier to their loved ones or letters and journals of soldiers from World War II.

When I put my blogging in this perspective, I had a paradigm shift in how I viewed my blogging. I asked myself what can I leave behind that they will find interesting or hell even a little useful?

Really the answer is not much, there are others who will leave more of that kind of stuff and will do a better job of writing about it.

The best that I can do, is leave a bit of who I am.

In other words – my story.

The reality is that

I blog because I want to share my story not only with readers today, but also with future generations. This is something that was impossible for the average person to do at any point in history before our technological age and levels of literacy. These advances allow us to achieve a measure of immortality, for as long as the Internet lasts and we can leave behind a bit of who we really are.

You know the story of a now 56 year-old guy, who runs a lot, is a semi-retired, stay at home husband, who has decided to take the time to write about portions of his life’s journey and make it public.

I know that only a few people will ever read my blog posts today or even in the future, but maybe for some reason or other my words might be important to someone, someday.

Who knows, maybe even one of my descendants (a great-great grandchild) might choose to read my blog and get to know a bit more about one of their fore-bearers they see in a photo album through his own writings, instead of what the family histories say or does not say about me.

So that is the purpose behind “A Runnah’s Story”  and why I blog so much?

To tell my story and more likely contribute more noise and blather on the Interwebs/Internet.

What legacy will you leave?

What words do you give to future generations to read?

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8 Comments »

  1. This totally makes sense – but I think most people really don’t think much about it.

    My memory of my great grandfather Murphy is him in a vested suit with hat at my aunt’s house with a flask in his inside pocket and he’d occasionally ‘take a sip of the holy water’. I was very young and he was very old … and would occasionally ask us who we belonged to. Very soon, that memory transferred with a few pictures to my kids will be about all that remains of him.

    Similar to you I have albums of people I don’t know … I digitized my parent’s entire volume of slides, so I also have records of those. And it is amazing how few people I know outside of my immediate family, grandparents (and the two great grandparents I met), aunts & uncles, cousins , etc that I know.

    The only problem is that I have been writing reviews, etc for more than 20 years now, and so many places where I have published are simply gone now. When WordPress is gone, do our posts go with it? When our host goes … and so on?

    • Mike – I am not sure, but I know that I can still find old posts from blog hosts that I have deleted and thought were long gone. I have a feeling that as long as there is an Internet and an article has been indexed by one of the search engines, we will be able to find it, if we search deep enough.

      I got to thinking about the legacy that I will leave and how will people think of me after I am gone. I know a little maudling, but at the same time I think at some point in our lives we all think of our legacy and what we will be remembered for – if anything.

  2. What a great perspective. I’m a genealogist, and I never thought of my blogging as archival material.
    I see photos from eons ago and wonder about the lives of the people in the photos. I’m pretty good at imagining entire lifetimes in an instant in my mind. Just like I can look at a pretty girl and imagine what we would be like together or would have been like together. Maybe everyone does that.
    Sometimes my blog posts have nothing to do with running and sometimes I feel like they detract from my “running blog”.
    Those deeply persnal posts are often the ones that my friends will approach me on and mention. I can tell by the look in their eye it meant something to them. In those moments I feel like a writer.
    100 years from now, someone will read those posts (I hope!) and they will see who I was.
    Now I think I can feel less selfish or self indulgent while writing those types of posts. Thank you.

    • Andy – I have a feeling that our descendants will think of these “old” blogs as archival material and give them insights into parts of our lives more than they probably will really want to know. Like will they really care that a pair of running shoes caused a blister and got thrown in the give-away box – probably not.

      However, I have a feeling that they will care about the story of how the Silver Dollar from Grampy was gotten and how he decided to pass that down to the oldest grandchild. That story is in my blog (it had something to do with winning an age group), and the passing down will be written about when it happens. That along with many others.

      Sometimes, we get so locked into our supposed niche, that we forget that it is our blog and we get to make the rules and write about what we choose to write about. My blog might focus more on running, but in reality it is about me, my thoughts and how I see things going on around me that I am allowed to share with others. Personal posts are a part of the blogging process, especially for a personal blog.

      You are not being selfish or self-indulgent when you write what you want on your blog, you are simply being you and sharing pieces of yourself or your life with others. At least that is how I view it and if others want to say differently that is their business, but it will not stop me from writing what I want in my blog. 🙂

      • Agreed. As a genealogist I sometimes find great insights into someones personality when I read some trivial note. Maybe a mention in a newspaper article or a short note on a post card.
        Who knows, your issues with shoes may be insightful to a great grandson someday.

      • Only if Tailor’s Bunionettes are hereditary and he has one too ;-), by then I have a feeling shoes will be a bit different than what we are using. It is sometimes the little off-comments that get someone’s attention more than the big stuff. I know that when I go back and read my blog posts, I am surprised at the amount of information I can gleen from them, that I didn’t realize I was sharing.

  3. Just wanted to say that I really enjoyed this post. I write for a similar reason, I think, and I always enjoy reading about how other people make their ways through the world.

    On a slightly similar note, one of my favorite books of the past few years is “The Correspondence of Shelby Foote and Walker Percy” which, whatever you think about their published work, is an amazing history of a friendship as well as a fascinating window into each of their lives. I get the same feeling going through that book as I do reading blogs like yours — that I’ve found someone who sees the world kinda like me, or in a way I find interesting. And that’s a source of comfort in the face of vastness.

    So keep doing what you’re doing!

    Also, I like the Go Run Ride 3’s. A little roomier than the Kinvara 3’s so I rotate them both nowadays.

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