Writing for One, Writing for All…

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011 | Blogging, Life

…in which I talk about the individuality of topics, but the universality of content.

Even though this is really a blog about me, and the things I’m interested in, I try my best to put a more universal spin on all of my topics. So when I start thinking about a new post, I look to my recent experiences for inspiration, but I also try to find a way to apply that experience, anecdotally to a greater theme. In a way, it’s kind of like a mix tape.

The Book
Part of a custom 12 disk mega mix I made for my nephew.

Starting in the early 90’s, I started making mix tapes for people. Not in the same way that they do in movies where, secretly (or not so secretly), every song on the tape is in some way a dedication to the recipient, a subversive way of saying “This is how I feel…” Rather, my mix tapes were more about sharing my perception of the world, and the music that in some way guided it. There are two musical constants that have been true about me for about as long as I can remember.

  1. I have, in my mind, a soundtrack that is constantly and infinitely playing. Both songs and score that punctuate not only the memorable parts of my life, but the mundane as well. This soundtrack actually goes hand-in-hand with the fact that I frequently see my life in third person, from a camera’s perspective. This was what lead me to educate myself in the study of film making. Sadly, I am a very lazy an unmotivated person (for reasons unknown to me), and that is not the kind of person who does well in film.
  2. I have a very broad and eclectic taste in music, ranging across a vast multitude of genres. There is almost no music that doesn’t, in some way, on some level, appeal to me. I have always had a larger than average music collection to facilitate this insatiable taste for more and different music.

Now, these two facts led to the request of peers to share with them my outlandish and often unpredictable collection, and thus the series of Atypical Mixes was born. And I was asked again, and again, and again to generate these collections of music by friends and acquaintances, and even friends of friends I hardly knew. But the point is this, I never put together a mix to try and say anything more than “this is the beat of my drummer, if you like it, congratulations!” I even went so far as to note on some that “if you don’t like a song, the fast-forward button is your friend.”

The same kind of idea applies to this here internet blog thing. I write this as both an exercise in dedication and motivation. I challenge myself to keep it up, and am proud of myself when I manage to do so. As I’ve indicated in the past, sometimes I will fall off the wagon and go months, if not years, without updating, but nevertheless, it is always in my mind. I also write here to keep my linguistic and compositional skills up to date. I’ve been out of academics for just over three years now and I don’t want my writing skills to suffer for it. I’ve always thought of myself as well spoken, and even more so, well written, so I really want to keep true to myself on that front.

That being said, I’m never going to be focused enough to write on a single topic. This is never going to be a “computer blog,” or a “gaming blog,” or a “brewing blog,” or any other focus. This is a “me blog,” and as such, it will only ever be about the full breadth of things I find interesting, which at times can be quite a lot. The best I can do is find a way to make each update apply, in some way, to a greater, and more universal context.

I started thinking about this practice in the middle of last week’s update, when I wrote at length on the solution to a problem that none of my readers will likely ever be forced to deal with. The topic of the article was very specialized and focused, but throughout, I tried to wrap it in a more digestible and universal concept of not just thinking outside the box, but thinking without even acknowledging the box at all. My hope was that, even through the doldrums of the details, there was still an underlying message there to be seen. That is the hope I have going in to every entry (except maybe the Brew Blog updates, which really are just about the beer).

Heather catches me muttering about readership from time to time, and she always asks me, “are you really writing this for other people to read?” The answer is more complicated than just “yes” or “no.” On the one hand, I am really just writing this for me. As I said, and excuse to stay in practice and a way to remember things that have happened, even if only indirectly. But on the other hand, one motivation I have to write is the optimistic thought that someone else is reading, and possibly enjoying, the thoughts that I’m recording here.

And then, on the third hand, is the deep down desire that someday I will get discovered as a blogger, and invited to write for some well known force in the blogosphere, where my anecdotes and philosophies could possibly be helpful and informative to a larger populace. In this argument to Heather and to myself, I reference such blogs as DadWagon and LifeHacker. Blogs that not only entertain and inform me, but also inspire and motivate me to keep writing. So yes, I do write this for me, but I write it for you, and any future readers as well. While I am lazy, and unmotivated, I still like to think that in some way, words that I’ve written will inspire someone to be more than they are, or at least solve a problem that has plagued them.

I’m a quiet, and often soft spoken person, but I’ve always dreamed that I could inspire people. It’s part of what drove me to film making, the idea of putting my vision on the screen. That dream is fairly well comatose at this point, as are many other grandiose ideas of what I’m going to do “when I grow up.” But what I can do, and what I will continue to do, is write about the things that I know, the things that I believe, and the things that I do in hopes that at least one person may have their eureka moment while reading the words that I’ve offered up to the world.

And if you happen to be that person, I’d really love it if you let me know that I helped you.

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  • Shedrick Pittman-Hassett

    I’ve had the same feelings about my blog.  It’s started off as one thing and then I go another direction.  I’ll go for a few weeks with no entries and then I’ll do three in one week.  And I also secretly harbor the hope that someone will “pick it up” for bigger audience or ask me to write for them.  I know exactly where you’re coming from.

  • Yeah, my goal right now is simply consistency, sticking with it. I want to keep myself going and not fret about subject matter or anything like that. So long as I get something up in the 1,000-1,500 word range each week, I’ll be happy.

    So far, so good.

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