That was the question posed the other day in a Daily Link over at the always excellent House Next Door. The link led to this article, in which Girish Shambu ruminates over the events and reasons that led to his entry into the blogosphere. Reading through it served as a reminder for me to take a step back and look at why I continue to "blog" (albeit a bit more sporadically that I used to).
When I first started Whiskey for the Monkey I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with it. My exact words, from June 2005:
"Haven't come up with a purpose for this thing at all. It just seems like lately there's so much turbulence (eventually I'll get away from all these hokey literary devices) in my life I feel like there's no time for anything. Even when I take the time to do something to get my mind off of everything - read a book, watch a movie, engage in, well, activities with the missus - there's always something I feel I'm ignoring, something begging for release. So I figure I can use one of these things to blow off some steam, maybe find out what things I need to change to make life a little nicer."
Besides the now-awkward and (hopefully) unintentional references to sex (e.g. blow off steam, begging for release...jeesh, sounds like I was 16 when I wrote this), the gist was that I would use the blog to figure out what I wanted to do with the blog. Looking back over the approximately three years of writing, "what I wanted to do" turned out to be a lot of structured pieces on movies, books and music, countless lists, and a number of less structured but more heartfelt personal stories and records of my life.
So why do I blog? I suppose for two reasons that work together as polar opposites: to get closer to some things, and to distance myself from others. Keeping this has allowed me to examine and solidify thoughts, beliefs, and issues that have nagged me to the point of frustration. It's allowed me to track some of the most difficult and rewarding moments in my life, and at the same time give me some distance from those things that were in danger of becoming too overwhelming. It's introduced me to a host of incredible writers who in many instances turned out to be incredible people and who, although I may never meet or even really know, affected me for the better and continue to inspire me to chase, rope and wrangle the things I'm interested in writing about. It was probably late in coming, but I think every once in a while we need to answer the question of why we do this: for me there's a definite danger of running on autopilot, and simply writing to put something down was never my goal in keeping a blog.
On a brief side note, I also came across the following image from The House Next Door:
I don't know what film this is taken from; the picture accompanied an article about falling asleep at the movies and the 10th Annual Sarasota Film Festival. But the juxtaposition of the child and the bomb is certainly striking, and reminded me of the following images from THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE:
Which brings up an interesting question: what images resound with you? Strike a chord? And specifically with film images, when taken out of the context of the film can they mean something else? If I can find or think of others I'll post them here; feel free to list your own in the comments (with a link) and I'll post them as well.
Oh, and apologies for the abrupt change in topics on this - both ideas came to me at roughly the same time. Blame The House Next Door for their varied and wonderful posts.