Welcome to making a pile of sticks. Since a dear friend of mine asked this question, I’m going to answer it right here, right now, as my first post. How did I “hear” that I needed to start a blog? You might want to read About to catch up, if you haven’t yet.
I often say “I hear” that I need to do something – whether it’s writing…or singing, or something else all together. I mean it in the same way that we “hear” a song playing in our head. I don’t hear it as if you were standing next to me, speaking out loud. But somehow I receive information as if someone had just spoken it to me. And maybe they have. I just can’t see them and I can’t hear their words with my ears, I hear them with some other kind of mechanism. But it is definitely hearing…it somehow comes into my awareness involved with the hearing part of my sensing. It seems to arrive on a level that I really have no words or description for, that I guess precedes oral hearing, or, who knows. I just know, finally, now, after all these years, that I hear this kind of information. I don’t see it. I don’t think it. It arrives in this other way.
That’s generally how I know that it’s time for me to write about something, I hear the piece that I need to write being read out loud in my head, over and over. Sometimes it’s going on, almost as background noise, behind the screen of whatever else is “playing” in my head. After some time, if I do not begin to act on what I’m hearing i.e. actually put the piece of writing down on paper, it begins to play in my head in the middle of the night at a louder frequency that wakes me up. This tactic will continue until I finally do write it down.
A few years back, there was a song that began playing in my head. With songs I generally only hear them in the middle of the night. Deep in the night the song woke me up, and continued waking me up each night until I finally sang it out loud, right then, and asked what I was supposed to do with it. Then, I “heard” that I was supposed to sing it at an Open Mic (Mic short for microphone). Coincidentally there was to be an Open Mic (a community event where local musicians gather once a month to perform) just a week and a half from the night that the song made its presence known. And, as instructed, I did sing it there. Performing solo, and a cappella at that, is not something that I generally think of doing on my own, during waking hours. It’s not something that sounds like great fun – it usually brings with it a great deal of dread and anxiety. It is something that I do when instructed because I have learned there is no way to avoid these kinds of instructions once I hear them.
When I left my job (see About if you want more information), writing began to fill more and more of my time. First in the form of letters, and then I began to work on a piece I had written years ago. I have come to love a couple of public radio shows that focus all or in part, on listener’s stories, and I decided to submit the story to both shows.
In some way, this activity sent out signals to whomever/whatever it is that speaks to me, that I was making a new level of commitment to writing. And it was clear to me as well, clear that I wanted to begin to find ways to share my writing with others. In a fairly casual way I wondered what I was going to do with all this writing that was beginning to pile up. That’s when I “heard” that I needed to start a blog. And I heard it often; when I was at the grocery store buying avocados, when I was at the Laundromat, or when I was washing dishes at home; wherever I was, at random times, I just kept hearing that I needed to start a blog.
And that cracked me up. I am not, in my small circle of friends, known to be someone that’s all that fired up about the latest (OK, blogs aren’t that new)forms of electronic communication available to many of us in this twenty-first century. No. The truth is, I just brought a computer back into my home after many, many years without one and I still do not own a TV. (Telemarketers are actually left speechless, which is quite a novelty as you know, when I tell them that the reason I am not interested in the latest cable movie channel is because I do not own a television. Try it. They really don’t’ know what to say after that.)
When I heard about my blog I asked whomever it was that was encouraging me to start one, “What’s a blog?” OK…I’d heard of blogs. I saw the film Julie and Julia and Julie was writing a blog. And our local weather hero, University of Washington meteorologist Cliff Mass has a weather blog. So, at the moment when I received my instructions, I’d watched one blog being written in a scene of a movie, and had read one myself. I began to ask some of my friends about blogs. Pretty much everyone I know, knows WAY more about them than I do. One friend gave me the name of a website that anyone can post a blog on (for free, I might add), and the website also shares amazing resources for learning the technicalities of how to create a blog. That is where you and I both “are” in our insane virtual sort of way, right now.
I guess I do need to say, that even though mostly no one that knows me would describe me as a computer geek…there was a time when I was much more of one – not a geek, but definitely computer savvy. I just haven’t quite kept up with it. Twenty-eight years ago, (oh dear, how can it be that long) I taught BASIC programming (the most basic programming language at the time) to 15 to 20-year-old students in a public alternative high school in southwestern Washington. That was just when Apple was yawning and thinking about waking the rest of us up, and you pretty much had to know how to write programs if you were going to use a computer. So, back then, I was kind of ahead of most people that I knew, as far as being a member of geek-dom. In 1993 I actually owned a computer and it lived in my home. At this time the “worldwideweb” was just beginning to capture the imagination of many with an invitation into a kind of magical, mystical and very exciting-with-the-feeling-of-a-revolution-underneath-it, kind of a time. So for a few years I was on top of it. That time is long gone, although because of it I can wiggle my way around in computers in somewhat surprising ways, if I really need to. Et voila! Here I am writing a blog.