Wednesday, March 5, 2008

why are we here?

Oh dear, more existential pondering?

I'm just wondering why we (bloggers, not just ordinary people) are here.

Since I started blogging at the beginning of February, I've learned there's a whole world to discover. I've visited countless blogs ranging from the sincere to the silly. I've added to my vocabulary words that I didn't even know existed a month ago. Widgets and chicklets and memes, oh my!

At first I thought it was all about the writing, then I found out how cool it is to add fun things and choose a layout. (I'm on my second version so far, but don't be surprised if it changes again.) I visited the blogs of other Catholic writers, at first to flatter them with my imitation, then to discover the wisdom they had to offer. I found I was soon drawn in, eager to read what my new best friends had to say. Before I knew it I was neglecting the housework, burning chicken, telling children to go find someone else to wipe their bottoms. I had a blogging jones, and there was no denying it.

Thank God for God, and thank God He gave me a nudge this week. Hello...what are you doing, girl? What's this blogging business all about? As you joined St. Blog's Parish and submitted your blog to the Catholic Mothers Online, did you even think of Me?

I don't know what I was thinking. I was just dying to write.

When I was four, I taught myself to read. When I was six, I started writing. At seven, I produced my first play, and at eight a short story developed. (I still remember it: Mickey and Ghost, the story of a little orphan girl and her dog.)

As soon as I put pencil to paper, I knew who I was: a writer.

I used to say self-important things like this: "When a writer stops writing, she stops living." So have I been dead for the last thirty-odd years?

Of course not. I've met and married a wonderful man. I've given life to seven children. I've schooled them at home for over 15 years. But have I written? A bit, but not nearly enough.

Writing my book and having it published was a dream come true, and seeing it come to fruition opened a door in my heart that refuses to be shut. Sometimes it seems the obligations of my life are pushing hard on that door, daring me to wedge my foot between wood and jamb. So here I stand, steadfast, foolish and indignant, bold and sassy, weeping between words. Why are we here? Because we have to be.

If the first rule of good writing is write what you know, the second is write for your audience. So, since I've decided to weather the storm and write, who indeed is my audience? A woman I know, experienced in writing both online and off, agreed when I lamented that if no one reads it, my blog does not exist. It's starting to blow my mind. Maybe I'm not even here right now...

But supposing somewhere an audience awaits. Who am I writing for? Myself? My Lord? My mom?

Even with my limited experience, I know enough about blogging to say YES, I'm writing for all of those listed and more. Like all who feel compelled to write, I believe I have something to say, and I earnestly hope someone will listen.

So when God nudged me this week, I did some audience analysis, some honest evaluation. I am indeed writing for me, my Lord, and even my mom. And I'm writing for you, whoever you are.

But mostly I'm writing because I can, because it's what I do. God gives each of us tools, and if we leave them in a rusty toolbox we're simply lazy and irresponsible. For many years I asked, "Why did God give me talents if He didn't want me to use them?" Of course He wants me to use them, but as we all know God is the ultimate O.T.T. Master. (He has His own timetable, so don't get impatient.)

He knows what He's doing, and He's plenty patient with us while we figure out our end of the deal.

So why are we here? I can only speak for myself. I'm here to write, to share, to teach, to proclaim. I'm here to glorify my Savior, to rejoice in His Goodness, to pick up my hammer and nails and create something awesome. I'm here to write.


Sarah said...


Catherine, I need to spend some time puttering around your blog, though it's likely I'll just read forward. Anyway, stumbled upon this post and loved it. Keep on writing!

But a word from me to you...

Write on your blog for FUN. Period. Not for stats, not for readers, not for comments. All those things will take you away from the enjoyment of it, the same way that playing ball for an audience (instead of letting the audience sort of just be there) can take all the fun out of a pick-up game.


Catherine said...

Thank you, Sarah! You are absolutely right. It is fun, isn't it? I need to remember why I started writing in the first place -- it's a blast!

Sarah said...

Exactly! :)

Meredith Gould said...

Your last paragraph says it all and to all it says, I say, Amen!

I started my blog during Advent and have had a lot of fun and up-leveled my writing. I'm pretty much over my stats envy which set in, on time, around week three or four. I've been told it's a normal phase of blogging development.

Momto5Minnies said...

I think blogging is the coolest outlet ... especially for the person who longs to be heard or who loves to write, but never really has an audience.

GREAT LITTLE BLOG ... keep on typing away!