The band plays on

by the Night Writer

Earlier this week I wrote a post about our outing to the blues bar where the Mall Diva and her friend were able to sing in an open jam session with other local musicians. They were great, of course, but part of the fun was in seeing the joy that the musicians had in coming together and using their God-given skills in a public forum. Thinking about this later it reminded me of something I wrote back in the early months of this blog. I was new to the blogging community (and I use that word deliberately) then but I think it still is the best description of why I blog. In fact, it may even be more true today than it was then, and I think it’s appropriate to re-run this piece. And with that….

A one, two, a one, two, three, four…

Thank You, and Don’t Forget to Tip Your Waitress

I’ve always wanted to say that! Here’s why:

Today I’m up to the fifth month of the six-month trial blogging period I set for myself when I started this blog. During this time I’ve had people ask me why I blog and I think this is a great question – a question I was asking myself before I even started and for which I still don’t have a firm answer.

There is one analogy, however, that I think fits: this blog is my garage band. You see, ever since I was a kid I’ve wanted to be a singer in a hot band. The problem is, I can’t sing a lick (or play one for that matter) and my sense of rhythm is such that no band would ever let me shake a tambourine (more cowbell!). For that matter, my dancing is even worse than my singing, and I have little artistic ability. But, oh, to be in a band! It wouldn’t even have to be a great band, or even a band with a recording contract. Just to be good enough to be in a garage band would be so cool.

Why do people play in garage bands? Obviously, I can’t say. Some perhaps hope to be “discovered” but I’d hazard to say that few see it as a way to fame and fortune. Some musicians may just like collaborating with others to create something. Others see it as a fun way to make some money doing something they enjoy, and perhaps for others it is just because they love to make music – whether anyone else likes it or not. Perhaps if you asked them, they’d have as hard a time finding a single answer as I have in answering people who ask me why I blog.

The only skill I have is in observation and stringing words together. I don’t think I’m a bad public speaker when the opportunity arises, but my “stage” is likely to always be obscure. Blogging gives me the opportunity to use the gift, such as it is, that has been given to me, to stretch out the boundaries of my comfort zone and appreciate whatever satisfaction I get from doing so.

Perhaps musicians of every ability also yearn for those moments when they get that perfect mix of time and place where the music transcends the mere notes themselves and touch a soul. Me too! Somewhere out there is the perfect line waiting to be written; the perfect note of irony in response to the day’s events; the sparest description that illuminates completely; the spark of inspiration that starts a brushfire in someone’s mind – the shock of recognition that causes someone to say, “Yes, yes! That is exactly what it is like to be me, and now I see myself in a slightly different light!”

Umm..okay, getting a little carried away there. I think, however, that this is at the heart of why I blog. I don’t do it to become rich and famous (though that would be nice). I don’t do it to change the world (though that would be nice, too). I certainly hope people enjoy the experience, but, essentially, it’s about my enjoyment first.

Earlier this week Joe Carter at the Evangelical Outpost wrote about the addiction he sometimes feels toward his Site Meter count and Technorati and TTLB rankings. To which I have to say, “Preach it, brother.” I check my own counts at least a couple of times a day, and I’m fascinated by the “referrals” page that shows from where people are coming to my blog. Some of the Google references have been very interesting. I suppose this is displays a weakness of character on my part, but as Joe himself has said, “If you don’t care if anyone reads you then you don’t have a blog, you have a diary.”

Like others who have gazed at their own blogging navel recently, the things I appreciate about the last few months are the many new friends I’ve met (some in person, some only electronically), the comments and trackbacks I get that show I’ve made at least a small ripple somewhere. Here’s to you, Leo, Kelley G, Emily, Muzzy, Sandy and the rest of the Squad, Bruce, Derek, the NARN, Kevin, the Saint and Roller Pauls, Doug and all the other MOBsters. Without this contact this blog wouldn’t have lasted a month.

One month – or six months – from now, who knows? I still haven’t come up with a satisfactory answer to the first question I posed to myself when I considered starting this blog: How will I tell if this is successful or not? One thing I am learning – and that I wouldn’t have expected when I started – is that success may be measured, but not defined, by Site Meter or NZ Bear. I think a large part of it has to do with the people I mentioned above, and the ones I’ve yet to “meet.”

Thank you, and good night! Rock on!

One thing I couldn’t know back then was the people I was still going to meet, and were going to come into my life, as a result of blogging. I may be no closer to breaking out of the garage now than I was back then, but I have to say my career has been blessed.