Today I’m replying to an interesting comment made by Sharon in response to my last posting: “Ann, you write, ‘I like the challenge of trying to turn everyday experiences into blogs.’ That sounds a bit like people who travel who have to take the photos of the trip and then don’t live and focus on the joy from the experience during the travel. It may be interesting to know how your focus on (and, for example, note taking during conversations) turning everyday life into experiences for your blog alters the experiences (and your life) as you live them.'”
I’m sure that sometimes I have missed out on a valuable travel experience while running around trying to find just the right photo op, so I know what Sharon is talking about. Although, many times it is the photographs that help sustain the memories long after the trip is over. However, here’s what I think occurs when blogging.
Any obsession requires us to direct our attention toward experiences that support the obsession and away from those that don’t. My blog is my obsession. I like to come up with at least three ideas for topics to write about every week. This requires me to pay attention to what I read, see and hear.
When a possible topic catches my attention, I reflect on a quick list of questions: Do I have any interest in this topic? Do I know anything about it? Do I care enough to consider expressing an opinion on it? Is there any opportunity to inspire, inform or to find humor in it? Can I make a personal connection?
In a simple way, this reminds me of the strategies used to teach children to read: look at the title and pictures; imagine what the story will be about; predict what might happen; read the book; and when you have finished, make a connection, whether it’s between the story and your experiences or the story and another story you have read. I predicted that a lunchtime conversation with State Representative Ross Hunter in a local restaurant would produce a blog. However, the interview questions I thought about ahead of time weren’t ideal for bringing out the most interesting responses. The one I remember in particular, “Are you crazy?” only led to a one-word answer (Sharon may be right, since I don’t remember whether it was a yes or no). I took notes about the Byzantine process our legislators use to choose committee chairs and a few factoids related to setting the state budget, but knew that these were not a good fit for me or my blog. When I said goodbye, I thought I had been wrong in my prediction that I would have something to write about after lunch, but I knew that I had enjoyed our conversation and that I appreciated having Ross as a friend. Only later, when I reflected on lunch as a personal connection did the idea for the blog come to me. Writing, and yes, even photography on the run, are great tools to help me relive experiences and extract at least one kernel worth remembering.