Wednesday, July 06, 2011

[Why Writing a Miscellaneous Blog is Being True to Me]

This afternoon, as usual, I had the Travel Channel on in the background. Anthony Bourdain’s show was featuring one of his food specials; in this case, it was food obsession. Three food bloggers took up a big chunk of this episode, and me being me, and me being a blogger for the past ten-plus years, I starting looking for applicable ideas. These are folks who, passionate about one thing in particular, devote their writing lives to this particular topic. They eat (literally), breathe, think, and live fine foods. They have focus, they have a set topic, and no one has to wonder what the general topic of each post will be—it’s going to be food, period.

Now, I’ve seen and read this idea many times over as I’ve looked for ways to give my blog some life and readership beyond my closest friends and family. After all, like many other writers and bloggers out there, I want this bit of focus in my life to go somewhere and be something just a little more than a personal diary that happens to be publicly accessible. And I know, from years of reading and observing, that the blogs that garner the most attention have a primary focus; their writers may periodically stray from the main theme, but on the whole, the readers have an idea early on about what they’re going to read when they see a new post. And goodness knows I’ve wracked my brain trying to figure out which of my passions is my key passion, or my most verbose topic. I’ve temporarily tried out theme blogs elsewhere (I’m still working on my book blog, by the way, for those of you who subscribe to it… it’s just on hiatus until I get into a groove with my painting), and they’ve all eventually petered out. It’s not that I don’t care about that topic anymore, because I do. I just am not the most single-minded individual who’s ever waked the earth.

In fact, that’s my theme. It appears, despite all appearances, that there is a theme—it’s trying to take everything in and figure out the complexity that is my set of interests and passions. I love dogs and spend a lot of time thinking and writing about them (Sassy especially), but I also love classic cinema. I love faith, but I don’t want to talk about it all the time or hear about it all the time because, for me anyway, it loses its magnitude if it’s the only thing about which I think. In fact, on the dating site (yes, I know… but I thought I’d give it a try after 27 years of singleness) I use, I close out those match profiles of guys who only talk about how passionate about their faith. As I read through them, the thought goes through my mind that, I think that’s great, but I still know nothing about who you are or what you enjoy doing… and it’s a little intimidating if Jesus is all you ever think about, because I’d be afraid that my own faith wouldn’t be pious enough for your standards. It’s the same for me as a person. My faith is important to me, but it’s not all of me, and it’s not always a safe presentation—I’ll always be real rather than be “right,” and that can alienate a few people. I also teach and enjoy it (most days) and have a few things I’m always eager to discuss. But at the same time, I’m much more than a teacher—I’m also an artist. And a music-lover who once seriously wanted to become a vocalist. History fascinates me to no end. At the same time, though, I’m really into technology (to a point—and I’m not really a fan of Apple). I’m a book geek in the worst way (look out if you bring up Jane Austen, C.S. Lewis, or J.R.R. Tolkien) but I also love film and television. Food and drink fascinate me as well—I’d love to do a bit of food blogging from time to time. I’m a memoirist; I’ve led an interesting life for someone who never went through too much of rebellious period and who hasn’t been out of Missouri except for a wedding in something like five or six years, even though I’d love to see the world—especially Europe and the UK. A travel blog! Wouldn’t that be great? But, I’m broke, barely scraping by, and I have a dog with separation anxiety who is too big to ride in the cabin of an airplane, so I’m still living vicariously through Samantha Brown, Tony Bourdain, Adam Richman, and Andrew Zimmern (to name a few). Then there’s psychology, a field I nearly went into before encountering the evil class that is statistics…

So that’s the kind of blog you’re dealing with here.  It’s a food-faith-travel-music-movie-television-art-education-literature-creative-writing-culture-progressive-thought-dog-humor-decorating-observation-ghosts-and-the-paranormal-and-probably-more-to-come-later blog.

Or, better yet, it’s a Niki Blog, and that means many deep passions rather than one focus. And that, essentially means that my readership is quickly narrowed down to friends and family who want to keep up with me and those few people who are simply drawn to what I say and/or how I say it.  To try to shape this into something else would be a betrayal of who I am and would be forced.

So, if you fall into a category of readers who find this fun and interesting, read on and comment from time to time. If only a few of those interest you, if you hang around long enough, there’ll be a post you like. If, however, you want a genre-blog, then I wish you peace as you look for a blog that interests you more. 

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