Late in 2005, I found myself succumbing to the urge to blog. I had previously made a couple of aborted attempts at blogs related to game development (a long-time hobby). Those projects failed largely because I’d been trying to make a blog just to make a blog. But after the first complete term of the Bush presidency and one year into the second, I felt I had a lot to say. To be blunt, I was pissed and I wanted to let the world know.
I recall that I first got set up on Blogger (which is now owned and operated by Google) and despite my eagerness to set down in writing all the thoughts roiling round my head about politics, my very first post, titled “The Truth is Out There” from January 15, 2006, mentioned none of it. Here is the post quoted in its entirety.
I set up an account with SETI@home today. I participated in the project a few years back, shortly after they first launched. They recently shifted over to the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing, so the system is quite a bit different now. There are several other worthwhile projects to participate in at BOINC, including some which deal with researching diseases. You can participate in more than one. I intend to sign up for more in the near future. I encourage others to do the same.
Looking back, this seems a rather random way to begin a blog I’d intended to be about politics. In hindsight, I can see that it actually set the tone for the whole blog for several years. I did write about politics rather frequently, but I also posted about any old issue or idea that struck my fancy. Interestingly enough, among my regular readers I learned that the majority were reading for reasons other than my posts about politics. In the end, even I didn’t know what I was writing about anymore and got bored with it all.
From two years ago, my posting frequency began a sharp decline. I’ve since tried on more than one occasion to get going again, but I had lost the motivation. It took a bit of mulling over before I realized what had actually caused me to lose interest. Aside from sharing my thoughts about our political situation in America, my secondary goal had been to improve my writing skills. I had hoped to end up with a nice collection of essays that I could hold up proudly and call myself a(n amateur) writer. What I actually wound up with is a collection of disjointed rants and meaningless fluff.
Going through the archives, I find a handful of posts of which I am proud. These are generally stories from my life, like one in particular on how I realized I was an atheist. Entirely too many posts are lacking any real content, just brief remarks on one link or another that I stumbled across in my daily web explorations. And then there are the rants. So many rants. Rants about politicians, rants about religion and the religious, rants about social prejudice and cultural stupidity. Some of these give the illusion of being reasoned, but not a one of them represents what I was hoping to achieve with this blog in the first place.
Nearly seven years on from my first post here, I’m a different man. I don’t want to rant. I’m not looking for a place to blow off steam every time I read a political column that lights my fire. I want to write something that actually has meaning beyond insulting those I disagree with. I want to think about things and explain my thoughts, not tap my impulsive emotional outbursts onto the keyboard. I believe this comes not so much from being seven years older, but from having expanded my reading over that time. I’ve come to prefer collections of essays to hack-n-slash fantasy, texts on science fact to science fiction. I read history texts, biographies, and classics from writers who were putting into fiction what they couldn’t put in an essay. All of this has led me to see the world in a different way and to try to express myself more eloquently.
A friend once told me that he had hit upon the meaning of life: change. I don’t expect that it’s actually the meaning of life (I don’t believe there is one), but I’m sure most would agree that it is an integral part of life. Everything that comes into our lives changes eventually. Now it is time for change at this blog. I’ll keep the old posts in an archived format on a drive somewhere. I learned long ago it’s foolish to throw away anything you’ve taken the time to write. But I no longer want those posts associated with my personal blog. That’s not my voice anymore. It’s time for a new direction.
I want to write. I want to discuss. I want to find others who are interested in the world around us and how we can best get through the brief time we have on it. No more of those mindless time-wasting rants for me. There are plenty of others out there doing that. For me, it’s time to blog with a purpose.