Sometimes a comment sets off a cascade of thoughts and ideas, and that is true of a most recent comment. It has set me off on a whole series of mental conversations. I am done with school for the year, and so I'm inclined to pick up those threads and spin them out here over the next few posts... until my head stops chattering.
So, I know that my commenter reads here regularly, and has done so for a very long time. I also know that she bears me some significant amount of personal animosity. It makes me wonder why she continues to read. That leads me to wonder, in a more general sense. what it is that attracts people. Why do people read blogs in general, and more particularly, why do people read this blog?
Some people who read blogs are just curious. They wonder what it is that we do, and what it might be like to live like this. They wonder what motivates us, and they wonder why we are the way we are. I think that humans are inherently curious animals. We want to know and we want to understand. The quintessential two-year old questioning that asks continually, "why?" really never leaves us. We want to know. Sometimes that curiosity is just nosiness, and perhaps an inclination to being gossipy -- for spreading rumors and telling tales. But most curiosity is healthy and normal. Blogging, and the reading of blogs allows us to satisfy our interest in people; to come to "know" our fellow travelers on the paths we follow through our lives. We are, simply, social creatures, and that drives us to look at each other and wonder and ask and contemplate -- how are we alike and how are we different and why?
For some people, blogs like this one are attractive because they feel close and intimate. I have often compared this place to my living room, and the experience of entering the conversation here can be (in the best of circumstances) like sitting down together with a cup of tea for a nice friendly chat. When readers feel that what they find written on a particular blog is authentic; when they feel that the writing has some degree of integrity and honesty, then they are more likely to engage in that blog experience.
Other people read blogs to learn, or to escape into realms of fantasy and imagination. People new to the lifestyle, or who are trying to learn new skills may read blogs to acquire basic kinds of information. Let's face it, blogs are a free source of information. Of course, to quote the song lyric, "nothing ain't worth nothing, but it's free." I have always struggled with the idea that this blog might be construed as any sort of "authoritative" source for lifestyle information. It has felt important to me to be clear that I am no expert and no guru. I don't generally give advice, and there is very little here of the typical "how to." Still, I do think there are those who read here because they find bits of material that is "instructive" in some sense.
I think some people find "inspiration" as they read at some blogs. Maybe inspiration for ways to do things, or inspiration for ways to change things, or just the inspiration to dream and hope and believe and risk going for the things that you want in your life. Again, I am not convinced that this blog is particularly "inspirational," but then I suppose that inspiration is where you find it.
I'm not sure that any of that explains my most recent commenter's interest in this place. Not wanting to ascribe negative motives, I still cannot deny that there are those who visit blogs with agendas that are driven by jealousy, bitterness, judgement, self-righteousness, and spite.
In the end, I guess I am left with my own curiosity: why do you read here ... or on other blogs? What brings you here?