Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Why Does the Whole World Have to Know About It?

The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.

Like the Parents of "Jackass" Stars

Even upon seeing the first "Jackass" in the series -- the second one pushed me over the edge into feeling fully-depraved for watching it and I won't watch future ones -- I wondered how the stars' parents felt about what their children did for entertainment of themselves and others, and then saw that the number of parents they filmed ultimately were resigned, indulgent and strangely proud.

I'm reminded of this by the phone conversation my mom and I had yesterday morning when I read "Free Jazz and Tears" to her.

My mother does not own a computer and I explained the blogging concept to her, but I guess it didn't really register until yesterday.

"I can see you writing about all this in a journal, but why does the whole world have to know about it?"

How can I explain that blogging is essentially me? That I was born to blog? To hope that someone else out there, somewhere in the world can relate to what I'm writing about, and is helped to feel less alone after reading what I've written?

How can I explain how much I relish replaying selected parts of my life and learning from, and making sense of, the parts by reflecting on them in writing? How can I help her understand that it's one step closer to writing a book than not doing it would be?

Parts of all of these posts are ultra-self-conscious, since I'm aware that someone other than me apparently (at least according to my sitemeter) is reading them. And articles like the one I saw in a recent newspaper, about the U.S. soldier whose blog will be made into a book, get my hopes up and then dash them in a single moment....The soldier had a fascinating story. I'm just rolling along in my life and why would anyone pay to read my stories?

My mother, I know, too, has a philosophy that when there is a cost, people value whatever's associated with the cost more so. Oh well, mothers are much more powerful than they ought to be in blessing or rejecting our enterprises -- or at least mine is...and even though her initial reaction couldn't stop me from posting here, it deflated me a bit initially.

"Mom, the blog is called 'Sarah Siegel Stories' and the tagline is, 'Anything worth experiencing is worth re-living through writing about it.'"

"Oh. OK," she says, seeming somewhat to get it or respect it, or perhaps she's just acknowledging that she has heard me. "How would anyone know about it?"

"No one from Saturday night would know about it probably unless we told them."

A few hours later, she calls back and leaves voicemail, as we're gone for the day: "Sarah, call me back to tell me how to get to your blog because I want to tell [the pianist] about it, so that he can read it."

I just called back and left her a message.

It matters to me that she respects this hobby. Yesterday, I tried to help her see its value by explaining, "By writing it in public, instead of just in my journal, people I don't even know, from anywhere around the world, might read what I've written and be able to relate."

"Did I tell you about the pen-pal I had from Wenatchee, Washington?

"Exactly," says Pat later, "The blog is like having the possibility of a billion pen-pals." Pat is unflaggingly encouraging even as she never reads anything I write...and that doesn't bother me at all. In fact, it's probably a good practice. Pat's a voracious reader of non-fiction and mysteries, and I mean books like Team of Rivals... and anything by Elizabeth George, and I don't match either genre. Besides, she lives much of what I experience right along-side me.

Living There and Then Re-living Here

Friends have told me how they love re-reading favorite books. I am a slow reader and never could relate to the idea of spending a second time on a book. And yet I'm a fast writer and routinely enjoy re-living experiences through writing about them.

One of my favorites from yesterday included walking through Central Park with Pat on Walk #1 from last week's "Time Out New York," where she photographed a number of the bronze, literary-figure statues -- all men -- and then the contrast of seeing amazing photo-ops of two tiny, self-assured girls, probably four years old or younger, on two different streets of the Upper-West side.

We had lunch at the most delicious Indian restaurant, which we found serendipitously, walking by it after leaving the park. We walked down Central Park West for a number of blocks and stopped to read and rest. I had brought two books with me and fell asleep, reading one of them, perhaps because it was depressing, though amazing: The Pity of It All....I'm only up to the part about Moses Mendelssohn....

Time to go into the city again, this time for a "Deuce" matinee and dinner.

Which books would be worth re-reading? Which experiences worth re-living through writing about them?


Princess Stefania said...


I know exactly what you mean. Blogging has given me a whole new lease on life.
I can grumble about the cabbage I'm forced to eat every night, and unless my sister happens to visit my blog, my mum's none the wiser.
I'm really enjoying going through your blog. And I'm flattered that you've linked to me. Thank you.
Say hi to Pat from me

Sarah Siegel said...

Upon meeting for an evening at my mother's home more than a year ago, my mother told me that she loved your mother and your mother said she loved mine, too.

They hit it off, were kindred spirits.