I haven't really had to explain blogging much to my mom. I don't know if she inherently gets it or just doesn't bother pursuing any questions that she has. However, the other day I came up with the perfect analogy if she ever does ask. Blogs, at least some of the ones that I read, are the new syndicated lifestyle columnist you would find in your local newspaper.
photo care of We Heart It
I remember reading weekly columns by Rick Smith in the San Angelo Standard Times. I looked forward to that weekly slice of Texas life that gave me the heart-felt human interest story or provided a lesson wrapped up in a story about Joe who knew Billy Bob who used to work with Phil. Through these columns we got to know a little bit about Rick while getting a little bit of news mixed in with local color. Rick is still banging out the pieces for the Standard Times and could be considered a blogger himself as the paper has gone all high-falutin' and online. I recommend checking out a couple of his recent pieces just for fun, including a peek inside what it means to talk Texan or the tall tale* of Jimmy Don Perkins, inventor of the chicken fried steak.
Fast forward 20-odd years, and I still hear stories from my mom and grandpa as culled from some of their favorite columnists. "You'll never believe it, but this girl who writes for the paper was talking about how the Safeways in DC always run out of food." This happens to be from a regular column by Trish Choate, a transplanted Texan who writes columns about life in DC for the Standard Times (who knew?!). A favorite family read is Sharon Randall, a syndicated columnist who also runs in the local rag. My family admires the stories that Randall spins so much so that my mom tried to get tickets (sold out) to hear her speak at the Abilene Women's Club luncheon for my grandfather's birthday.
photo care of We Heart It
My point is that these columns supplement the day-to-day news we get from the paper, TV, etc. and provide an oft-missing human connection. Many blogs out there do a bit of the same. They give us advice, entertain or inspire us, and above all help foster that human connection. Maybe it's Jamie, who is always seeking, striving and attempting to lift others up or perhaps Colva's sometimes disturbing, sometimes poignant pieces or Tara, who isn't afraid to ask the tough questions. I read different blogs for different reasons, but I find myself drawn back to those who leave a little bit of their soul on the floor or plant an idea in my mind.
*A bit of a War of the Worlds-type story.