How does this thing work?

Interesting little factoid: this blog was started as a school project.

The chronology of my education is a little confusing because I technically went through university twice. The first time I hung around in a general studies program, absolutely clueless as to how the fuck university works and what the fuck I should be doing and where the fuck I was going with my life. The only class I was any good at was political science. And that was just because I could argue convincingly. I was rarely correct in anything I argued, but I argued confidently and convincingly. Sadly enough, only two of those classes in those two years of general studies were political science. The rest were a bitter gumbo of psychology, sociology, biology, computer science-ology, and a bunch of other topics that I can’t remember because I didn’t care, I didn’t show up, and as such I failed and was put on academic probation. I still have that letter the school sent me, saying in the most politically correct yet accurate diction possible that I’m stupid and I need to figure out what I’m doing because I’m wasting time and I’m wasting money.

From there, I took another year off before entering the program that I eventually graduated from, Degree in hand and all. So when I say I started this blog in my second year of university, it was actually technically my fourth. But it was the second year of the program that I actually completed.

I did really well in the class that this blog project was assigned in. It was a 100-level (first year) class called Mac Skills for Writers. Unlike when I took classes in sociology and psychology with titles like Values and Societal Theory Encompassing Rhetorical Didacticism in Modern Culture and Form Function and Process of the Human Brain in Relation to Social Interaction in Fixed and Improvised Settings, this class’ title briefly summed up what I was learning and how I would carry it somewhere else to find some greater use. Other projects in this class included designing a magazine cover (A+), taking text from a website and formatting it to read coherently on a Microsoft Word document (A-, I only learned about Paste Special last year), and creating slogans to go along with advertisements (A+).

Overall, I did really well in that class and it’s actually proved to be one of the most useful as my career as a professional communicator (don’t I sound fancy) has progressed. In fact, I did fairly well on the blog assignment as well, even though I simply copied everything my instructor did as the example (too be fair, it was a really nice layout and it fit really well with what I had started doing with the blog, so it was the most logical route to take, though it was also the laziest). But the blog’s layout wasn’t the only aspect to this assignment. I also had to make five posts that included hyperlinks, imaged, and embedded YouTube videos. As you can see from the address bar hanging at the top of your internet browser, I’m using WordPress and none of those extra additions to the rambling text I posted were particularly arduous tasks. Despite how easy it is to include them, I still rarely hyperlink anything (too be fair, after being this far into using the internet, if you still don’t know how to type something into a search engine then someone needs to buy you a step-by-step guide to the basics of using the internet. Let me tell you, once you get past all the porn there’s a lot of good stuff on this here thing. You don’t even need to be tech savvy to do that. Write down whatever caught your interest on a piece of paper, type google.com, write in whatever you wrote down on the piece of paper, and voila! It’s like your hyperlinked it yourself!).

The blog was made, I found some things to post on it, the problem that I ran into was that I had no idea what blogs were used for. Despite being the tech-savvy youth online writing edgy essays and stories on the internet because I’m a rebel who doesn’t believe in making money, I’m kind of an old man at heart. I still buy all my books on paper. I flip through newspapers every morning. I buy magazines from newsstands. Those mediums I understood. The blog medium was new to me and I couldn’t quite figure it out. My slight deduction of blog usage was that it was sort of like one of the earlier mediums I listed off (books, newspapers, magazines) in an online format. And even then I was shrugging and saying to myself, “Yeah, well, sort of, I guess.”

The first thing this blog was used for was to sort of stand as my portfolio for all of my published magazine and newspaper articles. By this time I was writing for my school newspaper, a music magazine in Calgary, and had just started writing for one of Edmonton’s alternative weekly. I figured I would keep using this blog as a depository for everything I had published and share it around more widely like that. And that made sense to me. But then I started itching to write more and do stand alone stories exclusive for the blog. I posted some CD and book reviews, a few concert reviews, but then I also started posting a lot of personal essays. And that’s when things got weird. It could be easily argued that I had a music blog (after all, that’s what made up 90% of my professional portfolio at the time), but once I started posting the personal essays, suddenly the blog made less sense.

This became especially apparent to me after my girlfriend launched her blog. She’s a professional makeup artist and wanted to use the blog to show some of the work she’s done and write about the theory and technical aspects of that she does. Her sister also has a blog which basically outlines everything she does day to day. Both blogs make sense and have a direction. Her sister visited my site and she asked my girlfriend, “What is it supposed to be about? I don’t think I get it.”

Frankly, I don’t get it either. It’s become another depository for me. Only now, instead of it being all the articles I had published, it’s where I drop short stories that I don’t think are good enough to be published anywhere else and poetry that I don’t feel like a market exists for. I rebranded my blog a bit, tried to make it more focussed on the fact that the writing I’m really focussed on now has turned more to the literary side. But I feel like I’ve just started caring less and less about it.

By no means is this me deciding to kill my blog. On the contrary, this is me simply analyzing what I’ve been doing as of late and wondering where I’ve dropped off. Kind of like that letter from my university, I’m wondering if I’m wasting my time. But instead of simply dropping something, I want to try it better.

I like the idea still of posting literary pieces on here, but I want them to have more purpose. I want there to be more of a discussion around what I post. I want there to be a purpose. I want people to get something out of what I write. It’s not like I’m expecting to change people’s lives with whiny millennial post-university-grad poetry or horror fiction that may reflect an odd bitterness that I need to address in real life. I’m usually stoked when my friends say, “Yeah, I read that thing you post. So that’s why you never leave your apartment?” I get off the wall happy when I see someone commented on something I posted. It’s because I made them think. I activated their brains. I got them to prove they’re not automatons and act or react based on something they read. That’s a cool feeling.

Maybe my blog then simply reflects my constant search for purpose and my exercises in meeting my purpose. Maybe I post the fiction I don’t think is good enough because I want to know how to make it better. Maybe I post my odd poetry to try and figure out if the market actually exists for it. Maybe I just like sharing things.

Maybe this blog is just about that. Maybe it’s just about me and the things I do. And, maybe I’m not as bad at blogging as I seem to think I am.

Maybe more people need to try this.

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