INSITEVIEW- - tom shugart's weblog

Friday, February 21, 2003

I Made It!

One year ago today, I launched my blog. At several points throughout the ensuing year, I wasn’t sure whether I would run out of steam before I made it to the one-year mark. Actually, I might have if it hadn’t been for the continual inspiration derived from reading the great blogs listed in my blogroll.

Being in marketing, Cluetrain Manifesto came to my attention, and from that, the illustrious blogs of Messrs. Locke, Searls, and Weinberger--and from them, many other delightful branches.

At first, I was just a lurker, adding these blogs to my daily component of reading. But then, I began to notice deeper possibilities—therapeutic and existential—in the practice of this fledgling craft.

Eric Norlin’s moving post, for example, in which he attempted to cope with his feelings about the grave illness of his beloved dog. It spoke to me about the possibilities for catharsis through blogging. Then there was an exchange between Jeneane and Weinberger about “writing ourselves into existence.

Jeneane’s words ignited me:

“that avatar we create *recreates* us in the offline world. It is a circle of creation and recreation. That is the joy in it for me--not so much the voice, the self I have created through blogging, but how that unleashed voice is transforming me, the person, the flesh and the mind.”

This led me to write Jeneane about getting into blogging. She was wonderfully gracious, helpful and supportive. With her motherly nudge, I took the plunge.

Here are some excerpts from my very first post:

“I've been fantasizing about putting together the perfect essay for an opening piece. Bullshit! If there's going to be a good piece, it will come when it comes. In the meantime, there's struggling with creating a new self--an expanded self. That's what I've concluded blogging--good blogging--is primarily about. . . .

. . . .The possibility for creating a new self through blogging was opened up for me by Jeneane Sessum, who is my other primary source of inspiration. She and Dr. Weinberger had an exchange on this, which I presume got opened up when Dr.W asserted that "We are writing ourselves into existence on the Web. Together." This statement has since acquired a touch of renown and cachet--deservedly so--as a lot of blogs have been picking up on it.

But it was Jeneane--a fabulous writer who goes straight to the soul--who really made it possible for me to see the opportunity for self-expansion that lay ahead if I would take the plunge into serious blogging. She was also incredibly gracious and supportive in responding to my fan email. As was David. Thanks so much guys.

……Anyway, David and his amazing ‘threadmates’ have precipitated my thinking quite a bit about the subject of inventing the self. "Inventing the self" sounds at first blush like an act of vanity and deception--the antithesis of authenticity. I would assert that inventing the self is a supreme act of personal responsibility. You're either creating it and putting it out there or you're operating at default self--i.e., without authenticity. Default self is the sum of all that one has been. We tend to see this as what the self is, and it leaves us locked in to what we were. .”

So that was the possibility that I saw in blogging when I started out --the possibility for re-invention—an expanded self—doubly important and doubly challenging when you’re moving toward the sunset years as I am.

My vision was largely correct. I am now, one year later, a more alive and expanded person than I would have been had I not engaged in blogging this past year. I need to remember that when I get depressed or fearful of running out of blogging steam. Pushing through that is where the real value comes.


Thanks again to all my fellow bloggers. Getting to know you has been the best part!

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