There are many times more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on all the deserts and beaches of the earth. And sometimes I suspect there must be nearly as many blogs on the internet as there are grains of sand in a sandbox.
So why do I write blogs, and how can I possibly expect you select mine from all the others, let alone to care what I have to say? There are times when I am totally overwhelmed by the awareness that I am simply one grain of sand in that sandbox, and truly grateful that of all those grains of sand, you are, however it came about, looking at this one. What can I hope to put in here that might keep you from just tossing it back in with the others?
Well, I truly think that one of the things that sets this blog apart is the simple fact that I am always acutely aware that you are there, reading it. I sometimes feel like those SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) scientists, beaming signals into outer space in hopes someone, somewhere, some day may hear. I have said countless times, using a more earth-bound if mixed metaphor, that without readers, a writer is like the proverbial tree falling in the forest with no one to hear. Just putting words into a computer or on a piece of paper is pointless if they're just going to sit there, unread. So odd as it may sound, you are, in effect, the most important person in my life, even though we probably have never met, and probably never will meet, face-to-face.
I've always been excruciatingly shy when it comes to presenting myself to other people, which is one of the major reasons I became a writer. I am far more comfortable with the written word than with the spoken. For one thing, a word or sentence once spoken cannot be taken back, changed, polished. It is received and interpreted exactly as it strikes the ears and is filtered to the brain. Writing affords me far more confidence than talking. If I don't like the way a sentence looks, I can redo it until it is the way I want it. This is a tremendous advantage in keeping me from looking like a fool (though I fear this happens not infrequently even in writing).
I have little problem laying myself out before you in words, and I quite probably tell you, at times, things you did not particularly want to know. But honesty and frankness are rare commodities in our world. And though they are also subjective—what is the “truth” for me may not be the truth for you—most people keep themselves to themselves. While this is an often practical method of self-protection, as a result they may lose track of the fact that they, their experiences, their reactions, their fears, hopes, and dreams are not really all that different from other people's. So I spread myself out, like butter on a warm English muffin, in hopes that you will recognize some of me in yourself.
Having to all but plead with potential readers to try my books is, on the one hand, rather sad. But I justify it by the knowledge that I'm not asking something for nothing. My books are meant to entertain you, to allow you to step away for a couple of hours from your own life and it's attendant problems and pressures, and to immerse yourself in a world not your own, of people and experiences not encountered in your normal daily life.
Never underestimate the benefits of occasionally stepping away from reality. I often say how reality and I are barely on speaking terms. I may spend far more time away from it than you, but I don't think I'm alone in appreciating being somewhere outside myself. And come to think of it, those five words—“I don't think I'm alone”—are a pretty good summation of exactly why I write and why, I hope, you read.
Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website (http://www.doriengrey.com) and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (http://bit.ly/m8CSO1).