There are no accidents

I don’t believe in fate, in destiny, but I do believe there are no accidents.

This week there were a lot of blog posts written about the troubles in blogworld. Posts about the jealously and the waves of hatred emanating from strangers, hiding behind their laptops. Other posts approached this question from an appreciation of the work that goes into blogging. How hard writing is.

My own post contains long strings of words with little punctuation. Ordinarily I would have gone back and fixed those sentences, but this time there are staying as they are. These strings reflect the wrath I felt. My own position was more about owning your words, about nailing your colours to the mast. If you want to rant, own it. (And not unrelated; research it, be sure, and check your facts.)

It was no accident that I wrote about being filled with wrath last week and Eden then re-posed the question of who she is. After all, Eden is one of the unnamed subjects in my piece – one of the bloggers who is a target of some of the most hideous online behaviour for a long time. She has been thinking about this more than most. This connection is not all there is to it. Even if I’d never talked to Eden, this week or ever, the question would still be one of authentic voice.

Eden has relaunched her Fresh Horses Brigade meme and blog linky. She is careful to describe it specifically. It is for posts expressing who you are. While I can’t get the Return of the Native stagecoach images of the English moors out of my head, I will try and write about who I am and not about how much I hate Thomas Hardy.

Who the hell are you? Why are you writing this? The storm in the blog world forced me into a re-evaluation of why am I doing this anyway. Why am I blogging? Who am I?

Edenland's Fresh Horses Brigade is my third blog. I started my first blog in 2006 when I returned from a trip to Paris and New York with my shiny new MacBook. It was the best laptop I’d ever owned. I had cable internet installed and I fired up a template from a software package that is now defunct. This early blogsphere was all about ‘worlds’. Welcome to my world, all the templates said, as if this world were separate and distinct from real life. There was no twitter – I know I can hardly believe it either. I wrote some stuff. I hit publish. It was great. I had no readers. None. I didn’t care. I could publish. On the internet. I was astounded. I posted my holiday pics and wrote little stories about MOMA and New York’s Central Park.

I wrote my second blog while I tried to come to terms with moving back to Canberra. When I drove out of town in late November 1998, I swore I would never return. I was finished with this freezing backwater, even if my PhD wasn’t. Then almost exactly ten years later, I was blogging – to a tiny handful of readers – about coming back! Talk about disappearing up your own fundament.

It wasn’t until Benedict was born, that I really got it together. I started blogging seriously. I wrote. I published. I promoted. I learnt. I went self-hosted. I owned it. Well at least I thought I did.

One day recently, it was observed by someone close by, that I don’t really write what I think. I was filtering. I was not giving it both barrels. I’ve been thinking about this remark a lot.

It was about the extent to which I will express myself. I sometimes pull back from writing using both barrels, I self-censor too often, worrying about perceptions and readers not about the writing. What I have been thinking about all this week as I have ranted and raved, is that it has taken me a long time to get my power under control. As a person, I am only just now, at 39, feeling in control of my faculties. If I were a car, I’d just about have my horsepower, clutch, steering and brakes all lined up and finely tuned. I can use the horsepower as I see fit and with refinement, and without crashing, too often.

Then I wrote a blog post that was self-described as ranty. I owned it. And the response? The response was about voice. It was about owning it and how good it was when I used that particular voice, the ranty one. While I not intending to make this a more ranty blog, I will try to challenge myself to write the best, most true writing that reflects me and expresses my voice. These are my fresh horses.