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Why We Blog

Fine, it’s far from realistic: a boy posts a story on his brand-spanking-new blog and suddenly it goes viral and donations pour in from all corners of the Internet to help them pay for their dog’s surgical bills.  He’s able to Google his name and see that 2,876 people have read it.  But really, Jojo Moyes tenuous grasp on how the Internet works aside, she digs down into the soft heart of why people blog in her book, One Plus One.

Nicky explains why he wrote a blog post in a moment of anger (page 329):

For those awful few days, at least, writing it down and putting it out there had actually helped.  It had felt like he was telling someone, even if that someone didn’t really know who he was and probably didn’t care.  He just hoped that someone would hear what had happened, would see the injustice of it.

When I was little, I’d say, “I’m going to tell my mum,” even when I knew the transgression wasn’t big enough to get adults involved.  It wasn’t that I wanted her to solve it; I didn’t even really want her to get involved and possibly get me into more trouble (the sort that comes after you rat someone out).  I just wanted to tell her, to know that someone other than me knew this… thing… this big, furry monster of a thought that was weighing down my chest.

I just wanted someone else to carry that monster too.

And then I grew up.  I still confide in my mother and consider her one of my best friends. (Wait… mums aren’t supposed to be friends with their kids… Screw that: I’m friends with my mother and I like hanging out with her.)  But at some point, I started confiding in my peers.

I remember the first time I unloaded a big dark secret to a peer.  We were sitting in the back seat of my car, eating a car-picnic lunch that we picked up at Sutton Place Gourmet.  My heart was pounding, thinking about speaking the words aloud.  And then once they were out, there was such a sense of relief.  Why hadn’t I done this sooner?  Telling a story.  Confiding in someone.  Making them hold the monster-y thought too.

And then there was blogging, and now there are many people out there, holding my monster-y thoughts while I hold their monster-y thoughts.  That’s the reality of monster-y thoughts: when you have multiple hands holding them, they get seemingly lighter.  Much so that you have the energy to hold other people’s thoughts as well as your own.

Later in the scene, she also sums up well that first moment when you fall in love with the Internet.  That moment is what keep me coming back to the Internet, even when my cynical side only sees the dick pics and obnoxious Facebook status updates.  It creates muscle memory, so your fingers keep typing.  She writes (on page 331):

His heart was doing something strange … He wanted to laugh at the magnificence of total strangers.  At their kindness and their goodness and the fact that there were actual people out there being good and nice.

Because buried underneath the clickbait and the infuriating stories and the disappointing stats is that truth: that the Internet allows us to be our best selves and to feel other people’s best selves.

I could not have gotten through years of infertility without you guys.

15 comments

1 Julie { 09.17.14 at 8:36 am }

I love this so much. Thank you.

2 Karen (River Run Dry) { 09.17.14 at 9:53 am }

Sharah had a post similar to this yesterday, too. (https://sharah.wordpress.com/2014/09/16/on-writing-and-pseudonyms-where-good-fences-make-good-neighbors)

I especially love this: “I came here and cried in your arms because you are all my strangers. You were witness to my pain when no one else could be. ”

I wouldn’t have gotten through years of infertility without this community either.

xoxo

3 a { 09.17.14 at 11:46 am }

Well, I have to say, I thought One Plus One was a little trite – especially after reading Me Before You – and the viral blogging thing was a little contrived. But when the guy told the kid to blog in order to find his tribe (more or less), I was all “Yes! Great idea!”

4 Dennasus { 09.17.14 at 11:55 am }

I loved One plus One (even more than Me Before You, I admit) and the way she included the very personal reasons to blog and the benefits of it are one of the many little things I liked about the novel. Now I just need to start blogging more again myself 🙂

5 Pepper { 09.17.14 at 12:24 pm }

I haven’t ready One Plus One yet, but I love this post. It is so, so true. I need this community so much.

6 Tara { 09.17.14 at 1:38 pm }

Sometimes I wonder why I do it. I put all my shit out there for everyone to read and nobody is paying me and I don’t even get a lot of comments. But still, something compels me to keep writing. This sums it up and makes perfect sense.

7 JustHeather { 09.17.14 at 2:30 pm }

Yes, Mel! I wouldn’t have gotten through my years of struggle without finding your pomegranate post, you and your blog roll! You and this community made a difference in my life and still do. Thank you!

8 Buttermilk { 09.17.14 at 2:50 pm }

I totally agree. A weight was lifted from my shoulders when I found this community. That gave me the strength to not only admit my struggle to conceive to my friends and family, but eventually to be an advocate for the infertile community as a whole.

9 Queenie { 09.17.14 at 9:38 pm }

🙂

10 Mali { 09.17.14 at 10:36 pm }

I love that final quote. And your summing up – “… the Internet allows us to be our best selves and to feel other people’s best selves.”

I am a better person because of what (and who) I found on the internet. And it is so nice to be amongst others who understand this.

11 Laurel Regan { 09.17.14 at 11:56 pm }

This post expresses so well why I love the internet in spite of itself. Thank you. 🙂

12 Katherine A { 09.18.14 at 8:55 am }

Thank you for this post. I know I could not get through all of the infertility without this community either.

13 Bronwyn { 09.19.14 at 4:12 am }

Aw shucks. I feel the same way. Cheers everyone.

14 Amber { 09.19.14 at 4:51 pm }

I haven’t read the book, but I do love this blogging community and the friendships I’ve gained with it!

15 Jamie { 09.21.14 at 11:40 am }

Well said, Mel. 🙂

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