It's Kind of a Long Story (Book vs. Blog)
Friday, May 12, 2017
Way back when I was in college, my mom suggested I write a book. Wait, do I sound younger if I just say "Back when I was in college?"
At the time, I was having a number of "adventures" with some seriously crazy roommates. "Adventures" can be a nice way of saying "surreal hellish experiences with supposedly religious people." I had yet to head off to other states for more adventures of the usually-funner kind, but I already had some intense stories to tell. I think her point was that I had a knack for storytelling.
I don't know how true that is, but I do have some stories.
I always thought that if I did write a book, I would call it "It's Kind of a Long Story." Probably a publisher would say that that title totally wouldn't sell - but these days you don't need a publisher anyway. If the goal is simply: "publish a book."
It's kind of a long story... because when I tell a story - I always feel like the listener also needs these other story parts. Whatever those might be. Context. Backstory. Relevant details. I rarely tell stories when I don't also tell like sub-stories and side-stories in the process. This can easily lead to tangents and side-bars... and the inevitable rabbit hole. So, it's usually kind of a long story.
A friend of mine says that this is how people in tribal cultures tell stories, and that it's non-linear. Typical Western storytelling tends to be more linear. Books, too, are usually more linear.
The Website Brings The Clarity
When I had the "counterfear" idea in 2013, I totally planned to write a book on it to "launch" the idea. I thought about it a lot, and tried to figure out how to start. What to include. How to lay it out. Where. To. Start.
I actually kind of stressed myself out over it.
By mid-2014, I had left the federal government, and was working in a high-intensity job involving the emergency notifications system for 18 jurisdictions in the Washington, DC area. I realized that writing a book was not realistic at the time, and decided to start with a website and see where that led.
Eventually, it led to me realizing I could write a blog. Of course, that seems obvious now. It makes me laugh - how obvious it is. Like, DUH. But I had been a federal employee, and had been working in the homeland security field since the summer of 2004.
We went through a HELL of a lot of operational-security (OP-SEC) training; much of that focused on how you most certainly do not broadcast who you are, where you are, what you are doing, or what you think to the world at large. The idea there is that foreign agents and/or terrorists could track you down and cyber-stalk you or real-world stalk you (or your people) and try to get information about homeland security or national security stuff from you in various ways.
Of course, in the world we are in today... that seems quaint. And I mean SPECIFICALLY today. Yesterday, the President of the United States had a Russian camera crew in the Oval Office. Not only were US reporters not allowed, but the White House was apparently not totally apprised of what the Russian reporters would be publishing. Add to that the naiveté of allowing equipment and people into the Oval Office from a country [apparently previously] regarded as hostile foreign nation. Stunning. It's amateur hour for national security - brought to you by the most powerful office in the world.
See? This is what I mean. Sidebars! Tangents! Rabbit holes...
Yeah, that is definitely a rabbit hole.
The Medium That Resonates
My point is this: a blog allows non-linear storytelling. It allows you to link to some context and sidebars and tangents. A blog allows you to tell your story in pieces and parts - and as time allows. It allows you to tell your story in a great big knot if you want to - because sometimes that's how life looks.
It freaking rocks.
I think the point here is not only to find your voice, but also your medium. Your media. Your platform. Some people make beautiful memes, take pictures, draw things, make paintings, sculpt. Online we have Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Medium, Snapchat, LinkedIn. You can tell I'm GenX: I'm probably missing a bunch of stuff there.
I am finding the path that resonates. This blog is my heart and soul. Well, okay, that's also in my Twitter account(s). And my Facebook page(s). But mostly the blog. Mostly the blog. It's where I put my art.
I still hate the word "blog" though.
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