So, I've been memed by King Aardvark, with the request for me to post about why I blog. I'm a week and a half late responding to this, but better late than never, I guess. (This is part of why I decided to go for a week of posting every day again; there are a number of things I've been meaning to post about but haven't had time for, some of them going back much longer than this.)
I wasn't quite sure whether to explain why I blog in general, or why I have this blog in particular--because those are two different questions, with different answers. So, I guess I'll answer both.
This isn't my first blog, you see. I've had a LiveJournal, where I post reasonably regularly, for more than three years now--I won't link to it here, because, well, it's not so anonymous as this blog is, and I'm not quite to the point yet where I'm comfortable publically revealing my identity here. But anyway, that was my first entry into blogging. (I guess maybe one might argue that a LiveJournal isn't the same thing as a blog, but it seems to me that's a hard argument to sustain.)
So, as for why I started that--it was because I realized I was already more or less blogging anyway, and I may as well make it more official. It all started, more or less, with a webcomic that I launched in August 2000. (Again, no link here, to maintain my anonymity. I suppose if you were really determined, you could try to track down all the webcomics that started in August of 2000, and figure out my identity that way, but I'm gambling that nobody's going to be determined enough to do that.) In the beginning, I'd generally write a little bit in the "news" posts below each comic about that comic, or the circumstances surrounding my making it. Over time, this grew into little snippets about what was going on with my life in general, whether or not it was comic-related, and then those little snippets grew into long essays. It got to the point sometimes the comic was delayed because there were things I wanted to write about in the "news" posts that I hadn't had time to write about yet.
Well, I'd noticed by then that a lot of other webcartoonists I respected had their own LiveJournals, and I figured I may as well get one too, and that way I could shunt all of my writing about my life there, and leave the "news" posts on the comic page to things that actually related to the comic. And so I did. The end.
But of course, in a way that sort of begs the question. Basically, I started blogging "officially" because I was already doing so "unofficially", via my webcomic "news" posts. That doesn't really answer why I was doing the latter in the first place. And honestly, I'm not sure I could explain that too well. I guess...I guess I just like sharing my life. I like putting my deeds and thoughts and misadventures out in a public venue, where anyone can read about them. I don't know if I can really explain it any better than that.
So I guess that does it for the first question. Now for the second: Why this blog, in particular?
Well, that's a question I've already answered before, in my very first post. And I won't repeat here everything I said there--you can always go back and read that post if you really want to know. But, to briefly summarize: to help come to terms with my realization that there was no basis behind my religious beliefs. I wasn't ready to come out publicly as an atheist just yet (which is why, for example, I haven't mentioned it on my LiveJournal--my mother and my brother both read that), but I didn't want to keep my newfound atheism entirely to myself either; I felt like I had to say something about it somewhere. Hence, this blog, where I could do so anonymously, having an outlet for my feelings about what I was going through, my reevaluation of my beliefs, and my thoughts on religion and atheism, while still keeping my atheism a secret, for the moment, from my family and from people I knew in the church.
Since then, I've found other avenues for that--the Center for Inquiry, most notably, where I can interact with other skeptics and atheists, some of whom have gone through similar "deconversion" experiences. In some ways, that's better than the blog, because these are people I can talk to face to face, on a more personal level. Of course, though, the blog allows me to interact with people from beyond my immediate vicinity, so it still serves its purpose. So I'm not saying I'm going to discontinue the blog just because I have found other people I can talk to about these matters.
As a matter of fact, I've thought of on another purpose the blog might serve, since, well, there's another matter that I think it might be healthy for me to discuss. But...this is a subject I'm still psyching myself up to broaching, so it's not going to be just yet. I'm planning on making my second big confession, so to speak, on the day of this blog's first anniversary--May 30, a little over a month from now. I'm both kind of dreading bringing up something I'm not really comfortable talking about, even anonymously--and also kind of looking forward to it, because it's something I think I really should talk about, even if--or maybe even especially because--it makes me uncomfortable.
But that's another matter, and it'll wait. For now, I guess I've answered the question--both questions--to the best of my immediate ability.
Apparently by the terms of the "meme" I'm now supposed to "tag" five other bloggers. I've never liked that aspect of these "memes", but I guess I'll do so anyway, but with the explicit caveat that their response is optional, and that they should in no way feel bad if they choose not to answer. (Not that anyone should feel bad about choosing not to participate in any case, but I figure I may as well make the matter explicit.) That being said, I'll point to Akusai of Action Skeptics, Austin Atheist, Ross of The Skeptic Review, and...um...heck, just to round out the five, throwing in a couple who I'm pretty sure will never read this and never even know I tagged them, Sean Carroll of Cosmic Variance and Clifford Jones of Asymptotia. There we go. (If you're curious, you can see the "meme"'s track here...)
[EDIT: Oh, wait, looking back at the original version of the meme, we were supposed to give five reasons in list form. Um...huh. Okay, fine; briefly, and combining the reasons concerning both my LiveJournal and this blog:
- As an outlet for my thoughts.
- To publicly share some interesting experiences.
- As a place to show work-in-progress
- To help me come to terms with changes in my life and outlook
- To be part of a worldwide community