I happened to be looking at my blog’s history and I suddenly realized that I actually first posted on this blog site on 14-Mar-2009. It was of course, a stupid Hello World blog. If you do not know what that means, Hello world is the first thing you do with any software essentially. It’s a technical person’s way of starting a project much like how religious people start something with a prayer. However my journey into writing started much earlier. Before I had this blog I had another one on blogspot.com. I started that in 2007 and even before that I started writing journal entries. My first recorded entry (that I still have for reference) is from Nov-2003.
It’s been a crazy 14 years of writing, no doubt. And reflecting on that I started wondering why do I write? Why does most anyone write? I mean it’s unlikely that what I write will survive more than a few decades after my lifetime. Even though it is digital data, it will corrode or corrupt or become irrelevant and be removed by software algorithms from. So then if not for it lasting, why am I writing?
The answer came to me that writing is about expressing oneself. Words have great power. We can make and break worlds just with words. Words also heal. Most psychological therapies involve some form of communication. We only heal when we speak about things that bother us. The problem with speech is that you need a listener. And for it to be really healing you need a good listener, who can actually listen without interrupting. That’s where writing comes into play.
Writing allows you to talk, to say things. It allows you to express yourself freely without either of the 2 constraints. You do not need a listener or a good listener. You can express yourself as you like. You can pause, you can slur, you can say something and erase it, until you find the words that heal you. You can take the whole day to say a single sentence or you can say things as fast as you want.
Speaking requires you to follow a construct, to follow a mechanism that limits the way you can express yourself. In case of writing, the only limitation is to know a script. If you pass that hurdle, there is nothing that can stop you from expressing yourself. That is why writing has immense power to heal self and also to change worlds.
Unlike speaking writing can be preserved over a period of time allowing more people to feel the exact same things you feel in a given instant. As I said before, it can make or break worlds. We all know that a single tweet by a very powerful person can cause wars. And a single tweet by the same person can bring multiple nations to peace by saving 000s of people from dying in a pointless war.
I think I started writing back when I couldn’t find a great way to express myself. I felt the same limitations of needing a listener to be able to express. That’s also the same time when I first started using a computer. And that is when I realized the power of password protected doc files where I can express myself completely and totally. No one in the world could take it away from me and yet no one else could see it to judge me. It became the sole space where I could really be me.
As time went by I liked the idea of having my own private place on the internet where I can express what I feel. The construct was simple: it was open to anyone who wanted to read it and yet given the huge internet it was unlikely that people will stumble onto my private space. That became my first blog on blogspot.com. It was also the time where I started writing more poetic verses because I felt like expressing myself in forms that are not limited to paragraphs. The other reason was also to just sound and be cool.
And finally this blog happened. Instead of having a small private place on internet that was leased from another company, I wanted to have my own small space. My own virtual property that no one could take away from me as long as I paid. That was the story I told myself. The real story is different 😛 My friends bought it (along with me) to start this site for some cool start up idea we will have in future. Since I had already paid for the domain name and that start up idea never came, I decided to just repurpose the site for a blog.
And here I am, still blogging after 10 years. That at least has not changed. And here I am also, writing blogs to express myself and in some ways to try to understand myself. And that has also not changed significantly. There is one thing that has changed: The way I write. When I first started writing, my words were more free form. I used to write like I am typing an sms. I also used to put 2-3 dots between phrases like I am thinking through things and not really writing sentences. But over the years I have gotten into more of a paragraph style writing. Perhaps its about my age. I have grown old? The other thing is that back then my poems used to rhyme. I believed it to be a cardinal sin to write poems where the last words for consecutive sentences did not rhyme. Over time I realized that, I do not need to follow any rules. Now most of my poems / verses don’t rhyme a lot. They are just thoughts expressed in a different format.
I am writing this blog more as a reminder for myself, so that I can read it in 10 years and reflect at how stupid I was a decade ago. Perhaps when you read this blog, you will also reflect on how stupid you felt 10 years ago.