Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Five hundred toward ten thousand

Nothing rational can be done with this, my five-hundredth blog post, except explain why in the hell I wrote five hundred blog posts, many of them lengthy and complex.
I got this meme from The Summa blog, but I don't know where that blog's author got it.  That's the nature of internet memes. 
I get this question a lot, usually from another Centerpointer with an uneasy look on his or her face:  Why am I spending so much time on this?  Why am I doing all this work?  We live in a profit-driven society - my effort makes no sense in any deducible context.  I'm not getting paid.  I'm not getting promoted.  I'm not getting applauded.  I'm sure as hell not getting famous.  And half the stuff I write isn't all that interesting or compelling, unless you happen to be the frustrated newbie who is trying to figure out how to pry the attic hatch back open after the cord has snapped off, the kind of newbie I hear from daily. 

Part of this I've explained previously - I really do like helping people.  We live and die by the almighty dollar, careening madly from one consumeristic transaction to the next.  Something has to be done with a primary eye toward one's fellow man, or else one's entire life perspective ends up simply going clickety-clack in a stultifying roundabout fashion. 

But there's another reason as well.  I really, really wanted to be an investigative journalist when I grew up, but I grew up poor.  Even back in the early 1980's when I graduated from high school, it was obvious to me that choosing a "soft" career such as journalism was a risky chance that I personally could not afford to take.  For reasons I don't consciously understand, I strongly sensed the impending precipitous decline of journalism even before its technological causes were invented.  So no journalism - having nothing whatsoever to fall back on in life, I had to do the safe thing and choose the "hard" career field of science instead, the choice that was all but guaranteed to yield financial security and the greatest diversity of professional options. 

My science career has achieved exactly that, and in ways I never could have predicted.  But still there is the unfinished business of the journalism thing.  I had a university professor who beseeched and begged me to abandon science in order to become a writer instead, and when I explained my poverty rationale to him, he promptly began to cry.  "Don't worry," I comforted him.  "I can do both.  I'll find another way to get there as a writer.  I promise you." 

Blogging is part of that way.  The folks who become uneasy when they can't identify my motives aren't seeing that this is part of my proverbial ten thousand hours of development time.  That's precisely what's in it for me - pure practice.  I'm still not completely sure what "get there" will prove to be, but not knowing is part of the fun of it.  And if, along the way, I get to help the attic cord people and occasionally instigate a deer-in-the-headlights moment over at City Hall, then that's the icing on my long-awaited cake.
Yup. And stay tuned for more.

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