Friday, January 18, 2008

Why blog?

Why blog…what to blog about?

Blog. A word foreign to me nine months ago. Blog to sell books. Blog to find readers. Blog to drive up my rankings. Blog to get more traffic. Blog for authority. Blog because your publisher tells you to blog like your life depended on it.

Blog on subjects controversial. People like to have an opinion, squirt their opinion, and contradict another’s point-of-view.

So far all good reasons, but what about blogging about something that makes you think; something that maybe changes your mind set or your life. How about my main character that has breast cancer and gives up hope? She’s done. She’s out-of-here. But life takes a twist, like yours-like mine, and she finds herself a hostage in an all-night market in a blizzard, trapped and sure to die by the hands of a murderer more deadly than her disease.

So that’s fiction, that’s got a title: Belly of the Whale, but what about real life? What about blogging about what we encounter everyday? Who will read those blogs? Will you care? Will I? Will a blog change your life or someone else’s?

How about the hobo I saw today? The homeless man, the street bum, the Charlie on the MTA guy who took up nearly five seats on the downtown train from 96th Street to Grand Central? What about him? I think blogging should carry a measure of emotion, some caveat of wisdom that gets us stimulated, such as the hobo on the subway.

The platform was full at 9:15am and the doors to the downtown train opened to allow as many that could fit a ride. I stepped aboard aware of my cape and for a fleeting few seconds concerned that it would get snagged in the closing doors. Watch the doors.

I was dead center of the crowd with no overhead handle or bar to steady my balance. I dug my feet into the floor afraid that one sudden jolt would toss me sideways like a domino. Ahead of me, four layers deep the rim of the passenger bench appeared headless. I wondered what dire act had happened upon it to cause the standing riders to avoid a seat. At 77th passengers debarked and I moved to the headless bench. Laying five passengers long was a hobo curled in a fetal position, tattered sneakers and bagging trousers wrinkled at the knees, a thread worn coat lapels up, covered him and a wool hat was pulled low on his ears. One hand was under his coat, scratching his shoulder. Scratching…scratching…over and over. I wondered about body lice and checked the faces of the passengers next to me. What was in their eyes? Did they think the same? He needed a bath, a shower a full disinfecting. No one objected to his inconveniencing them. No one thought to oust him or shout for him to move on. For who would sit in his place? No one present, not me. And what of this hobo? Who knows about such men? Is that term ancient, outdated? A modern day traveler of no means, keeping warm underground, that’s a hobo.

The whole experience made me think, made me grateful for what I have, what I could loose and if I did loose everything; what would become of me? So I thought…here’s a blog…blog about what I see. Blog about life. Blog about dying of breast cancer, blog about survival, and blog about old men sleeping in subways cars because we all need to remember that we are not on this planet alone.

Have the best day everyday.

Talk later…
Linda Merlino

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