Sometimes you just have to write…

Whistling into the void

Blogging is a strange phenomenon. Why do people do it? I mean, I know why the “big guys” do it. They’re journalists or columnists and want to get their ideas “out there”. Some are, in my view, nutters, who want to believe some conspiracy or other (The HPV vaccine is really a plot to inject nanotransmitters into our bloodstream so that we can constantly be tracked by the evil government!) and would feel a whole lot better if more people believed in it too.

But I mean the people like me. Ordinary people who are not journalists or, I like to think, nutters, and who don’t post daily and who don’t have a gazillion readers. (The most readers I’ve had in one day, so far, is 14. My average is about two, I would guess, per day!)

I started this blog because of the frequent frustrations I was feeling in adapting to life in Holland. And I began to sense that the Dutch people around me – my husband and my colleagues – were a bit fed up with my talking about those frustrations. Not particularly surprising, I suppose. If a foreigner moved to your country and spent his time pointing out the differences, mostly in the tone of “Where I’m from it’s better”, you wouldn’t like it, would you?

Well, I think it’s safe to say I’ve adapted. I’ve assimilated. I speak Dutch (with an American accent that Dutch people find very amusing or, worse yet, cute). I eat chocolate on bread and bicycle or take public transport to work. See my entry “How to be Dutch” for more detail. I have done all of the things listed in that article, except smoke and claim that Zwarte Piet isn’t a racist image. And, since I wrote that, which was several years ago, smoking has gone distinctly out of style, so a lot of Dutch people aren’t doing it either. (They’re still defending Zwarte Piet.)

So I don’t have so much to rant about anymore. I write only occasionally, and it’s not usually about my frustrations. It’s about a movie I’ve seen, or a political issue that’s come up, or my observations when I travel. Just whatever comes to mind that I feel moved to write.

But, to come back to the question: why do it? As I said before, my readership is about two people per day. I’m whistling into the void. No one’s listening. Yet, from time to time – more often when I travel – I still do it.

Is it in the hopes that I’ll become famous? One of those bloggers who gets interviewed and quoted as an expert on something? I was recently asked to contribute a weekly blog post to an educational website. I turned it down because I felt that I couldn’t commit to having something worth saying every week, and also because, despite the fact that I am a teacher, I don’t actually write much about teaching. Yet I still would like more attention to what I think.

My shot at immortality? I suppose it could be. The blog could certainly outlive me.

So my distant friends could occasionally hear more about what I’m thinking, rather than just about what I’m doing? Yes, that too.

So if you, one of my average of two readers per day, also have a blog, I’d love to hear why you do it. Add a comment about why you blog and include a link to your blog. I’m curious about all those other almost-unread whistlers into the void out there. And maybe, just maybe, we could increase each other’s readership by one… Hey, every little bit helps!


2 comments on “Whistling into the void

  1. Lori Fassman
    March 20, 2010

    Hi Rachel – I don’t blog myself, but I must say I really like reading yours and other friends’ blogs when I can. I get to hear what’s going on in your head in a lot more detail than normally would come out in a casual conversation (not that we get to have a lot of those these days anyway!!)

    Also, I wouldn’t have the *slightest* clue what life is like in Holland if it weren’t for your posts. I feel a bit more worldly now. 🙂

  2. Beate Siegel
    March 21, 2010

    Hi, I’m one of those two. 🙂
    Everytime I see a new entry in your blog I can’t wait to read it. Your style of writing is great and I’m always curious about what you have to say. As your friend Lori also puts it: I like to know what goes on in your head and you find great words to express yourself. I don’t write a blog, but I write, just for me. Maybe I should start one, but till then I love to read yours. Thanks for sharing your life with me (us).

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This entry was posted on March 20, 2010 by in Life in Holland and tagged , , .
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