IVP - Strangely Dim - Born to Blog

August 20, 2004

Born to Blog

By David A. Zimmerman

Any idiot with Internet access can maintain a weblog. I can prove it.

I'm closing in on my first full year of "blogging"--that's a technical term for navel-gazing online--at Strangely Dim, and though virtually all of the traffic on my site has been curious spammers of the most obnoxious sort, I still keep doing it. I even brag about it in other venues: "Check out my 'online column' [never 'blog']."

Occasionally over the past year someone who doesn't work for an online casino or an online pharmacy or an online porn retailer visited my blog, read it and even commented on it. I would get a notice by e-mail every time such a comment was posted, and I would always follow the link, giddy with dread, wondering whether I was being asked a question about my latest posting or being invited to enhance some underserved portion of my anatomy. When I got a serious post, I'd do a little internal dance, compose myself and then compose a response.

Week in, week out, I slog through the blogging process more for my own entertainment than to make some significant impact on my universe. There are other blogs that are more pointed--driven by political ideology or religious zealotry or some other motivating impulse. Some blogs are even more self-indulgent than mine, with bloggers rambling on about their lunch or their favorite song lyrics or the guy who just checked them out on the subway. Mine is somewhere in the middle.

Believe it or not, I do have deeper thoughts than what I often post here; I just worry that to reveal them might be to announce to myself and all my friends that I'm a heretic or a hopeless sinner or a complete nincompoop. So I play it safe and keep it just shallow enough to not fuel any great controversy, just detached enough to not divulge too much of who I am.

That in itself is a reflection of who I am. Historically I've pursued more breadth than depth in my relationships, to the frustration of those close to me and the irritation of those who want to get away from me. Unilateral discourse about picayune matters has, consequently, proven to be a safe way of introducing myself to the world and inviting the world to introduce itself to me.

There's a song by this singer, Dar Williams, whose chorus says "If I wrote you, you would know me . . . and you would not write me again." What a strange and sad and brave thing for a writer to write. And yet what else can a writer do but to write, and what other fear might exist for a writer than that her words will be her undoing?

Dar Williams should stop singing and start blogging. It may be slow and tiring sometimes, but it's safer over here in the shallow water. Year two, coming right up.


Check out archives from the past year.

My book is just weeks away from being in print. Coming soon: a disturbing promotional video . . .

Posted by Dave Zimmerman at August 20, 2004 11:14 AM Bookmark and Share

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Behind the Strangeness

Lisa Rieck is a reader and writer who likes to discuss good ideas over hot drinks and gets inspired by the sky. She takes in all kinds of good ideas as a proofreader for InterVarsity Press.

Rebecca Larson is a writer/designer/creative type who has infiltrated IVP's web department, where she writes and edits online content. She enjoys a good pun and loves the smell of freshly printed books.

David A. Zimmerman is an editor for Likewise Books and a columnist for Burnside Writers Collective. He's written three books, most recently The Parable of the Unexpected Guest. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/unexpguest. Find his personal blog at loud-time.com.

Suanne Camfield is a publicist for InterVarsity Press and a freelance writer. She floats ungracefully between work, parenting and writing, and (much to her dismay) finds it impossible to read on a treadmill. She is a member of the Redbud Writers Guild and blogs at The Rough Cut.

Likewise Books from InterVarsity Press explore a thoughtful, active faith lived out in real time in the midst of an emerging culture.

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