What is a blog actually? What’s it for? Why do one? Just a few of the questions I have been asking myself whilst spending hours on my bike with only me to talk to.
When I decided to first make a blog for my ride across America, it was really aimed at my few friends and family, just to have a laugh and maybe record my journey for myself, to remember at a later date. I liked Facebook in the early days as it was a bit like writing and getting letters from your friends. Yes I’m old enough to remember letter writing.
As a 60’s/70’s child, we communicated with family and friends with letters and cards. My mother could make the odd telephone call usually to my grandparents (going through an operator who would connect you to the number you wanted to reach), but that was about it. In the UK we had the famous red telephone boxes in most towns and villages. These were great. If you needed to ring your mum because you wanted picking up from some place and had no money to use in the box, you could reverse the charges. However you needed a good reason for this as the lecture you would later get at home wasn’t always worth the cost.
I loved to write back as a kid. Always sending my mother longish letters from holidays (a week staying with my mums friends in Blackoool while she was at home usually cleaning, painting or sorting our house), describing everything I had seen, done or was planning to do. My content was fun but my spelling was bad. I tended to spell everything as it sounds. I still have some of the cards and letters my mother kept from my childhood years and the spelling is entertaining on its own. I remember once having a week out from school to go on a rare real holiday in Cornwall with friends of my mother. Being 11, I decided to send the teacher a card to tell her about my week away from class. We had been trying to body surf (well sort of) the small beach waves laying on a primitive plywood board. I grazed my midsection on one attempt when the board hit sand and the wave kept me moving forward. So as I included this exciting “extreme sports” action into my story I wrote, “I cut my stumuck” (I know, I know, but my story flow didn’t leave time for checking or thinking about spelling). When I returned to school, my teacher thanked me for the card, highlighted all the grammatical and spelling mistakes and made me write out stomach 100 times. I can now spell stomach but never wrote a card to teacher again.
So who reads letters, blogs and even books today? I found for me that people don’t really respond much to letters or even cards. I still like to write a thank you card if someone got me onto a top 100 golf course or things like that, especially if they are my age or older. Obviously Christmas, graduations and birthday cards are a chance to write notes and thoughts also. Yet all in all we don’t write that much in our day to day life. Texts and social media have also seemed to reduce our vocabulary and story telling somewhat.
“hey, what’s up”,
“nothing what’s up with you?”,
“not much just chilling”,
“me too, fancy playing golf tomorrow?”,
“yes ok what time?”,
“about 2pm is good for me”,
“great, see you then,”.
If you texts me you, will probably have some long texts. I’m thinking, ‘hey your around let’s talk’. My text threads seem to have long sections of blue background (my side) and much shorter grey ones (your side).
Facebook (or at least mine) is now more adverts and “reels” of animals, people fighting or really dumb stuff, showing nothing by people who love themselves a little too much. It takes a while to find posts from friends and they now are usually more links to something they have seen or just a picture of where they are or where they’ve once been. It’s still better than nothing and a few people still comment, which lets you know your not just sending thoughts out into thin air, but it’s not like a letter.
So the blog has sort of become my letter writing and storytelling I loved as a kid. I guess I write to myself and friends in my head, but then I post it for everyone. As my thoughts are not formed in any actual personal conversations or directed to anyone specific, they are just rambling stories. Who might find them interesting is a question I often ask myself with no answer, other than does it matter and well if someone does it’s great.
When I wrote during my 2018 ride, I was surprised, blown away and thrilled by the response, especially from people I didn’t really know personally. Some people who also have WM, made me feel like I wasn’t alone with this rare lymphoma. Friends let me know they are still out there with their support and encouraging words. A couple of times I even had people tell me that a post had changed a view or inspired them to do something positive themselves.
After the ride I suppose I missed the blog but didn’t think anyone would be interested in my rambling day to day stories, so it stopped.
Now I suppose with my new project I feel I’m sort of back to having a purpose for my blog other than just somewhere to talk to myself. Now at least most of my thoughts on the bike start and probably end with living life to its fullest. Cancer tends to focus you on this more than anything else I’ve ever known.
So that’s where I am “Pedaling Thoughts” from the seat of Hagrid about life. I will never see this as more than sharing ideas, questions or stories with you, whoever you are.
As the pedals, gears and wheels turn on my bike for hours, so do the cogs in brain.