Ten years ago yesterday, I made my first post on this blog. It wasn’t much of anything; I started it on a whim, just in case something interesting happened and I wanted to write about it. A month later, I found out I was going to Iraq, turning this into a “milblog,” placing me among a growing wave of servicemembers writing about war in the 21st century.
After I returned from Iraq in September of 2005, I wasn’t sure that I was going to keep writing; after all, daily life isn’t nearly as interesting as war stories, even if the war stories themselves were portraits of mundanity. I sputtered along, though, writing in fits and starts, about whatever came to mind, posting pictures here and there, commenting on a few things whenever the mood struck. Mostly, though, I wrote about the Army, and the places I went, and the dumb things I saw.
Ten years on, and I’m still not sure what this blog is about. I often have thoughts or opinions and think they might make good posts, but they rarely make it to print; for some reason, I consider few of my opinions or ideas interesting enough to share even with the tiny audience that I have here. Maybe it’s a change of perspective; being older now and having seen and experienced and read more, my ideas seem less original, less outrageous, less noteworthy than when I was younger. Being of a retiring nature also affects my desire to write – as in real life, when too many voices are raised, my instinct is to clam up, as if to concede the field of discussion to everyone louder than me. Considering the cacophonous millions of the internet, it’s a wonder I say anything at all.
“Why write?” is a question I’ve struggled with often over the years, and I’ve never had a satisfactory answer. I don’t do it for fame, or for an audience, or to influence anyone; and yet I wonder what the point is if no one reads the things I say. The thoughts are already in my head, fully formed, so it’s not as if I’m resolving things for myself by writing them down – my inner monologue is fully developed, so I suppose I do it for the “audience,” whoever that is. I love telling a story, so I guess that’s what it’s about: writing in hopes that the story of my thoughts, ideas, and life comes through in my disjointed postings.
In the next decade of blogging, I’d like to write more, about anything and everything – turning off (or at least dialing back) my internal censor and just putting my thoughts and opinions to words. Who cares if nobody reads them? Somebody will, eventually – and if one person does, that’s good enough for me.
I’ll check back on this post in 2024 and see how things went.