My mind was drawing a blank. After nearly two years of blogging 5 days a week, I was surprised it hadn’t happened before. Life and food always seem too interesting not to entice my curiosity about something or other. It’s not like I couldn’t think of anything to write about (you dodged a post on Spaghetti Puttanesca or whore’s spaghetti – I was intrigued as to how they got their name), it was more like not finding anything I wanted to write about. Like most habitual bloggers, I keep a list of ideas I might want to write about and, when the time comes to sit down at my trusted laptop, something flows rather quickly. It gets revised 24 hours later and then posted – it’s become a ritual of most of my evenings.
But, tonight, nada. Until I checked my e-mails and found a message from WordPress that let me know that a lady in North London, who works for the Camden School District and sings in a choir liked one of my posts. There was the girl from Vietnam who commented on the Indian temple and the man in Hawaii who explained some facets of Buddhist philosophy to me in an exchange of comments. And what about the Australian ladies who own a house in Tuscany and not so long ago visited my hometown and blogged about it and told me how lucky I was to come from there? And on it goes.
As a teen-ager who had travelled a bit of Europe but yearned for larger boundaries, I was enamored with the idea of pen-pals. I can’t quite recall how one acquired pen-pals, maybe ads in magazines? I had a few over the years but they all petered out quickly, after 3 or 4 missives because, let’s face it, how likely is it to find common ground with complete strangers who live across the world and aren’t necessarily budding Nabokovs?
Blogging, on the other hand, immerses you in a virtual community with instant access – to other people’s ideas, photos, recipes, individual and sometimes original takes on the world. An exchange happens in a matter of hours and, because it’s faceless, it tends to be honest (aside from the lunatic who wrote vitriolic epithets about one of my posts and just couldn’t stop himself until I junked him). Polite criticisms force you to look in the mirror and fortuitous and generous support keeps you going.
I started to see if I could have the discipline to write about 500 words a day and it has become such a pleasant habit I can’t even think of an evening without my blank page anymore. It turns out that it’s possible to even pull a Seinfeld – write 500 words about absolutely nothing.