The other day, my father and I were alone in the car and talking about a few business matters when I got a call from a friend whose advice I'd solicited about reworking the format of the HoB. I had an HTML question and since he's been doing web/e-commerce programming since the web began (back before Al Gore fessed up about his new invention), he was definitely the right guy to see. Since I was busy and en route, he and I made plans quickly for an evening phone meeting and we hung up.
My father, who has a hard time grasping the entire concept of the Internet to begin with, asked me "Why do you bother with your blog? What's the point?"
At first, I told him that I enjoy writing and it gives me a space to "stretch out," so to speak -- no editors, no formats, no number-of-words or -column limitations and no boring statistical derivations to which I needed to adhere. In other words: I'm my own pilot -- where my fingers and the screen take me is where I go.
He didn't understand that at first, but he did ask a good follow-up question: "So why does it need to be online for any- and everyone to see?"
Like I said, a good question. I knew the answer, but I kept it to myself, for good reason.
Later, I went back to the original post, the first real contribution I made here, and re-read it, and it's been a year. To the day, it's been a year since he's been -- unofficially or otherwise -- out of harm's way.
In the back of my mind, I knew this day was approaching. It's hard to believe that the second of the three major anniversary dates have come and gone. The first was the date we discovered he'd had a heart attack; the second, as indicated above (in the link), was the day he was released from Lenox Hill; and the third is New Year's Eve, which is the day, in 2004, he finally went home.
In context with both this date being a special one and his asking me why I maintain this space, again, is a good question. And in addition to my original answer, which was that I enjoyed writing without any constraints, I think part of why I continue to do so -- a year after I began -- is not for experimental, creative writing. Nor is it so I can simply foment ideas and throw a bunch of shit on the wall and see what sticks -- both in my personal review and others' interpretation thereof. On some level, I write only for me -- so if others see it and/or enjoy it -- and even if they don't -- it's not my concern.
The point here -- as far as why I do what I do, and how I do what I do -- is akin to Tom Clancy and Miles Davis. Tom Clancy, as an example, needs to write according to the current trends of modern international diplomacy and politics; he could write, I am sure, a wonderful, superb story about Cuba and the Soviet Union secretly stockpiling nuclear weapons and firing same into the United States; but since a) Cuba long has been without nuclear missiles; and b) the Soviet Union no longer exists, it'd be a pretty tough sell. So he's got to -- on some level -- give the people what they want. Tell us a story about terrorists attacking a boat transporting nukes in the South China Sea, or a plot uncovered near the Bering Strait that reveals far more pernicious plots afoot. Or tell us about how Fidel Castro has authorized bin Laden and his bunch to use Castro's personal swimming pool for growing Gremlins. But give us something.
Miles Davis, on the other hand, played his horn night-in, night-out. He played from the heart and put everything he was into every note that he emitted. And he turned his back on his audience with regularity.
I'm not turning my back on the audience; but on some level, I'm simply focused and into what I'm doing more than any reaction thereto. And I'm not foolish enough to think this space, somehow, makes the world a better place, or solves problems, or does anything positive for anyone. Except for me.
I tried putting that into words, but instead I just looked over at him, smiled, and we continued on our journey. The conversation tailed off, but I'm sure -- or at least I hope -- we'll one day get a chance to finish it.