My nearest and dearest have been nagging at me for the past few years to start a blog. I finally relented when I saw Stanford University’s Continuing Studies Program course catalogue for this summer’s session. The perfect course appeared: English 167: Writing Online, An Introduction to Blogs and Blogging.I’m taking the course and it is way more fun than I imagined. And it’s way, way more challenging than I anticipated. Not the writing… but figuring out the design and construction and management of my own little piece of real estate in Web 2.0.
Not so long ago, in simpler times, I had people who did these things for me. When I had to create something techie, someone in my professional life took care of it for me. I thought that was a terrific arrangement. It was so easy and quick. Never had to chip a nail in the process. Now, I have to learn a lot to get through the course. There are words that I’ve never heard before. They stand for things that mean zilch to me. Worse yet, tools and commands and choices for building a blog do surprising things. I want to go one way; they take me somewhere unexpected and strange. It’s a slow, frustrating process, but the challenge is perversely satisfying.
I feel like a dinosaur, a virtual Brontosaurus, lumbering around, crashing into things, stumbling awkwardly and heavily into unknown territory. I bump my too-small head into hard, inflexible things, and get stunned for a while. When I get back on my feet, I lose track of where I want to go. Much of the time, I’m dragging myself along paths that lead nowhere. Then I’m forced to back up and start over. Not so fast! I can’t even find my way out of the swamp.
My eyes are fixed on the monitor. I forget to blink. I forget to go to sleep at a reasonable time. Talking to my husband is out of the question. Phone calls go to voice mail and I’ve silenced the arrival sound of texts. The glass of water next to the keyboard is looking funky.
On Wednesday evenings I go to class. Like I said, it’s great fun and my classmates are friendly, bright and engaging. They represent a surprising variety of careers and interests. Every Wednesday I ask the man seated next to me how long it took him to do the week’s assignment. He’s a nice guy, relaxed, smart, with kind eyes and a warm smile. He’s not b.s.ing me when he replies, “Oh, about an hour.” Some weeks, though, I am sure that his true elapsed-time to get the job done was actually measured in minutes, but my slack jaw and rolling eyeballs trigger his mercy-response. “Oh, about an hour,” he says politely.
Well, I’m currently slogging from the Jurassic to the Neolithic age. The tools are working. My actions are less random. Results are rewarding. Success is an addictive experience.
I am beginning to walk upright in BlogLand.