The idea for this blog started a few years ago, when my paternal grandmother passed away. While I have great memories of some of the things we did together, I never wrote down specifics. Although Nan was a prolific letter-writer, she left no journals behind, nor even any notes in her cookbooks or pattern books. After having done so many things for so many years, she just didn’t see the need to consult any kind of notes — everything she needed was in her head. I have only a few photographs of us doing things together. And of course I, the grandchild, never felt the need to write anything down, because grandparents will be around forever, right?
Now I am left with fond memories that I’m trying desperately to duplicate. What recipe did my grandmother use for her bread? I could tell you how much fun we had when we baked together, and how I watched her deft hands with fascination as she shaped her rolls, but no specifics about the recipe. I don’t want my children, in hopefully many years time after I’ve passed away, to have to use the future equivalent of Google to figure out how to do something we used to do together.
I am not new to blogging. I started writing a personal blog in 2002, back when I moved away from home for college. Letter-writing had gone out of style some years before, replaced by email for casual correspondence. I enjoyed reading about the lives of my friends and family when they wrote to me, but in response I found myself essentially sending out form letters with updates about my life. A friend told me about a new online platform where you could journal online so all of the people you knew could read, and my first blog was born. I kept up that blog for ten years, not because it had become popular (it never was), but because it allowed me to communicate with people I knew.
Later, in 2006, I started a second blog in order to write more about my handicrafts and less about my personal life. I kept that blog going for nine years. Of course, both blogs started strong, as new things tend to. Over the years, the frequency of my posts slowly declined. When Facebook came onto the scene, it stole the thunder of older blogging websites. Then came along Twitter, and Instagram, and so forth. Smartphones and tablets became de rigeur, which discouraged verbosity with their tiny virtual keyboards. Pop culture focus moved away from long-form writing, and I moved with the trend as much as anyone else.
But I’ve always loved to write. In elementary school, my language arts teachers rolled their eyes when I would hand in writing assignments that were dozens of pages long (compared to my classmates’ two or three grudging pages at most). In high school, I used to get in trouble in math class for writing stories instead of doing my homework — possibly why math ended up being my worst subject. I have boxes of twenty-five-year-old journals and short stories that I will crack open to read one day with a cringe, when I’m feeling particularly masochistic.
I haven’t been writing much these last few years. Sure, I have been communicating — I’m a child of the digital age. I text, I post on Facebook, I take a million digital pictures I do nothing with. When I had young children in the house all the time, I didn’t have time to feel the lack. Now that they’re older and both in school full time, I have a chance to breathe.
I really enjoyed blogging, despite knowing that my posts didn’t go much further than the small circle of people that I knew in person. And lately I’ve been thinking of what I’d like my children (Eve and Cassie) to remember about me. What will they remember about the rituals of our daily life? What traditions will they bring with them when they move out on their own? What skills will live on in their hands?
This record is going to be digital. I’m going to blog what I know: how to work with my hands (often learned by trial and error), how to cook (oftentimes badly and generally not prettily), about things I have seen or done that have interested me. Hopefully my girls will want to read it someday. Hopefully some people out there on the great big world wide web will want to read it now. If not, then I will have had the pleasure of writing for myself, as a way of structuring my thoughts. And that’s no small thing.