I’m currently reading a biography of Montaigne. I think he would have been a big-time blogger. Probably even a Tweeter, but I’m not going there. The point of this attempt at blogging is to hone and practice my writing skills and to clear out some of the rubbish that piles up in my mind. It seems Montaigne felt something similar. After his friend Boetie died, he felt he had no one he could share his thoughts and observations with – no one who could appreciate them like his friend, anyway. So he wrote his essays much as he would have written to his friend – informal, intimate, and without guile or airs. It’s what appealed most to me reading the ‘Essays’. You really felt as though you were chatting with him, in the warmest and most friendly manner about everything and anything. He spoke with honesty, humor, insight, insatiable curiosity and boundless compassion. He was also calm, moderate and even in the midst of writing what could have been a narcissistic epic, quite modest and self-deprecating. It was not a paean to himself, except inasmuch as it was a celebration of humanity, as expressed through one mild voice recounting personal observations and anecdotes off in a corner.
Not that I’m trying to draw any sort of comparison. These are simply my untutored wafflings – an attempt to apply sense and order to the wild herd of ideas in my head. Or at least to get them corralled and branded so other ideas can have their turn. Perhaps in time they will learn to take the bit and we might actually get somewhere. In the meantime, I will try to take on the ideas as they thunder past and see if I can catch hold and stay on them for a decent interval.
A couple of my earliest posts actually were letters that I wrote to a friend. She asked me some good, thought-provoking questions and I did my best to answer them. I like doing that. It helps me define things and make decisions on how I perceive certain issues – at least for that snapshot in time. I fully subscribe to the notion that attitudes and opinions can change, based on new information, better insight, more experience, and simply change over time. Nothing is static. Which makes stamping out these indelible posts somewhat intimidating, but even as I accept the inevitability of change, I also understand the value of marking the moment by taking a stand in it. We are made of such moments. And that constant discovery and development of ourselves is the point of all, isn’t it?