Emily Howlett: I have discovered blogs. Now I want to read yours

Posted on August 7, 2015

I have discovered blogs.

I understand how ridiculous that sounds when, essentially, at least 75% of my ‘journalism’ is probably more correctly classified as ‘blogging’ anyway.

But, I haven’t really been that interested in blogs before now; when I have the time to read things, I like a good, old-fashioned book, made of paper and easy to fall asleep while reading. And I only like to read things that do one of two things; educate me, or take me to another world. Or both.

Blogs are just people’s feelings. They are just a stream of emotion, experience and ego. All I expected to learn from looking at blogs was exactly how many people are terrible at writing blogs. Which is an achievement when blogs are intrinsically terrible anyway.

I’m, essentially, an idiot.

It turns out, yes, blogs ARE just people’s feelings, in a stream of consciousness that documents their days, weeks, one-off experiences or life-changing moments. In a blog, a person writes about what they truly know; themselves.

They might write this in a way that amuses the reader, or it might make them cry. You might read a particular story and be left completely untouched by it. But it meant something to someone, because they wrote it. And now it’s out there, chances are it will mean something to a lot of other people too.

Blogs are always personal, even if the topic isn’t. They are subjective, and represent someone’s history or viewpoint.

They can cover literally any subject; soap operas, depression, Star Wars, cake baking, cochlear implants, parenthood, shopping, cancer treatments, long car journeys, living with Alzheimer’s, living with fifty-two cats, living with a child called Morticia Bluebell III…. Whatever you think you’d like to read about, someone has been through it, and increasingly often, they’ve written about it too.

And the best thing yet? The dawn of this digital age means you don’t actually have to write your blog! You can sign it. You can use BSL, SSE, Klingon or literally any language or waffle you like; because it is yours. I’d LOVE to see more Deaf blogs out there – because we have a lot of stories to tell, and a big community to share them with.

I haven’t done any extensive scientific research, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there are currently more blogs in Klingon than sign language. Can we change that? I think we can if we want to, and I don’t mean by killing off the Klingons.

I’m singing the praises of blogging. There are some terrible ones out there, don’t get me wrong. But there are some brilliant ones, too, and we all have different ideas of what will be interesting or well-written. And, sadly, that can sometimes lead to conflict. Which is just boring, and should be treated as such.

If you want to write (or sign) a blog, you definitely should. I mean it. Even if you don’t publish it; just do it for yourself. Acknowledge your own life story, the highs and lows, the everyday, the time Grandma fell asleep in the jelly – whatever you want. It’s yours.

And if you do publish it and anyone has anything negative to say about it, ignore them. Seriously. Like I said, people have different likes and dislikes; it’s what makes the world interesting.

Writing a personal blog can be easy, and it can be tough.

If you’ve been through hard times, writing about them can bring back memories you don’t want to explore. People reading it might think you are using your past to seek sympathy or favour, when maybe you’re actually just explaining how your life is, how you’ve ended up becoming who you are, how you feel today.

If you’ve been through great times, writing about them can feel indulgent. People might think you are bragging, or trying to show off about how great your life is, when maybe you’re actually just trying to enjoy life and spread a little happiness.

One person’s life will always look different to people on the outside of it.

I found this quote in a blog earlier, which seems quite apt: “Why do we need to find similarities with others, try and relate to situations. I don’t get it, I do it sub-consciously all the time. Why can’t we just listen, take in, understand?”

People like to know about each other; that’s why we have communities, and that’s why blogs can be so great. But every single person is different, and has had a different life journey that brought them to today. A trainee counsellor once told me; “You can’t ever understand how someone else feels. You can only listen, try to imagine, and empathise.”

That’s what blogging is. It’s a huge, massive network of empathy. It’s sharing our stories, experience and knowledge. It’s the modern version of sitting down with the whole tribe around a campfire and listening to the tales of the elders.

So, why aren’t there more Deaf blogs? Why isn’t the internet, which has been such a wonderful communication tool for our community, flooded with videos of signed blogs? It can’t be vanity; I’ve seen Deaf people’s Glide messages at 4am in the morning… Is it shyness? Fear? Whatever it is that might be stopping you, don’t let it.

Unless you simply don’t want to write a blog. If you don’t want to, then just don’t. But maybe try reading a few.

You see, I’ve been an idiot, because I only wanted to read things that educate me, or take me to another world. And that’s exactly what blogs do. Every time.

As well as setting up your own blog, you can find out how to write for Limping Chicken by clicking here.

By Emily Howlett. Emily is a Contributing Editor to this site. She is a profoundly Deaf actress, writer and teacher. Emily is co-director of PAD Productions and makes an awful lot of tea. And mess. She now has not one, but four grey eyebrow hairs. C’est la vie. She tweets as @ehowlett

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