I have a strange confession to make. I follow Michael Phelps on Instgram.
I do not follow any other famous people. Not on Twitter. Not on Facebook. Not on any book.
I am not a sports fan. I rarely catch parts of the Olympics. I am not in love with Michael Phelps. I am not a stalker of Michael Phelps.
I am, however, fascinated. In his feed, he posts pictures of golfing, of his girlfriend, of nights out with friends, of private planes, and of his mother (which is why I am sure he is a good guy).
I also followed something else this week. I followed the story of Kate Leong, as she held her dying young song, holding him long after he died, limp and young in her arms, so that his heart could beat long enough to save a toddler she had never met.
I subscribe to the Daily Post and this week, I was asked to answer two prompts:
1. Make a list.
2. Why do you blog?
I will answer these simultaneously.
I blog because Michael Phelps and Kate Leong exist in the same country at the same moment in time, experiencing life at rapidly different pace, experiencing love in vastly different forms. As a writer, as an artist, I am trying to figure out how I fit amongst them, how it is evenly humanely possible to weep for Kate until I choke and literally seconds later, pull out my phone to see Phelps with his golf club propped up against his groin?
I blog because this week, a man in Boston lost his son and is grieving the injuries to his wife and daughter. And in the very moment that this happened I was Googling “Bleeding Eyes” and “When to see a doctor,” and “Perfect gifts for mother-in-laws.” I write, I create, because somehow the mundane and the tragic are so finely and fiercely woven together.
I blog because today I was informed that in addition to the five classes I already teach each day, I will likely be assigned to monitor a ninth grade study hall next year (for no extra pay or benefits) and oh, yes, by the way, lead this meeting, hang this art show, save this kid from suicide, and rewrite your benchmarks. If it were not for writing and creating, I would lose myself in this madness. When I say myself, I really do mean me. The heart of who I am would simply be swamped in pink hall passes and emails about tornado drills.
I blog because when Quinn got in the car today, he said, happily, “Hello, Friends. Where is William? Goodbye my Aunt Shirley.” He expressed more genuine joy and delight in those nine words than I have experienced in months. He is my constant teacher.
I blog because I hate the word blog, because I am getting older, on the verge of a nervous breakdown, and because I love my children more than I love myself. I blog because it allows me to temper my love of anticipation. I blog because of the pussy willow branches that grew behind my Grandma Jean’s dirty house, the apple tree in Lolo’s yard, the way gum smells in chewing mouths, because of the way hand sanitizer gives me a headache and because of the way pies smell, baking. All of it is relevant and none of it means anything.
Except for this:
When I saw the photos of young Gavin, dying in Kate’s arms, I could feel a string, a thread, connecting the roots of my heart to hers and I wanted to pull her in, pull that string, hand over hand, until I could flood her with love. I think, in that feeling, is God. And that is why I blog, because I am part of all of that. Somehow, I was let in, given the green light, and someday, I will need you to catch me too.