It can’t be doubted that there is always a first page in every book, a first diary entry, a first grade (unless you happen to skip school your whole life) and a first love, so of course there is also a first blog post.Book prefaces, as you notice (if you read them), tend to be grand. For a storybook, the preface isn’t an episode of a story – it’s a story about the story. So, for my Post #1, I will attempt to be grand, I will talk about blogging, ideas, and then this blog. I place a high priority on grandness right now; I will reserve all of the routine facts of life for the future.
I’ll attempt to capture something with the essence of Wittgenstein’s imperishable first sentence in his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus: “The world is everything that is the case.” That, instead of impulsively rambling about the newest rage in books or the latest showbiz scandal.
So what is the world in this blog all about, and what is the case?
Bloggers and ideas
I view the thinking of a blogger this way. Some idea interests you; something is brewing inside you. Maybe you’ll give it all in one single blog post; after all, blogs are easy to make right now. After posting your thoughts, your head is relieved of steam, but later on something else begins boiling. That has to be let go – so you run to your beloved blog.
Without the blog it’s likely that the steam will just get out of your head, without your having converted it to anything useful and without your having done something pleasurable about it. Writers often carry notebooks or blank sheets of paper (or handy laptops or tablets, if we fast forward to today) to record such bursts of inspiration that can vanish, forever and ever, if not solidified in any medium.
But you can’t afford to have only a single burst of steam. If that “one-and-only” idea is the only one that interests you enough to keep you writing, then your blog will wither. You have to pursue other ideas if you want to keep your blog’s audience. After you’ve jumped off a cliff, you must go find another one, or you’ll lose your credibility.
So you must somehow find a way to keep ideas stuffed in your head. You must have a built-in coffee percolator in your brain that can make not only coffee, but also milk, orange juice, or even beer. With raw materials, of course, mostly from the external world, though your imagination is also a rich supplier.
In other words, when blogging, you must always be on the verge of something.
With hundreds of ideas out there, all inside your mind, which one should you blog about at any particular moment? Your predicament is like this: Imagine that you can choose a single marble from a hundred marbles in a jar. The marbles are of different colors; for some colors, the variations are just slight (e.g. light red and pink are included). Which one would you choose? That’s analogous to a hundred ideas raising their hands, all willing to be called and then metamorphosed into a blog post.
If the proverbial donkey can’t choose between two stacks of hay and then died, how about our all-too-human chance versus a horde of ideas? But ideas aren’t mere stacks of hay. Some of them fit our tastes more than others. We can choose to embrace one for the moment without fearing that the others will vanish. After all, new ideas will come our way; we can also revisit old ones.
On writing, pure rationality isn’t enough to drive one to write, at least for me. Knowledge is no reliable driver of behavior. I need a sufficiently strong feeling about a topic before I can write well about it. In other words, I would be blogging about something only if in an epoch without any writing I would be declaiming about it in the street corner, while waving my arms like an exuberant spider or even pounding my fists.
About this blog
After a brief travail on the pleasures and perils of blogging, I’ll now tell you what I will write about. The “case”, as you remember.
Most of my posts will have something to do with my major, which is Education – Education with a capital “E”, of course, the variety that takes place inside institutions and is bounded by physical walls. I won’t tell you much about educating yourself in the most general sense, which is mostly your responsibility, and for which you can advise yourself best.
But I will tell you this much. I will tell you what I think about going to school and getting a job and then compare it with going to school for getting a job. I will tell you what makes graduation speeches hot or cold. I will tell you stuff about mathematics education in the Philippines with the intent to half-inform and half-propagandize about Math. I will tell you something about etiquette and ethics. I will tell you something about cognitive biases. I will tell you something about a rat race and a cat race. I will concoct imaginary interviews, posts containing one-sentence paragraphs, blog posts consisting of only sentence fragments, and other literary oddities.
And so on. Maybe even about the weather, or maybe a passage just a few notches above small talk. At least I have set my priorities here. You know what to expect.