HAPPY THIRD ANNIVERSARY!
June 26, 2005 was the day my life changed again. I wrote my first blog entry. I was sitting at a kitchen table in NoPo, one of my favorite places in all the earth. I can't remember exactly how it was that I decided to create a blog or don't remember reading any blogs that inspired me particularly, but no doubt in part I was inspired by a journalist in my hometown and his romp of a blog, Huckleberries Online. This guy and his tact were interesting to me because he obviously was not a native of Coeur d'Alene yet he wrote with such authority, swagger maybe, about Coeur d'Alene. One thing I liked about him and still do is that he doesn't live in the suburbs and does not have a suburban outlook on life and culture. Coeur d'Alene has suburbs you say? Hey, watch it. Coeur d'Alene has nasty suburbs that give cruel depth and breath to the toxic definition of suburbs. And I will not go into how provocative and dangerous suburbs are. Anyway.
I do remember wanting my children to have some definitive memory of me, as my own memories of my mother were slipping away. And I couldn't remember how she looked sometimes or what she said about some things. Also, I have completely forgotten what her voice sounds like. So, certainly as a measure of coping with both my mother and my children gone off to different places, Notes From The 'Kan EWA was born. I have no idea where the title came from or where the idea to co-author the blog with The Chow Nation, with whom I spend lots of time, came from. And I admit, it was and is a selfish effort on my part because right here at Notes From The 'Kan EWA, it's all about me. All me, all the time. It's just great.
And it has been sooo much fun. People have popped up from everywhere to say hi and the Chows have worn a path to the virtual gate, to bark and check things out. I have said important things to my children, expressed deep felt longings, traded recipes, extolled the beauty that's everywhere and clarified and crystallized what makes my life valuable to me. Where in the world could you get a similar opportunity? for free?
If I had to name one thing that I was not prepared for when I began writing a blog, it would be the blogworld's reception of anonymity. I write anonymously because it suits me. It's all about me, remember? And to those who knew me before I wrote Notes From The 'Kan EWA, I am anything but anonymous. I am many things, but I am not hard to find or unavailable. So it's hard for me, really hard some days, to understand why the blog world can't accept JBelle at face value. I don't understand why people have to have me rather than know me through what I write. Why is that?
Some people, and you'll recognize yourself immediately, have to have your phone number to call you up and continue the dialog. I bet by now, you 've already guessed that I do not like, do not prefer to use and do not feel comfortable on the telephone. Except with a very, very few. Not even the Chows call me on the phone. I do not regret having traded phone numbers with exactly three people who read my blog that I didn't know on June 26, 2005 but I still freeze when it comes up. And it comes up quite often. I just don't give my phone number out. I don't do it. Why is it important to jump on the telephone when our acquaintance was made in the blogworld?
Then there are those who want to come by and see the garden and meet The Chows. Those that want to meet for coffee. Those that want to have a drink. Those that want me to come by their house. Those that have said openly to me, "Where's your hospitality?" I'm not even going to get into the group that calls itself "investigative reporters".
My impression with all these people, and I suspect they are very, very nice people, is that they aren't smitten with JBelle or even the idea of JBelle, they are frantic with an anonymous presence. Like with instant gratification, they absolutely must know it, must have it, must comment with their take on it. NOW. Because lingering anywhere over anything is ... ! well, oh my. It's simply not done. Only thing worse in the blog world than lingering is something, wait for it, unknown. There is no time nor patience for lingering or for not knowing in the blogworld. Problem with all their efforts is this: they scare me. People have gone to the cemetery trying to find out who I am. They visit the hairdresser, making inquiries. They dig deep into public data bases to figure out the mystery of JBelle. They pout. They make inappropriate remarks. They talk at neighborhood cocktail parties and barbecues. Interestingly enough, these same people very, very, VERY seldom comment on my blog. They prefer instead to stalk. They get to the other people who actually know me and honor my claim of anonymity to make sure I know they are trying to find me. The ironic part of this is, I am just about certain their gestures are made in friendship, or at a least a social effort, but they end up being anything but friendly or social. They end up being scary.
They drive me deeper into the sanctity of my life. I have beautiful, intimate relationships that have taken me many, many years to build; I have wonderful, fulfilling friendships that sustain and inspire me; I have neighbors and colleagues who challenge and incite me with their ideas and thoughts and I have the Chows to sit with and the telephone that never, ever ceases ringing with cute, lovely people on the other end, saying Hey, what's up?
So I have a life that fills me and that reblesses me each and every day. In another irony, I am highly adventurous. But not with intimacy. Intimacy you take, not one step at a time, but one brick at a time. You build it. Over time. With trust. And faith. You cement it with shared hopes, disappointments, pain, joy and grief. And you never, ever, ever violate the implicit covenants of your relationships and friendships by putting your need-to-knows first, before the well being of your experiences and life together. You just don't do it.
So today I salute and celebrate Google and Blogger. Thanks for doing this. Thanks for having me. I am having so much fun. I think your cultural contribution to the new millennium will be one of the most positive and important. And to Tennessee and Transportation Relations, out of 'em all you two are the ones I'd see. Particularly if you brought Cuniff. At least you guys are honest; you definitely make me laugh. A lot. So if you're ever at a table in Coeur d'Alene and someone sends Jameson shots, look around. That's me--ducking out the back door.
~for Bob. Always.
The 'Kan EWA
The 'Kan EWA