Saturday, April 19, 2008

Hear from Aaminah: Why Blog?

Why blog? That was the question raised (among others). This comment is from Aaminah:

I guess I got into blogging for completely different reasons than why I do it now. As a writer, trying to get known, trying to get gigs, I was told that I HAD to have a website. I know nothing about setting up a website and I'm poor so I can't pay someone to do it for me. I was reading a few blogs, and talking with some other Islamic writers who said they blogged. It's free, it's easy, it can serve as a website. So that's what I did: I set up a blog to be a "professional" site for me as a writer. Almost as soon as I did so though I started being inundated with comments and emails asking for advice on writing. Me, the nobody in the writing world. But I was game so I started writing posts based on my reading and experiences as I had them. As I got into that, I decided to start a more personal blog, to put my more general thoughts out there. No particular reason except that I could. Eventually, I was reading more blogs than any other media and very inspired by what other people, esp women and women of color were doing with their blogs.

BFP and my friend Umm Zaid were huge influences on my blogging. I wanted my blog to be as inspiring and meaningful from an Islamic standpoint as I find Umm Zaid's. And I wanted to talk about the other not-specific-to-Muslims issues that I care alot about too. I saw how BFP's blog was sorta a call to action. All those resources, things brought together in one place and people talking about these things that I lived in my day to day life like it mattered.

My blogs have gone through a lot of changes because of this. I still keep other blogs too. I keep one for the work on my novel. It's private, only a few people have access to give me feedback. I keep another shared one with a friend for a book we would like to work on together. And another that is very personal spiritual stuff that is private and only for a few eyes. I also have one that I've taken private while I revamp it, but it is Islamic short fiction. I created it because there wasn't anything like that out there and I wanted to help Muslim writers get their stories out there and hope that publishers and magazine editors would notice them and we could bring some attention to the need for this kind of writing, and that we are a significant market. I guess that was sorta my first blog activism.

Now I blog more with activism in mind. I try not to just write and throw stuff up there for the heck of writing, but to be actually saying something. To be connecting to what else is out there, and to provide resources. But yeah, also to share my own writing in hopes that it will attract someone. I hope that my writing helps someone out there, gives them hope that things can change, that they can tell their story, that there are other people out here who care and who know how life can be...

I don't think that blogging is the end of the road. This latest series of situations has really crystalized that for me. Blogging is a tool. There are many tools. I think it is a relevent tool right now, but it's true it doesn't reach everyone. That's why we have to use more than one tool to bring attention to things. BFP stopped blogging, but I don't think that means she stopped thinking, stopped writing, stopped caring, stopped being active. If I stopped blogging, it would, I think, be because I had found a better means of getting my truth out there, and a better way of helping others speak their truth. I would like to explore how anything can be media if we use it that way and blogging isn't all there is to things.

I also agree that blogging and living on-line can become a form of inactive activism. If you are sitting on-line all the time, what are you really DOING? There is a place for it, spreading information, building coalitions, providing support. And many of us needed this in order to find any sense of community. As others have already said, I too am one who found my real community on-line because I don't feel like a part of any community in real life. But at some point we have to step away from the computer and go out into the world to do more than just talk. There is a place for the talk of blogs and it is important, but it shouldn't be mistaken as action or the sum total of our work.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting these responses. :)


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