Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.
These words popped into my head this morning as I was thinking about how I manage to embroil myself in all sorts of undertakings that make the glass of my day not half full or half empty but pretty much overflowing. Actually, the words didn’t do their popping in French, although I did know that it was the language of origin for the phrase “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Or in present day vernacular, “Same old, same old.”
In the past, people kept diaries and journals. Those writings obviously had a lot to do with the very human need to keep a record of everyday life, of the history unfolding around them. Some people were better at it than others—people like Shakespeare and Plato and the good folks who brought us the Bible. We called them writers. In addition to thinking grand thoughts, they also had the laborious task of putting it all down by hand. If you’ve ever had to scribble “I must not talk in class” fifty times on the blackboard, you’ll have a small idea of what that must have been like. At least, you didn’t have to make your own chalk or fight with a goose in order to get a quill.
With the invention of the printing press, almost anyone could be a writer. No longer did you have to hand write thirty copies of Genesis so more than one person could borrow it from the library. Further down the evolutionary road came the typewriter and eventually the computer and Internet. And that’s how things changed—and how they stayed the same.
Remember Erma Bombeck? She was a grand lady who helped a whole generation of women survive living in the suburbs and raising semi-normal children. There were a lot of other writers whose words appeared on the pages of every newspaper in the country. These days, not so much. The main place we get our news—the newspaper—is fading. These days, we have the Internet and so instead of the columnist, we have the blog.
“Blog” is a mishmash of “web log.” If you have something to say, here’s the place to say it without having first to convince an editor to put you on the payroll. And people don’t have to wait for the thud on the front door that says the paper carrier went by so they can read it. Readers are able to get opinions on a variety of topics with the click of a computer mouse or the swipe of a finger on an iPhone or iPad, and can sign up to follow a particular blog or leave their own comments. For writers, blogs are the best thing since sliced bread.
Some of my best friends are local writers—and bloggers. Have kids running around—yours or somebody else’s? Check out www.raisinglifelonglearners.com by educational science writer and homeschooler Colleen Kessler. Or www.happybirthdayauthor.com by Eric van Raepenbusch, who does awesome celebrations of picture book authors’ birthdays by coming up with related creative activities for kids. Eric also creates the hilarious adventures of Three Ghost Friends and talks about books at www.threeghostfriends.com.
Want to be inspired? Janie Reinart, whose book Love You More Than You Know recently won the 2013 Best Cleveland Book award, blogs with stories of the dedicated men and women in our military and their families at www.loveyoumorethanyouknow.com.
And for a little lighter fare, try Kate Carroll’s www.kate-carroll.blogspot.com. Like Erma Bombeck, Kate’s delightful, down-to-earth commentary on life will make you feel you have a new friend.
I, too, am not immune from the blog phenomena, although I’m blaming it all on my daughter, who had this great idea and wanted me to run with it. I fought it as long as I could, but eventually gave in. Since I’m almost never without my iPod or iPad, and since these new gadgets can provide wonderful lifelines for older people, I’ve instituted www.thegrannyapple.com, in which I review some apps that I especially enjoy. They may not be the newest or the most popular, but for the most part, they’re useful and even more important, fun.
Do you have a blog just waiting to be written? Jump in! The water's fine! Or, as the French say, Voyez-vous en ligne !