I've shared many things with you in this three months: my cooking, my clothes, miserable days with sore skin, a death in the family.
I've really enjoyed blogging regularly again, and I vow to continue for hundreds more blog entriws. I also vow to keep up the quality of the blog entries - which may not mean blogging every day like I've tried to do.
The ability to practice my writing has been great. I've also loved the thought process and research that has gone into writing my blog entries. Sometimes it feels like I'm researching for news stories.
But the best thing by far is the community I've found through blogging, and the interaction it creates. I've said it many times - I love receiving comments and thank you all for doing so. I can't believe I have people taking the time to read my writing and take interest in my life.
I love reading other blogs and getting an insight into their world. And I love giving readers insight into my world. I haven't told you everything about me, but I've been really honest about things in my life, and I'm really pleased with such a positive reaction from friends and strangers.
A friend I used to go school with commented, 'I find that I am learning about you now, when I should have been doing so 10 years ago...'. Her words moved me. She's right, though I don't resent her, I think of so many that didn't take the time to get to know me. And through this blog, people are getting to know me. I'm a person of solitude - through I have a sunny disposition and enjoy company, I also enjoy being alone and and comfortable with my own company. When I write I can share parts of me that I might not have shared with others that know me. There have been people who have read my blog entries about my skin and commented that they've not realised what it's like for me until they've read my blog. I've received comments from strangers who have told me that by me telling my story allows them to be more confident about telling theirs. This means so much to me - it confirms that I can positively influence people, and that I am helping people in some way.
Which brings me onto stories and what they are worth.
I've enjoyed reading blogs more than magazines. Not that I buy many gossip magazines, per se, but I like fashion magazines. And while I have a pile of magazines to be ready, I've actually found I'd rather be reading someone's blog. Getting to know them, a stranger...what makes them tick, what inspires them, what they'd wear. Rather than getting to know the lives of celebrities. It's far more interesting learning about ordinary people. I thoroughly enjoy the blogs I follow.
One thing I really like to do is snuggle up in bed and listen to podcasts by ABC Radio. Some of the podcasts I listen to The Conversation Hour and Background Briefing and Multiple Choice by Susan Maushart. I also listen to This American Life and KCRW's Good Food. Look them up on iTunes!
I love podcasts. They tell stories. Many have been so interesting. And moving. And have stayed with me. Like the woman who gave up her life to become a strictly disciplined Carmelite nun - she left her family and devoted her life to God and had no contact with her family for 40 years. Like the story of the South African woman who was gang raped. Like the stories about the carers and paramedics and the everyday people making a difference in our community. I love hearing these stories. I love learning about people through them telling their stories. And I think this is why I enjoy writing my blog so much - because I can share my story, be heard, and receive feedback.
The stories of ordinary people - sometimes doing mundane things, often doing amazing things - mean so much more to me than the stories of celebrities. I admit, I used to love celebrity. Maybe not all celebrities, but I have fallen pretty hard for a few celebs in my life. But now, it's boring. Of course, I know what's going on in Lily Allen's life (she's going to start a vintage store and a reality TV show will be made about this, FYI). And I know that Tiger Woods and his wife were seeing kissing. I know about these stories, not because I'm interested, but because stories like these are inescapable because the media feeds them to us. Because celebrities sell them to us.
And why should a celebrity's story be worth more than a story of an ordinary person doing great things in the community? Why should a celebrity be paid $200,000 to tell a story about a love affair and a nude photo? How is this interesting or important? How is this news?
I salute those who share their interesting life stories for the benefit of the wider world. They may receive a small fee for doing so, but that's not the way most of them make a living. And for most, it must be very hard to share their stories because of the trauma they've been through through no fault of their own. Commendable.
For stories about real people that will continue to inspire me, I will continue to read blogs and listen to podcasts. And I vote that the media concentrates on more pressing stories - world issues (poverty, hunger), environment issues, health issues. They may not be packaged in a size 8, suntanned, bikini clad, body, and vacuous mind, but they're a damn sight more interesting and important.