Street Art, artist unknown. photo: JParadisi 2006
The stories people tell have a way of taking care of them. If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away when they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive. That is why we put stories in each other’s memory. This is how people care for themselves.
I clicked publish on the dashboard and became the narrator of my life.
As all such stories begin, it was innocent at first. I’d heard it was dangerous, but I thought I could handle myself. I had no understanding of what I had done. So began JParadisi RN’s Blog.
My naiveté was the result of experiences with other social media platforms. I actually closed my Facebook account once, and Twitter is no more to me than an electronic business card. I use each to announce art shows or accomplishments, and keep up with the same information from my friends. But, blogging, oh blogging, forgive my human foible I am hooked.
Like most initiates, in the beginning I checked stats obsessively throughout the day, lit by each new hit. Soon, hits weren’t doing it for me anymore. I craved comments and links. I needed to know someone was reading my posts. Like a neighborhood dealer, the Internet is happy to oblige. It makes me wait in anticipation, driving me to write more, write better, whatever it takes to get another link or comment. Ideas for new posts wake me up in the middle of the night. At work, I look for occurrences to divert into insightful posts. Often I see the ideas as images, so I started a second blog, Die Krankenschwester to handle the overflow.
Of course, I exaggerate to some extent. Occasionally I am able to shut down my computer for up to 24 hours at a time. Blogging isn’t an addiction. It is a medium of self-expression just like painting. Blogging is equivalent to exhibiting my paintings: a public voice. In one way, it’s superior to a traditional art show, because I don’t have to ask permission to publish my thoughts on a blog. In the art world, hanging paintings in a gallery requires the permission of the gallerist. As a writer, I ask permission from editors to publish my stories. In many areas of our society, the public expression of individual opinions requires someone’s permission. Not inherently bad, gallerists and editors are gatekeepers, deciding who gets in (I am joyful when they pick me). Blogging bypasses the gatekeepers, allowing anyone to express him or herself freely, as long as they are willing to take on possible consequences.
It’s no wonder that people homebound with chronic or life-threatening diseases use social media to find support. It’s not surprising so many nurses blog, often anonymously, telling the stories their friends and families often don’t have the stomach to listen to or the background to understand. I remind myself at social gatherings to say only I am a nurse, when asked what I do for a living. No one wants to hear about critically ill children or oncology at a cocktail party.
We are social creatures and our need to tell stories is strong. I cherish the quiet solitude necessary for my creative process, but if meditation was all it’s cracked up to be, solitary confinement wouldn’t be a punishment.