Feeling His Pleasure

So, I’ve regained a modicum of composure after yesterday’s justifiable meltdown. The very idea that mindfuldigressions.com would label me a narcissist … why, as I said yesterday, that’s beyond the pale! When Mindful Digressions (MD) insists on raising this “N-word” accusation, it is absolutely a bridge too far. I should have let it go, I might have.

But then! He closed out the post with this stunning paragraph!

“This, essentially, is what blogging is all about. It’s a selfie, but with words instead of a picture. It’s more than just ‘a bit narcissistic.’ It’s the embodiment of narcissism.”

A selfie? He even emphasized the word, highlighting it in red, providing a weblink to define the word!! How could I ever let that accusation slide? Comparing the practice of blogging to the sophomoric act of snapping a selfie?

SelfieThat, sir, is cruel! Does MD think it’s fair to paint bloggers with that expansive brush of unabashed self-worship? Lumping garden-variety (albeit, incurably narcissistic) bloggers into the same company with notorious selfie-ers? I mean, we’re talking the likes of Carlos Danger and Geraldo Rivera! That’s just plain icky! Oh, the humanity!


carlos-dangerOkay, I’m slowly breathing in, breathing out. I’ve got a brown paper sack here on the desk just in case I feel a sudden wave of dizziness… I’m feeling better. Phew!

Of course, I’m writing again today with tongue firmly planted in my cheek. I wasn’t truly offended by MD’s blog post; the writer offered reasonable observations and logic. And the comparison of blogging to taking (and posting) a selfie? On the face of it (so to speak), I have to admit I understand why he would make that argument.

Maybe … just maybe … there’s a smidgeon of truth to it. Are bloggers just another cadré of performance artists? We don’t smear chocolate all over our naked bodies, nor do we thrust swords down our throats. If we open our veins to squeeze out the words mingled with blood, it’s (usually) only achieved metaphorically.

In the sense that every blog post represents a waving, uplifted hand (if not a desperate plea) for attention … Notice me! Notice me! … I willingly (though grudgingly) concede MD’s point. (Still don’t care for the selfie comparison.)

So why am I still writing?
Because personally, I think there’s a distinction more basic than egocentrism that speaks to why people blog and write. I would not presume to speak for anyone but myself, yet I don’t think I’m alone in my approach to this writing avocation. I’ll explain.

ASIDE:  Before I proceed, I kindly beg indulgence here. This is where my philosophic approach to writing diverges from that of many other bloggers including MD (whose clever post “I’m not gay, I’m an athiest” lays out his worldview). I don’t share MD’s worldview, but neither do I intend to criticize it. We’re friends, remember?

In my previous post, I mentioned my unflagging compulsion to write. It relates to who I am at my core. I am first and foremost a created being imprinted with the image of the Creator of the Universe. The image with which I’ve been imprinted includes an expressive and creative impulse. I must give it a voice!

There’s a Bible passage in Luke 19:36-41 where Jesus is urged to forbid his disciples from worshipping him. Jesus replies:  “If these become silent, the stones will cry out!”

The creative impulse seeks expression, even demands it. When I work at crafting a sonnet, choosing just the precise words to communicate an idea, it is akin to a birth process. In that sense, it doesn’t serve me, my ego, or my desire for attention. It satisfies an impulse for creating something lasting and more meaningful than myself. There is, in fact, an element of worship to my creative impulse.

Lest I be misunderstood, I don’t think one must be religious or Christian to be creatively driven, impelled. The imprinted image of the Creator is (I believe) in all of us from birth.

However, because I’m a person of faith, I can only address how this creative impulse drives me. When I blog, am I demonstrating my narcissism, my fascination with self? I think not, but others may reasonably disagree. (MD?) With each post, am I manifesting the self-indulgent, self-aggrandizement that compels individuals to throw caution to the wind and post narcissistic selfies? I suppose readers must decide that for themselves.

But MD’s points are well-taken and worthy of reconsideration from time to time. I appreciate his point of view and his perspective on why we do what we do.

There’s a scene from the movie Chariots of Fire that comes to mind, a scene where one of the main characters, Eric Liddell, explains one reason for why he runs. Around the 2:23 mark in this YouTube video, in a voice-over Liddell says:  “God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast, and when I run, I feel his pleasure.”

Years ago, I loved running. In contrast to Liddell, I wasn’t fast. Eventually, I had to choose a gentler exercise for my joints. But I understand Liddell’s description. It’s the same for me when I write. Such a gift, to feel his pleasure!