The view from the farm

December 11, 2009, 4:01 am
Filed under: Etymology | Tags: ,

Why blog? Why not just keep my thoughts to myself instead of publishing them as if I were still 15?

Here’s the thing of it, as Eloise said – I don’t have a paying job right now, and I want one. Employers are purportedly impressed by some blogs and even hire people based partially on them. To that end, I’ve been thinking for a while about having a blog. However, blogs that ping on potential employers’ oh-wow screens need to subscribe to Kierkegaard’s idea that purity of heart is to will one thing. That is, employable blogsters should blog about only one thing, and that thing should be the theme of one’s desired job. In other words, if one wanted to be an emergency room nurse, one would blog about innovations in ER medicine, why those without health insurance use ERs instead of primary care, etc.

However, I’m not Kierkegaard, for which we can all gasp in relief. For one thing, I don’t write in Danish. I’d also like to think that my prose is not impenetrable. (Maybe you find Kierkegaard’s writing easy to interpret. Good for you! Don’t email me to say so. Thanks.)

The bigger reason is that I don’t will one thing. When so many fascinating topics shout out for recognition, how can one confine a blog to just one of them? That’s the peril (and also the joy) of being a dilettante. My friend Paul uses the word “generalist” instead, but I think that term flatters the subject. Much better to have others do the flattering, at least in my opinion. The lack of a single blog topic, therefore, might seem to militate against having a blog at all. However, some of my friends noted that I have an opinion on practically every topic and delight in the etymology of most of the big important words used in the context of said topic. There’s Kierkegaard’s “one thing.” (It’s really two things?  La la la la, I’m not listening.)

That’s a bit of rumination, but there’s more to it than just that. “Ruminate” comes from the same word as “rumen,” which is the first compartment of a ruminant’s stomach. A ruminant is an animal who chews the cud, such as – you guessed it! – a cow.

My husband and I live on three acres in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley, and beef cattle live on two sides of us. Our youngest son and I have an ongoing discussion about cows. A few months ago, we saw two groups of cows in the same pasture. One of us (maybe Timmy remembers who) suggested that the cows stayed separate because of political divisions. The standard placid group was pro-cud while the slightly more agitated group was anti-cud. (People have been polarized by sillier causes.) We went on to speculate on possible bovine senate bills, cocktail parties, fundraisers, etc. Timmy is a little tired of the pro- and anti-cud idea, but it always amuses me.

Many things do. That’s one of the joys of my life, that there are so many interesting ideas. I hope you’ll also find my views from the farm to be interesting. Let me know, okay?