Over this past summer, I encountered a dilemma: I had opinions to write, and no place to write them.
For the past three years, that hasn’t been an issue. I worked as a reporter and editor for my school newspaper, The Shakerite, which let me write and publish as many columns as I pleased. Whenever I held a strong opinion, I could express my thoughts to our small but growing audience. Doing so gave me a release of sorts. Even if no one read my column, I had made my perspective known. I found comfort in that sensation — that I had contemplated an issue enough to take a stance on it, and that someone, someday, could learn from the view I had articulated.
That’s not to say I wrote columns all the time, or even often. While working for The Shakerite, the number of opinions I held inevitably exceeded the number of columns I wrote. I had too many other duties: assembling print issues, editing other reporters’ stories, discussing artwork and layouts, writing my own news articles and, y’know, doing my actual schoolwork every so often. Still, when I graduated in June and my outlet to opine vanished, I felt The Shakerite’s absence. Too many times this summer, I’ve cultivated views I wanted to share. Not wanting the commitment a blog might force me to have, I shared my opinions in long rants to my parents instead. It wasn’t as satisfying, and I think they got annoyed after awhile.
I finally decided to start a blog a few days ago. On August 12, World Elephant Day, I posted a column on Facebook explaining my infinite love for elephants, the fatal threats those pachyderms face and how humans can prevent elephants’ extinction. Thirty-nine people ‘liked’ that post — which, I hope, means 39 people read it. That’s a decent readership for a Facebook post as absurdly long as mine was, but I realized I remained unsatisfied. I care deeply about elephants and their survival, and I wanted more than 39 people to learn from my column. I wanted dozens of people, hundreds, even thousands to read my words and adopt parts of my opinions as their own. Only then would my column make a significant difference.
I doubt this blog will attain thousands of readers, but here we are anyway — me writing my first blog post, and you reading it. Thanks for joining me. I can’t promise frequent updates, but I do pledge to make each post worthwhile. Enjoy reading about the figurative elephants in my room — the opinions I can’t knock out of my head, except by putting pen to paper. Or, in this case, fingers to keyboard.