Why I Started a Blog

When I was thinking about starting a blog–five or six years ago, back in 2009–my student, Kellan, told me that he thought his mom and I were the only people who read his blog. So, I thought hard. What if no one, including my mom, read my blog? What would be the point of it?

One of the reasons I came up with, was that it could become a kind of commonplace book for great quotes and insights and lines that I come across in my reading. Hence, the following quote:

“In the end, people don’t view their life as merely the average of all of its moments–which, after all, is mostly nothing much plus some sleep. For human beings, life is meaningful because it is a story. A story has a sense of a whole, and its arc is determined by the significant moments, the ones where something happens. Measurements of people’s minute-by-minute levels of pleasure and pain miss this fundamental aspect of human existence. A seemingly happy life may be empty. A seemingly difficult life may be devoted to a great cause. We have purposes larger than ourselves. Unlike your experiencing self–which is absorbed in the moment–your remembering self is attempting to recognize not only the peaks of joy and valleys of misery but also how the story works out as a whole. That is profoundly affected by how things ultimately turn out. Why would a football fan let a few flubbed minutes at the end of the game ruin three hours of bliss? Because a football game is a story. And in stories, endings matter.” —Atul Gawande, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End (238-239)

4 replies
  1. Jennifer Bullis
    Jennifer Bullis says:

    Bethany, I, for one, read your blog! And I enjoy it a lot! Thanks for sharing so many quotes, goales, and thoughts about your writing process here. Please know that I take inspiration from what you share.

  2. Rita Ott Ramstad
    Rita Ott Ramstad says:

    I have been reading your blog only a short while. (Robert Ward pointed me to it.) I am on my third blog, and the commonplace book is one of my main reasons to blog. I dabbled with doing a different sort of one, but blog as notebook is about the only reason that’s making sense for me now. (I don’t know if you remember me from Nelson’s workshops. Probably not. But it has been nice to “see” you again in this space. I’m glad that you are writing here.)


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