Until recently, I haven’t appreciated humans’ innate need to create. It has really been in the past few years, as talk in educational circles has focused on getting our students to create wonderful things, that I have spent time thinking about how humans have a need to create. For some it is visual arts, for others, it is creating music or furniture. We all want to add something to the world that hasn’t previously existed. It reminds me of how toddlers love to build towers of blocks so they can knock them down. They want to show that they can do things. That they can influence their environments.
I was late to this realization because I never really created anything of consequence. I’ve never felt I’ve been good at creating art, I never learned to play an instrument, I’ve never felt like I could really create anything of value. Then, a few summers ago, I felt like I NEEDED to write. I love that I get to read children’s fiction as part of my job as a teacher, and I just felt the need to write about the books I was reading. I started my first blog to document my journey reading all of the Newbery Medal winning books. This was my first experience with WordPress. WordPress was a free and easy way to publish my writing to the Internet. I never wanted to gain any kind of audience (and I didn’t; my family were really the only ones who read any of my posts), I was just blogging for myself. I was blogging because I felt the NEED to create. I loved it. Unfortunately, summers end and teaching begins in the fall. At this point, my project ended and it hasn’t resumed.
Fast forward five years, and I again had the itch to create. I’d been stewing about the rampant negativity tied to the bitter election season. I wished people could just see that although they differ in opinion, we all want the best for our country. It is so easy to get swept up in the waves of depressing news and focus on all the ways our world is broken. I felt I needed to make a positive impact somehow. WordPress to the rescue once again. I found my old login, reset my password, then cleared out the cobwebs. The tool I’m using today is beautifully designed. It is clean and easy to navigate, with tons of customization and display options. And it’s completely FREE! The interface is so pleasing to me, that just using it to compose gives me a shot of happiness each day.
The Year of Gratitude is only 22 days old. Posting once a day is a serious commitment. Will I run out of topics? Will I run out of time? Is it even possible to continue when I go back to teaching in the fall? I’m not sure, but WordPress has helped my scratch this creative itch. I’ve only had a handful of readers, but my wife is the only one who knows I’ve been writing here. I keep pondering…should I share my blog on Twitter? Facebook? Yes, this is a great discipline for me to keep gratitude at the forefront of my mind, but my original desire was to inspire others to find gratitude in their own lives. Why have I not shared? Fear. It’s the same for every creator who is reticent to share their work with an audience. I fear people will react negatively. They will say that this blog is just another collection of self-indulgent rambles. On some level, they’re correct. On another, I desire to spread positivity and help others to pay attention to all they can be grateful for.
In any case, I’m grateful for WordPress for the opportunity to express my gratitude online.