Serendipity has often led me to wonderful discoveries of obscure wisdom buried by information overload. Ingrained into this excessive load, are blog posts, which are designed for instantaneous consumption of information, after which they are piled up in a corner of cyberspace, forgotten.
Until someone—the blogger or an inquisitive reader—decides to uncover them.
If a blog post were a needle in a giant, ever-expanding haystack, then a blog comment would be a grain of sand underneath that needle. Indeed, a comment is usually read only by the person it is directed to, even though it can equally contain insights too valuable to ignore. Fortunately, on a fortuitous day, random chance can lead us to the unexpected discovery of these insights.
I’ve already shared Melissa Janda‘s thoughtful comment on how blog awards can alleviate a writer’s loneliness. I’ve also shared how my discussion with Julie Israel inspired another post titled “On Education, the Arts, and Writing”. In this post, I’m going to share two more comments I’ve received from two other bloggers, which I hope will inspire you as they did me.
The first one was Melora Johnson’s reply to my own comment on her post about storytelling. She recommended Amy Tan’s TED Talk, in which Tan, conveniently, talks about the impact of random chance on creativity and storytelling.
Her TED Talk not only inspired me to write this post, but also gave me a new perspective on creative writing. Tan tells us how serendipity has led her to discoveries of valuable knowledge which, in turn, enriched her stories. She also says that asking questions about our existence and why things happen enables her to see the relevance in randomness—or what she refers to as “flotsam and jetsam”—and to create something out of it.
This is reminiscent of Brain Pickings editor Maria Popova’s enlightening talk about the architecture of human knowledge, in which she discusses the way we collect what seems to be useless bits of information and combine them to create something new that is of interest.
The second insightful comment was written by Daniela, keeper of The Lantern Post, in response to my congratulations for her blog’s one-year anniversary. In her celebratory post, she expressed the same sentiment that Kira Lyn Blue elaborated in her thought-provoking post, “Blogging and Writer’s Insecurity: You’re Not Your F%$^ing Blog Stats!”:
I am […] utterly astonished and above all truly grateful. For each and every one of you who stopped to read, comment, like, nominate, and write emails. Ask questions, offer support, make suggestions … and much more. I thank you all. While the stats page tells me that more than 1000 people have decided to follow the Lantern and over 25,000 visitors passed under its soft glow … numbers are not what is counted on the Lantern. Footprints are.
While these “footprints” are not why we write, they can certainly give us that extra push in the right direction, even when we are unsure of ourselves and at our most emotionally volatile. As Kira said, “I get an adrenaline rush every time I see a new comment waiting in my inbox.”
A comment may also open up pathways to knowledge you didn’t know exist, like Melora’s did. But more importantly, the words of others can empower us, inspire us, and lead us to understand ourselves, as well as each other, better:
Blogging is all [about] interactions, connections and search for one’s own voice … whichever form that might take. Words matter. They can build, destroy, heal … as humans we shape our world by them. Even when we look into a beautiful painting, or listen to most extraordinary music … we express our feelings in words, or symbols that replace them if for some reason we cannot use words. We long to tell somebody – this is such a magnificent music and it makes me feel … we long to share. Because only by sharing we [fulfill] our own need to belong, to love and be loved. And that really is the essence of all ‘things’ human -:)!
I wish you all the best and many, many happy blogs!
— Daniela, The Lantern Post
Have you ever been inspired by another blogger’s comment? Please share below.
Top image credit: Flikkesteph. Some rights reserved.
“Conversation on a mountain” photo credit: Kevin Dooley. Some rights reserved.