I’ve wanted to change the game for a while, but find my mind running in circles when I try to think of something new. I love creating, sure, but at times I find myself creating without soul — creating because I’m “supposed” to, and I hate it. I’m not a pawn. I’m not a writer who follows orders, doing the bare minimum or copying and pasting just to hit a quota. When I create, I want it to mean something. I want to go back and look at my work some years from now, knowing I left a bit of myself in my content with readers still checking it out because it means something to them. I knew I wasn’t going to get there singing the same old song — I had to look at my ideas with a fresh set of eyes, pouring everything within into something that’d stand out from my peers.
I’ve been told that if I want to be a PR-friendly blogger, there’re three things you never talk about — race, religion and politics. Politics I’m fine with since I’ve never delved deep enough to get really stirred up about it, and while you’ll find me at church every Sunday, I find my ministry best done through intimate conversation than the cold landscape of the Internet. But I’m frankly shocked that I haven’t tried tackling race before now.
It’s not like there’s a lot of bloggers of colour in the Great White North. Though it’s hard to believe if you live in Toronto, where literally every other person is a visible minority, there aren’t a whole lot of us in Canada, relatively-speaking. Making up little more than 20% of the population in the last census, it leaves few of us around to tell stories from our viewpoints. The Canadian blogosphere’s shrinking as it is, but all things considered, even if we’re a force of 100,000 strong, with 95% of blogs abandoned by those not determined enough to grow them1, we’re left with 5,000 bloggers who have anything to say. Then, with demographics holding true, that’s 1,000 people of colour actively trying to share their stories. If the 2.9% of the Canadian population that’s Black translates to a mere 145 Black bloggers who are putting words to their experiences for the world to see… it leaves you with a sense of responsibility to share your insights — even if it’s not the most popular choice.
That in mind, in late January I came up with Tales from the 2.9 — a way to showcase other Canadian content creators who look like I do in a world where I fear people don’t know that we exist. With the time I’ve invested in the #BloggerLife so far, I’m not naïve enough to think it’ll catch on from the start. Still, lifetime achievement awards aren’t given to the people who give up after their first mistake — this is but the first step in a very long journey ahead. The world needs more things it hasn’t seen before — even when everyone wants to tell you it’s already seen everything under the sun.
The Best Content is Often Not the Easiest to Write.
I sat here and tried to write a post from the soul, but nothing was coming. To put my predicament into words, knowing that my second son’s birth forever changes my world and how it’s shifted my priorities to make sure my family comes out stronger for it. I tried explaining that I wasn’t here to apologize for my absence from the #BloggerLife — that few bloggers out there juggle a growing family, blog and a full-time job… but I’m not one to whine, and a pity party does nothing to push me forward. All I was doing was wearing myself out by constantly looking behind me, trying to make sense of a mish-mash of thought that was getting me nowhere. I had to look ahead at the fresh new ideas, figuring out where the half-formed thoughts from my past would fit best — if I wanted to keep growing, the ideas from the Casey who once was would need to grow up with me.
So I hope you’re ready for the month ahead — I’ve let too many Februarys come and go without taking a good look at a part of me that’s so prominent, yet so often left unmentioned. If I want to create a brand I can proudly show to my kids when they’re older, I can’t focus on the fluffy topics alone — I have to stand for something more, and this first attempt at really examining my life as a Black man is but scratching the surface of a much larger story I know is waiting to be told!
That said, thank you for your patience. It took me a bit to wake up and start looking to what the future might have in store instead of muddying the mind with clutter that’d confuse me. There’s so much out there one can write about — it’s time I stop limiting myself and take a few chances; because the only thing worse would be forever wondering what would’ve happened because I didn’t.
Thanks for reading, tout le monde, and let’s all expect great things from the times ahead!
Until the next, I remain,
1 “According to a 2008 survey by Technorati, which runs a search engine for blogs, only 7.4 million out of the 133 million blogs the company tracks had been updated in the past 120 days. That translates to 95 percent of blogs being essentially abandoned, left to lie fallow on the Web, where they become public remnants of a dream — or at least an ambition — unfulfilled.”
— Quenquajune, Douglas, “Blogs Falling in an Empty Forest”, The New York Times, June 5, 2009