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Pickle Me This

March 7, 2019

Why Your Own Small Corner of the Internet is Going to Make the World a Better Place

I spent last week gathering signatures for a petition among parents at my children’s school calling on our government not to increase class sizes—which is a call that everyone was happy to get on board with. It was the “duh” of petitions, but even still. “You’re awfully optimistic,” one person remarked as he signed it, but I’m really not. I understand that a majority government with short-sight and an ideological agenda is probably not going to be moved by a bunch of signatures in a riding that didn’t even vote for them not to make cuts to our already under-invested education system. But this still doesn’t seem to me like a good enough reason to sit back and just let it happen, to do nothing. Even if the outcome is the same, the outcome won’t be the same, because there will have been resistance. The fight always matters, even in the rounds you don’t win.

It was probably twenty years ago when I had a revelation about my ambition to become a writer, which was that even if I never succeeded in my goals, merely striving for them would end up taking me on a different and further trajectory than if I hadn’t bothered. And maybe what I’m trying to say here is that I’m comfortable with the notion of futility, or perhaps that there is no such thing. I believe in small things, and how they lead to possibilities, and I’m going to keep on tending my own garden, because it’s a thing that I can do.

Although by tending my own garden, I don’t mean retreating from the world, planting a row of tulips behind a barbed wire fence while the world falls apart outside. I don’t mean walls, because walls aren’t real. If someone’s not okay, then no one is okay, because there is indeed such a thing as society. And there has never been a more important time to be connected with society, with community—which is why I spent last week gathering signatures for a petition (on paper, with pencils, and everything). Sometimes social media can give us the illusion that we’re being political, making a difference, but I’m starting to think that it doesn’t count. I’ve been making an effort this year to replace to my Twitter engagement with real things—blog posts instead of tweet threads, sharing links to things I love in a newsletter, walking around the school yard and talking to people in my community instead of writing obscenity-laden tweets to idiot politicians who are never going to read them which is really only an exercise in screaming at the sky.

What I mean is that I continue to insist that my voice matters, however in a small way, and so do the choices I make and the causes I show up for, the principles I instil in my children, and my decision to live with integrity and stay true to the things I believe in even as integrity and truth don’t seem so fashionable these days.

And lately I’ve been tending my own garden especially by going back to the blog, planting thoughts and ideas and watching them grow, and even watching them spread as other people read and respond and write posts of their own. I continue to insist that blogs matter too, and that the internet needs blogs more than it ever did—a place where there is thoughts instead of noise, where the people aren’t bots, where there is room to expand and explain and even change your mind. Blogs are important in 2019 because they aren’t underlined by corporate interests, because what parts of them we read aren’t determined by algorithms, because of their focus on language at a moment when politicians are making meaninglessness into an art form, because of their obscurity even and how they give us the freedom to explore off our own beaten track, because they’re not part of an industry that’s flailing, dying, desperate. There’s nothing desperate about a blog.

To blog is to be hopeful—that words matter, that someone is reading, that small things make a difference.

“You’re awfully optimistic,” one might suggest in response to this post, but again, I’m really not. I just believe that doing what little you can is always better than doing nothing. I don’t think that people understand enough about their own power—drop off a loaf of a banana bread at your neighbour’s, or shovel their driveway, and you’ve transformed your community into a place where such things can happen. How we spend our days becomes how we spend our lives, and who and what we are (online and off) becomes the world.

11 thoughts on “Why Your Own Small Corner of the Internet is Going to Make the World a Better Place”

  1. dilia says:

    my comment is I like this post. thanks Kerry

    1. Kerry says:

      Thank YOU. I really appreciate you letting me know.

  2. theresa says:

    I agree with everything you write here. How we spend our days means something, to us, to our children, our friends, and the ripples extend into the world

  3. Susan Fish says:

    This takes things I’ve been thinking and doing even farther. Thank you for that.

    1. Kerry says:

      Thank YOU for the thinking and doing.

  4. Thank you for this post and for keeping your blog going. I always check in on your blog as well as Shawna Lemay’s and it’s a good day when there are new posts to be read. As Brené Brown talks about, to me,you are a warrior and I just wanted you to know, on international women’s day, that’s how I see you.

    1. Kerry says:

      That is the coolest thing. Thank you!

  5. melanie says:

    I’m awfully optimistic too. I seemed to have turned a corner in my writing and in my world where I just don’t care about the rejection or the possibility of failure anymore because I was failing anyway when I wasn’t writing. That doesn’t make it easier but it does make it easier to live with myself.

  6. Alice says:

    “…even if I never succeeded in my goals, merely striving for them would end up taking me on a different and further trajectory than if I hadn’t bothered.” Excellent line!
    And a very good post.

  7. Diane says:

    I so agree with you that our voice matters — and blogs matter too. This is an important post. Excellent.

    1. Kerry says:

      Thanks so much.

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