Until Lambs Become Lions [About Blogging] - The Jose Vilson

Until Lambs Become Lions [About Blogging]

June 7, 2010

Robin Hood 2010, Ready To Shoot

A couple of nights ago, I saw Russell Crowe’s rendition of Robin Hood. A good movie for those who like serious, rugged prequels to their favorites, the film takes us through Robin Hood the English soldier who fought alongside the King of England in defense of his country before the jealous king pronounced him as the outlaw archer we know today. The humble courage he demonstrates throughout the movie has an underlying phrase handed down to him from his father: “Rise and rise again until lambs become lions.” Without giving away too much of the movie, I’ll say that this phrase keeps him on the right side of his constituency, even when he’s not on the right side of the convoluted law.

In the same way, there’s a certain courage it takes to put our thoughts and person out there 4-5 times a week, edited or otherwise. Nevermind the multiple calls from random people about how they saw us on Google Images, or the administrators and bosses who are both terrified and intrigued that we’d write about our lives this often and this publicly, or the random people who find our sites indirectly and feel the urge to write entire epitaphs that have nothing to do with the post itself. It’s about the act of blogging and the strange social implications of blogging amongst other writers and bloggers (I differentiated that here).

It’s an act I take pleasure in, and love whenever I get a great idea to put down on blog. It’s also something that constantly shoves me to think about myself in a different light every time I put an idea out there. It’s more than simple reflection: it’s a great way for me to start a conversation when, more often than not, I don’t like starting conversations. I’m the one in the room that’s listening intently, waits for the right moment, and then chimes in with an interesting point of view about an otherwise tired subject. I don’t speak out of turn, but when there’s a need for a shift in conversation, I also provide that. (I also tend to be the only Black / Latino guy in the room, no matter what dimensions the room takes, another side of things altogether.)

It’s the same sort of thing I see in the blogosphere. Social media, more than other conversation platforms I’ve taken a part of, has exposed some of my writing favorites in the most infuriatingly human ways possible (side note: if you’re a great writer and you’re not on Twitter, please don’t get on. I might start to not like you), but given me plenty of people to fill their spots (if you’re already in my networks, stay good). On one end, it’s made plenty of print heroes look like jealous hermits and regular people look like superstar evangelists. It’s made tons of money for people who can hustle their way through a ton of hastily assembled posts and opened doors for those rarely get a chance to express themselves. These spaces are great for people who want to read the same thing over and again without letting their personality in it, and great for people who want to hold onto a handful of passionate and invested writers.

This is especially true of the latter in all these examples. Despite Darren, Brian, and Chris all saying that blogging is about consistency and honesty, the latter groups often get overshadowed by the former groups. This is where lots of people trip. They see the successes of marketing blogs, celebrity blogs, relationship blogs, and LOLCats and feel hopeless against that deluge of bloggers, many of whom have diluted in favor of the commercial. They get a set of invested readers, but the numbers of lack thereof, discourage them. They squint trying to see through the thin slit where writers try to get published through. They barely know anyone within these circles that “matter,” and try to find themselves in these people.

I’m one of those who fell into that trap too, until I felt the urge to not speak like everyone else, and re-conquer my voice. Blogs like this help amplify my voice in ways other places couldn’t. We are lions in wooly cloth, bombs unlit, fires unset. Some of us are in different stages of speaking in the language of the elements. But to not speak up, speak to the truth, and act accordingly devalues everything you’re saying and doing. My blogging has less to do with promoting since I have nothing to sell, and more with pushing the conversation where it never gets taken.

I’ve shot too many arrows in my lifetime to miss my target. And I won’t miss.

Jose, who was inspired by Bam’s blog post …

This post was written by...

José Luis Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist. For more of my writing, buy my book This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, on sale now.

For more about me, read here.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Monise June 7, 2010 at 10:05 pm

OMG! This is exactly what I have been feeling for the past few weeks. Initially, I was not excited about blogging because I was so frustrated with everything that was going on and everything that was not. I thought, who is going to want to listen to me anyway? Once I finally started, I started finding my voice because when I worked, I felt like I was either the only one who paid any attention to what was going on or the only one who cared. By blogging I am finding other people with a passion for education, in spite of and because of its faults. Whenever I start to feel as though I am not writing frequently enough, I remind myself that it’s only important to speak when you have something worthwhile/meaningful to say.

Thanks again for inspiration exactly when it was needed!

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teachermrw June 7, 2010 at 10:19 pm

I have found that I ultimately blog and write for myself. I realize that there may never be a book deal, or 1 million hits. Like teaching, people have to find their own true voice via blogging.

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PaulV8 June 8, 2010 at 7:42 pm

Thanks for the inspiration. But it isn’t inspiration unless I get off my duff and write in search of my voice. Pretty silly to say “I’m an English teacher who has lost his voice,” but it’s true. And so, having you as an inspiring practitioner of the art, I cannot ignore my own need to write. Gracias, hermano.

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Amber June 8, 2010 at 8:30 pm

::nods:: Yes bro. Exactly that.

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Jose June 8, 2010 at 9:33 pm

Thank you all for your wonderful replies. Even I have a hard time finding things to write about, but life is too abundant in topics.

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jmholland June 8, 2010 at 11:01 pm

I had a similar conversation with my editor today when I explained that I would not write feel good bog posts because they were easy to edit. Whats the point. Its the difference between a real story and a sitcom. Who wants an easy e…

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Jose June 9, 2010 at 7:59 pm

Hey John, did you want to finish this comment?

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Saul Rubicon October 15, 2010 at 10:25 pm

“And when they seek
to oppress you
And when they try
to destroy you,
Rise and Rise again
and again
Like The Phoenix
from the ashes
Until the Lambs
have become Lions
and the Rule of Darkness
is no more ”

Maitreya The Friend of All Souls
The Holy Book of Destiny

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