Heather Sullivan on "What is a blog?"


Recently over a tiny sip of whiskey Heather Sullivan told the Carville Annex that she needs to ‘make more blogs’ for Balanced Rock, an organization which facilitates nature experiences for humans, to remember who they are and how they are connected to and a part of nature. Obviously this led to a tiny interview.

What is a blog?  

Blog is short for web-log. I've learned by trolling the internet and by asking as many people as I can, “What is a blog?” It is a website-ish sort of thing that can be really interactive. They are really popular, it seems. Blogs can be an electronic form of journaling for some, a web-site for others. Blogs can be vehicles for sharing information, creativity, and connecting. I like all of those actions. But I prefer journaling with a pen and notebook, and I like facilitating workshops that encourage this form of reflective writing. I really like to write letters and send them in the mail if I can't talk to people face to face, and I love receiving them even more. The word ‘blog’ is quite unattractive. Not sexy. Say it slow. It is a bit like vomiting. BBBBLLLooooggg.

All this said, I am excited to undertake writing blog-posts for Balanced Rock. My aim for 2014 is to write posts that focus on technology-use and its impact on humans, fasting from technology, and the benefits of spending time in nature.

What scares you about technology?

When I received my first email account at the University of Vermont in 1992, I didn't understand it (like I didn't understand what blogs or Facebook or Instagram were). My friends, the Amstutz family, still have this quote of mine posted on their refrigerator:

What is this email thing? Who would ever want to communicate like that??? In fact, I don't think this internet thing is going to catch on.

I was obviously very wrong about the popularity of internet, email, and technology. I have tried to engage to keep up with friends, family and the world. To the surprise of many, I now have an iphone (which gave me a massive identity crisis), a computer, and have even written a few blogs (blog-posts :)). For the longest time I thought people were making spelling errors when they texted me shorthand like R U going? K? Muah. and I would painstakingly (and expensively) type out: ‘Lots of Love’ (LOL) or ‘See You Tomorrow’ (CU2mrow). My English major / journalism / editorial skills did not allow me to abbreviate in this way. It is still quite a challenge.  

I almost fell over in laughter and horror when I learned of the phone app (uggh) that allows one to see the sidewalk below to aid  in navigating while walking and texting. Really? Does this really need to exist? I am not against technology, though resistant to use it at first and often seek alternatives first.

What I feel strongest about is the need to take a break from it every once in a while (or longer) and sit in quiet amidst trees and animals, away from screens and talk face to face with other humans.

What do you love most about the nature?

When people say 'the nature', it makes me laugh and feel a little sad. When spending an unusual amount of time outside like I have had the opportunity to do, the separation between humans and anything else in nature feels exceptionally false. When we put the article ‘the’ in front of ‘nature’, it creates a separation between us and nature.  (Which is the reason I like to add 'the' before blog, internet, etc.)  

I love climbing on rocks and walking in pretty places and swimming in rivers and oceans and learning about plants and animals by observing and being with them. I love watching sunrises and sunsets and getting to know a place in each season. I love learning how landscapes shape people of the area and how the people of an area shape the landscape. I love being inspired by place to write a song or a poem or jot ideas down in my journal (to later be turned into a blog:)). I love how simple and clear everything is sitting by an alpine lake or walking a ridge line.  And I love the time I spend by myself and with friends in the mountains.  It is daily presence. I see part of my work as facilitating and inviting others to these experiences.

What are your thoughts on free baby dolphins?  

I like them better than grossly over-priced ones especially if they are free-range, non-GMO, organic (but really organic and not just labeled that way) regional, and seasonal. Seriously, I think they are cute. I just got to hang out with some near Santa Barbara while I was learning to surf a kayak. They are magical beasts. I hope I answered that question.  

Posted on September 30, 2014 .