Why I called my blog ‘The Red Log’.

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By Jarred Parsons

When I first decided to start a blog I found myself confronted with a very difficult decision. What on earth should I call it?

A name is significant. It speaks volumes about purpose, identity and personality. The right name can generate interest and curiosity and connect the reader with the author of the blog.

Knowing a name represents so much, I wanted to choose a name that has meaning and purpose and a little bit of creativity. At the same time I didn’t want to pigeon hole the identity of my blog. I’m not sure where my blogging journey is going to take me and there are so many topics I can write about. I’ve got a whole range of thoughts on a whole range of subjects I’d like to explore.

After putting my thinking cap on I put my first idea into WordPress only to discover the name wasn’t available. I tried a second, third, fourth and fifth name. All taken. I began to wonder if all my great ideas had already been thought up by someone else. As I started putting in ridiculous names, even they were taken. I was beginning to think I would need to make up a word like Kodak when I finally stumbled upon a name that was available… The Red Log.

I paused. Is this really what I want to call my blog? If a name is so important it’s got to be right and this name was a desperate random thought while trying to find a name that hasn’t already been used in WordPress. I wanted to be sure I could live with this name longer term and more importantly that it was a name that represented not only who I am but also what I’m hoping to write about.

As I started to ponder the name ‘The Red Log’ I began to discover that my random frustrated thought actually had a little more depth than I’d initially realised.

At first the idea behind The Red Log was a simply variation of “read my blog”. I dropped the ‘a’ from read to create my favourite colour red and not wanting to use the word blog in my title I dropped the ‘b’ from blog to form the word log. It was a fleeting thought with no real purpose or depth behind it or so I thought.

I began to explore what ‘The Red Log’ could possibly represent and explored the idea that it was a variation of ‘the read blog’ meaning the blog is being read. The word ‘log’ was of particular interest to me. One of its meanings is a collection or record of events. In a way a blog is like a diary or a log of your life. While many blogs are about topics or subjects, my blog will definitely include some documentation of events in my life just like a log book.

My pondering continued in a more visual direction. What is a red log? Is there even such a thing as a red log? I wondered if there were trees somewhere in the world with red stumps. Then it dawned on me. Almost every grey led pencil I have ever owned was red and made of wood… a red log of sorts.

In days gone by a writers most important creative tool was his pencil. A pencil is the instrument that takes the ideas, thoughts and creative expression from the artists mind and translates them into a format that can communicate, inspire, challenge and entertain people. The pencil represents the birthing of ideas into a tangible form of communication – just like a blog.

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All my thoughts up to this point were relevant and good but the picture that popped into my head next was by far the most significant in terms of purpose, meaning and what it represents to me the author.

In my mind I saw a picture of a roughly textured and very chunky piece of wood. As the eyes of my mind scanned over it I saw it was attached to another similar piece of wood. Then I began to see what looked like red paint beginning to dribble over the wood. It was the crucifix of Jesus Christ slowly beginning to be covered in His blood.

The most significant event in history and the most significant person from that event who also happens to be the cornerstone of my faith is symbolically recognised across the world by the red logs. That was the moment I knew I had the right name for my blog.

My faith in Jesus was an unexpected turn in my life journey but He is now by far the most significant part of me and all I do. My view of the world turned completely upside down when I first encountered God and that will show as some of my blogs unfold. I can only hope my blog is a worthy reflection of Jesus Christ and representative of His salvation, hope, love and compassion.

It’s nearly impossible to find a name on WordPress but thankfully I found The Red Log. Hopefully The Red Log will stand the test of time and its multiple meanings will serve me and my blog well.

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The Red Log begins…

By Jarred Parsons

I’m a writer at heart. It’s a form of creative expression I used a lot when I was growing up.

English was one of my best subjects at school and unlike most of my friends I could quite happily spend a few hours writing in addition to our school work.

When I was in my early teens I had as many as 10 pen pals that I’d regularly write to around Australia and across the world. 10 is a lot of pen pals. Perhaps I’m showing my age a little here but the reason I had so many pen pals was because I grew up in the days before email, facebook and the internet. Sometimes it could take weeks for an exchange of letters to occur via the postal system (especially overseas) and having more pen pals meant I had a much more regular stream of opportunities to write. I didn’t just get an opportunity to write though. I also learnt a lot about the people I was writing to and the states and countries in which they lived.

One of my pen pals was a girl called Kylie. Unfortunately Kylie had a really serious car accident and ended up in hospital for an extended period of time. Living so far away there wasn’t much I could do to help but I decided a hospital bed would be a pretty boring place to live for several months and there had to be something I could do to help. I soon realised there was one really obvious thing I could do… I could write to her more often to help keep her entertained and help kill some of the boredom. I made it my mission to write the longest letter I could. I wrote about 38 pages for the first letter I sent her in hospital. Now that’s a really long letter but it didn’t take that long and it wasn’t really that difficult because it was something I really enjoyed.

When Kylie received the letter she was still very physically drained from the accident and her injuries. She said it took her a few days to read in small bite size pieces but she got through it eventually and she really appreciated the entertainment it gave her. With so much time to kill Kylie ended up writing a letter back that was almost as long as the one I’d written and so the conversation continued back and forth regularly with long letters as she continued on her journey to recovery.

It never really occured to me that I loved writing so much until my Year 12 English exam. We had to write about one of the books we’d studied for an hour an a half. That was quite daunting but as I picked up the exam booklet and started to write the words flooded into the exam booklet. I was writing at such a pace that about half way through my exam I had to ask for a second booklet because the first one was full. Talking to a few mates afterwards I discovered that many of them struggled to fill even half of their exam booklet and all but one had not asked for a second booklet at all. They were stunned that I had filled two booklets by the end of the exam. I don’t think they really believed me at first but evidence that my hand was really sore from writing so much and still quite red from holding the pen so intensely gave it away.

Recently I’ve been thinking about writing more. The thought of starting a blog has been cycling through my mind for quite some time. A blog seems like such an obvious outlet for me. Despite the appeal to my inner writer I’ve resisted the idea. I’ve felt a great reluctance deep down… so much so that it’s kept me from taking the blogging plunge.

The biggest barrier to starting my blog has definitely been social media. People are so brutal on social media these days. There’s a disturbing tendency for people to shout down and attack other people online just because they put their thoughts or opinions out into the world. The attacks are often posted without any genuine attempt to understand the others viewpoint and more often than not without any respect for the idea that the person is actually entitled to have a different opinion. Too many get offended on the basis that it’s ok to have an opinion ‘as long as it’s the same as mine’. In all reality we live in a mostly democratic world. It’s actually ok to have a different opinion.

It discourages me to see so many words posted online that would otherwise be classified as bullying if they were said face to face. Our shallow self righteous sense of right and wrong fails to look deep enough into posts on social media. I’ve seen so many examples of posts on social media where people jump on a negativity train and start casting irrational judgments based on assumptions, bias, false perceptions and misunderstandings.

We forget the iceberg principle which suggests you’re only seeing 10% of the story and we make a judgement without seeing or understanding the other 90%. There’s more to the person posting than the 140 characters tells you. Even worse, we seem to have developed a disconnect from the impact of our words. Words can hurt people deeply if they’re not used sensitively.

I’ve really questioned whether I’m really prepared to expose myself to such unbridled criticism for the sake of a writing outlet.

The reality is there are people who will disagree. It’s inevitable. There are billions of people on our planet and our values are so varied and diverse that it’s inevitable that we will have differing opinions, thoughts and perspectives of the world we live in.

The Red Log is the result of a decision I’ve made not to let the fear of foolish words stop me from doing something I enjoy and it’s something I know will grow and inspire me and hopefully also readers of The Red Log.