Benefits of a Bloggin' Birthday Boy

Raymond Pert celebrates his birthday today. Happy Birthday Big Brother!!

A few years ago, I didn't even know what blog meant.

Then, one fall, I receive an email from my brother, inviting me to read his blog.

I found out a blog is a web log, a kind of diary or journal written on the Internet.

On Sunday, October 1, 2006, www.kelloggbloggin.blogspot.com was born.

The first post that day was titled, Kellogg is my Paris.

In his post, he writes about what he wants to accomplish through the writing on his blog.

I want to pay homage to this town, this valley, but I do not want to romanticize it. Even though my best friends are from Kellogg and even though I love this place like no other, I know that it was, in its heyday, a place of criminals, abuses, corporate heartlessness, poverty, and recklessness. It was also a place of honor and unpretentious love, without self-congratulation. I am going to tell stories, write poems, review books, write essays, publish pieces I've already written, explore life as I understand it. I will try to understand the world through my exploration of the place that, for me, is the world: Kellogg, Idaho.

As my brother, who goes by the moniker Raymond Pert (our father's name) has written and shared his writings over the past two years, he has not only paid homage to our hometown, and explored his world, but has also opened up his world to me.

My brother has always been a bit of a mystery to me. With a nine year age gap between us, it didn't seem like we ever shared that much in common. Through my little sister eyes, he was the big brother who always teased me, called me names, and gave me a hard time.

When I was eight years old he graduated from high school, and the following fall went to college. In my eyes, we were in living in two combined, but very separate worlds.

A few years later he married, and eventually moved to Oregon.

After the move, we were lucky if we saw one another once or twice a year.

From a distance, I saw my brother marry, divorce, date, break up, marry again, divorce again, and marry again.

I saw him go through many transformations throughout the years. He was college student, grad student, purple-clad vegetarian, college professor.

He was always a bit of an enigma to me.

Then I watched as our father's death shifted his way of thinking, and brought him back to his roots.

And, through his writings these past two years, I have come to understand we have much more in common. Through years of being separated by age, geography, time and space, these are no longer barriers to our relationship.

I have come to understand what makes my brother tick.

I have learned his strengths and his weaknesses, and how he is able to write about both.

His writings about his struggles with depression have helped me better understand the struggles I have gone through with depression in my life, and the lives of my loved one.

Seeing our family through his eyes has opened my own eyes.

By the one small act of making the decision to start a blog, Raymond Pert changed the dynamics of our family forever. Raymond Pert, Inland Empire Girl, our mother and myself are closer than we have ever been.

The following February of 2007, my sister and I created our own blogs. And through the posting of our thoughts on our blogs, it has made it easier to laugh together, cry together, and come to understand one another in a fresh way.

We have come to understand and appreciate each others view of the world, our different talents, and our occasional tirades.

The fact we are separated geographically in three different states is no longer a barrier to our relationships.

Because the written word has drawn us together, and we are learning to share who we really are, and are being loved and accepted by one another. And this is very liberating for all of us.

This reminds me of a quote from my favorite author:

"Wherever there is unity in diversity, then we are free to be ourselves; it cannot be done in isolation; we need each other."
- Madeleine L'Engle, A Circle of Quiet

Happy Birthday, Raymond Pert!! Thanks for continuing to share yourself with each of us, and helping bring each of us out of isolation to learn to need each other.


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raymond pert said...

It has been a wonderful experience drawing closer together and getting to know each other better through our blogging, sibling assignments, and sibling outings. This is a wonderful piece of writing about all of this history of ours. I just wanted to say I counted, and I think you got the number of marriages and divorces right........urgh

myrtle beached whale said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
myrtle beached whale said...

This is a nice tribute to your brother. Nine years is a huge difference when you are 8 and 17, not so much when you are 90 and 81. I think that is partly why it is easy to grow closer. Bill (Pert) is also the reason I began blogging. I will never forgive him for that.