an American fish in & out of Estonian waters

Why Blogging is Like Busking


On my walk home from Old Town the other day, I stopped to listen to a street musician playing in one of Tallinn’s pedestrian underpasses. As I was enjoying the music, it hit me – I’m just like the busker strumming away at the guitar in that cold and dimly lit underground tunnel as other people hurry past on their way to wherever it is that they need to go.

After all, every day that the busker [blogger] picks up the guitar [turns on the computer] and prepares to busk [blog], the busker must figure out what to play [write] next. Will the busker play what people want to hear [read]? Or will the busker play what feels right? Either way, the busker is not just playing for the coins [likes] as most people seem to think. The reasons that the busker plays are much more complicated than that – especially when the spare change that the busker collects seldom amounts to much – even when the busker gets lucky and someone puts in the occasional bill [comment].

So why does the busker play? Why does the busker send that music echoing down the tunnel [internet pipe]? Sometimes it’s just for the practice – practice, after all, makes for better music [writing]. Sometimes it’s just for the love of music itself. And sometimes it’s just because music is something that the busker must make – there’s no other choice.

Yes, perhaps the busker dreams of finding that perfect song [post] that people will want to hear [read] over and over again – and which will launch the busker down that road to fame. Yes, the busker knows that such songs are elusive and finding them can be next to impossible. And, yes, the busker understands that finding that perfect intersection between what the busker wants to play and what passersby want to hear is the fundamental nature of the creative challenge. But sometimes it’s just easier to play someone else’s greatest hits [make lists] rather than trying to bring another new song into the world.

And yet, when you get right down to it, all the busker [blogger] really wants is for someone to stop for a moment and listen [read]. All the busker really hopes for is that someone will pick up the CD or download the songs [subscribe or follow] – not because the busker will make any money off that labor of love – but because it means that someone might listen to the music again after its echoes have faded. All the busker really needs is a listener [reader] that enjoys the music. Only then will the busker be satisfied – and only then can the busker play on.


Image: A Koshare Story Teller with a Drum made by potter Reyes Panana of New Mexico’s Jemez Pueblo.

2 Responses to “Why Blogging is Like Busking”

  1. Barbara

    Have been following along for a while now and got a dose of Estonia’s magic in San Francisco at the Baltic Christmas Fair last week. I need a kwerke for Lithuania!



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