I was just reading an award winning blog, this morning--one I'd stumbled across serendipitously. I read it with an eye toward why someone decided to give that particular blog any special distinction. What I found was that it was very much like another blog from an old friend of mine: full of little anecdotes about daily living.
Both of these blogs captivate me. It helps that the writing style is polished, sure, and the entries are easy to read. What really makes these blogs valuable to me are the stories they tell.
These are stories of real people with real, ongoing problems. Sometimes life is great, other times... yeah. It's like daytime television, minus the sex, violence, and bizarre tangle of relationships (then again, I don't watch daytime television, so I'm just guessing based on the old stereotypes).
Humans are, on the whole, social creatures. We interact for all sorts of reasons. Our interactions bond us to one another, convey information, help us learn more about the world around us, and so forth. Often, the most socially successful are those who best articulate their side of things. I'm sure we all know someone whose stories we just love to sit and listen to--the people who can make even mundane occurrences into an adventure.
We, as humans, are storymakers. We're not all particularly good at it, but I think it's in our blood.
The stories that resonate with us are, at their heart, our own stories--either the ones we've lived (or are living), or the ones we'd like to live. We flock to the best storymakers not merely for entertainment, but because they tell us about ourselves in some way. They give us guidance and perspective on the human condition. On our condition. They let us know that we're not alone in the universe, and that our struggling doggy paddle in the sea of life's adversity is neither hopelessly unique nor impossible to overcome.
The lives of the women I've mentioned in this post aren't models of glamor or fame. They're both everyday women, wives and mothers, taking care of their families and trying to make the world a little better for it. Watching their struggles, their triumphs, tells us that great, overarching story I believe resides in the human heart: that, in the end, even we, in our sometimes pathetic-seeming lives, still have a real shot at "happily ever after."