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Why I’m Here: I Write

By Jessie Christensen

Earlier this month, construction workers in northern Italy unearthed a jar filled with gold Roman coins that had been buried in the ground for more than two thousand years. I’ve always been fascinated by hoards–treasures that lie in the earth just waiting for the day when an unsuspecting person stumbles across them. Imagine being a humble construction worker or farmer, digging through dirt and muck like you do every day, only to stumble upon a glittering relic from the past. I sometimes also wonder about the person who amassed and buried the treasure; did they know they would never return and that their riches would lie forgotten for millenia?

When I first found Segullah a decade ago, I felt as if I had stumbled upon a hidden treasure. The name chosen by the journal’s founders is a perfect description of this cache of jewels, peculiar in its mission to focus on writing and art by LDS women of faith. Each time I read something published in the journal or on the blog, I love the different voices found here. Each is unique, valuable, and serves a particular purpose. I’m still grateful to be a part of this community of talented writers, and after recently agreeing to serve as the blog editor, I found myself pondering my own journey here as well as what our mission is at Segullah.

For most of my life I had considered myself a reader, and not a writer. Appreciating the words of others was easier for me than creating my own, and even when I went on to study literature in college I never felt called to write my own creative pieces. Then a few of my friends who were writers began creating blogs, all written under clever pseudonyms and filled with a variety of observations about the good and the bad parts of their lives. I loved reading and commenting on their posts, and started feeling a pull to write more about my life. In 2005 I came up with a fun (and facetious) blognym and jumped right in. I loved the window into the thoughts of feelings of my friends that came with reading their writing, as well as the community we created as we all commented on each other’s posts regularly. My morning routine involved reading through my friends’ blogs for new posts, checking for comments on old ones, and writing my own content. After years of studying the writing of others, I began to think that maybe I could also be a creative writer too, and blogging was a good way to get started on the journey.

After a few years of writing on my own personal blog and mostly interacting with bloggers I personally knew, I began to branch out to bigger, group blogs. I discovered Segullah, both the blog and journal, in 2008 and became a regular blog reader and commenter. Eventually I met some of the staff in person, including at a writing retreat where the theme was “I Write” (which was our tagline for some years). I felt that I had arrived as a ‘writer’, at least in my own mind. Compared to the lovely, polished prose of so many talented women, I wasn’t so sure, but at least I could publish online on my blog any time I felt like it.

Unfortunately, for the last few years my online writing has declined. It’s not just my own blog that has suffered–other blogs I used to read and comment on are mostly fading away. Social media and smartphones have together changed the way people interact with the internet. Quick writing, links, and images have largely replaced blogging for most people, and it feels hard to find the time for thoughtful reflection and writing. I sometimes wonder who is reading when I do manage to write a post. Communities are maintained on other platforms and getting readers to click through to comment on a post is a challenge.

I, however, feel that blogs still hold a valuable place in the world. Blog writing is a good middle ground between the carefully crafted longform essay and the dashed-off status update. Cultivating a voice and a community that are not mediated by third-party commercial interests is also vitally important in our current day of media consolidation. Blogging has always been radical in a sense because it allows anyone to publish and promote their writing freely on in the internet. We are still committed to blogging at Segullah, and committed to sharing our treasures instead of hiding them away. Thank you to all the members of our community who are still here reading, sharing, and commenting on our posts.

About Jessie Christensen

Jessie served a mission in Spain and graduated from BYU with bachelor's degrees in Spanish Translation and English, as well as a master's in Spanish Literature. She currently works full-time at a university library and nurtures her three children, one cat, and a fluctuating number of fish. She relaxes by reading, baking, canning fruit, and putting together jigsaw puzzles.

3 thoughts on “Why I’m Here: I Write”

  1. I rarely comment on blog posts, but just wanted to say–I agree. I still blog as a way to keep my musings and family memories, but realize very few read. Like you said, online writing has changed. Still, it's a format worth pursuing. Well said.

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  2. I have been a frequent “reader”, & have posted a couple of comments over the years. Segullah has been a source of spiritual strength to me, like a good friend who is still awake at 0230 when your heart & soul are grappling with the new, & not so new, cancer diagnosis, trying to be able to honestly say, “Thy will be done.”

    As women, sharing how we process the hard stuff, where the rubber meets the road, so to speak, has been invaluable to me. Your insights have lifted and strengthened me as I approach the end of my mortal journey. Thank you all for your collective wisdom, & your willingness to share your struggles for “my” benefit.

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  3. Marivene, your kind words to this Segullah sisterhood touched me deeply. Though we don't know one another, your comment brought tears to my eyes and a prayer to my lips. May uplifting and strengthening influences abide with you throughout the remainder of your journey.

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