So – this isn’t quite the standard obligatory  post-Irish Blog Awards  entry, but it is heavily fuelled and inspired by the awards last weekend. Like most of the First World (or at least it seems like that many by now, but deservedly so), a hat-tip to Damien Mulley for his constant, tireless and infinite enthusiasm and energy he puts into the awards every year, and it’s my deep hope that he appreciates the shot in the arm that the gig offers the Irish blogosphere every year.
The big winner on the night was Suzy Byrne of Maman Poulet , picking up the category prize for Best News and Current Affairs Blog as well as the overall Grand Prix for Best Blog. None deserved it more: few put as much vigour, dedication, and professionalism into what is essentially an amateur pursuit as Suzy does. While the blogs of professional journalists naturally carry the self-assured, but not self-righteous, swagger of someone who can happily make a living from doing what they do, Suzy is one of those who would easily be mistaken for one of their class: the notion that she doesn’t make her living from her blog (and I use ‘doesn’t’ because I’m positive she could, should she choose to) is a strange one indeed.
Suzy’s acceptance speech for the Grand Prix was generally on the theme of why she blogs. Her blog later recounted the same idea.
I blog for fun, for anger, for stress relief from my day job, as a source of pain relief […] and simply I blog becuase I can.
It was the last phrase that rang most sincerely at the awards: I blog because I can. At a basic level, it’s a privilege that too many of us would easily take for granted: a quick look at Amnesty International’s Irrepressible.info  is a sobering reminder of how little some of our fellow man can get away with, aside from the fact that not alone do less than 20% of the world have an internet connection, but a substantial chunk of the world doesn’t even have phone lines.
Suzy’s lines were put back to mind today as I read that UnaRocks has decided to hang up her keyboard  for a bit:
I’ve never been really comfortable with the persona that has grown out of how I blog. It’s my own fault, of course, this whole ‘UnaRocks’ thing. When I was talking to Lili about it last night, she understood, she said that she could see how people misread me and mistake the personality that emerges from this blog as my actual self. I’m not at ease with that, and I never have been. But then again, that’s my own fault, because I suppose that’s how I’ve put myself across.
Una’s blog is one I’ll miss. Before I blogged, even on incarnations that barely exist any more, I knew about UnaRocks and how it was always an indirect measure of the wellbeing of Dublin’s nouveau pulse. I hope that Una finds the relief in not blogging that she’s hoping for; as someone who’s never managed a conversationwith her but who’s nonetheless been on the receiving end of some wonderful, provocative and insightful advice from her, I know how people so obviously genuine can find it difficult to cut out a part of their lives that they don’t necessarily do for themselves.
Which leads me to the question really, why do we blog? Why do I blog? Well, the honest truth is that I’m not totally sure. I write because there’s an egotist in me that likes seeing my own words before me; I write because I harbour resentments at some things in the world that are simply wrong, I write because it’s made me some good friends, I write because… well, it’s really like Suzy said. I write because I am; because I think, I have thoughts, and like a pushy parent – and because I can – I push those thoughts out onto their own platform, making them dance and sing for the supposed delight of others, but really just for the vicarious life of the author.
So congrats to Suzy, good luck to Una, and fair play to the other winners at IBA09 and to Mulley and Rick  for keeping the show on the road so brilliantly. For the rest of us mere mortals, the show doesn’t merely choose not to end, but just as our own being, snowballs softly onwards.