Because I’m exceedingly masochistic, or unusually genius, I committed to this thing called #NaBloPoMo. Finding myself among countless others who’ve decided to engage in daily blogging for an entire month. What the hell are we all thinking? NaBloPoMo is an abbreviational hashtag for National Blog Post Month, which is handy for me, because I need all the reminders I can get. As I sit here, I can see the dog-a-day calendar is still on the page for Oct 22/23. Sadly, that’s not the longest its been behind.
So here I sit, wondering, exactly when did I start a blog? I began writing–more than grocery lists and Christmas cards–in the fall of 2002. It was the day after my eldest child, awoke upon the morning of his thirteenth birthday and prophetically stated:
“Welcome to Hell. I shall be your guide.”
It occurred to me that I would need to find a way to deal with all the parental angst that a new teenager would bring. Primarily, to let me vent my frustration at the impending karma that the Universe was about to visit upon me. Secondarily, by giving me a record of events that could one day win sympathy from a jury of my peers.
After submitting a few personal essays, the editor of a local weekly print paper took a chance (or pity) and offered me my own humor column. After months of regular contributions, I sat down with that editor and asked him if he objected to my starting a blog.
“A blog? That’s an online personal journal, you’ll never grow an audience there. If you want to publish online, go with a straight website. Even the word sounds like someone regurgitating…blog…blaaaahhhhggg.”
This was before social media had a name or even existed, no smartphone and an ‘app’ was pre-meal buffalo wings at TGIFriday’s. Yahoo Groups, chat rooms and Instant Messenger were the standard for group communications. The iMac looked like this:
So, I trusted my editor, submitted columns to him regularly, and established my website.
I had a print readership in the high hundreds and an online readership of about 87.
88, if you count my mother.
Eventually, my editor left for other ventures, my kids grew up, I moved across the country, and blogging became ubiquitous. Some old media diehards still viewed blogs and blogging as “Graffiti with punctuation,” but the reality is that the information superhighway has just as many crank websites as it does bloggers, one is neither automatically better than the other.
Validity is in the perception of the audience. It’s less about configuration and more about content. So…I metamorphosed. I’m a columnist, but I have a blog. Sometimes funny, sometimes wistful, sometimes nothing more than a jumble of loose thoughts, and every now and again it touched people and challenges them to think. That’s good enough for me.
Being a writer is how I internally identify and during the times where I’m less than prolific, it is categorized as “gathering material.” I learned long ago that bad stuff doesn’t happen to writers, it’s just material for future work.
This post took a day and a half to get completed and published, and it’s the first non-curricular writing I’ve done in over 2 years. But as I shake off the cobwebs and loosen the rusty joints, it feels like a long overdue reconnection. A cup of coffee with a missed and distant friend. Someone who remembers Yahoo Chat, Instant Messenger, and who will split an order of buffalo wings with me.