My first blog entry was a little over a year ago: December 14, 2002. Since that time I have posted 103 entries. 57 people out there left comments for me to ponder. (Actually there were more than that, but I had to get rid of a lot of spam comments.)
My friend Lisa who still keeps her own active blog inspired me to create my own blog. It was not a difficult thing for me to do because I had already helped her set up her blog, or at least helped her move it from Greymatter to Moveable Type. Setting my blog up was easy; but it did take a few days to purchase a domain name and to park it in my real domain. In actuality this blog rests inside my potomactavern.org domain. It’s cheaper that way.
Every blog has a style and it took me a while for me to develop mine. Most blogs I read are streams of consciousness blogs. In these blogs entries are posted daily, sometimes many times a day, and contain a lot of the random thoughts and minutia that daily happen to a person. Such detail about my life would put me to sleep; on a daily basis my life is not all that interesting. I suspect it would put my readers to sleep too, so I’ve largely avoided it. Rather I’ve focused my blog on content. My mind often races with thoughts and perspectives on issues that I consider profound and different, but I also believe are usually dead on. I often feel like I am a pretty good prognosticator of future events from present day patterns, and just putting them out there makes me feel better. I feel good, for example, about predicting our country’s debacle in Iraq before it happened. Now I have a place to put these thoughts. They exist not so much to share it with the world as to act as a sort of living memory.
Most blog have limits. I sometimes wish I had a blog where my real identity was not out there for all to see. Like everyone I struggle with issues that I don’t necessarily want people to tie directly to me. It would be nice to capture these issues and insecurities somewhere, but I won’t do it here. I doubt my wife would like our lives quite that exposed, and I don’t want to expose voyeuristic details of my life to the world at large anyhow. I’ve already gotten some feedback that this journal is a little too personal. I’ve written about my daughter’s sexuality and the problems of neighbors on the street. I skirt boundaries of propriety from time to time, but so far I do not feel ashamed or think any of the content here is inappropriate. Life as we all know is messy from time to time, so why not expose some of that mess to the rest of the world? Readers can infer the rest. My personal life is messy too; so is yours.
I started this journal hoping that perhaps it would be more widely read. I fancy myself something of a writer. I’m no Sinclair Lewis but I am probably a better writer than most out here in blogland. If I were to judge by comments left here, not a whole lot of people read this blog. But I also can look at statistics provided by my web host and I do get hits on this site. Of those who bother to rate me on bloghop.com, over half rate my site as either “Good” or “Love It!” 31% don’t like this site and rate it as “Sucks” and “Hate it”. Well, there’s no accounting for taste and I don’t lose sleep if it turns some people off. But blogging is very “in” at the moment and it seems like it has moved from the avant garde to the masses. Because there are so many blogs out there mine won’t draw any special attention. Unlike, say, DailyKOS there is no theme to my blog to suck in a particular community, although I tend to dwell on politics quite a bit.
I have found that I can’t write briefly. I find if something is worth saying, it is worth saying well and fully. I compose my entries in Microsoft Word and carefully edit them; nonetheless it is a rare entry that is less than two pages long. I sometimes wonder how many people make it to the end of an entry.
I also blog, I think, because some part of me misses writing. I did so much of it in my youth and it energized me. Since then I haven’t really had the time. A blog gives me an excuse to focus on my thoughts and feelings by writing about them, and it gives me a place to share them with the world. Occasionally though I write on something that piques the interest of a number of strangers. A good political entry will usually generate a comment or two. The most passionate comments came from my entry about how I have lost interest in Star Trek. I was also surprised to find some passionate comments when I discussed the situation of a neighbor of ours.
There is something existential about my blog. It seems to mean as much as I wish it to mean. No one would miss it if I dropped it tomorrow. I wouldn’t miss it that much either. I sometimes force myself to sit down a couple times a week and write about something even though my life is already plenty busy. If nothing else it provides a means for me to reflect on my life and this world I inhabit. Actually writing about some of these things requires me to put my thoughts done concretely and to think through my own opinions and issues.
So I intend to keep the blog going. It is getting harder to think of fresh things to post here. However I have surprised myself so far. This blog is a lot denser and more alive with meaningful content than I expected. And it is good to know that people I care about actually read my blog from time to time. I know my wife stops here occasionally, and some of her friends have stumbled on my blog through her and read it. My two favorite Toms, my brother Tom and my long time friend Tom Cheevers read my blog. And hopefully the lady who turned me onto blogging, Lisa is still coming here regularly. If nothing else I will show up. If I keep conversation with no one but myself, at least it is a sign that I am alive, I am thinking through issues and I am marking the passages in my life.