When I was in junior high school, I was seized by the notion that writing would be a great way to earn a living. I hadn’t decided if I thought fiction or non was the way to go yet; just the idea of writing—of being able to say, “I’m a writer”—somehow it appealed to me.
In high school I was on the staff of the school’s newspaper and I wrote a few articles here and there (I remember none of them). I caught the bug for journalism and I didn’t specialize, mainly because in my high school the only specialties were sports or student life and I participated in neither. My friends were outside of school and I was at best an indifferent follower of the school’s athletic teams, particularly because the football team was in the midst of a record-setting losing streak at the time. I tended to gravitate more toward the design and layout of the paper, copy-editing others’ work, the mechanics of producing the monthly rag.
This continued into college, where I declared journalism as a major at one point. (Actually it was Communication with Emphasis on Writing for Print Media; we can’t have a degree program with a single-word name, after all.) And I wrote a few articles, a very few, but again I ended up on the business and editing/production end of the whole gig once more. The paper’s editor specifically asked me to handle the business operations of the paper; he knew me from our membership in DeMolay and thought highly of my as yet unknown business skill.
And I had a great time, but I was past the idea of writing for a living.
When I first considered starting some sort of web site a few years back, I had no idea what I’d put there. I figured it’d probably end up like the home pages of AOL Hometown and Geocities and similar services, slapped-together web presences that no one much cared to view. Then I stumbled over beta-testing opportunities for various publishing and content-management services, TypePad among them, and I was hooked.
All with no idea what I might possibly put on the damned site.
So I started small and just scribbled up quick notes about the blog process itself and my first steps into it. Then I got ambitious and thought I’d start a second blog that summarized the news and other stories that grabbed my attention each day, and when I suddenly had a topic, I posted like a madman on that news blog for, oh, I’d say a month or so.
My personal site, in the meantime, went through dry spells and incredibly prolific spells as well, and it was all inconsequential. My archives reveal a lot about my day-to-day life over the last two years but less about my personality or my politics, though you can get a sense of those by the stories I’ve told about myself and by the news articles I’ve quoted and by the sites and other blogs I’ve linked.
Now I seem to be going through another dry spell and I think how amazing it is that some people start up blogs devoted to PVRs or television or conservative politics or knitting or hiking or Google Local and I’m just amazed. I can’t think of a single topic about which I care that much, but I sure love reading other people’s efforts in the subjects they’ve chosen.
Such a vast diversity of sites out there, and mine has elements of many of them and says nothing much at all.
I love technology. That so many people have such immediate simple access to such a powerful medium just boggles my mind. By no means perfect, of course—some countries still exercise too much control over their citizens’ ability to speak out in any forum, the web included—it’s still an absolutely astounding progression over the last six centuries from hand-copied manuscripts to movable type and on to mass-produced books and printed matter and now to the electronic world.
All so readily available, some of it infuriating, much of it annoying or just plain wacko, still more of it just individuals’ attempts to stake out an identity in one more part of their lives.