I don't think I've ever stuck with an idea this long. I was always the type to join a club or sign up for a sport or come up with a grand plan and throw in the towel a week or two later. I have unfinished stories and half-done projects cluttering my closets. Hell, I left St. John's University (for good reasons) with just 15 credits needed to graduate with a degree in English. Well, it's not like an English degree would have paid off anyhow. You may as well major in Sitting at Home Twiddling Your Thumbs.
So here we are, three years after I started blogging, and I'm still at it. Go figure, I finally found something to do that kept my interest for more than 30 seconds.
Today is the actual date of the anniversary, though the proof of that is long, long gone. I started my first weblog - after reading an article about blogs on Plastic - at Tripod. I don't even remember the name or URL. But I do remember the date because I still have the Notepad file.
So, this is a weblog. Does anyone read these things?
Ok, I do
remember the URL. But it's too embarassing. I gave up on Triopd and moved to Freeservers that May, where my posts were a bit longer and dealt mainly with sports and news. Then Freeservers screwed me and I finally broke down and bought my own domain and went from Blogger to Greymatter to Moveable Type and here I am.
Three years. Have I accomplished anything? Have I learned anything? Sure have, sure did.
Three years ago I was marginally aware of the world around me. I could talk current events and politics, but I had no particular passion for for doing so. I read the paper, watched a few talking heads, but didn't stay riveted to the tv except for times of breaking news. Unless the Weather Channel counts. Man, I love that channel.
Then I started reading other blogs. Obsessively. I had a links list that took up two pages. And then a strange thing happened. Just a few months into blogging, I realized my discussions about news and politics were fueled by passion. I took more of an interest in news not just from the U.S., but from all over. I began commenting on other blogs - I didn't realize I had such strong opinions about everything from brands of tuna to the Middle East.
It was just what I needed. Being a very opinionated and strong-willed person, blogging was a perfect hobby for me. Finally, a place to vent and rant and rave and tell the people of the world how incredibly correct my opinions are and how very wrong they are.
It's easy to be righteous in your beliefs when your blog doesn't have a commenting system. People rarely emailed me to refute my opinions. I was so smug, so sure of myself that I was excited to start using Blogger so I could have commenting capabilities.
My first day on Blogger was September 10, 2001. Check it out.
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I think you know what happened after that. And this is the great thing about having a blog - I do
know what happened after that. I have every emotion and event recorded, forever and ever, amen.
Don't worry, I'm not going to rehash the whole 9/11 series of events and blog posts. Been there, done that. But I will tell you that it was not just having a blog, but having a blog with comments
, is what buoyed me through those days and nights.
Ah, but there always is a flipside to things. Enabling comments ended up to be a very humbling experience. Spouting off my opinions, bitching at the world and acting as if I were absolutely right on all counts tended to piss my readers off. And they let me know. My ideas and beliefs were refuted, disputed, diluted and called stupid. I was countered, disagreed with, proved wrong, shouted down and whatever the virtual version of being punched in the mouth is. It's so easy to think you're right when you don't give people the chance to prove you wrong. Lesson Number One of blogging: People with strong opinions, who are often feisty, accusatory and belligerent and don't have comments enabled are cowards. I braved the storm and kept the comments open and I think I'm a better person for that. I have learned, I have been schooled - in short, I got served
It's a good
thing to be humbled once in a while. It keeps you honest. At least, it should
. And I've been nothing if not honest with you all these years. A Small Victory: WYSIWYG.
So, in three years I have honed my writing skills, made somewhat of a name for myself, started about 20 different projects and saw most of them to completion, made a ton of friends and several enemies, learned a great deal about the world and myself, was quoted in several national magazines and newspapers, received a community award from something I started right here, learned some coding skills, received support in times of crisis, was able to give support to others, became an activist, a political junkie, a newshound and a published author
It's been three years of constant schooling with bloggers as my teachers: Glenn Reynolds
, Bill Quick
, Joanne Jacobs
, Stacy Tabb
, Toren Smith
, Rachel Lucas
, Robyn Pollman
, Arthur Sibler
, Dirk Deppey
, James Lileks
, Noah Grey
, Reid Stott
, Eric Olsen
, Jim Treacher
and Mike Hendrix
as my unwitting mentors and teachers. Whether they taught me coding or how to laugh at myself or how to take myself seriously, or the nuances of war, religion, politics and peace, or how to write a fluid sentence or stand up for what I believe in or how to buy a good camera or spot a great comic book, or gave me a much needed lesson in humility, they all knowingly or not taught me more in the past three years than I learned in all the time I spent in various colleges.
Friends, I've made a few. Unlike Frank Sinatra, there are way too many
to mention. You know who you are, you know what you mean to me and I'll never stop telling you.
Readers. I've come a long way from my 10 hit days on Tripod. I'm not going to look up the numbers, but let's just say I'm overwhelmed by the amount of people that read my drivel every single day. It still boggles the mind. And I would like thank every single one of you. Personally. You, and you and you and you....(nevermind, I saw a comedian do that once. He pulled it off much better than I just did
Enemies. Oh, yes. It's been almost fun to make them. My buddy Vince. The goons at Indymedia. Bloggers who shall remain unnamed. But truth be told, I learned just as much from them as I have from my friends and I truly thank them for the lessons they have given me, intentional or not.
So, three years in a nutshell: I've lived, I've loved, I've learned. Just like anyone else in this world. I just happen to put it all down in writing every day. Saved for posterity in the bowels of Google so my kids will one day plot to murder me in my sleep when they realize all I've written about them. Ah, but it will be worth it, just for that twinge of smugness I feel when my daughter treats me like the stupidest person on the face of the earth and I'm thinking to myself, well, 10,000 have seen that picture of you dressed like Christina Aguilera! HAH!
Three years of crap dispensed for free at this virtual vending machine of tirades. And I have loved every minute of it. I'd like to stick around another three years, if this blogging thing ever takes off.
Thanks for all the
time you've given me. I hope it's been worth it.