Four years ago today, August 31, 2014, I began blogging regularly in this spot, reviving an idea that had lasted all of one post in 2011. That 2014 post explained the genesis of what was to become a (usually) daily occurrence. Sometimes I try to be funny (and occasionally even succeed), sometimes I am serious, even thought-provoking. Other days I just haul out thew travel photos – which are very popular. Today a re-post of that first (technically second) post where I explained why I was doing this. I think the message still holds up.
Three years ago I decided to start a blog. Several people had told me that it was something I should do, that my thoughts, expressed in emails or conversation, needed to be shared with a wider audience. I wasn’t so certain, but decided that it was not my place to argue with those around me. So I started a blog, posted one piece, and didn’t tell anyone. Then I stopped.
The timing wasn’t right. I didn’t want the responsibility of writing to deadline and not being paid for it. I do after all write for a living. I had other priorities. I didn’t want to feel I had to write any more than was required for school and work. So I left it at that.
This past summer (2014) I traveled to six different countries in as many weeks. Some of my experiences were thought provoking. I jotted some notes down on my phone, originally meant as lengthy captions for the pictures I was going to post on Facebook when I returned to Canada. However I soon realized the “captions” were taking on a life of their own. I am still working through exactly how I feel about some of the things I witnessed. The First World War battlefield, for example, that inspires feelings of horror at the human waste, and awe at the spirit of willing sacrifice. Some places I visited were just fun, but I probably won’t write about those.
To post these thought for others to see, to make them a dialogue, seems both appealing and a bit frightening. So I have resurrected this blog to tell the tale of “How I Spent My Summer Vacation.” If reaction is positive I will keep it going with other random observations (which indeed I may intersperse with the summertime commentary).
In the 1960s American pop artist Andy Warhol suggested that at some point in the future everyone would become famous, for 15 minutes anyway. That prophetic observation may have been one reason I have been reluctant to make my thoughts available. It seems everyone has a blog. The few who don’t blog have a reality TV show, which seems worse to me. (Full disclosure: my brother has been known to blog, but though his reality TV show was only six episodes). And, if we are being honest, most of the words being placed for public consumption would have been better left in the authors’ dictionaries. Who am I to say that my pearls of wisdom are really worth reading?
One of my summer rituals is two weeks at the beach in Maine. I don’t watch television at home, but in Maine I try and get caught up what I may have missed in the previous 50 weeks. Call it an annual sociology project, since I really am not interested in what’s being broadcast. I assume somebody must watch or they wouldn’t continue to make the shows, but apparently all that is broadcast anymore are variants on fighting chefs or fighting siblings, so-called reality television. Cheap to produce I guess, but just a perverted form of narcissism. Which leaves me concerned that making my thoughts public in this sort of forum is both pretentious and narcissistic.
Perhaps when I have exhausted the tales of my summer of 2014 I will vanish once more into the virtual wallpaper. Until then I will do my best to be both entertaining and thought provoking. Hopefully my best will be good enough. Feel free to respond. Without your input this becomes just the ramblings of someone who perhaps should have been told long ago to shut up (and if you do want me to shut up, please be polite when you are telling me that).
For the next few weeks you can expect to hear all about “How I Spent My Summer Vacation.” I had a great time; I hope you do as well.
I make no promises for what comes next in this space. Most of the posts, more than a thousand, were written while I was using public transit. I no longer do that regularly so I no longer have a dedicated writing time. We’ll have to see what the fall schedule brings – maybe I can set aside a set period every day dedicated to this post.
I have a tendency sometimes to just go with the flow, which can be annoying for my wife who is more of a planner. If you had asked me in 2014 if I would still be in this space in 2018, I wouldn’t have been able to answer – I had no plans either way. Then again, in 1979 I started a weekly Christian radio show on CKCU-FM in Ottawa. I had no plans beyond the next week’s broadcast. Next year the show will celebrate its 40th anniversary, though there has been a name change and numerous hosting changes over the years. If I had had a plan, it probably wouldn’t have lasted that long.
So no plans for this blog, though I hope I can get some of my almost-finished posts up here in the next little while. Whatever I do though, I want to thank you for reading. The feedback I receive is a lot of fun. I hope you continue to enjoy my random thoughts.