Last Thursday’s blog publication was an experiment. I didn’t post one – on purpose!
The experiment had two aspects to it. For one, I wanted to see if a Thursday without an email notification of my blog would provoke a response. To date I’ve gotten two. Jim and Angie phoned Thursday evening to see if we were OK. That made us laugh because a) they noticed, and b) they cared. The call gave Kim and me a chuckle of appreciation, and we told them, “You won!” The other response came a couple of weeks ago from Tony, a high school friend. He also wondered if we were OK, as he did not get a notification. No, I told him, I did send him a notification. He checked and saw that he had received it on time, but he had just missed seeing it. I figured that when I skipped a blog notification to 100+ people, I might hear from a few. Nope – just one. Oh, well . . ..
The other goal of the experiment was to see how I would feel when I missed a week. I checked into my archives and saw that I’ve been doing this blog since 2010. It started when the publisher of my ebook about my brother suggested that I should have a website to help with marketing. So, I got dstring.com, hooked it up on Blogger, and I was underway. I never did much marketing there (or anywhere else), but I saw that it was a good outlet for the crap floating about in my brain. I named it “How to Discuss Paint Colors with my Wife,” the title of one of my early posts, one that got a few reader compliments. Posting blog entries soon became pretty much a weekly event, and soon I decided to publish on Thursdays. No particular reason I chose Thursdays, except it seem to be a bit of a neglected day. I haven’t missed a Thursday for about ten years.
Missing one was difficult. I did not want to break my streak, for some probably perverse reason. Few people seemed to have noticed, fewer still to have cared – and why should they? My Thursday post gave some structure to my week – absent since I retired. I can remember what day it is by thinking about how long do I have until publication, which means I need something for Kim to read it by Tuesday or Wednesday, so I can make revisions. (Contrary to the opinion of some, I do sometimes make revisions.) But mainly, I’m a creature of habit. I need my morning cup of re-heated leftover coffee (which for some reason we call “sudu”). I need to check the news on my phone and play Wordle in the morning, usually while drinking sudu (current win streak: 126). Increasingly, I “need” to have an evening cocktail while watching television – though I have managed to skip a couple of nights each week. I usually post my blog in the morning, and then send email notifications. The process is completed when Gene does his meticulous copyediting for me, catching typos and awkward or careless wording. Thanks, Gene.
Why do I write the blog at all? The main reason, I suppose, is to establish some sort of contact with other people. It’s kind of isolated here in Northern Michigan, and I’m not good at telephoning, so I think of my readers as my imaginary friends, some of whom send me responses from time to time, which I welcome. Equally important is that knowing that I need to come up with something every Thursday forces me to keep my curiosity alert for something worth writing about. My friend, Keith Taylor, once said that the best way to come up with ideas for poems is “to keep a line in the water.” When I get a nibble, I turn to my writing technique: “Ready-Fire-Aim.” I try to keep my line (and hook) in the ready state.
My next blog project is to pull them, or some of them, together into a book. Several people have encouraged this, but I need to come up with an organizational scheme, as I have about 500 entries. How Kim and I live? Appreciation of the small things? Dealing with illness? Or, maybe not – maybe just cut the weak ones and put the rest together in the same haphazard way I write, maybe just chronologically. Let my readers come up with the themes.
Suggestions? Any imaginary friends there?