May 15, 2014

Ten Years' Worth of Blogging Adventures

See what I did here?
Remember last year, when I said the blog was eight years old (and yes, I had returned after a prolonged absence?)

Well, I was wrong - it's actually been ten years since I had started this blog. I stand corrected.

Ten years ago, I was working as a community organizer/prevention specialist for the National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse in St. Louis. (Yes, I come by my community mindedness the easy way - I was born with it, and I earned my creds). As part of my work, I was always looking for tools to help spread the word out for well as a more creative outlet for my writing. (After all, thanks to my college-era efforts, I had plenty of columns in the Loyola Phoenix and a healthy collection of rejection slips for my fiction writing).

So I started a blog, and created the domain then decided that no, I was going to steal a comeback from an old classmate (as well as a punchline in a Calvin & Hobbes strip) and name this "Blog THIS, Pal!" (To be fair, as a Community Moderator for the late, unlamented Prodigy Online Service - rest in peace, former partner in rocking-the-online-house Mark Kilmer - I had used the "Verb THIS, Pal!" format in a variety of online online writing came easily, and unlike forums, I didn't have to worry about responses).

Of course, jobs were soon changed, I moved back to Chicago...and most of the rest of the story you know. Or at least, part of the story.

But that's one of the best gifts that blogging has given me - obviously, there are the tangible efforts of review copies of things....but it's given me an outlet for talking about whatever's on my mind. And my writing efforts have grown as well - switching from a personal podcast to cohosting Zone 4 (which resulted from my first "official" gig at Comic Related - and yes, guys, I do owe you a column) to writing for Chicago Now. Various other guest writing spots. And now, an increasing number of fiction pieces - three of which are due from Pro Se Productions later this year, another for the New World Navigation anthology (also due later this year), one published piece about....well, you know, and I'm working on a story for Airship 27 Productions.

My most recent absence from writing has been....well, to focus on personal matters, whether it's seeking freelance/full time work (contract ended on last gig) or focusing on critical anniversaries. Five years ago last week, Mom was fortunate enough to receive a new liver and had transplant surgery. Thankfully, the life she's living now - a bit further away, thankfully - almost justifies the sheer despair of the six months leading up to her surgery. (Oh, and I spent Mother's Day with her watching Doctor Who: The Web of Fear.). And it's been one year since Dax passed....although I'm not ready to adopt a new cat, at least I am open once I get consistent work. (And there are two cats and a dog at a neighboring business - as well as Mom's cat - should I need a near-experience with a pet-like substitute).

But anyway....blogging has given me quite a bit, but at the very least, it allows me an outlet - a way of being present in the world when I don't feel like interacting with it. (I know I'm in trouble when, after the umpteenth colleague offers unsolicited, patronizing advice, my immediate response is to say "Please don't talk to me like I'm a trained chimp....). Despite everything else, I'm seeing my world expand, and helps me avoid that uniquely fannish phenomenon of declaring that popular culture must conform to my idea....

...and actually begin shaping and asserting my own creativity. Because in the end, that's all that matters.

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