200th Post

This is my 200th post. I’m posting it on Winter Solstice, 2009, which seems appropriate.

I looked back at my very first post in March, 2008. I said I might blog about books, movies, trips and experiences, random thoughts, and chocolate. I’ve been pretty consistent, except chocolate has been under-represented.

I don’t write about as many books as I thought I would. I’ve only posted 29 book reviews, although I’ve written about books in other posts. Still, I thought originally that book comments would make up the bulk of the blog. View From the Road is the largest category. This is surprising because I travel very little. My road runs pretty close to my house. I also put things like theater reviews in that category, for the simple reason that they are neither books nor movies, each of which has its own category.

I never would have guessed that a wild Presidential campaign and the introduction onto the national stage of a former beauty-queen half-term governor of a northern rural state would get me interested in politics, but 2008 was better than any soap opera, or Lost, when it came to out-of-left-field drama. Mrs. Palin, no longer technically a political figure, manages to provide lots of material for a lazy blogger. I mean really, practically any day of the week I can link to an article or post a quote from her. Thank you, God!

When you start a blog, everyone tells you to read other blogs to see what the form is like. I did that and was stricken with doubt. Political blogs, well-researched or not, are opinionated, tough and dramatic. You’d better have a thick skin if you’re going to write one. Some people blog in encyclopedic detail about their hobbies; scale modeling of various things, hang-gliding, river rafting, knitting or medieval history. Some blog about helping in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, building schools in Afghanistan or surviving breast cancer. And I’m all, “here’s a nice place to get a coffee.” Yet, sometimes, I think, it’s good to be reminded about small everyday thingsā€”a See’s candy employee buying an elderly customer a second lollipop, the farmers’ market, a homeless man and his demons, and, yes, a place to get a good coffee drink.

And some experiences cry out to be shared. I never thought I’d go to a fund-raiser at Sonoma Mission Inn where they raised $118,000 for the Women’s Shelter in 40 minutes; watch orange lava flow into the ocean, or see The Tempest performed with puppets. Why wouldn’t I want to share that?

I notice that when I started, back in 2008, weeks would go by between postings. Now I try to post two times a week at least. I don’t always hit it, but I’m getting pretty consistent. Sometimes a posting isn’t a story, a review, or a mini-essay. Sometimes it’s a picture, or a link. I think that’s acceptable.

Late in 2009 I decided I wanted to blog somewhat about writing. The problem is that I have very little to say. National Novel Writing Month helped, and so did the Mendocino Writers’ Conference. I hope to be a little more conscious of my writing process in 2010, and share that on this blog.

What about my readership? There’s a grandiose word! Thanks to the two or three of you who look at this once in a while. A couple of months ago someone at work looked at the blog while I was in her office. While we were looking, a third person came in and said, “What’s that?” and looked over the first person’s shoulder. I was like, wow, my readership just doubled. To be honest I think the numbers have swelled to nearly eight. Once in a great while someone I don’t know comments, and every once in a while my blog shows up when I Google certain topics. It’s like, it’s out there. You can’t see it from space, but it’s out there, a tiny message in a bottle bobbing on the swells of the world wide web.

Is it a message in a bottle, or am I just writing for myself? I don’t know. Is the Internet the new marketplace of ideas, or a giant echo chamber? Is this recursive, self-indulgent delusion, or real communication? I don’t know that either.

The only thing I know for sure is, as I said earlier, chocolate has gotten short shrift on this blog in the first 200 posts, and in 2010–this is my solemn pledge– that’s going to change.

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