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New Year, New Bob

Monday, 30 December 2013

2013 was a transitional year.  To what, I'm not sure.  But on this blog, we agreed to step back, write less, give more time to other writing projects.  I'm not gonna lie-- that was tough for me.  Having to write less frequently sapped my will to keep up with the monthly grind.  I found it too easy to let long stretches go by before I'd think, 'Well, I guess I owe a blogpost.'  

Messing with a routine messed me up.

Then, in July, I started writing for a food blog, too, a gig that potentially offered nominal pay, larger readership, and, most of all, a focus to the writing.  Six months in, that remains a pretty positive experience, though when you sign on a crew member on someone else's ship, you give up command and control.  The food blog is a loose affiliation, but the loss of editorial control on things like titles and occasional scheduling issues can be somewhat challenging when one is used to complete creative control.  That is the trade off of business, though, right?

But the Internet is the real issue.  Even though this entity has offered so many opportunities for amateurs like Billy and me to get our half-baked thoughts out there, ultimately the Internet is not technology.  It is humanity.  And humanity on the Internet is about the same as much of humanity everywhere else--easily mean, susceptible to the mob, courageously anonymous, the equivalent of a bunch of teenagers driving around in a car with a dozen eggs, looking for targets.  If anything, these behaviors intensify online.

As an amateur, someone like me owns a good bit of this problem.  Sometimes I write off the cuff, sometimes don't do enough (if any) research, and, most of the time, enjoy the cocoon of a little blog where I think I know who most of the readers.  Part of being a professional is having a professional skin, and when it comes to blogging, I don't.

Add to that another uncomfortable reality: people's minds are not changed by what they read.  I may support Obama, Billy may challenge the lack of gun control, either of us may make what we consider to be a common sense approach to a national issue, but that doesn't mean a reader's reaction is going to be, 'You know, I believed the exact opposite, but you have changed my mind.'  It just doesn't work that way anymore, if it ever did.  All of us putting opinions out there are preaching to our own little choirs.

So here's what I'm going to try: Small Ball.  In baseball terms, this strategy focuses on getting runners on base any way possible, stringing together a bunch of base hits, hit and run, drawing walks, bunts and sacrifice flies.  There is no reliance on home runs, extra base hits, hitting for power.  A team just tries to scratch out wins.

In my writing terms, I'm searching for and hoping to write about the small epiphanies and casual observations of daily life, not the hot button, newspaper headline topics that everyone with a keyboard feels that he or she must weigh in on.  Maybe I've usually kind of done that anyway.  I don't know.  But I am now heading that way with complete intentionality.

An epiphany a day?  I should be so lucky.  But I kind of like the sound of a post called something like "Epiphany #52," my typically amateurish attempt to hearken back to Marcus Aurelius' Meditations or Krishnamurti's Think On These Things.  Not that I will attempt anything so cosmic.

But I've been known to observe a thing or two, figure out a pattern, solve a puzzle (to my own satisfaction), so we'll see.

Happy New Year!

Bob

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