Wednesday, September 14, 2016

To Begin Again

I know, I've published very little to the blog in the past year or so.  There's been a lot going on: my mother died, followed by the death of one of my closest friends a week later.  My daughter took up theatre seriously and I have been a gypsy stage mom and troupe photographer for much of the last year. Last winter I retired from my job and have been spending a lot of time on house fix ups and other necessities.  In short I have been spending a lot of time accessing who and what I am and where the heck I am going, both in my life and in this blog.

Of course in the past I would have written about all this processing, but lately I haven't. The truth is I have been laboring under a serious case of writers block, and I am still working my way out. But I have pinpointed how I got into this mess in the first place.

A little over 2 years ago I was asked to become a staff writer for a web site called Lefty Pop.  It was a place to write, both humorously and seriously, about pop culture, politics, and all manner of other things.  For the first time I felt I was writing about the things I cared about, including politics and movies.  Then, in fall of 2014, the page folded.  This of course is something that happens all the time on the Internet, and it shouldn't have bothered me the way it did. But I was heartbroken. I felt myself being shoved back into the mommy blogger niche that I never really felt comfortable in.  I felt further hampered by the fact that humor blogs seem to get all the attention and following, and I am not really funny, especially on paper.  Meanwhile my kids were growing up and "mom" material seemed more and more limited.

And yet I love my blog,  I love the readers who take the time to interact. I love the friends I have made in the blogging community.  I was never aiming for high page counts or corporate reimbursements (good thing since none of it ever happened). In the all the time I wasn't writing I was still reading what others were posting. I really don't want to leave, but I do want to broaden my focus.

So, this blog will in the future be about whatever I want to talk about: current events, old movies, books, theatre, history and poetry. Sci-fi conventions. Medieval re-enactments.  I also hope to share more of the many, many photos I have been taking lately. The kids and family might even make the occasional appearance, but there is so much more going on in my world, and I feel my creativity hampered when I can't write about it.

I know this isn't the conventional wisdom.  Blogs are supposed to have a narrow focus, a few specific topics that draw viewers and advertisers.  Most of the articles I see about blogging anymore are not about anything creative, but about attracting advertisers. And to attract advertisers you must create a huge number of page views.  Well I tried to play that game, without success. I also hated it.  I realized that there was no reason to write things that I did not wish to read.

I can't be the only blogger out there who feels that way.  So let's be out own tribe--they who will not play by the rules.  I hope you enjoy what's here. And I hope you'll share your  nonconformities with me.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

40 Years On--A Tragedy Remembered

US Army Corps of Engineers/ CC 2.0

40 years ago today a ship sank in a storm on the Great Lakes. Not that unusual an occurrence of course.  Ships sink frequently, usually receiving little notice unless their is a large loss of life or unusual circumstances. So the deaths of 29 men hauling a load of iron ore across the Great Lakes would probably have been forgotten a long time ago. Except it didn't happen, not this time.

Because the story of this shipwreck caught the attention of singer/songwriter Gordon Lightfoot.  And Mr. Lightfoot, one of the great storysongtellers of our time, wrote a song about "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald." Thanks to him, everyone remembers. 

When the Edmund Fitzgerald went down I was a young high school student in Northeastern Ohio. There was a lot of coverage in the local media of the tragedy. When Gordon Lightfoot released his song, I was fascinated to hear a hit record created of events I had read so much about, that had happened so close to home. The long ballad captured not only the wreck itself, but the Lakes as well.

At one time of course, this was how all stories were passed around, and how all the news was heard. If the stories survived it was by word of mouth. Poems and songs are easier to remember than prose. Troy might have been a minor siege, but Homer guaranteed the fame of everyone there. Agincourt was a great victory, but it became unforgettable when Shakespeare retold the story. Immortality often  depends on such flukes.  

40 years ago today, a ship went down on the Great Lakes. Thanks to Gordon Lightfoot, it is not forgotten.