Monday, October 22, 2007

A Year Blogged By

It’s been a year or so since I began writing a blog. I started doing so because a few people suggested that I should stretch my writing muscles. I like sharing my thoughts without conveying too much of my personal life and my hope has been to make you smile, cause a reaction and inspire you to think a little. I seem to have done a little of each judging by my readers’ reactions. I’d like to review my first year a bit here and perhaps solicit even more reaction.

I’ve blogged about a wide range of topics. One of the more controversial stances I took was regarding Breast Cancer Awareness (“Not just Breast Cancer Awareness...but ALL Cancer Awareness”). My intent was not so much that the pink-ribbon campaign was over-blown, but rather other types of cancer were being ignored. I most certainly support any effort to alleviate breast cancer and have no problem “buying pink.” However, I’d like to see a more aggressive “blue ribbon” campaign towards prostate cancer. As I type that, I imagine Pabst would be the primary sponsor of such a campaign, but there seriously is a blue ribbon effort to increase prostate cancer awareness. Sadly, since this is probably the first you’ve heard of it, I suppose their efforts are not too successful. Regardless, please understand that I’m not “Anti Pink Ribbon,” but pro any ribbon towards cancer awareness.

I forwarded “The Christmas Ball,” about the golf ball that my brother and I exchange each year, to several local media, including radio and newspaper. I was pretty thrilled to see a brief mention of my story on a newspaper website, and even more excited to hear the local “morning crew” talk about this holiday tradition at length on the radio. I gladly wrote down the suggestions that they and their listeners suggested for future exchanges. Although I have to admit, I’m not sure how to place a beat-up and burnt golf ball into a puppy. Yes, that was a real suggestion.

Another piece I sent into the local media was “Kaitlyn and Katlin.” about the poor 4 year-old girl that was found decapitated by her own father. I was so furious with that murder that I forwarded my blog to many people. While I never saw or heard mention of it in such print or on the air, I did receive a few comments from a radio DJ and one local reporter. I just wish that reporter would have shared my comments in the paper.

It seems, much like “Kaitlyn and Katlin,” most of my “venting” pieces get the most fired-up responses. My take on Kwanzaa (“Spell Checking Kwanzaa”) resulted in “Hell yeah!” agreement as well as cries of racism. If anything, it was “holiday-ism.” “Advice to the Stupid” brought forth sheepish admissions from dear friends that they were the idiot drivers toward whom I was complaining. Like they say, love the sinner, hate the sin. Just don’t take offense when I give you a one-finger salute…I still love you. And I’ll still wish you all Happy Holidays come Christmas time, no matter how many people claim I’m either non-Christian, un-caring or are in agreement with my point.

Probably the one blog I’m asked about most (and the one I’m most proud of) is the one about my dad writing a book (“My Dad the Author”)…with most inquires about how his book is doing. I’m happy to report, “quite well!” Frankly, after selling his first couple dozen in the first weeks, I wasn’t sure just how successful he’d be beyond that. I liked the book and others around dad liked the book, but I figured the demand would be finite, and that he’d have trouble selling past the first couple hundred. I was wrong. So far he’s sold about 800 books! It seems his top niche is to attend Nitro High School class reunions and peddle his book there. At the Class of 1957 Reunion a few weeks ago, he sold a remarkable eighteen books. And in early September, the Charleston Gazette-Mail printed yet another story about Dad, complete with a very handsome photo. But his success hasn’t come merely in book sales. Shortly after I visited Dad last October, he sent a book to a lady he attended school with so many years ago, Emma “Kitty” Lyons. Kitty sent a note along with her order referring to Dad as a “kindred spirit.” He likes to joke that the term impressed him very much, especially after he looked it up I the dictionary. Seeing as how neither Dad nor Kitty owned a computer, an old-fashioned pen-pal relationship began, which evolved into the occasional phone call and then into a number of phone calls a day. Finally, in a move that surprised both my brother and I, Dad traveled to Fort Myers, Florida to visit Kitty for an extended stay. That visit turned into a wedding ceremony and a very happy and reborn Dad. And for the record, I approve of Kitty. She’s a great gal.

There have been plenty of unwritten blogs that I’ve composed in my head, but never had time to write. The aforementioned addition to our family was certainly blogging material (Tentatively titled, “E-Step-Mom”), and when you’re the father of 5 year-old twins, there’s an unlimited amount of observations, joy and heartache I could share. I had several pieces planned on our March vacation to Florida alone, from watching the kids’ first experience at Disney World and Sea World, to our first LONG road trip, to spending a family week at Daytona Beach during Spring Break Week. (No kids, Daddy was NOT looking at the tattoo on that young girl’s backside.) I was fortunate enough to have time to share some kid-related thoughts in “Pop and Circle Dance” and “Gosh darn, son-of-a-gun…this friggin’ crap has me all screwed up to heck.” It seems that kid stories always get the most laughs, and I hope to share more in the future.

Finally, you’ve probably noticed that my blogging has focused on my health lately. I hope not to bore you with statistics on triglycerides and cholesterol, or with whining about my lifestyle change along the South Beach and beyond. So far, the response from my readers has been very supportive and I thank each and every one of you.

Many have given me encouragement to continue writing beyond my expectations, and others have offered their own blogs as inspiration and mentoring for me to continue mine. I hope to keep you coming back to my pages and ask that you spread the word if you have a reaction to my thoughts. After all, it’s your reaction that keeps me writing in the first place.

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