Why Do It?
Why do we bloggers post the things we do? Is your blog a scholarly publication or an online journal? Does it showcase your work, or the work of others? A little of both? Is it a photography blog, a poetry blog, or a blog about cute kittens? Is your mission to convey an important message to the world, or are you simply seeking inner peace via textual venting? Is your focus a topic for which you have great passion, or are you just out to get the most views you can? Why the hell are you blogging anyway? Why the heck am I?
You do know something that someone else could benefit from. I mean, you could journal for yourself, but don’t kid yourself, if what you write is only to satisfy you, you could post your words in a private blog, or notebook. There must surely be at least three hundred reasons for anyone to post something. In my case, and to be specific, there are precisely two hundred and ninety-nine reasons to publish this post, which is itself the 300th in this blog’s history. Just over five years and three hundred posts ago I started The Dad Poet blog.
I know, I know. Three hundred posts are not many over a span of five years. But in my defense, while it appears I started my WordPress account in March of 2008, my first posts were not made until September and there were only three of them that month. While I have been very silent here these last few weeks, that has not always been typical of me. Well, early on, my posting was very sporadic, and often downright sparse. It got better in 2010 and 11, but it really took off as an almost daily thing last April, National Poetry Month in the good old USA. That month I committed myself to producing a poetry video on YouTube every day, and uploading it with commentary here to the blog. More about that later.
That April also took me from six followers to something like 206, and it continues to grow. I am not sure how many hits The Dad Poet had up until then, but they too sky-rocketed. Still, the topics are minority topics–poetry, fatherhood, birding, so it’s not like I’ve become a rock star. Doubling my followers since 2012 and acquiring almost 35,000 views may not be much, but for a blog that tries to encompass the life of a gay dad and Pennsylvania poet, ex-ministry student and restaurant manager, along with his random obscure hobby of birding, and not merely bird watching, but observing and recording migrating birds of prey. . . well, perhaps 35 thou., a few hundred followers and a five year anniversary is worth celebrating.
And while I’ve bemoaned the fact that I barely get out to go birding anymore, let alone write about it, those first three posts were mostly about the fall hawk migration and the local bald eagles we have here on the Susquehanna River. Although by the wording of that first post, I suspect that there were previous posts I had deleted. October’s posts were about my sons and one of my poems. That’s quite a difference from the recent long essays on poets and poetry that I’ve been writing.
And while the Dad Poet blog has developed into something more suited to my (dare I use this word?) career as a writer, and my obsession with all things poetry, I’ve also written a great deal about my personal life, including romance, sexuality, religion, politics (Remember the great feminist war cry, “The personal is political!”), but most especially about that greatest joy of all in my life, being a father.
My three little gentlemen have grown into a teacher, a musician and a writer respectively. And one of them even has a blog here on WordPress, not that I brag about him too much, nor click like on everything he writes. I could see Jo writing a blog for educational purposes. I think he and Jon spend a lot of time online conversing about anime and “Magic, the Gathering.” And that’s cool too. Jon the guitar player could carry on a blog about the history of music in America, but I think for now he’s having more fun playing the guitar. And this is good. I should do more actual writing of poetry than writing about it. As Micah says, “You know, Dad, that Poet part of Dad Poet?”
The Highlights (part one):
In November of that first year was a post that has gotten a lot of searches from people looking for the phrase “the mind of a 14 (or sometimes 15) year old. But also a lovely and funny little post about Thanksgiving from Micah’s perspective. My previous pussy cat, left with my ex bf now, makes an appearance, and then there were the posted acceptance and concession speeches from two important gentleman, about which I said, “I found myself a little less cynical and more able to believe that perhaps this nation will indeed be a better place for our children than the one we have known.” It’s been a long four plus years but I’m still a little hopeful.
One of my other top searches lands google searchers on this post about mean kitty from smpfilms on YouTube. Claire, the kitten seemed to look like the baby sister of the kitty in the video. I won’t tell you what I discovered that those naughty folk were actually searching for though.
Only two posts in January of 2009, one of a guy I’d like to bring you some more of in the future, Dr. John Corvino, and the younger Dr. Jon, my middle son, of the above-mentioned mind-of-a-14-year-old-boy post, the musician who later explained why he called the President’s inauguration day a very good day for surprising reasons.
Now as I know it’s been a full three weeks since I’ve posted, but in 2009, the entire six month span of February through July saw me post only one time. Just one. It was a simple post with only one sentence and a video, but that was the video which started what eventually became the focus of my entire YouTube Chanel, reading poetry out loud. I think it was, after being single again for nearly a year, meeting Brian and watching his music channel on YouTube that inspired me to start doing more and more poetry “covers.”
So as not to delay the publishing of this 300th post much longer, I’ll bring you more of my favorite posts later, and perhaps highlight a few of my favorite poetry readings.
Although I have written more about poetry than anything else, poetry is obviously not all there is to me. And while career writers may have to worry that anything they write will affect their future chances, all of who I am informs my work as a writer. I can’t bring myself to dodge controversy for the sake of numbers. I could be boring and avoid politics. I could be private and refrain from mentioning that the love of my life is a beautiful man named Brian. I could pretend for the sake of statistical benefit to like and approve of every school of poetry out there.
But heartless art is not art at all in my opinion. The fact that I have opinions, well founded– thoroughly articulate-able, defensible opinions, as well as the fact that I could be wrong, at least about one or two things, if not these major pillars of my life, my personal and I’d like to think, ever-evolving world view. . . well, these are all things that make me human. How can I write in the “humanities” and ignore the guts and breath of what makes me? No “career” is worth that sort of personal sacrifice. And I’ve read enough boring “safe” blogs by writers out there. For better or worse, I will endeavor not to be the author of one.
One of the reasons there was so little posted in that first full year of the Dad Poet was that I was going through the break up and healing process. So at that time I structured this blog around things that could counterbalance the pain in my life. My first thought was to create something that would keep me in the practice of writing regularly. Well, obviously that didn’t work so well. So then I decided to concentrate on the things that bring me joy. Hence those top three pages, Father, Poet, Birder.
Interesting that a friend of mine has been posting on Facebook lately about the danger of too much emphasis on happiness, the sort of thing one sees in what he calls the cult of positivity. And so I was evaluating this focus on the blog, but I think I have it right. I didn’t design this as a method of escapism, or a way to ignore the often helpful emotions of anger, sadness and fear. Face it, they have their place. I may write more about that later.
But for now, let me just say that the focus on my greatest joys here is not a way to ignore the pain and hurt in life. Afterall, I do talk about those things too. Instead it’s a way of balancing things for me, and of prioritizing And oddly enough, sometimes the things that bring us the most useful sadness are the very same ones that bring us joy. So my focus here will remain the same for the time being, and if I haven’t bored you to tears with this recap, I look forward to sharing more of it with you.
Thanks for joining me.
- National Poetry Month (senzingzen.com)
- Who knew I was a Poet (goplayintraffic.wordpress.com)
- The Public Library’s Twitter-Poem Contest Sure Is Getting Some Odd Entries (cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Want a Different Lens? Hire a Poet (thegreenskeptic.com)
- Why poetry still matters (utsandiego.com)
- Immortal Bird Blog Tour, Video Trailer & New York Times Sunday Book Review Inclusion in Paperback Row (immortalbirdpostscript.wordpress.com)
- What Inspires me to Blog? (prefs.zemanta.com)
- Lunchtime Blogging (simplrlife.wordpress.com)