“The future, always so clear to me, has become like a black highway at night.” Sarah Connor, Terminator 2.
On February 9, we will be celebrating Mountains Beyond Mountains’ first anniversary. A paper anniversary for a paperless blog. A year ago I wrote about a perfect morning, and from there on in just continued to post things on an almost weekly basis. Almost a year to the day I will return to the gum specialist for a check up, and if my experience tells me anything, it’s that I can never have two good appointments in a row with her. Let’s hope for the best. When I started this blog, I sort of set a goal in my head to blog every week for a year and see what happens. I think I pretty much kept to that goal. In a couple of weeks I will have fulfilled that obligation to myself.
Why did I even start this blog? I think it was inspired by a couple of things.
The first thing was that my employer, a large public library system, was launching its own blog and I was asked to be one of the regular contributors. I had never “blogged” before and although I follow a few blogs through Google Reader, I never really thought about blogging myself. Being asked to blog on a regular basis meant that I had to be at least a little bit familiar with “how to do it”. What better way to practice and screw around with it than to actually start a blog myself? Since my library was going to use WordPress, that made the decision as to which blog platform to use easy. I’m sure Blogger, Tumblr, and many others have many good things to offer, but since I’ve started with WordPress, it’s WordPress for me here on in.
Another reason was that a couple of years ago we became friends with a new circle. It happened just around the time our daughter was born, but I don’t know if that had much to do with it. I think it was more of a happy coincidence than anything else. It’s funny when you start hanging out with people who have known each other much longer than you’ve known them. You have to play alot of “catch up”. There are years of stories that are taken as givens by the group that I’m hearing for the first time, and I found myself referring to things that happened to me when I was younger and just absent-mindedly assuming that everyone knew what I was talking about. Being able to write these blog posts allows me to provide some of the shorthand as to what I am all about, and may help get some of those old stories on record, for what it’s worth. As time goes by, my friends and I will surely develop our own shorthand, in-jokes, “you had to be there” moments, and shared experiences. It’s already happening. Like anything organic, you can’t rush it and it will happen on its own time in its own way. These blogs just fill in some of the gaps.
Finally, I do it because it’s fun. I’ve always liked writing; I’ve kept a journal off and on since age 16, and as early as elementary school I was writing little stories. I even got to go to a “Young Author’s Conference” in Grade 6 where I met my hero, Gordon Korman. He even signed my copy of “I Want To Go Home”, which has a place on honour on my signed books shelf. At university, I was the “Features Editor” of our school newspaper. It was a great position. I had to fill two full pages every week, but no one seemed to know with what I was supposed to fill, so I used it like I use this blog. I wrote about whatever caught my fancy. Sometimes it dealt with the goings on at school, but most of the time it was just fun nonsense. I don’t think the other more serious editors (news, sports, entertainment) knew what quite to make of me, but the copy editor was happy that two pages of every paper would always been filled, regardless of the content. In more recent years, I’ve come to greatly admire writers like Bill Bryson, David Sedaris and David Rakoff. They can find humour in almost anything, and are so good at getting that across to the reader.I’ve been sort of treating this blog as if it were an actual job. Is that weird? I set a goal of one blog post a week, and for the most part I’ve been keeping pretty close to that. I’ve had almost 4000 views since I began, and my most visited post is the one I did on Ireland back on March 14, 2011. The single most popular day was May 4, 2011 when I had 102 visits. My blog on U2’s visit to our town received the most comments. I can’t explain any of this. Since I’m my own boss, I’m not too hard on myself if I miss a week here or there. I’m happy to report I’ve rehired myself for another year. I hope I stay on my boss’s good side. He can be a bit of a monster sometimes.
I thought for year 2 of “Mountains Beyond Mountains” I’d go with a different layout. I’m not so sure I like the look of it, but I love the name of it. It’s called “Kubrick”. I think I miss the Tintin graphic at the top. The theme is kind of plain and doesn’t really say what the blog is about, which is probably just as well because I’m not sure I could adequately articulate what I’m trying to do here either.
I really appreciate everyone who takes the time to read my posts and for those who are brave enough to leave comments. Although I write primarily for the fun of it myself, I also write for the fanbase. You know who you are.
What will year 2 bring? As Sarah Connor tells us, the future is a dark highway. Will I wake up one day with a bad case of writer’s block? Will I eventually tire of the challenge of coming up with something witty? Will I lose this narcissistic delusion that people actually want to read what I have to say? No doubt that day will come, but until it does let’s just carry on, shall we?