Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Pinching Nose and Dipping Toe....

I have to admit that I begin this blog with a mixture of fear and guilt. Fear that after four books and a hundred or so articles, I have nothing of interest to say. Guilt from the suspicion that I'm compromising my ideals - characterized by crankiness, skepticism, and an attitude toward popular culture that swings between disdain and despair.

Every fifteen year-old with a computer and digital camera has a blog. Touring musicians blog about their fights and binges. Aspiring writers blog hopefully, bitterly, earnestly, and endlessly. So many blogs by "writers" seem embarrassingly narcissistic and exhibitionistic. Much of what blog authors call stream of consciousness (assuming they're familiar with the term) I call gibberish.

Until recently, when I considered blogging, the only titles I could come up with were Another Writer Blogging or Another Pathetic Marketing Attempt by a Minor Regional Writer. Other than blogs by a few heavyweights, most seem like pitiful pleas for attention.

There are exceptions.

Nowadays, when one admires an article or book by an unfamiliar author, the first order of business after (or even before) finishing the work is to check out his or her website. Many of these have a link to the author's blog. I can never resist.

Most I glance at and forget, but a few have become daily habits. After reading the morning paper, I must check Stephen Bodio's Querencia and Rod Dreher's Crunchy Con. On Mondays, I can't miss James Howard Kunstler's Clusterfuck Nation Chronicle and Daily Grunt. Through these, I've learned of a few other excellent blogs, which I'll pass along in future posts.

More single-minded (or dull) folks might call my blog checking a waste of time, but I see it as a way to keep up with thinking outside of the mainstream punditry, and, more importantly, a way to jump start my own thinking. The best of these are beautifully written, thorough, thoughtful, and cover topics generally ignored by magazines and big city dailies.

I've named my own blog Home Range, because I plan to leave national and international politics to the Huffers, Coulter, and others who, because they're better connected, smarter, more worldly, better read, more talented, more doctrinaire, more self-assured, or more sadistic than I am, have millions of readers while I have next to none. Rather, as my blog's subtitle suggests, I'll stick to subjects about which I might have something useful to say.

But as one grows, so does one's home range.

Why bother? After all, there are hundreds of thousands - if not millions - of blogs out there. Never mind all the other media vying for people's attention. And done right, blogging takes creative energy, something I rarely have in excess.

I'm blogging because I want to enter a conversation, to exchange ideas with folks who have questions similar to mine.

At best, I hope to be of use. At the very least, I hope to learn something.

We'll see how it goes.