Preamble ramble rumble

I’ve had blogs off and on for years. Some of them were more memorable than others.

The original blog was called “Underpaid Writer.” It was part of the Charleston Gazette’s arts and entertainment section and I was supposed to post several times a week for the princely sum of $45 a month.

It was a garbage offer and unsatisfying. The newspaper didn’t understand how to promote the digital side of the business, which meant they didn’t promote it much at all. Simply having a blog was supposed to increase traffic, which would…

Nobody had any idea.

The blog was a mish-mash of whatever, though vaguely arts related. My editor at the time told me that he wanted a writer with a liver of copper who could live in the bars and tell those stories.

Again, they were only paying $45 a month, which sharply limited how much alcohol I could use to polish that liver of copper.

It was a fiasco and a dead end for the Gazette, which they eventually decided to kill off in favor of a food blog.

That didn’t last either, but by then I had grown to like blogging and being cut loose from the project hurt me. It felt like I’d been fired.

Nothing said I couldn’t start my own blog. So, I began “Don’t Print This.”

“Don’t Print This” was less arts related. It was very much “me” related. I wrote about being a struggling human being in Charleston, a guy working two jobs and desperately trying to realize a dream: to be someone people read and understood.

I did pretty good with the blog. “Don’t Print This” never became as popular as “The Fifth Column” or “The Film Guy,” two well-traveled local blogs, but it did OK. I liked it and I liked that people read it.

I made some mistakes on the blog. Some of my observations were a little too personal or a lot too angry. I fired from the hip and sometimes didn’t get the gun out of the holster.

It was still a pretty good writing project.

“Don’t Print This” died pretty much six weeks after I joined Facebook. So many of the blogs died out when Facebook arrived. The little communities that sprung up around the blogs joined the Megopolis of social media and blogging was just gone.

Like others, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with social media since I got involved with it. I enjoy the interaction, but hate how I feel when I post something I think is cool and nobody “likes” it.

It’s hard to feel like you’re worth a damn as journalist, if the country/rock star interview that you worked hard on gets 10 likes, but then somebody else gets 500 for a picture of their latest haircut.

I’ve been backing away from the Facebook, at least as a place for expression or validation.

This blog is here because I figured out that I have things to say. For the last three years, I’ve been working on this really interesting project called “One Month at a Time.” Each month, I choose some project or task, something I know very little about, and I try to learn about it.

Then I write about it every week for a month.

It’s almost always a mad dash to get it done and it wears me out more often than not.

Some months are more successful than others. Sometimes, things don’t line up, there isn’t enough time or I just don’t connect and I learn very little.

Failure is a key element of the project. I fail a lot.

But even then, I learn. I grow. I get better and my understanding of how the world around me works expands in a meaningful way.

I kind of hope my readers get something out of it, too. If nothing else, a nice laugh every once in a while.

The thing is, if you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that you’re not reading “One Month at a Time.” My newspaper has a paywall. You get 10 stories and then they cut you off.

Obviously, if you only have 10 stories before the wall goes up, you’re going to be selective with what you read. It’s only going to be what’s really important to you, like local sports scores and whether somebody has poisoned the water supply again.

Ten stories is pretty generous. You ought to get a subscription. It doesn’t cost that much and rural journalism needs you to fund them so they can try to protect you from the idiotic crap that jerks with power and money routinely pull.

Also they pay me and I suck at real work.

Nothing is free. Organizations that offer you “free information” or “free news” are getting paid in other ways and they’re making bank.

Anyway, I have stuff to share. I have three years worth of columns I can use as fodder, plus I’ve got a radio show, I garden and I’m always trying to get healthier (except when I’m not).

I’ve seen stuff. I know stuff and I want to share it.

What do I hope to get out of all of this?

Just people who will read what I write.

What I want to do has never changed. I want to write and connect with people. Maybe if you read me enough here, you’ll be interested enough to see what I’m currently doing at the paper. Maybe doing this will lead to new writing opportunities. Maybe someone will take it in their head to sponsor this here blog (I would need to figure that part out). Maybe we’ll make a movie and I’ll get action figures.

I really don’t care that much. This isn’t costing me much.

If nothing else, maybe we’ll just have a nice laugh together: You’ll stop in every now and again, check to see what I’ve posted, see if it’s interesting, and then you’ll scroll onward in search of dog pictures or fun conversations with people you hope won’t send you nudes.

I can promise no nudity, but that’s about it. This is my first post and I’ve had to stop myself from typing at least three f-bombs and the word shit at least four times already.

Otherwise, we’ll see what we’ll see.