A few semesters ago, PhiloDave launched The Harold Lounge. I was geeked because we, the faculty, were finally going to have a forum to discuss a multitude of topics. When the first posts by Dave started appearing, I immediately jumped at the chance to comment and give a bit of support to the blog. I thought to myself, “Self, here’s a faculty member putting himself out there and giving us an opportunity to communicate. The least I can do is leave a comment and let him know there’s at least one individual reading.”
I decided to go with a pen name. But that’s a post for another day. Eventually, I went to Dave’s office and asked him what he thought of his blog and if he was getting the response he expected. He said to me, and I misquote, “It’s going ok… Realist.” We both had a good laugh and I told him what I stated in the first paragraph and then some.
I asked him how he saw this blog growing in terms of viewers and readers. He said, and I misquote, “I envision more authors so we can have a diversity of information.” He then asked me if I’d like to contribute. I had some reservations, but I thought, “What better way to participate? I can post AND reply!” Mind you, I didn’t see myself as a hero to the blogging world and I didn’t think Dave saw it that way either. It’s not like I can change clothes in a phone both and reveal my orange threads with a big R on the front, right? Relax, we don’t have phone booths in the college. Back to reality. I was humbled at the opportunity to practice my blogging skills. I had attempted to blog in the past, but with no real purpose, I simply didn’t give it the full college try. Yet here was my chance. Brain cells that had been dormant, began to wake from their slumber. I felt like I could leap tall buildings in a single bound. Um, metaphorically speaking.
Dave and I continued to talk and to spare you the details, one email led to an invite which led to me having author access to The Harold Lounge. I now had an opportunity to start what I had thought of starting before. But this time, with a purpose.
So with Dave’s approval (and don’t be a hater ’cause he gave me the green light – he put the offer on the table for ANYPEEP to be an author – and the offer, I believe, still stands) I began to blog. Dave had given me some ideas on what to post. He even mentioned having something called ‘The Realist Corner’ if I wanted to go that route.
From the beginning, I wanted to create my own niche. I didn’t want to compete with Dave’s informative and intellectual posts. He wanted diversity, and that’s what I planned on providing. BTW, I got to hand it to Dave. He is an amazing scholar. He can bend steel with the best of the best. And that’s with one hand tied behind his back. Even if I wanted to compete, I’d need more time to reach his level of expertise. More time as in a sabbatical from now until Rahm retires. And then some. IMHO, he’s the standard of excellence and if he really wanted to, he could make a living as an educational blogger. I digress, but it had to be said.
So here I am today. Blogging. At first, I needed a crutch to get me started. So I borrowed from the existing format Dave had created. I gave the Monday Morning Music post a shot. And it helped. I tried doing a spotlight on faculty, but at times it felt like I was asking folks to buy tickets to the union banquet via email. Perhaps I can revive that Friday feature in the future. I decided to go with regular posts last summer to practice my skills. I slowly started to find my voice, and no, I’m not saying I’ve found it yet. It may be hiding in a phone booth for all I know. But what I have found is a comfort zone for my posts and what I think can and should be of interest to our readers and writers.
I see us as a community of educators with other interests beyond that which motivates us to be in the classroom, but I place that educational interest at the forefront most of the time. I depart from it when I think we need a break from scholarly activity. So a social community is also what I try to create. Thus the mid-term shenanigans, and this summer’s music contest. But as you’ve read, when I’m serious, I tells it to you as I sees it and I look forward to engaging dialog because I believe we should be having these discussions. Otherwise, we shouldn’t be in the classroom with our students. See, I told you I tells it like I sees it.
With my writing style, I’ve taken some inspiration from editorial writers and that one guy on page 2 of the Trib. Yeah, they’re better at it than I am, but just ’cause I’ll never reach their level of expertise, it don’t mean I should stop trying. I also took a hint of creative writing from some well known and amazing authors. Literal giants if you will. ‘specially that one from Hannibal, MO. Yup. He showed me that jus’ ’cause folks talk diff’rent don’t mean they’s ain’t right. If anything, it be the folks that want to talk all purfect and such that makes me wonder if they’s not the ones who’s diff’rent, and maybe not so right all the time.
So injecting a bit o’ humor and changin’ up the dialect is just me bein’ creative and different. And havin’ some fun. Just tryin’ to give Dave that diversity in more ways than one.
I hopes this gives y’all a bit of background and an understanding to what I do on The Harold Lounge. If y’all have any other questions based on this post as to why I blog, feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to answer. And talk to Dave if you need a creative outlet to nurture your hidden blogging talents.
Go on, be an Optimist. Sorry, Realist is taken.