It’s deeply and unpatriotically Canadian to boast or cheer about oneself, so I might forfeit my passport here, but I also have a green card, which gives me explicit license to toot my horn, if not too loudly.
The first day I blogged here — a dead-trees dinosaur dragged whining and screaming into the blogosphere — was July 1, exactly five months ago. I chose to write about Nellie McClung, the feisty Canadian woman, and one of my dearest friend’s grandmothers, who helped win Canadian women the vote and now graces Canada’s $50 bill; July 1 is also Canada Day.
I was, literally, shaking from fear that first day as a blogger here, an admission which might seem risible to anyone under 30. Who on earth would want to read my ramblings, however selective I think they are?
I’ve written professionally since my second year of college. Writing for the largest national publications never scared me, even back then. The pay was great, my overhead minimal, my ambition boundless. Readers, even if there were millions of them, were an abstract crowd out there somewhere you hoped to please but rarely really knew if you did, or not. You only occasionally heard back from them, and when you did, the metric was something like one letter represented 1,000 other readers who didn’t bother to pick up a pen or hit the keys. I had lots of ideas, plenty of assignments and smart, tough, demanding editors.
The deal, and how it went, was tidy and, however hiearchical, well-defined, our boundaries evident and visible, our responsibilities clear.
Blogging? Not so much. What’s with that “publish” button? You now have total license to make an utter ass of yourself. Great! Kajillions of people can easily find you — and also find you irrelevant, boring or wrong. Ouch. You post something that gets, say, 5 views and it feels like you, (excuse my bluntness), farted. For those of us accustomed to the protection and institutional backstopping of magazine and newspapers’ fact-checkers, legal departments, visible, often highly critical and competitive colleagues and editors ready to pounce on every misplaced syllable, that “freedom” is, always, unnerving and decidedly unusual.
We old schoolers, OK me, can feel like a canary whose cage door got left open. So, tonight, I’m cracking open a decent bottle of wine to celebrate the 101 people who, bless ‘em, have decided I’ve been offering something worth reading. None of whom — I’ve checked — are my Mom.
Thanks to every single one of them/you and to True Slant for giving me such a fun, cool, terrifying new learning curve. Special thanks to a fellow feisty-Canadian-jock-in-New-York, Katie Drummond, who reeled me in. Here’s to the next 100…