So what brings you here to October Years? Is this a first-time thing, or do you belong to the club? I’m referring to the regular members of the blogging and blog-reading fraternity. (Or is it a sorority?) I’m not sure what our members are called---bloggers, blog junkies, blog groupies. Whatever it is, we have stumbled onto a most engrossing, stimulating, and sometimes addictive diversion. Perhaps you ought to consider it. If your world is not big enough to suit you, following a blog or two is a fun and painless way to expand your horizons.
Let’s begin with the obvious---a working definition. Blog (noun) - a website on which an individual or group of users record opinions, information, etc on a regular basis.
Perhaps you know already that there is a blog, or blogs, for just about everything. The blogger may be an expert, or an overeager novice, but no matter what the subject someone is offering their opinions and information on the subject. Take any hobby, habit, or hang-up you can imagine and you can be sure that any decent search engine can locate one or more blogs about it.
It is, of course, an internet enabled pastime, akin to visiting with your neighbor over the back fence. Except that your “neighbor,” the one who wants to talk about your favorite subject, may live on the other side of the world. Be that as it may, chances are he or she will bring unique insights and ideas to the conversation---something new for you to explore. Best of all, you get to choose when to visit, whom you will visit with, and when you want to add your own input to the dialogue.
Perhaps you’re the “show me” kind of person. You know, someone who says “I’ll believe it when I see it.” If so, go to any search engine---enter a topic in the search line, then add the word “blog.” I can’t imagine a subject that won’t produce a response. No special computer skill is required. Simply review the results of your search, choose an entry that appeals to you, call it up and read. If you decide to enter the conversation you will be coached through that process.
The result of that blogging activity is a new kind of community---one that began for me with an inconspicuous website called Hitch Itch. There I was introduced to the world of full-time RVing, something that interested me a great deal. (Though sadly the wife does not understand the romance of making our home in a tin house on wheels.)
Anyway, there on Hitch Itch dozens of folks are posting their blogs---proclaiming the virtues of living full time in an RV, sharing their travel experiences, and staying in touch with each other. Though I’m usually a silent observer, I occasionally add my input to some ongoing dialogue. After all, where else but on Tioga and George would I listen in as grown-up, straight-thinking seniors debate the virtues of cameras, laptops, and RVs that demonstrate nearly human abilities to delight and disappoint?
On a daily basis I follow the travels and trials of folks I’ve never met, and probably never will. We’ve become new age Pen Pals. (Remember those?) In the same way this blog you’re reading now allows, they have let the rest of us to come along for their ride---learning who they are and what keeps them going. It has the feel of an old-fashioned party line, an intimate conversation posted for all the world to read.
As for myself, I have several reasons to be blogging. This October Years space is clearly labeled “a writer’s blog.” I use the blogging format to explore, explain, and (gasp) promote my books. Hopefully all that is enough to keep people reading. Personally, I enjoy returning to some story I wrote years before to better understand why I used this or that device to make a point or advance a storyline. I’m always writing a new story, looking for ways to make it better. Blogging helps me do that. If, at the same time, I can nudge a blog reader towards reading one of my stories I’m okay with that.
So whatever your reason for being here I hope you’ll return often, and tell your friends about it. I’ll keep asking for your comments, though very few have taken me up on that. In the meantime, I hope you’ll check out other blog topics that interest you. There is a whole world waiting out there, tens of thousands of conversations going on at this very minute. Chances are somewhere there is one that you’d enjoy being part of. You have the computer and internet connection. (That’s how you’re reading this.) Why not expand your reading horizons?
As always, if you’re so inclined I’d appreciate your comments, posted below. Beyond that, if there are folks with whom you’d like to share this October Years post I hope you’ll pass it on. It’s an easy thing to do. Just click on the “M” at the bottom of this page to email the post, with the video, to any addresses you choose.