Happy New Year!
I have been working hard to fill my OS pages with rich, 14 point, Georgia* font for three years now. It has been an honor, a pleasure, and a creative privilege to be able to do so. In that time I have written, amongst other things, about exploding babies, idiot-but-well-meaning dogs, nudie ponds, mechanical pens, vicious murders, Rice-A-Roni, hitting a tennis ball, picking grapes, what girls have in their pants, and the physics of little old men. My two articles on using Metasequoia trees as bonsai have been visited by thousands world-wide and I continue to receive e-mail on them.If you have followed me with any regularity you may have noticed that I have been largely absent from these pages for at least the past couple of months. There are a number of reasons for this and, if you have the time - pull up a virtual chair and I’ll tell you about them.
First of all, I have been working on constructing a new web site:
This, right now, is my official announcement that it is open and ready to receive visitors. I will continue to cross-post on OS, but my goal is to flag traffic off the super-highway and direct it down the little two-rut track that leads to my site. The site contains the following:
1. My Blog – Why on Earth would I stop writing and commenting on the marvelous little ironies, hilarities and subtleties that I see around me everywhere, every day. It’s the spice of my life. I could never stop. My first post is entitled “Ancient Wisdom of Life”. It’s up right now… I’ll give it a chance to fly on its own and then I’ll post it over here on OS in about a week.
2. My Stories – One by one, I will be adding the best of my stories and essays to this site to slowly transfer my archives from other sources. I’ll add another one every week or two, just to give you an excuse for looking in.
3. My Music – I have been a serious student (slave) of the harmonica for 40 years now, and in that time have gathered a wealth of studio and live recordings. I now have a way to share some of the better and more interesting pieces with you. Go there and check out a six-harmonica studio version of the “William Tell Underature”, a jazz recording of “Stardust” and a live Poetry Slam feature entitled “Sally Goes Bowling”. You’ll also find “The Harmonica Store”, and “Beans Taste Fine”. (Please give me some feedback on how things are working on your side of the screen.)
4. Creative Horticulture – Essays and photos on bonsai, growing trees from cuttings, root-over-rock and others. This one is still being worked on and probably won’t be up until Spring, although a link will take you to my “Little Big Trees” site on blogspot.com.
5. Parkinson’s Disease – I have recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, or at least the beginning stages stages stages stages of it. Oh well, ya know. It is my intention to describe and write about it until I can write no more… then I will ask someone to write it down for me. That is what writer’s do. This is my gift.
6. Other - There will be a page on my book about the Charlotte Whale, this is the year I publish the damn thing. Promise. I will share my work on “Searching For The Old Road” and have “The Geology of Special Places”. I’ll also have a page entitled “WTF?!”, because, after all, isn’t that the essential question of life?
7. I’m going to self-publish a POD collection of my best stories and essays this Spring. It’s a vanity project but at least I’ll have it available when people ask… which they do from time to time. I may also go back into the studio and finish a CD. Details will follow…
The whole thing is probably only about 62.4% together but it’s up and it’s out there and it’s ready to be read. There will be a butt-load of problems and changes ahead, but that’s the creative challenge and that’s the fun. (…”but mama, that’s where the fun is…”)
I would not be so naive as to expect that my readership levels will do anything but drop into the toilet in the months to come. OS is a comfortable, reliable, one-stop-shop for quality entertainment and information and it is extremely difficult to convince readers to click away. It is also falsely comforting to have the built-in cushion of great readers that it provides. But folks, I’ll be dead in 10-15 years… it’s a little late to try and make a break from the pack but – if I’m going to do so – I must give it a shot.
This is not good-bye. This is hello.
Here’s my offer: If you make the small effort to pull off the great super highway and visit my little shack, I’ll promise to give everything I post my very best effort - as always. If you make a meaningful comment, I’ll respond in a meaningful way. If you mosey down that two-rut track, I’ll promise to meet you at the mailbox with a cold glass of lemonade, a warm cup of coffee and/or a shot or two of smooth whiskey... your choice.
You’ll be amongst friends. We’ll trade stories, swap gossip, talk about OS and the good ‘ol days. Hey, I’ve got a new tune… did you bring your guitar?
Go there now. Don’t mind the dog, she’s friendly.
I want to thank OS’ers Candace Mann (aka femme forte, adobesoup.com), Dr. Spudman, mumbletypeg and Matt Paust for their help and advice in the course of developing this project. Please thank them for me by visiting their sites and enjoying their work.
For general support above and beyond the call of duty, I’d like to thank Behind Blue Eyes, Cartouche, Owl_Says_Who, Will Someone Feed The Cat, scanner, Jerrimiah Horrigan, O’Really?, Tom Cordle, Laurel, Carey Krause, Walter Blevins, Crazy Jane Smithie, Kathy Riordan, fingerlakeswanderer, AtHomePilgrem, Sarah Cavanaugh, anna1liese, diannaani, Zack Lesher, Andy Heizeler, Chicago Guy, Mom, and all the others. Sorry if I forgot you, but you know who you are.
(P.S. My other reasons for straying from OS? You know them, we bitch about them all the time… no need to rehash them….)
* For some reason, the type above came out in something resembling Verdana... this is back to Georgia. Sheeez, go figure..