Tuesday, January 2, 2007
Start Your Engines
Having procrastinated long enough I've finally taken the plunge and started a blog. We'll call it a New Year's Resolution fulfilled . . . although I don't believe in making resolutions, because few January 1st resolutions are still around a few months later. Thanks to Dooce and too many other bloggers to name, for unknowingly providing inspiration for this blog.
What do I hope to accomplish? First, I assume that maintaining this little forum will prove mildly therapeutic. Dealing with depression since childhood - and only in the last several years actually seeking treatment - I found that writing comments to favorite blogs proved helpful, even cathartic. Why not start my own blog and do this on a regular basis? It would be like going to my shrink . . . or engaging in group therapy . . . without spending $2 on a jostling subway ride up to 59th St., listening to that homeless guy sing "This Little Light of Mine" from car to car on the 1 Train, and watching the frazzled mom clip her nails across the aisle. (Weren't we all taught that you only clip your nails in the privacy of your own home - and preferably in the bathroom so they could be properly discarded - instead of having them collect on the train floor like a little pile of dried bones?) I don't expect a blog to constitute a substitute for regular doses of [insert your favorite antidepressant here], nor will it be a panacea for the other issues with which I deal. But it can't hurt.
I also want to use this as a forum for some of my photography and painting, both of which reflect my rather eccentric personality. A bit of back story: before moving to NYC and becoming a slave in the world of nonprofits, I lived in Tennessee and taught U.S. history to disinterested business majors at the state's flagship university/semi-professional football franchise. Although I'm no longer an academic historian, much of what I do is influenced by that initial vocation. Thus, my photography is usually realized on antique cameras - German, Czech, Russian, a few American - in black and white, and without intrusive flash. Occasionally, I'll worship at the altar of digital cameras, but only because developing costs are prohibitively expensive and my wife complains. My paintings - all watercolors - focus on life in NYC, historic architecture, and the details that most people miss when walking around the City. Although I look forward to readers viewing and commenting on my work, I assume that said exposure will not yield remuneration for my efforts. Art is a hobby for me - albeit a serious one - but I don't think I'll ever be good enough to have art pay the bills.
Finally, this blog will provide a forum for some of my musings on growing up southern in an era of significant change for the South. My earliest memories date from the late 60s, but most commentary will draw from my experiences in the 1970s and 80s. In addition, realize that my reminiscences and conclusions will have been drawn through the filter of a dozen years spent studying Southern history. Toss in a decidedly anti-suburban, anti-sprawl bias, the influence of having two little boys and a far too patient and forgiving wife at home, and a seasoned liberal perspective, and you'll be privy to my unvarnished, opinionated, sometimes mean-spirited, always anti-Republican rants.
And the blog's title? Obviously it's pulled from country music, and sounds better than another favorite, "I Bought the Boots that Just Walked Out on Me." But it's also the title of a great book by UNC sociologist John Shelton Reed, whose books on southern culture and its evolution are a delight to read.
So on with the show!