Friday, August 12, 2005

I think therefore I blog

OK, people have been asking me (in person) why I am doing an on line journal (weblog). Maybe I should explain why.

The reason I am giving is that it's easier at my age to find the computer than it is to remember where I put a blasted notebook and pen. That may be part of it, but the real reason is probably more deeply ingrained in my being.

I am of the Dick, Jane, Sally, Spot, Puff, Mother, Father generation of readers. Before we advanced to that great classic in literature "Run Spot Run" we had picture books called Think and Do. OK, in the Think and Do pictures you saw this two page spread of action, like a mother and child in a butcher shop or shoe store. The teacher, in my case a nun, would ask you to tell the class what you saw in the picture. I saw a lot, being a very observant child. Then she would ask who would "make up a story about the picture?"

Well, being a vocal child with a very active imagination I always had a story, usually long and involved, about the picture. Or better still I had "opinions" about the picture. (You know, the mother and child are buying shoes, but I would make sure to add the word ugly before the word shoes, I dont' think my editorial comments were well received. )

As a matter of fact, I had so many ideas for stories that the nun stopped asking me about the pictures (unless no one else had any ideas at all.)

So now let's advance a bit to high school, when I, along with 90% of the female population of the world, discovered the Beatles! (yeah, yeah, yeah!) Being your average Beatlemanaic I just had to join a fan club, and along with the fan club came a pen pal. Did I say "A" pen pal? I seemed to accumulate them, from all over the place. I wrote to people in my home state of Pennsylvania, and neighboring New Jersey, but I also had 3 pen friends in England, and one in Japan. I wrote to girls in MA, KS, NC, AL, OR, CA and NY. At one point I had 23 pen pals. Believe me, I spent most of my "spare time" with pen in hand pouring my innermost thoughts to all those special friends. Some of those friends are still my "pen friends" today, but the number is greatly diminished and most of the time I send e-mail not snail mail (much cheaper that way.)

Moving on the the college years I kept a journal. Mostly to keep my sanity after my mother died. I found it hard to relate to young girls of 19 who had no clue what life alone was like. I mean they thought they were alone, but there was always mother and father and a home to go to. Me? I had a scholarship to keep and a sister to watch out for and a bunch of crazy family members - but then that's another blog...

In senior year I met a guy (sigh). A sailor home on leave just on his way back from Viet Nam and on his way back to Viet Nam for another tour of duty. We met on a blind date, and dated 10 days before he left for Viet Nam. I wrote to him daily for his 10 month tour, and when he got home we were married (and have been for the past 33 years.) So my courtship was basically on paper.

After we married I did a brief stint as a newspaper reporter in my hometown of Pittsburgh, PA while my husband, Ken, went back to work for Sears in Philly . (yeah yeah, a long distance marriage before it was popular). Nixon era and all that, I was lucky to find work in my profession. I had said I wanted to be a columnist, but never got the chance. I was a general assignment reporter, and usually got stuck doing feature articles.

After 5 months or so of commuting on weekends I decided to move to Philly too, unfortunately no writing jobs were available and low and behold, I was pregnant. So, I took a temp job with the Federal Govt. I liked the steady paycheck but missed the writing, so I started keeping a journal. Still have it, saving it for my grandkids should I ever be so lucky to have some, to read about what life was like "way back in the 20th century."

Doing the wife and mother thing becomes boring, I needed some intellectual stimulation - felt as if I were going stale - so I started reading. Let me clue you in on something, heavy reading and two preschool kids don't mix. Honestly you need something you can read and put down not something that makes you consider the theoretical possibilities of life on other planets. So, I started reading Harlequin Romances.

I got hooked.

I starting looking for specific authors, and I found Janet Dailey, who at the time was the first really American author of formula romance fiction.

Well, as shy as I am (yeah right) I actually WROTE to her and started critiquing her work. To my suprise she wrote back! That started my weekly letter to Janet Dailey phase. Only letter seems a bit mild for what I did. Currently they might refer to it as stalking, I mean I never threatened her or anything, I just "observed" stuff and told her about it...endlessly... since 1976.
She became my journal, a living audience to whom I could bear my soul.

I still write to Janet and she does occasionally write to me. We've actually met a few times and spoken on the phone even. (I wont' go into the stay at home freelance writer phase of my llife here, but maybe some day...)

The along came computers. I was introduced at work and hear about e-mail. My salvation! I could write to all my friends, make new ones and vent. I have progressed from individual e-mails to lists and groups and now finally to blogs. Why blogs? Because I still like to write, but lists and groups have these pesky things called restrictions on time and space.

So, now I blog.

I blog therefore I am.

Any questions?

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