Monday, November 8, 2004

One Year

Today marks the one-year anniversary of Bark Bark Woof Woof.

First, let me say thank you to all of you who have stopped by, commented, e-mailed, and helped me through the last twelve months. Little did I know on that Saturday morning last November that I was embarking on such a strange and wonderful journey where I would meet so many fascinating people from so many different places. I owe each of you a debt of gratitude that I can only repay by doing my best to keep you reading and writing.

I also wish to extend a special thanks to the core of friends who have been there from the start. NTodd provided a lot of behind-the-scenes advice, including getting the picture of Sam that adorns the top of the sidebar into the right size for posting. NTodd was also the impetus behind getting The Liberal Coalition going last year and invited me to join when I was just barely on my feet. Without it I’m sure I’d still be blogging in the dark, and the people who I’ve met through TLC both in their blogs and in backstage communication have been a powerful and positive force both on this blog and in my life. Thanks also to the many (over 100) other blogs who have linked to Bark Bark Woof Woof over the last year. It’s really nice to be noticed in such a way.

I can’t let this moment pass without paying a tribute to my biggest contributor, my mom, aka The Faithful Correspondent. Anybody who read her Convention Diary entries last July can tell that I came by my interest in writing and character analysis naturally, and she has been both an inspiration and an editor for me.

When I started this, I wondered if I would be able to find a unique voice that would be worthy of adding to the public discourse. I had a lot of role models, and at first I wasn’t sure if I should try to follow their lead or just write what I wanted to write about and not try to be someone else. I couldn’t be another Atrios, for example, or Josh Marshall, or Dohiyi Mir or Pen-Elayne, and I didn’t want to imitate them. (In the first place, I don’t have a cat to take pictures of.) I needn’t have worried. As I discovered in my playwriting, even if I am writing about a similar subject with similar characters and admire the style of another writer (Lanford Wilson comes to mind), I can be my own voice. And I also found that in doing so, I have become a better writer. Whether I’m cutting and pasting an article and adding my own comment or launching off into a rant, having to write to the form and the needs of the blog has made me think about what I’m saying and trying – sometimes not as well as I’d like – to make a point from my own perspective. It’s given me a discipline that I really haven’t had before; playwrights are infamous for self-indulgence and just chalking it up to art. Blogging, in my mind, isn’t so generous if you expect to have people read what you’re writing and come back for more. And, by the way, it has helped me in my other writing. The novel has not gone by the wayside. I’ve written over 200 pages since last November. Bobby Cramer has come to life in both places.

I’ve tried to keep my sense of humor. That has not been easy the last couple of days, but trust me, I haven’t lost it. I can find something funny in anything, and, to quote Lord Byron, “And if I laugh at any mortal thing, ‘tis that I may not weep.” If I ever get too serious, I trust my faithful readers will give me a swift kick.

So, here I am, one year into this and many more to follow, I hope. Just looking at the statistics is amazing. I’ve had over 36,000 visitors in the last year. That’s more than the number of people who have bought my book, seen my plays, attended plays I’ve directed, or sat through all of my classes combined. I’ve put up almost 1,700 postings – that’s 4.64 a day – since I started, and I haven’t missed a day yet. (Sheesh, I need to get a life.) In all that time, I’ve never, to my knowledge, been Atriosed, cited in an article about blogging, or been interviewed as a blogger. Trust me, I’m not complaining. I don’t need the fame or the pressure. Being a “Marauding Marsupial” in The Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem suits me just fine. I didn’t get into this to be an opinion maker or worse, a pundit. I could never go on Meet the Press or something like that without giggling like a maniac. Like I said a year ago, I’m “an optimistic but wary guy just trying to get through life without bumping into the furniture.” There will be plenty to write about, living in this post-11/2 world. It won’t be all politics; I want to pick up with the Writing on Writing series again, and of course there will always be the Weird News from Florida or wherever. You should know by now, though, that if I have something to say, I will say it. I’ll speak out against stupidity, timidity, bigotry, pomposity, arrogance, sanctimony, and hypocrisy wherever I find it and I’ll be sure to make fun of it, too. One thing that hasn’t changed is that humans are still so very human, and as long as that’s the case, I’ll never be short of material.

What’s next?