EDITOR’S NOTE: Welcome to the A to Z Challenge, an exercise in self-flagellation we bloggers inflict upon ourselves to teach us discipline as writers and to build audience. During the month of April, I’ll be posting 26 times, once for every letter in the alphabet. Looking on the bright side, we can each be thankful this is an English language exercise and not Khmer, the language of Cambodia, which sets the world record with a 74-character alphabet! After some misgivings, I’ve decided to proceed with my initial idea of blogging about the special people in my life whose names begin with the appropriate letter. There will be difficulties, like having more than one special person whose names begin with the same letter, forcing me to choose. And then there are those letters — O, Q and X among them — where no name springs readily to mind. What will I do then? We’ll have to wait and see!
Y is for Yeti
Let’s take this opportunity to talk about Roamin’ Gnomials, the little blog that could.
Thanks to the A-to-Z Challenge, which winds up tomorrow, I have about a million new followers, many of whom are confused by what is old hat for the one or two regular readers I’ve had since the beginning.
No doubt those new readers noticed the great big letters at the top of this post that read “Y is for Yeti,” and no doubt they are wondering why it says that, because they haven’t read one damned thing about yetis yet, though new readers and old readers alike will have admired the construction of this 78-word sentence that allowed me to write “yetis yet,” which was my real objective for writing it in the first place.
But let’s take pity on those new readers for a moment. They haven’t learned what you veterans already know, which is that Roamin’ Gnomials is a bad idea that keeps getting worse. To attempt an explanation of how we got to this point, we must go waaaaay back to when I was young. See that picture of me up above? Well, there’s really no gentle way to put this: For a 1970s high school boy to have a monster Lord of the Rings poster tacked up on the wall over his bed means that I was a geek, and as some of you know from firsthand experience, geekdom is something you never outgrow.
Fast-forward to the 21st Century, when friends, family and acquaintances started haranguing me about creating my own blog. I listened to their pleas, and in a weak moment, agreed that blogging might be just the thing for me. My biggest worry, however, was that I wouldn’t have enough material to make a blog viable. That’s where the gnomes come in.
See, I’ve always been a fan of fantastical creatures, dating back to when I first read The Hobbit while I was in grade school, so I figured that if I ran out of blogging material, I could always make up some crap about gnomes, just to take up space.
I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right, I could have accomplished the same thing by using any other kind of mythical varmint. This could have been The Balrog Blog, Dwarfish Dingleberries, or White Walker Wanderings, but I ultimately decided that gnomes are a lot more generic, and since I didn’t want to pick some title that would have people showing up here expecting to read about The Lord of the Rings, or Game of Thrones, I settled on gnomes.
New readers need to understand that the name Roamin’ Gnomials is a bit of a misgnomer. You simply won’t find that many gnomes here — less than 20 percent of my posts have anything to do with them — and that’s because the very premise of this blog was a mistake, a miscalculation that I wouldn’t have enough to write about.
But what about the yeti? Just a minute, I’m getting there!
None of this explains how the name Roamin’ Gnomials came to be. Well, you can’t blame me for that, at least. The title of this blog is the brainchild of an Irish ex-pat nurse who works with my daughter, and my best guess is that she dreamed it up while in an altered state.
The Irish, in fact, have a lot to do with this blog, because if I hadn’t gone shopping for a unique Christmas gift for a different Irish friend, I wouldn’t have found Morgaine du Mer, and if I hadn’t found Morgaine du Mer, I couldn’t have contracted with her to draw the banner art that ties in with the title. When you think about the whole thing in terms of fateful decisions, it makes a strange sort of sense that my staff artist would turn out to be a mermaid who keeps a gnome named Henri for a houseboy, though whether or not he’s Irish is unclear.
Now that all that’s off my chest, I’m sure you have a better idea about this blog, and about my long association with mystical, magical creatures — including, but not limited to the Irish. And that’s why you will not be surprised to learn that when I was sitting in Seat 18F on Alaska Airlines Flight 8 from Seattle to Newark a couple of weeks ago, I looked out my window and spotted a yeti.
I tried to get my wife’s attention, but she was fighting her own battle with the slumbering troll that was sitting in 18D, so I fumbled for my iPhone camera and snapped a quick picture over the wing. You do believe me, don’t you? Before you answer, you’d best examine my photo and see if you can spot the yeti. Go ahead, have a look, what do you have to lose?
Whatever you think, my own experience has helped me decide that gnomes, perhaps, have become too passé. I’m thinking of starting a new blog and calling it Yeti Yakking. It might become the perfect venue for spewing fresh entries for next year’s A-to-Z Challenge!