When I started Roamin’ Gnomials, I envisioned a one-size-fits-all publication that would easily encompass my scattershot approach to life. If a particular blog post didn’t resonate with one reader, I felt confident she’d come back for the next thing, which would surely be more to her liking.
Eventually, however, it sank in that no matter how much I might wish it otherwise, some things — like death and politics — just weren’t going to fit inside, so the man who long-resisted friends’ urging to write a blog now has three!
Blogs are like children, and as any parent knows, sometimes one child needs more attention than the others, which is why I’ve been away for so long. I’ve been a neglectful father, and while that’s not good, it may also be understandable. Anytime you bring a bouncing baby blog into your home, it’s going to rock your world.
If a blog is one aspect of a writer’s personality, it’s sad when you discover there are parts of yourself that others find unacceptable. Keeping with the theme of blogs as children, Roamin’ Gnomials was my firstborn, and for that reason it will always be special. But when I realized there were things that just wouldn’t fit inside, it necessitated the birth of my second blog, which was in fact stillborn.
A Year in the Death of One Man was written as a part of Roamin’ Gnomials, and I’m sure my long-time readers remember it well, perhaps with dismay. But when the project was finished and I’d written a magazine article that summarized it, I felt a little ashamed directing those readers to a blog featuring gnomes. I couldn’t very well expect a bunch of newcomers to show up and immediately get onboard with the whole gnome theme, not when they were expecting to read about a cemetery, so I migrated all of that material to its new home, which is why I say it was stillborn. Today, A Year in the Death of One Man is as dead as the name implies. Although the material is still available for anyone to read, no new posts will ever revive it, so it’s the rare traveler indeed who will find that tiny headstone and pay his respects.
When the recent presidential campaign was in full-swing in the United States, most of the posts on Roamin’ Gnomials took on a political edge, and I felt that I lost a lot of readers. Statistics didn’t necessarily bear that out, as I was still gaining followers at a steady pace, but I sensed disinterest from some regulars, and in some cases, downright disapproval of my political views. Still, I felt the subject was important enough that I wanted to continue despite the fallout — perceived or otherwise — so I created the Voices series (you can still find the Voices posts here under the topic heading Politics/Social Issues) in which I invited other bloggers and writers to participate in ramping up the vitriol against Donald J. Trump. Eventually that morphed into the idea of tapping some of my former co-workers from the newspaper business to help me in a new venture called The Shinbone Star. It’s my new baby and has taken all of my attention.
While I was away, I was gratified to see that Roamin’ Gnomials continued to grow on its own. I receive notifications every week of new followers, despite the fact that I haven’t posted anything new in a long time. One of the nicest things about being a blog parent is seeing your baby grow to the point that it doesn’t need constant attention and can thrive on its own. Maybe it means I did something right.
It’s also important to realize that where writing is concerned, one size never fits all. Though each of my blogs is a chip off the old block, each has its own unique personality and has garnered its own group of friends. True, The Shinbone Star isn’t all my writing (in fact the best posts weren’t written by me), but the concept is all my own.
Just like the varied aspects of any person’s personality, some of my blogs seem inviting, others off-putting, and still others are anger-inducing, but taken together they form a composite of who I am — one day introspective, the next day silly, followed by occasions of withering anger. One advantage to a blog over a human being: At least with a blog you can pick and choose what parts you like!
A big thanks to the supporters of all my blogs. If you haven’t met my other children, I hope you’ll click on the links above and get to know them all.
* Boy Holding Screaming Baby by Norman Rockwell