Sunday, February 8, 2009


I first started thinking of my self as a writer back in a 1974. I was wearing tartan bell bottoms and blue platform shoes, listening to David Bowie at that time. I was a young dude and it was the 70’s, please forgive me. Cooks were cooks and gardeners,gardeners. There were no Iron Chefs, just Julia Child, no garden celebrities, just Thalassa Cruso. It was a time when fame became famous. It was probably Andy Warhol’s promise for 15 minutes ( he actually denied saying that) that got the fame mill going and fame began to displace money as the American Dream.
Things were much simpler then. I would mimeograph my poems and hand them out. It all seems so quaint and nineteenth century as I type it into my laptop, though it truly wasn’t that long ago. I still am a hunt and pecker, technology has not changed my skills there. But it’s the malleability of the ‘page’ I love now. No white out , no reams of paper before arriving at a clean copy. I know “we’re using less paper”, that computer technology is “greener”, I think history will show us the truth. But that is a subject for another blog. Now like most of you I am mesmerized by the web to the point of believing I can’t live without it. “It’s only a tool,” a friend said to me only a few years ago when I sidled up to my first computer, with the voice of “2001”’s HAL echoing in my brain. I’ve learned to make use of this tool over the years. It has revolutionized bookkeeping and tax time for me. It has given the hidden researcher in me a speedy way to bounce from subject to subject without leaving my chair. I still go to the library frequently, I will never get over the lovely sensuosity of books. But what I really love about my computer is distribution. I used to be an avid letter writer, to the point of which licking the stamp was a ritualistic act. I actually miss it at times, but it never had the far reaching impact of blogging, which at this moment I think of as corresponding. I ‘correspond’ in Australia , Israel, Germany, India and Wisconsin. At least that’s the ones I know of. The web has put my ramblings in global distribution.
When my friend Bre ( check out his website I Make Things) set me up with a blog 7 years ago I was dumbfounded as to what to write about. I am a gardener so I decided a gardening blog might be the way to go. But Bre didn’t like my content.” Just report what you’re doing: ‘ Today I planted 700 tulips’ ; ‘Today it rained all day’ ; ‘ Today I dug a hole’,” was his stern advice. He truly believed a blog, a web log, was exactly that, an archive of activities. But my persistent poetic under-pinings, let me to believe it was an archive of thoughts and feelings. But I tried his way for a while, but lost interest. There is a sufi saying that Jesus said “ a man can only spend what is in his pocket”, mine happen to be full of poetic under-pinings and philosophic meanderings. Because I had so few comments on my blog I thought maybe I wasn’t so brilliant after all and stopped. I read other peoples blogs. Some were “ archiving activities”, others were “mimeographing” poetry and “handing it out”, others were becoming columnists, reporters and educators.
So I began contributing to the blog-o-sphere again. Spending what I had in my pocket.
But I still have my notebook and pens. It all starts there for me. My thoughts flow better in ink on paper. The clickety-clack, or should I say clunkety-clunk under my hands, of the keyboard some how bogs down my thought processes.
It’s February and I have more time than dirt on my hands.
More space to wonder and wander in this fat old head of mine.
More time for questions.
Is there a difference between writing and blogging? I’ve heard the word ‘blog’ tossed around so derisively by some very well educated people, or at least people who want to you to believe their well educated. Is blogging somehow less than writing? And if so what is it then?
Who are we bloggers?
The new journalists?
Or Correspondents? Are we all little Anderson Coopers on the front line of our back yards?
I guess I would say that’s how I see myself after 5 years of blogging. I’m simply writing missives, letters, correspondences with no address but the wide open cyberspace. Like messages in bottles they land in Australia, or Italy, Boise or Kentucky.
A few weeks ago I stood naked on the beach. Not truly naked, but without a lens, or a screen or any devices between me and the world. The world that we have made so small with the internet. But I realized that the world has not changed size. The Pacific is still immense beyond comprehension. Not even the most skilled swimmer among us would consider swimming it, unless you include whales in the “us”. And when I looked up into the night sky and the tenderly flickering Milky Way, I wondered if anyone up there was reading my blog. Then suddenly I realized how claustrophobic I was in cyberspace. How seductively expansive the small piece of sky above my head was, how wide still the seas.
Now I am back home sitting at my desk in logger jeans, I’ve kicked off my Muck Boots and slipped into the camel hide slippers I bought tin India (somethings haven’t changed). I’m clickety-clunking away at another letter to no one and everyone, at least everyone who reads it. On February 23 Andy Warhol will have been dead for 21 years. Are his legendary words finally coming true? Is fame being diminished as we each gather our 15 minutes, one megabyte at a time?
Is garden writing being turned into a series of soup cans with out a brand name?