For me, doing a blog has been both a treat and an inexpensive form of therapy. It has provided me with a venue to rattle on intermittably without noticably boring my friends and co-workers. It has provided me with a soapbox on which to stand and rail against the evils of society. It has provided me with a place to sit back and laugh at the human condition in general and myself in particular. It has even provided me with the chance to meet some very bright and intelligent people, both personally and through their comments. (Hell, it even got my picture in the Toledo Free Press.)
All of this has not come without a little fear and trepidation. While there are important issues out there that must be talked about and the blogosphere is a tremendous outlet for discussion and discernment, there are abuses of this medium going on out there. Lies, hate speech, and stupidity on a grand scale are out here as well, and attacks on bloggers in and out of the blogosphere are not unknown. Being a blogger who does not use a pen name could especially open me up to criticism or attack. I have to say that I have been treated universally well however, both by those who agree and disagree with me. Perhaps this is because much like the variety available on cable television, if you don't like what you see, you change the channel. Even when I do hear a dissenting opinion from those with divergent points of view and agendas from time to time, reasoned discussion usually occurs. I would suggest therefore, that most out here make an honest effort to supply useful information or educated and considered opinion. (For those of you now thinking that I fit into neither category, shame on you. While you are probably right, it's not nice to pick on a guy on his anniversary.)
Likewise I am grateful for the constant and regular exercise of my limited writing ability and the challenge to my creativity that this endeavor has pressed upon me. Even I can see some improvement as I look back over the last 52 weeks of effort (not that it would have taken much), and I am hoping that this will pay off as I attempt to work on some of the short story and novel ideas that have been rattling around my hard drive for some time now. They say that a person can never have too many sources of income, and it is my hopes that there are a few sheckles with my name on them out there as a reward for telling a good story. At the very least, such efforts should continue the improvements to the entries I make on this blog site as I go forward.
Now just so you think that I am not trying to make this posting all about me, let me tell you that I'm not the only one celebrating an anniversary of one kind or another this month. June is a big birthday month in the Higgins clan. I have a son who just turned 31 on the 7th, an Irish twin of a sister whose age is now the same as mine for just over a month (having turned so on the 9th), a new great niece that was born on the 10th, a grandson who will reach the ripe old age of 9 in just a couple of days on the 16th, a niece who adds another year while serving her country in the Army on the 19th, and a brother who would have turned 55 on the 30th.
July and August are also months filled with birthdays and anniversaries involving sons and daughters with special days in both categories. I can only assume that long, cold Midwestern winters had something to do with this over the years, but that's just me. If nothing else however, these events ought to keep Hallmark in business another month or two.
Adding to this, I discovered the fact that there's a far more auspicious anniversary than my paltry 1st out there. Bushmills is celebrating their 400th anniversary, having been officially licensed by the British crown in 1608 by King James I (though it is believed that the English troops of King henry II enjoyed this product some 400 years earlier). Having sampled a more than a few glasses of fine Irish whiskey from these guys over the years, I can assure you that 800 years of practice in the distillers art has not been wasted.
So thanks for sharing the journey with me this last year. And as I take up my trusty keyboard to begin another year, I am reminded of the immortal words of one of my favorite authors, Robert Heinlein:
"Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards."
Has anybody out there got some hand sanitizer?