I am back at the beginning with blogs and Blogger. It has been a long march. I started out in 2004 when the second Bush was re-elected. To my stupefaction. In my doubt and confusion I started wandering around the Internet and stumbled into Blogger, where I played around until I was invited to create a blog and give it a name. I called it, naturally, The Bush Diaries. It took the form of a daily, somewhat irreverent, hopefully funny, but never unpleasantly hostile letter to the man I thought should never have been voted into the Oval Office.
How quaint that looks, in retrospect! How benign a president seems the man who took us into those disastrous wars (on terror, in Afghanistan, in Iraq) from whose repercussions we have still not fully extricated ourselves. If I thought that was bad, just look what followed! I wrote (almost) daily in The Bush Diaries for about five years--until I woke up one morning with the day's entry roiling in my head and realized with dismay that I was waking up every morning with Bush in bed with me.
I hastened out of there. The Bush Diaries morphed very naturally, very comfortably into The Buddha Diaries (a healthy change to a more benevolent and beneficial B), and I continued my (near) daily habit of posting reflections in my blog for several more years. It was anything that came into my head or happened in my life on any given day. I liked it because it was not a private "journal"--I have never be attracted to the idea of "writing for myself": I do it to communicate with other people, no matter how few, to share my observations about art, movies, religion, politics, what moves me, or sometimes what leaves me cold.
So I have loved this curious habit, blogging, and will soon have practiced it for 20 years! Amazing. Some of my entries have been edited to appear later in book form: The Bush Diaries, Persist, Mind Work, and so on. Many, perhaps most, have simply wafted off into the remotest areas of the blogosphere, never to be seen or heard again. Which is okay. They did their job. They were read by a surprisingly large number of people, world-wide (I used to keep a map to show me where my readers were). There were responses, comments, objections, agreement, sometimes praise...
And now here I am, back to that proverbial square one again. The Buddha Diaries died a natural death. Old age, perhaps. I had also begun to feel uncomfortable, taking the Buddha's name in vain. I never really called myself a Buddhist, just an "aspiring Buddhist." I was certainly not preaching Buddhism, nor was I remotely entitled to. So there was that.
And then I found myself writing these letters to my father. And writing them, I decided at one point, why not put them out into the world as (another!) blog. The title "Dear Harry: Letters to My Father" was an easy choice. So, as you see, I started posting them. At last count there were nearly 100 entries in the blog, and there were many more that, for one reason or another, did not get posted. I found myself with enough of them, a collection with a kind of cohesive arc of time and topic, to make a book. That looks like it will happen, but in the meantime here I am with this blog, "Dear Harry," and it doesn't seem to want to stop.
I started out by saying that I'm back at the beginning. That's partly due to changes that have taken place with Blogger. I had to hire tech help to add the "subscribe" box at the top--something that was easy to accomplish with my own limited skills in "the old days." I have just spent hours trying to work out how to open and manage a blogroll--that used to be easy, too--and now that I've succeeded, I realize that I have forgotten or lost contact with all my former blog chums, the ones I had on my blogroll and who were kind enough to post me on theirs.
I am a long-term a fan of The Dharma Bums--now The New Dharma Bums--so that's where I have started. (Hello, Robin!) But I know that I have lots of work to do to in order to catch up with my blogging, hoping to reconnect with old friends and make some new ones. I have made a commitment to launch myself into this new activity, but I'd also appreciate the help of readers/bloggers who share some of my interests and attitudes and would like to connect. So I'm sending this out as an invitation to bloggers and non-bloggers alike: I'd welcome your interest and suggestions and look forward to hearing from you--whether by comment on "Dear Harry", on Facebook, or by email at peterclothier at mac dot com.
Please pass this on (if it interests you) to others who you think might share your interest. Meantime, I hope to connect with you in the blogosphere.