Archive for January 2018

My Salon-tro

So a group of us who cut our blogging teeth in the early ‘aughts on a platform sponsored by Salon Magazine has decided to try to break the FB/Twitter microblogging straitjacket and reincarnate our former blogging selves, at least for the month of February.  Kind of like a rookie contract on the taxi squad.  We’ll be cross-posting by linking in a Facebook group.  Sticking it to the Man!

I like the idea, as I think my writing chops, such as they were, have withered since blogging gave way to the largely empty calories of FB and Twitter.  I’ve maintained my Salon blog name as a dedicated domain, and post something every couple of months when something jumps into my head, probably aliens hacking my brain through my remaining silver amalgam fillings.  (I’m actually not sure if I have any of those left, as I had a dentist in the 70s and 80s who was hellbent on replacing them with gold onlays.  I think he may have had a William Jennings Bryant dartboard in his office.  Guys from my crematory are going to have a pretty grand weekend, but I hope they have to wait a while).

I happened onto the Salon platform sometime in 2003, when I subscribed to the online magazine.  I hadn’t heard of “blogging” before, and it sounded like a mechanism to keep a promise to write that I’d made to myself in high school.  I was editor of our school newspaper my senior year, and gave myself permission to write a “humor” column called Philbo’s Phollies, after a regrettably enduring nickname that an asshole math teacher hung on me in 7th grade.  I wanted to style it after a syndicated feature in the Toledo Blade at the time called The Squirrel Cage, written by a Seattle Post-Intelligencer guy named Douglass Welch.  The Squirrel Cage was a series of vignettes populated by characters in a nondescript suburban neighborhood, which pretty much characterized my home town, but was adept at exposing human foibles humorously and with self-deprecation.

I kind of thrilled at the way stuff found its way from fugitive pockets of my subconscious onto the page through my prosaic ink pen, but once I graduated it fell fallow.   As time went by, technological advances such as the IBM PC, word processing programs, Usenet and maillists seemed to make the task of writing less onerous and more likely to be appreciated, but I never engaged until I followed that link to Salon blogging.

The platform had a satisfying array of folks, some who went on to be A-listers, and many of us have kept in touch through social media.  I never got into politics or confessional drama (and still won’t), preferring to try to entertain a bit and make the occasional effort to post a more polished piece.  I kept hoping that more people would read and comment, but I ended up with about 10.  The few, the proud.  When Facebook came along, there was so much more contact, and I like it for the relaxed connectivity it affords.  When I can post a photo and get 70 “likes” by midnight, it seems more gratifying than working on a blog piece for 90 minutes and get a comment or 2.  Seems, but it’s ephemeral, and in a half hour it’s submerged in a gaggle of cats.

I’ll keep my presence on Facebook because it’s kind of a free-for-all home room, but I’m hoping to rekindle that rewarding feeling of making more considered prose.