And thanks, readers, for coming back time and again. This here blogging thing continues to be a source of great fun.
Earlier in the week, Pokerati Dan sent me an interesting article appearing in the November 2008 issue of The Atlantic Monthly by Andrew Sullivan called “Why I Blog.” In the piece, Sullivan opines about his own blogging experiences, and theorizes a bit about the genre and its significance.
Some of Sullivan’s ideas about blogging differ from mine, although I think every blogger has his or her own distinct notion of what a blog is, and only some of our ideas tend to overlap with one another. He does sound a couple of notes that resonate strongly with me, though.
Sullivan writes about the “exhilarating literary liberation” he felt when he first began to write his blog, contrasting the immediacy of the blog with his previous experiences writing for print publications, experiences marked by “endless delays, revisions, office politics, editorial fights, and last-minute cuts for space that dead-tree publishing entails.”
I have mentioned here before that I had had some modest experience writing for other outlets (newspapers, journals) prior to starting the blog. I, too, much enjoyed that sense of “liberation” at being able to write and publish instantly, and (even more importantly) receive feedback and become part of a larger conversation right away. Sullivan points out that this openness to others’ input (in the form of comments, emails, and responses on others’ blogs) ultimately means the “blogger can get away with less [than, say, the author of an op-ed piece in a newspaper can] and afford fewer pretensions of authority.”
That is, while I suppose we bloggers could, like Cartman, try to insist others “Respect Mah Authoritay,” such respect ultimately must be earned. Really earned. Thus does the sense of “liberation” also lead to other satisfied feelings when one happens to hit the mark once in a while with a given observation or narrative.
Sullivan also points out how the blog and its “atmosphere” (i.e., the way the blog connects to others’ via comments, links, etc.) “will inevitably be formed by the writer’s personality.” He says “Even the most careful and self-aware blogger will reveal more about himself than he wants to in a few unguarded sentences and publish them before he has the sense to hit Delete.”
He’s right, of course. Even those of us operating under pseudonyms tend to reveal all, in a way, a phenomenon which gives me a couple of more reasons to be thankful. For one, thanks to you, reader, for enduring my own self-indulgences here. And secondly, thanks to all of the bloggers whom I read regularly for sharing their own selves so candidly. Inspiring, that. Not to mention entertaining and edifying.
Lots else to be thankful for, of course. It’s been a whirlwind year, highlighted by a summer in Vegas helping cover the World Series of Poker for PokerNews. As I’ve written about here before, that was one of those life detours I wouldn’t have seen happening even a year ago, so muchas gracias to PokerNews for the opportunity. Also thanks to the many, many terrific colleagues with whom I worked (and continue to work) at PokerNews. Truly a fantastic, talented bunch that helped create what was probably one of the most rewarding work experiences I’ve ever had.
Thanks also to everyone who has given The Hard-Boiled Poker Radio Show a try, as well as to Tim Peters and the Poker Grump for their contributions to the first nine episodes. Have gotten some terrific feedback from several folks on particular episodes, which I do appreciate very much. Actually had a nice message just this morning from the folks over at OTRCat.com, a site that collects old time radio shows. If yr interested in such things, go check ’em out.
And I’m thankful still to be playing online poker. Let’s hope that remains a source of fun and pleasure for all who want to play.
Finally, I’m thankful for the big crowd of family coming over here later today. Vera Valmore is in the kitchen this morning cooking up the last few dishes. I think we have nine eating, and there will be 15 or so here ultimately before the day is over. We actually had to rent an extra table. Vera has fashioned some nifty place settings.
Okay, need to go help out in the kitchen. Everybody have a good one.