Politics in America

The Last Typepad Post

Following some gentle nudges from my brother and sister I’ve decided to start posting my occasional essays to substack.  It makes it easier to be sure I’m getting my stuff in front of people who might be interested in it and I’m hoping it’ll enable me to expand the readership some.  Here’s the link.  If you subscribe (it’s free), you get an email every time I post something, which I’m hoping will be every two or three weeks.  Given my level of productivity over the last few years that might be a stretch, but I’m optimistic.  In May I finished up the last of my (semi-)professional obligations, so there isn’t anything distracting me from my life-long pursuit of one good essay.

I started with Typepad on October 16, 2004.  In these eighteen years I’ve posted 670 pieces.  Over the years the frequency declined, but I think the quality of the writing improved.  Although I’m changing platforms I’m not changing my approach.  Same eclectic mix of subjects, depending on what’s on my mind when I sit at the keyboard.  (No matter what topics I covered, though, the most popular posts have always been stories about my beloved granddaughter, who was not born when I started the blog, is now a senior in high school, and is doing very well, thank you for asking).

The goal has always been to take what I’m feeling or thinking and craft it into sentences that satisfy my sense of what a good sentence should be.  Since I don’t have a very concrete notion of what I mean by “a good sentence” the process remains mysterious.  I put down some words.  I take some out.  I try some different ones.  I move things around.  I read it and re-read and re-read and tinker and polish and eventually get to a point where I think I’ve done that piece as well as I can for now.  I think every one of those 670 has at least a couple of sentences that I’m really happy with and there are even a couple that I think work all the way through.

Lynn and I were having Zoom cocktails with Mr. TomCat last night.  At one point we were talking about the mysteries of writing (my essays, his songs) and I brought up that Randall Jarrell quote that’s been a touchstone for me since I was in my teens: “A good poet is someone who manages, in a lifetime of standing out in thunderstorms, to be struck by lightning five or six times; a dozen or two dozen times and he is great.”

Here I go, back out into the rain.


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