The Internet is good at making you think you know people.
People like Kennedy. I’ve really only met him three times, I think, but I actually know him pretty well. That’s because his partner is an old friend and colleague of mine, he blogs regularly and we exchange emails relatively often. He also has a podcast called Starbase 66.
He also works at one of my old newspapers, so there’s a whole circle-of-friends thing happening.
Is it a real friendship, or is he an imaginary friend? I vote for the former. Still, it never hurts to ask your friends some questions.
I’ve really only met you a few times, but feel like I know so much about you because of little glimpses of deeply personal issues on your blog. You’ve posted about a family suicide, your brother getting hit by a train, and details about a car crash you were in years ago. How do you decide how much is too much, when it comes to sharing details about your life?
Elizabeth and I were talking about this today, how you and I have actually never spent much time together. Our relationship is almost entirely online, a condition she calls “imaginary friends.”
As to the personal stuff, yeah, I don’t go into too much detail, but sometimes it feels good to share.
The accident, Kip’s train (which a friend of mine who lives in the Junction actually heard happen).
The suicide of my son six years ago, at 14, continues to colour everything I do, and often intrudes on the stupid and goofy. I hope to eventually be able to offer other parents advice about how to deal with that sort of thing, once I figure it out for myself.
You’ve been blogging for a relative eternity, as well as doing podcasts. Why do you do this? What’s in it for you?
I started blogging in 1996 as a way to write things that were too stupid and goofy for the daily paper I worked at, which was The Sudbury Star. The word “blog” hadn’t been invented yet, but I had a site at the old Delphi.
I’ve stuck with it, in different places and under different names, because I love to write and for years was too busy being a page monkey.
Podcasting is just a lot of fun; I worked in radio, and I’ve always missed it, and this way I get to talk about Captain Kirk and comic books.
What advice do you have for people looking to stick with blogging and/or podcasting?
Stick with what you know and what you like, and have fun.
If it feels like work, you’re doing it wrong. Last week I had thousands of blog hits because of some dorky thing I wrote about The Turds of Misery.
I started a meme!
But most of what I write is just whatever crosses my mind, and if only a few hundred people read it, that’s all right, too.
Podcasting is a different animal. I’ve been doing that for a while now and I’m about to launch a new project, a book review series, so I’m looking forward to that. Again, it’s a chance to do something different from my day job.
Something that keeps coming up in this blog is newspaper layoffs. You’re in a relatively unique position, because you were laid off as a desker and came back to the same paper as a reporter. Did you see that one coming?
Nope. It was a real surprise, but I was happy to do it.
Less money, sure, but it’s a really diverse job. You know what I’m talking about, having gone back to reporting after being an editor.
I love the diversity of the day, the unpredictability. To be honest, years of plugging in stock quotes and weather data kind of grinds on a person.
The biggest change has been shooting video of everything, and it’s very strange to be the low man on the totem pole, junior to people who were born around the time I started J-school.
How close were you to doing something completely different? Do you still think about alternatives?
I was about to start college to become a paralegal through the Second Career program, which would have been really strange.
I would have been the Wil Ferrell at Fleming’s frosh kegger. But one good thing that came of my unemployment period is the rebuilding of my relationship with my kids.
I was there for them 24-7 (in the times they’re with us, which is roughly half the month) and was able to really connect with them after years of having to dash off after dinner to work and being wiped out on Saturday mornings.
My kids rule, and everything I do, I do for them. Except for the podcast. That’s for nerds.