Monday, September 29, 2008

Cogito ergo bloggo

I have had a web presence since 1996 when I put together my first GeoCities pages. I was working as a software developer creating mainframe COBOL reports for the Louisiana Department of Revenue and had convinced someone that I should spend some time learning HTML, since that's where "the future" is going to be, so I started a life-long habit of updating web pages on company time. I wasd an atrist back then, heavily under the influence of Robert rauschenberg who "operated in teh gap between art and life" and I wanted to do that too. My catchphrase for my shallow adoption of his techniques was "I want art to be a precipitate of life."

This habit went dormant for a number of years when I started actually working on the web, now generating reports in HTML and ASP pages but picked back up in 2002, after my daughter was born and finally started sleeping throughthe night. My first LiveJournal post was

Introduction 12:51 pm
Howdy! My wife is a Live Journal devotee, and she got me hooked. I recently turned 34 and am embarking on my mid-life crisis. I have a steady job, lovely, loving wife and the best baby girl in the world. I have been a self-taught visual artist for many years now. My life is very good my anyone's standards, but lately, I have been wanting more. More what, is the thing I haven't figured out yet...
I am listening to: Willie Nelson - Teatro

The mid-life crisis I was referring to was a Vespa that I really wanted that my wife wisely, to this day, dissuades me from getting. No matter that I am not riding to work everyday ion low CC mock-Euro splendor, oblivious to how ridiculous a man of my age and body shape looks on a scooter, because that day blogging became my ride.

I started it to talk about music and art and food, which, six years later, is what I still talk about in a blog. And in blogs, I refer to it as talking for a reason, because even though it is writing, blogging invites a certain intimacy, an unabashed I as the narrator - people know that this is all you, or some form of the you you wish to portray.

A post about the death of Clash singer Joe Strummer turned rather fortuitous for me; a read came forth a year or twio later saying he really liked the post and asked if I would consider writing about music for a web magazine he was starting, and so my longtime ongoing relationship with Outsideleft began and with a post about Daniel Johnston I became a music critic.

I started getting some notice from PR agents anyway, and the stacks of promo CD's started coming in, fueling the habit. I kept up the LiveJournal throught all this, letting it and Outsideleft serve as a way to talk about music on the obsessive level I wanted without having to bore some innocent person to tears who mistakenly asked me "So, what bands do you like?"

Three years down, my blog writing began to formalize and I was limited by LiveJournal's friend oriented format, so I started a blog called ChickenFried which was to be a repository of my online material from outsideleft as well as something that could grow. Unfortunately, it never did. No fault of its own it just didn't take.

Around this time, a book culled from my LiveJournal and outsideleft posts was coming to fruition and I decided to embark on print journalism, namely covering local music for an upstart lifestyle publication in Baton Rouge called 225. That led to a weekly local music blog for them called The Record Crate, which led to a monthly music/travel column for Country Roads Magazine and suddenly with a book and periodicals, I was a writer, a real writer. in October of 2007, I landed pieces in both The Oxford American and The Wire, and I needed a portfolio spot where I coudl readily link to all this, and considered starting up ChickenFried again, but I thought that I needed something people could immediately find through my name, so was born

That blog has gone under transformation with time, as all blogs do. I still drop everything there, but I also have found a way through it to talk about my life and express the things in it I want to express - I talk about the albums I listen to, the things I'm doing, the places I'm going etc etc. Recently I've fused it with Facebook and Twitter's status-oriented microblogging, tied in feeds from social networks like GoodReads and so it becomes a more organic version of what I want to express, slowly becoming that precipitate I was shooting for back in 1996.

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