Writing a blog is the pre-internet equivalent of the blowhard standing on a soapbox in a park shouting thoughts into the ether for the consternation and/or entertainment of friends, neighbours, family or any strangers who might happen past.
When conceived in 2015 as the Meandering Maloneys, this blog seemed an easy way to keep in touch while we (Dame, Dude and Dog) travelled North America for a year. A digital postcard without the hassle of stamps and mailboxes.
Those familiar with the participants have no doubt deduced that the Dame handled all technical aspects of the online setup. She also took pictures and did much of the writing, especially early on.
Having experienced the anxiety and angst of a weekly column early in my newspaper career the idea of committing to a deadline, even a geographic one, was as attractive to me as directing the video of my last colonoscopy. Which is to say, having seen it in real time I had no desire to relive the experience solely for the enjoyment of others.
The Dame’s facility with words (journalism was her first career choice) and gift for humour superseded her spotty punctuation and with help from… ahem… a skilled editor, this blog was born. As the weeks turned into months, and the pressure for evermore witty observations ramped up, the Dame’s enthusiasm waned, and like the father who ends up cleaning the cage of the family’s pet rabbit, I was left to carry on.
The narrative concluding our journey and the need for writing digital postcards, entitled Meandering Home, noted that our travels in the U.S. had reinforced our Canadian vision of it as the best and worst of countries.
And that’s where things stood until Donald J. Trump emerged as the Republican candidate for president.
My first commentary on American politics, headlined Donald Trump, Tit or Twat?, was a homage to the Scottish knack for insult. The Mango Megalomaniac had inflamed Celtic passion by sticking his orange-tinted beak into the Brexit debate. The Scots flipped their kilts and let loose with imaginative invective ranging from ‘mangled apricot hellbeast’ to ‘witless fucking cocksplat’ to the aptly descriptive ‘tiny-fingered, Cheeto-faced, ferret-wearing shitgibbon’.
I ended that narrative with my own carefully crafted contribution: ‘bimbo-marrying, tit-kid-conceiving, morally and financially bankrupt, bronze-tinted, orange-aircraft-carrier-headed, pussy-lipped twat.
Though perhaps falling short of the evocative Scottish scorn, it received sufficient appreciation from a smattering of readers to inspire further commentary on Trump’s trashing of the Oval Office.
Over time the small core of family and friends who clicked onto the site was augmented by the occasional like-minded visitor from cyberspace who presumably stumbled upon the rantings by Googling key words like ‘Trump is a twat’.
In keeping with my horror of writing to a deadline, subsequent offerings came out sporadically, in indignant spurts, often with long pauses in between. The online host site, called Word Press, provides a facility for more ambitious bloggers to track their hits by country. It lists the number of likes and comments but provides no insight into exactly who reads or how regularly.
From time to time I vary the blog content from political to personal as life takes its toll. The Last Great Generation, My Brother Ron and Dexter A.K.A. The Dood were cathartic after personal loss. Thanks for the comforting comments. They were and are always appreciated.
The one reader I could always count on was my now departed brother Ron, who would inevitably call a day or two after publication to offer encouragement and engage in a half hour or so of Trump-bashing, giving both our wives respite. He was a gentleman, and a gentle man, and I remain convinced that his uncharacteristic apoplectic hatred of the Orange Idiot contributed in some part to his untimely demise last year from a brain bleed. RIP my brother, Trump, the one-term loser, is now feeling your mental pain.
In the month of December, the site has had a modest 326 views from 12 countries. Canada tops the list with 236, followed by the United States at 54, China at 20 and Mexico, India and France at 4,3, and 2 respectively. The rest are single hits or perhaps mis-hits. A social influencer I am not.
Have Yourself a Grateful Little Christmas, about the empty chairs we all have in life, connected with people in the Time of the Pandemic, garnering 75 views.
The book-length entertainment I published this spring for a quarantined captive audience, Confessions of a Canadian Serial Killer, was modestly successful in that several readers made it all the way to the end. To those who didn’t make it through I take no offense and offer the same insight I once imparted to reporters in my charge. The responsibility of an unfinished story, once in the readers’ hands, always lies with the writer.
I have no idea who reads this blog, except for the occasional encouraging comment or thumbs up from people in my circle. To date I have not heard from readers in other countries other than the odd notification that I have a new follower. The consistency and frequency of visitors from the U.S. and China especially, suggest that a small group in those two countries regularly find it a worthwhile digital distraction.
To all who tune in from time to time, thanks for rewarding a writer with your attention. The human connection feels especially good in this time of isolation.
Happy New Year to Canadian readers and to those in the United States, China, Mexico, India and France. Best wishes to the one-time accidentals visitors from Nepal, Malaysia, Peru, Singapore, Indonesia, South Korea, Russia, American Samoa and other far-off places if you happened again on this site.
May your 2021 be bountiful, healthy and happy. May your vaccination be timely and your social distancing end with the warming embrace of family and friends.