Friday, October 1, 2010

One-year anniversary

Abe's Book Blog is now one year old. In fact, its "birthday" was September 29, but I missed it. I was busy taking a trip with my mom to southern Ohio to check on "Papa," my misnomer-toting former-Nazi grandfather who's gone a bit loopy since his first stroke a few years ago. He took a nasty tumble on Tuesday, though whether it was the result of a "mini-stroke" or the half empty bottle of Black Velvet next to his bed we can't be sure. The plan is to put him in a home within thirty minutes of here. Barrels of monkeys will surely ensue...

But now to something much more near and dear. When I started this blog over a year ago I had no high expectations. "If I write a hundred posts in a year I'll be happy" is what I said. "And if I learn a few things about writing, and improve my styling a bit, well that's all the better," I added. Well, I have just barely reached my desired posting count and I don't know that I've learned too much, but I have enjoyed myself and I do plan to keep at it long into an indeterminate future.

Of course I have plenty of plans for the future, year #2 -- not least of which is the maintaining of a stricter posting schedule, probably weekly, Monday-Wednesday-Friday -- but for now I wish to reminisce. Here, then, are five of my posts that I think stand out. They are not necessarily my best or the most representative, but they all for one reason or another seem remarkable to me. Why? Well, while I ponder this, you have your own opinions and if you feel so inclined please do shout them out. Much as I love the sound of my own voice, it's always nice to receive comment here.

My choices are:
  1. Review: Meditations of Marcus Aurelius - "Sure, Meditations is often, as George Long put it, 'obscure,' and [Aurelius'] language is often unnecessarily lofty and learned. Sure, his work suffers from the same inconsistencies of all the ancient works of ethics that our modern eyes have recently 'discovered.' Yet I respect this man and feel everyone can learn something from his writings. If nothing else, he tried." I tried, too. I took a swing at condensing and critiquing this classic but difficult ancient philosophy text in under a thousand words -- and I didn't fall on my face.
  2. Harvey Pekar: a great man is dead - Back in July of this year Harvey Pekar, the man who wrote the long-running autobiographical comic American Splendor, fell over and died. The next day I gave him the best sendoff I could think of. The last line: "...hopefully someone can be conjured up to say: 'This is our guy! I'm immensely proud of him.' Oh, hell -- it's already done."
  3. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead - My likening of the title characters of this classic absurdest play to a potted plant was, to me, spot on. And when I had nailed down that little bit the rest of the post seemed to naturally fall into place.
  4. "Atlas is [Hugging]" - The title came as an afterthought, I swear. But the rest of the post is solid, giving the queen of mean, Ayn Rand, and her fans a good lashing, straying into humor occasionally without ever straying too far from the point. This is a very recent post, so I was and still am reading a collected edition of Heywood Broun, a 30s-and-40s era Socialist newspaperman and a big part of the Algonquin Round Table. The man's style inspired my post, and hopefully the solid technique employed by this classically trained newspaper columnist will continue to rub off.
  5. What's going on here? (Part 2) - In this case, for once, the action in this post transcends the post itself. In essence, I spent one whole day in early April talking (almost) only in questions, then laid it out on paper (as the say) the next day. And why did I do this? Well... "If you want to get really philosophical about it, I don't know. Do I really have to answer this question? There was no grand scheme and there still isn't. It is not terribly useful, like curing Cancer, nor is it particularly breathtaking, like rock climbing or sky diving. But, but, but -- why does my life suddenly feel more complete?"
I do so hate these "digest posts" that simply recycle old content and create little to nothing new, and I'm sure you, the reader, do too. In television they call it "The Dreaded Clip Show." Since I don't like it when Everybody Loves Raymond does it of course I don't like to perpetuate the problem too much, anniversary reminisces excluded of course. But new content is coming soon, I promise -- next Monday if all goes well -- so hold tight, everybody, and get ready for an even more exciting year of Abe's Book Blog.

And please, remember to help control the pet population and have your pet spayed or neutered. (I watched too much TV down at "Papa's" house.)

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