I've been asked a number of times why I don't have my own blog. For me, it's too much work and too much pressure to produce. The blogosphere beast needs to be fed regularly, all the how-to-be-a-blogger manuals say, and I'm too lazy, too old, and too inept to deal with the daily grind. I greatly admire those who are regular bloggers, however.
For me, guest-blogging -- whether it's I or someone else -- provides a short-term dose of a voice that might become grating on a regular basis. It's just like those great guest hosts on late-night talk shows who managed to be a pleasant, refreshing break from Johnny Carson or Dick Cavett. (Now I'm dating myself -- but it's okay because I'm a cheap date.)
(Admit it, people who write "it's I" really grate on your nerves, don't they?)
My favorite talk-show guest host was on the old late-afternoon Mike Douglas show in the 1960s and early 1970s. Delayed by bad weather on a flight back home to Cleveland, where the show was taped, Mike would sometimes just call his next-door neighbor, an average Joe -- perhaps an insurance salesman? -- to take his place and chat with Totie Fields and introduce Steve and Eydie's next number. Once, about fifteen minutes before the show's end, Mike walked in wearing a raincoat and carrying a suitcase and took the reins back from his neighbor, who seemed quite relieved to give up his temporary celebrity. That was back in the days before reality TV when all Americans did not aspire to become famous. The guy did a fairly credible job, though.
If I were credible enough to have my own blog, here are five nonliterary but literate blogs I read regularly which would have a place on my blogroll:
Susan Mernit: I've known Susan since her early days as a poet, when we lived under the same roof as fellows at the Virginia Center for the Arts in the summers of 1981 and 1982. Currently one of Silicon Valley's most prescient gurus and a bigshot at Yahoo, Susan has also been a key executive at Netscape, AOL and other Web 1.0 and 2.0 enterprises. She was my boss's boss when I was a columnist at New Jersey Online in the early 1990s, at a time when all of us were trying to figure this Internet thing out. An expert on social networking, interactive media and online journalism, Susan's blog is required reading for Silicon Valley hotshots. Sample post: 10 things we can learn from Facebook.
Living with Legends: the Hotel Chelsea Blog: The Anonymous Blogger (some of us know her real name) reports about the past and present at the residence of Manhattan bohemians since before even I was born. Ginsberg & Kerouac! Tennessee & Gore! Frida & Diego! Janis & Jimi! And no one can forget Sid & Nancy! My most memorable evening there was spent in the 1970s hanging out in the room of Lance Loud. Now this bastion of avant-garde is imperiled by a new management team. Will the Chelsea as we know it survive? Stay tuned to the Anonymous Blogger's daily reports. Sample post: Stanley Bard: patron saint of punk rock.
Law School Academic Support Blog: As a once and perhaps future Academic Support Program (ASP) professional, I go here to find out what's happening in the field that helps law students achieve their maximum potential. An important movement that has a lot to offer educators in other fields, I recommend this blog not only to ASP directors and law professors but to law students who want to go behind the scenes and see what their greatest allies on campus are thinking. Sample post: Our own skills: empathizing.
Father Jake Stops the World: This Episcopal priest is the go-to guy for news and opinions about the current turmoil in the American church and its place in the Anglican communion. With Nigerian Bishop Akinola, the cleric who's making sure gay men in Lagos are put behind bars for having dinner in public together, seemingly intent on colonizing the more conservative American dioceses, Father Jake provides a voice of reason. But can a schism be avoided? Sample post: With Apologies to Don McLean.
In accordance with the unwritten rules of placeblogging, Ms. Crawford considers her three-year-old blog an “informal portal” with no pretense of objectivity and, by definition, an automatic interest in anything that ever happens in or relating to Park Slope. This is why she welcomes e-mail tips from readers sharing observations like “I think I heard a gunshot” or questions like “What was that smell last night?” For Ms. Crawford and her audience, absolutely nothing is too trivial. The quirks of her own life reflect her postage stamp of home turf. Ms. Crawford, a mother of two, writes a parenting column called Smartmom for The Brooklyn Paper, and observations on education and child-rearing factor prominently in her blog. In a recent entry on her daughter’s fifth-grade graduation ceremony at Public School 321, she wrote: “Graduations. Parties. They’re going on all over the city. These are the milestone moments that require Kleenex and a strong margarita afterwards.”
Also worth a look are Hugh Crawford's photos on No Words Daily Pix. Sample Smartmom post: Once again America asks: What to tell the children?