UPDATE: Awww…thanks Gray for the 100th post gift…my very own listing in Gray Charles’ blogroll. You like me…you really like me.
This is a big day for TALK! (And, apparently, for graycharles.com…if you haven’t been today…go.)
A. Big. Day.
Today marks our 100th post, and what a ride so far!
To tell you the truth…I never thought I’d make it this far.
When I first started this blog, I didn’t really have much of a direction (and, for the most part, I still lack a clear destination). I knew I wanted a creative outlet and to improve my skills as a writer. I had garnered some much-appreciated attention at Gray Charles.com and, to be honest, gained a healthy shot in the arm to my ego…so this seemed like the natural progression after Gray turned off his comment feature.
But after the first couple of weeks, I began to worry. Coming up with original things to say…and trying to be funny and/or poignant all the time…proved to be pretty damn challenging.
I remember calling my brother, Ben, to confess these worries. He told me that if I was so stressed…I should quit doing it.
But I wasn’t ready to quit.
I e-mailed Gray for advice. He encouraged me to keep writing but told me to figure out what I really wanted from the site.
Initially I had said I wanted to spark discussions and grow a community. But that was not the entire truth because, as more of you came to visit, I began to get a rush in knowing people were reading my work and returning to read more because they were entertained.
I do so love to entertain.
It’s funny how a blog kind of takes on its own life and personality…and, in a sense…begins to control you. I began to understand…in a very, very, very small way…what Gray went through. As a blogger, you want to have your own voice, but you also want to have a fairly broad appeal to ensure that all your efforts are actually read.
After all, it may be personally cathartic to scream from atop a mountain…but if there’s no village below then your message is lost on the trees and the hawks.
It took me a while to reconcile the feelings of wanting to be everything to everybody…but, finally, after hearing the same advice from Ben, Gray, and Bamaborntxbred…I decided to not let the blog control me. I decided that I would dictate what I wrote…even if it seemed kooky or pointless to others. TALK! is my literary “Field of Dreams.” If I write it…they will come (I hope).
And I think it’s worked…for the most part.
Even the most trivial events in my life have sparked the kind of community spirit I wanted out of all of this. As long as I write honestly and without forced efforts…sharing the minutiae of my day-to-day has led to some of the most memorable moments here at TALK!…be it an on-going saga of my dental woes (finally got my mouthguard…see picture at left) or a not-to-be-repeated adventure at the beauty salon.
You’ve all been wonderful to read and comment on my Lucille Ball-esque shenanigans. From my encounter with Taylor Hicks’ doppelganger to my daily walks with Camo Man (and, starting this week, with Sadie Mae, too…pictured at right!), these posts are fun to write because they reveal a part of me that I love to share…the silliness of my foibles.
Yes, I consider my less-than-graceful stumbles through life to be among some of my biggest blessings…well, at least from my vantage point as a writer. I figure I can either sit alone in the corner and mourn my loss of dignity…or I can run with it and laugh out loud at the ridiculousness of me.
I choose laughter…and am so glad to bring others in on the joke.
Speaking of bringing others in, I have been so fortunate to have not only some loyal lurkers and commenters…but some great contributors, as well. (Quossum, Shrewspeak, and NOLAgirl thanks again for sharing your LMBO and Taylor tales here!)
I also want to give a big thank you to Gray Charles (pictured with me at the top of this post in Birmingham). Gray not only introduced me to the joys (and frustrations) of blogging…he encouraged me by reading and commenting here. He also answered my many questions and offered guidance. (“Figure out what you want to achieve.” “Ease up on the links, Shelley.”)
And, as cornball as this is, I gotta thank Taylor Hicks (’cause I know I don’t mention him enough) for being so much damn fun. Yeah I didn’t get to meet him Birmingham, and, yeah, he probably has never even HEARD of this silly little blog…but he’s a large part of the joy I’ve gotten from this whole stupid adventure.
But the very best part of having this blog has been watching our little Monkbot microcosm of the Soul Patrol develop (props to Bama and Double D for originating the name and concept). I’m very proud of being a charter member of the Soul Patrol/Monkbot Division, Department of Squishy Muffin Bunnies.
And to think that there are folks walking around out there wearing their Monkbot T-shirts (thanks for the pic, Shrew) is friggin’ awesome. (By the way, Ben has promised me that he’s working on the logo…don’t give up hope.)
Yeah, it’s a great time for TALK!, for Monkbots everywhere, and for me, personally.
Not only did I get my new video iPod in the mail this week (pictured below)…I got a pretty significant e-mail from Shrew, who went to the LMBO performance in Connecticut this past weekend.
The clever Shrew had prepared some TALK! flyers to pass out at the show…and held one back to present to Brian Less. The coolest part was that Brian said he knew of the site and was happy to take a flyer to keep. (Maybe he was being polite…but I’m choosing to give him the benefit of the doubt.)
So, adding Brian to the number of hits thus far here at TALK!, we get a count of nearly 4,200 folks who have visited at least once.
And of that 4,200, there’s a group of about 24 who take time to visit TALK! almost daily. Some of them post but a good number are just lurking.
Little by little I’m learning who these lurkers are…and it’s pretty exciting. Brian, Gray, and Patrickadiddlehopper aren’t the only guys who’ve clicked here. I learned just today that a past co-worker of mine visits routinely…and I’ve even drawn in spouses of some regular commenters (hope you keep comin’ back, Trey).
I’d love to see that group of 24 remain…and, hopefully, even expand. I encourage y’all to share the site with folks who you think would enjoy reading and sharing what I have to offer.
With the AI tour finally over and Taylor heading to the studio, I hope we can keep alive the soul of the Monkbot. I hope Taylor will visit. I hope Brian will come back (and bring Sam, Zippy, Mitch, and Jeff). I hope all of you stay on board. I hope more people join us. And I hope I can keep entertaining y’all…with at least another 100 posts…and, hopefully, maybe even with a few more.
Viva le Monkbot, babies!
Viva le friggin’ Monkbot!