Monday, February 26, 2007

"Oh, Hello...I didn't see you standing there". Can one blog in isolation?

Randy has pulled the plug on his fine blog "The Battle of Gettysburg and the American Civil War" ( That's a loss.

Randy cited a number of reasons why he's shutting down, including the lack of input from his fellow bloggers as well as a perceived lack of interest from the folks at Civil War Interactive.

This causes me ask myself, "just who is my audience?" Is it me, the people who know me, the great random ethersphere, or a select group of fellow bloggers?

I admit that it's all of the above.

The main reason I keep these blogs is to satisfy my desire to write and to send up a flare to friends and strangers alike. That flare says "Here I am!...Over here!..Listen! A collateral benefit is that people (you people) often respond to my postings. That's very gratifying, though not the driving force behind why I do this.

It was a good six months into my efforts with this blog before I even happened upon Joe Avalon's "This Week in the Civil War Blogs". How thrilling to find that someone was talking about me! (for as "high school" as that sounds).

Comments are delightful and welcomed though I remind myself that I blog to satisfy an internal need to write rather than an external need of being noticed (however nice that is).

When I blog I try to remain true to my goal: "My Year of Living Rangerously" is a celebration of the best year in my life (so far) as a ranger at Antietam National Battlefield.

My Helmet blog is the closest thing I'll come to writing a combat helmet reference,

and my cartooning blog allows me to give old cartoons new life in an exciting medium.

If people are watching and reading my blogs, and perhaps measuring me against others, that's just fine.

But in the words of that great American, Dom Deluise, "The first rule in Italian auto racing is, throw away the rearview mirror!"

If you don't like what I have to say, or draw, or photograph, that's swell. If you like what I have to say...that's even sweller, I can't pretend that outside approval isn't important to me or that disapproval doesn't sting, but that's not why I write or shoot photos, or draw cartoons, or collect helmets.

My Civil War blogroll includes some individuals that I really enjoy reading. Dimitri Rotov (who does not permit comments) provides outstanding taskmaster-like tutorials on what is and what isn't good CW scholarship. John Hoptak and Steve Soper excel in their laser-beam like focus on individual regiments. And Steve Soper again, for his role-modelling as the consummate multi-blogger. He has half a dozen blogs now, all of them outstanding.

I have three blogs, and one in the on-deck circle.

With each I hope to share some aspect of my life.

My Point? Let us all be able to joyfully share what it is that we have to say, with or without the input or feedback of others. We all, individually, have something of value to add.

Soon I'll be posting a new blog about my life as a sailor during the early 1970's.

I was a radioman sending out signals like:

CQ CQ CQ CQ CQ CQ CQ CQ CQ CQ CQ CQ CQ CQ CQ CQ CQ CQ CQ CQ (that's radioman talk for "seek you").

Do you read me Randy?

Ranger Mannie


Unknown said...

You just never know who might be reading. I'm a civil war buff and trying to get into the NPS, your site has given me some great information on how to get there, maybe, eventually :) Keep up the great work I love the pictures, Ill be out your way in June on a tour with J.McPherson, can't wait!!!

Anonymous said...

I like to start my day reading your blog. Nice job.

Anonymous said...

Your blog is a daily stop for me my friend. Keep it up. It's great to "know" someone in the biz. :) And sharing your photos, videos, cartoons, helmets, (and wit) are what the Internet is all about.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy your blog. It brings a really neat perspective of Antietam. I especially enjoyed your pictures of Burnside bridge and how you realized you were standing at the same place Gardner had been some 140 years ago- I got goose bumps just thinking about it.
thanks for all of your efforts!
Jeff Arey
Point of Rocks MD

Anonymous said...

It has always seemed to me that even if the objective of writing a particular blog is to share information the blogger must first and last be writing for himself. A blog is the perfect vehicle for clearing the cobwebs from one's mind and putting down the strands of lucidity in clear black and white (or white and black or yellow and teal or whatever). To write expecting an audience is an exercise in futility. As Sessue Hayakawa told Alec Guinness's Col. Nicholson, "Be happy in your work."