Over the last couple of years, dozens (and by “dozens,” I mean a handful) of family members and friends have been suggesting that I write a blog. The thing is, I’m very old-school; I honestly don’t understand our hyper-self-besotted culture in general, so blogging has always been a big mystery to me. As I’ve said many times, I don’t know why anyone would want to read my musings. And I don’t say this because I’m fishing for compliments and praying that someone responds with, “Oh, but Paula, you’re practically the Ernest Hemingway of West Portal.” Let’s face it: No one wants to read about my life.
“I woke up. I organized things. I exercised for 12 minutes. I walked the dog. I organized some more things. I ate clam dip and watched the Giants. I put toe fungus medicine on my foot. I went to bed.” Snooze-o-rama!
Last fall, though, my sister-in-law Janet told me she had a friend who wanted me to write her obituary. Don’t worry; the friend, thankfully, is not dying. But she apparently let it be known that if I am alive when she does shuffle off this mortal coil, I am to be commissioned to memorialize her. It must have had something to do with the way I write about people, and their lives, with fondness.
In any case, Janet – who herself has a blog (http://www.honeyfromthebee.com/blog) – immediately began a crusade to get me to create my own.
So, because I’m über-organized, I made myself an Outlook reminder:
“Start a blog.”
And I’ve been snoozing it every week. (Some of my Outlook reminders I have snoozed for more than a decade. I’m not kidding.)
Now that I’ve decided to do away with that annoying reminder, though, I haven’t figured out what on earth will be the focus of this blog.
One of my passions is being on the road; I’ve been across the country by car multiple times and have been to every state except Alaska and Florida. (My longest road trip was my first. We spent three months in a VW bus traveling and camping through the south, up the East Coast, into Maine, and back through the north. I was a film bug then [before everyone became a cinematographer] and I edited dozens of rolls of trip footage into a 2-hour Super 8 film with location sound and a full music soundtrack. That thing is a classic.)
And lately I’ve become enamored with riding the rails. I’ve taken the train to Washington state, to Chicago, and to Harper’s Ferry, and this year I’ll be making a roundtrip rail journey to and from the east coast, which adds up to about 8 days on the train. I’ve learned a lot about myself and my own biases from the people I’ve met on these trains. Perhaps those stories will make their way into a post at some point.
Finally, I like to spin yarns. When I write about myself, it’s usually about all of the foolish, idiotic, impractical, and embarrassing things I’ve done. There must be hundreds of such incidents.
But it gives me greater satisfaction to write about the lives of others. I truly believe that most people are good and that we all have interesting stories to tell. I also think that all of us have done quietly heroic things in our lives, and that the meaning of our time spent on earth is just that: to discover, and put into commission, the silent heroes in ourselves.
I named my blog “Monday Morning Rail” after a lyric in one of the greatest songs ever written: “City of New Orleans,” penned by Steve Goodman and recorded by Arlo Guthrie in 1972. I don’t want to brag, but I thought the blog name was ridiculously clever, since it references 1) trains and 2) the act of forcefully bloviating about one’s opinions. Truth be told, though, I doubt that I’ll do much, if any, railing. I’m tired of snarkiness and criticism. I just want to celebrate, with love and gentle humor, how great life can be.
And for those of you who browbeat me into writing this danged thing, you &^%&*$ well better subscribe to it!
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