Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Gracious Gracey

The first thing I ever wrote on purpose (I was maybe nine or ten years old) was in verse form and in the voice and vocabulary of Long John Silver, not the fried fish franchise, but the peg-legged character in TREASURE ISLAND, as memorably performed by Robert Newton in the 1950’s movie. My sea ditty was advice about searching for treasure. The last couplet said,
“But if you think this task be hard,
Then look in the middle of your own back yard.”

Well, ok. I was just a kid.

Writing is part fishing expedition, part trying to strike up a conversation with God, and part addiction. “Hello, my name is Bill, and I’m a writer” “Hi, Bill,” responds the support group. Fortunately, the fact that there’s little or no money in being a writer helps keep most people off the stuff. As a young man, I tried being a journalist, but I discovered pretty soon that some of my old Army buddies were making twice as much money doing what we had done in the Army, which fortunately for us was not shooting at people or blowing things up. So for years I have worked as a telecommunications technician and engineer. Now, I’m back to writing. As best I can tell, there’s still no money in it. “Hello, my name is Paw Paw Bill, and I write a blog.” “Hi, Paw Paw Bill.”

Blogs are so new to me. Kristina Simms, a retired Georgia schoolteacher, writer, and longtime friend of my wife and mine, has been offering me advice. She does three blogs, maybe more, of her own, including the Georgia Federation for Democratic Women GRAPEVINE. She suggested, “You can trade links with other bloggers who have the same interests by listing their URL and asking them to list yours.” Sounded reasonable. I looked at some blogs and sent a note to one that I liked, the “Spacey Gracey Review.”

“Spacey Gracey” is the nom de blog of Grayson Daughters, a bona fide on-line media star. How was I supposed to know? Take the time to do some research? The “Spacey Gracey Review” is a multi-media “Coney Island of the Mind,” to steal a phrase from Lawrence Ferlinghetti, beatnik poet from the age of dinosaurs. Ms. Daughters is a new technology whiz and a writer of high-speed downloads of insolence, profanity, insight, and laughs.

“Sorry... I'm shouting here, but I'm really deeply incensed by this particular level of gross American stupidity. This is the kind of thing that makes hip Euros laugh their butts off at us. Maybe that doesn't bother you, but I can't sleep at night sometimes for thoughts of snotty, gorgeously attired, reed-thin, brilliant French chain-smokers all laughing at me outside Deux Magots.” Or, “that damn Disney Channel sucks the mindwind right out of the young ones. “ She takes no prisoners: “I don't think I've been that patronized since, well... dealing with divorce attorneys!” She also writes the kindest words I’ve ever read about Peter Jennings in a tribute at the time of his death.

The subjects of her blog postings run alphabetically and quite appropriately from “ABC News,” where she formerly worked, to “YouTube,” where she now pledges her allegiance, and she has now added “Paw Paw Bill” somewhere in the middle of that list, saying, “Marvelous, marvelous new blog from a thoughtful, literary, lyrical country Georgia gentleman who can craft a wonderful, poignant tale steeped in pure southern culture. I'm delighted and honored to bring you Paw Paw Bill.” That’s pretty damn gracious, Gracey.

Copyright 2007 by William C. Cotter

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