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Monday, February 27, 2012

Another Valley Birthday: The Ripple Leaves the Terrible Twos Behind…

The Valley in midwinterFebruary 27. The Ripple is two years old today. No one is more surprised than I. “One year,” I told myself, “is sufficient time to cover the Valley happenings; there’ll be no need to recycle old news, so I’ll give it a year.”And I was ready to quiet the presses, too, had the final post all written and ready to print. I don’t know what happened, whether it was breaking news or what, but here we are one a year later and The Ripple is still bringing it.

Two years ago I posted The Ripple’s mission statement including the following comments about the Valley: “There is always something new, something changed, something else to see if you look closely.” Nothing’s changed in this regard, thus The Ripple’s staying power. Just about the time you think the well’s run dry, once more the Valley delivers. And then either when I’m afoot or touring on Gladys, there’s that random thought, a cyber text message from the Valley’s muse that blossoms into a full blown post. Look closely… there’s a story; think closely…there’s a story, too.

Let me share, though, that for me this blogging business is a lonely, time consuming task. A post doesn’t just happen. Once the idea’s conceived, the post takes on a life of its own. It is a restless muse that nags you—sometimes even at night—to see it through to conclusion; however, it shares the effort by suggesting more appropriate turns of phrase, better word choices here and there, and even tossing you the occasional bone of inspiration from time to time. Then there’s pictorial content to be gathered, previewed and formatted. Some writers are able to translate thoughts into words as easily as they speak, but not this writer. My jumble of thoughts has to be composed, revised again and again, then edited…and edited some more. Also, thirty-one years teaching English in the public schools hold me to the same standards of language precision to which I held my students.

Being a “bloggrapher” is to know performance anxiety, too; one feels pressured to come up with regular posts (I heard most blogs don’t survive the first year; many last only a month or two, if that). If I don’t post at least once a week, I start feeling guilty—as if The Ripple is grumbling behind my back. The pressure is on, as well, to create one quality post after another, insure each is on par with its predecessor. So why do it, you say? Blogging keeps me writing for one thing, something I’ve always wanted to do, and whenever I sit down to work on a post, I set myself a goal of 250 words per day minimum. Good discipline…good routine…good for me…?

Unless you are a “diarist,” you write for an audience, but in the case of The Ripple, each post is launched into cyberspace to fend for itself. You take an idea, build on it word by word, tweak it here, revise it there, reread it a half dozen times, click a certain icon and off it goes into the void. Unless someone comments on the post, for all you know no one reads it. I realize The Ripple is far from a cosmopolitan blog, unlike one that covers the celebrity scene, posts an opinion about a certain celeb’s dress, hair, makeup, and so forth and elicits four thousand comments. I try to keep things in perspective, though, the ego in check; in the words of one seasoned blogger: “Your blog is about you. You write it for yourself. You do it for your own satisfaction, not glorification.” Still, a comment or two once in a while wouldn’t hurt….

Some time ago I had a chance to give The Ripple a larger audience after I sent my post “Sense of Community…Going, Going…” (1/2/2011)  to Polly Keary, editor of The Monroe Monitor. (When the Monroe City Council voted to allow the construction of a Wal-Mart on North Kelsey Street, I stepped out of the Valley to share my opinion of Sam’s Club’s intrusion on small town Monroe.) Ms. Keary responded with a “Maybe  The Monitor could use the post as a guest editorial” and would I be interested in doing any freelance stuff? I sent her the link to my blog with an invitation to read a few posts to see if any of the Valley news might be suitable for the newspaper. Polly thought the Valley deserved coverage and requested I send her something from The Ripple: “Six hundred words or so,” she said. “Just email it to me.” 600 words? What about the REST of the post, I wondered? 600 words? If you’ve read The Ripple, you know that at 600 words a Ripple post is just gathering steam. I responded to her invitation—politely, of course—by telling her that word count is a concern only in the conventional world of the press, not the blogosphere. The fact of it is The Ripple likes the freedom to roam about, and the spaciousness of the cyber world gives it free rein to ramble. That’s where our dialogue ended; I haven’t heard from Ms. Keary since, but the clarion words of The Ripple still give voice to the Valley news.

182 posts later, two years to the day, this day, February 27, The Ripple, the Valley’s only Free Press—blathers on. Those of you who continue to wave when the press is on the prowl in the Valley, thank you; those who have patiently tolerated the musings of an old man on a bicycle, thanks; to those of you who have stopped to talk, share your news, thanks, too--please continue to do so; and for those out there in the void who read The Ripple, thanks for your support. Post a comment now and then when you have a moment. The Ripple thanks you again.

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  1. Like! You have no like button, so I will just say, like! :-) Congratulations, it kind of sneaks up on you, doesn't it?

  2. CF, thanks for your "thumbs up" on my second anniversary post. When I think that "War and Peace" has a word count of half a million words, I realize The Ripple has a ways to go to match that. My blog service has an "add a gadget" function. I'll see if there's a "like" button among them. Also, I'll check with my software engineer son-in-law--or as we call him, the family tech support. TMJ

  3. Terry - I have read every post and look forward to reading them - keep up the good work. I pay to read The Monroe Monitor and wonder why some weeks. In comparison The Valley Ripple is free and is always interesting. Happy Anniversary to The Valley Ripple ! keep the presses rolling . . . Matt

  4. Matt, good to have those Beebes on board The Ripple bandwagon. And you're right--it's free. you don't even have to buy one to get one free either! I'm glad TVR keeps you entertained. Thanks for reading....TMJ

  5. Thanks for the comment, Thelma. And thanks, too, for being a loyal follower of The Ripple. I hope it continues to entertain as it reports the Valley news....TMJ

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