Friday, November 16, 2007

Fair Hope for the Clueless Blogger

November 16, 2007

Yesterday I created a new blog and today I find a lot of stuff intended for the old blog changed on this blog. If you're confused, join the crowd! I thought I was creating a profile referencing my Hoboken persona, only for the Hoboken blog but here it is, all over this one. I dunno if there's any way my different blogs can have different profiles, but if not, the Finding Fair Hope of the past will merge with the Stranger in the Night future, and the world will just have to figure it all out.

The blogger site doesn't seem to know how to. Or maybe it's just me, the blogger. Patience is a virtue, I'm told.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Finding a Place to Blog

November 15, 2007

I've done it, friends! I've created yet another blog the world has been waiting for...or at least a few people in the vicinity of Hoboken, New Jersey, who may be wondering what all this flap about the new blogger in town is all about.

You can get there by going to Finding Myself in Hoboken which I launched today, having nothing else to do but pack up a lifetime of belongings and clean up and move from here.

Check it out, and bookmark the page. There will be less and less on this one in days to come.

Friday, November 09, 2007

The Biography of a Blog

November 9, 2007

This blog was born early in 2006, at a time when I had a new toy -- a Mac laptop. A friend mentioned that Apple had informed him the new machines had blog capability, and I knew writing a blog would be duck soup for me.

I contacted another friend who lived in faraway Virginia and I knew to be pretty good with computers. He went to the Blogger home page and walked me through the process, starting his own blog (mendacious mouse) at the same time. For a period of about six months in 2006 the interaction between our two blogs kept us both afloat. At that time this blog became reflective and philosophical, and I aired my views about the meaning of life and the existence of God, right upside the movie reviews and what is known as entertainment trivia (but to me is a mainstay of life as I know it). I had notified a list of friends about the existence of this blog, and many, including artist John ("John Sweden") frequented both blogs and stirred up controversy as he educated us all about the many faces of art.

But Finding Fair Hope had been designed as a vehicle to sell my book Meet Me at the Butterfly Tree and my constant references to the book and to the town of Fairhope in which I had grown up were really not particularly helpful to sales of the book. I wrote about the book less and less, even as I posted daily on the blog until November of 2006.

Along about that time I became tired of the daily posts. I decided the blog itself was sapping my time and energy, and posted that I would cease the blog. Yet every few days I was inspired to post, and post I did. I never went back to once a day, but I was posting at least three times a week after I had announced that the blog was dead. My friends John Sweden and the blog-mentor "benedict s." began posting comments less frequently. Finding Fair Hope became the one-person wank job that a blog has a tendency to be. I know those are strong words, and in fact I'm rather proud of what I've written here, but I must admit that when you're writing just to expose your inner thoughts on myriad topics, you can get, shall I say, self-indulgent.

I still think this is an extraordinary place to browse. I do it myself sometimes. Just click on any post listed at the left, or on any given month in the past, and scroll down to topics you find intriguing. It's pretty damn good, if I do say so myself. The author has an interesting, quirky voice, and a wellspring of opinions.

Shall I continue this blog after I am no longer finding fair hope in Fairhope? Not quite. I have thought about it a lot lately, as I sort, pack and discard the detritus of my life for a move. But it becomes clear to me that I'll blog again.

I could rename this blog. A reader suggested the clever "Finding Fair Hoboken," which makes me smile just as this lovely person does when I think of her. But I've decided I'll create a blog called Finding Myself in Hoboken, describing the adjustments I must make in a new environment, the surroundings of Hoboken itself, and the changes in my life as I go forward.

I could just rename the blog and keep the address, but I think I'll find a way to make the address closer to the new blog title. I'd like to keep all the works here on the new blog, and if I figure out a way to do that I'll let you know.

There are not only second acts in American life, there are third acts. I come from the tradition of theatre in which the third act is when everything comes together, sometimes working out for the good. I hope that happens here.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

My Left Great Toe Is the Center of the Universe

November 5, 2007

I've got so much to do in packing to leave Fairhope that it's too bad all I can think of is my own toe. A friend admonished, "Quit whining! It's only a toenail!" but I must say of everybody who heard about this surgery situation he is the only one who couldn't manage even a sympathetic swift intake of breath between the front teeth in empathizing the pain of toenail removal.

Every move I make is dictated by the raw meat that stands where there once was a proud and beautiful toenail. Yesterday I dropped a stack of catalogues I was transferring to the recycle bin on the toe. I also hit that foot against the unnoticed metal bottom of the bed when showing the room in the garage to potential buyers of my house. I was carrying silverware from the dishwasher to the drawer when a knife hit the floor, barely missing the toe. I have become temporarily obsessed with this little square inch of my body. I am grieving the toenail, big time.

But I am planning the move anyway. I contacted the airline on the Internet and reserved my one-way flight. I am assembling moving cartons and looking at them, growing more anxious by the minute. Not anxious that I might be making a mistake, but anxious that I'm making such a big change.

Then there is the matter of saying goodbye. My friends are conferring: How are we to allow this? One wrote the other, "What shall we do when ML leaves, big toe and all. A font of information is gone!!!!" and the other forwarded that comment to me in an email.

He who received the "font of info" email wrote back, "Having met her as we did, and her accepting me and [my wife] as we are, makes her very special to me. Somehow, otherwise we would have never crossed paths. Like her blog intro says, a brainy woman ready for adventure, open to many things. I have not a clue really why she puts up with me, but I have enjoyed it for five or six years. I will miss having the opportunity to be in her company occasionally, and the hope of working together again. She's gotta go, ya know. So far there is none other and may never be. So, me reading a blog and her making rare posts will be something. And, do without,
I guess. [The wife, a Fairhope native] and her growing up friends that are here know stuff but not in the same sorta way, the organic way. She'll have her toe with her, nail or not, seeking new adventure in new surroundings more to her liking."

I suddenly felt like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz , getting in that balloon with Toto and realizing what she was leaving behind. Was this friend my Wizard, or my cowardly lion? Not the scarecrow or the tin man, I am certain of that. But I could see my group of friends in all those roles. And I remembered being quoted in a newspaper interview when I first returned to Fairhope 19 years ago, saying, "I feel like Dorothy returning from Oz -- there's no place like home!"

Now Fairhope is Oz, and I'm getting in the balloon which has Delta written on its side at the Pensacola airport on November 30, to take off for unknown lands as well as known ones.

I would be abnormal indeed if I didn't have some apprehension amid the excitement of change coupled with the rush of a new phase of my life all at once. I'll have a sore toe, but I can deal with that. I'll have a lot of new tasks to face, and I can deal with them too even with the toe condition.

But what will I do when I'm looking for a familiar face among all the new ones? What will happen in Hoboken to diminish the magic of Fairhope?

Where have all the munchkins gone?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

One-Way Ticket to Palookaville

November 1, 2007

My mind is occupied with too many things to blog these days, little personal things like buying a round-trip ticket with intentions of using only one half of it, filling the house with packing cartons and coaxing friends to buy the bulk of my furniture before I move. Then this afternoon there's the matter of having a toenail removed, perhaps permanently, and curiosity as to how debilitated I'll be, and for how long. The doctor's office people say I'll be able to drive home. Hope I'm able to get to the drugstore, too, for those prescription painkillers.

The movie On the Waterfront was filmed in Hoboken,
the old Hoboken that still had a dock, stevedores, Unions, bosses, and a visible presence of the mob. In the film, Marlon Brando, playing a boxer down on his luck, accused his brother who was also his manager of buying him "a one-way ticket to Palookaville." Hoboken itself has wrongly been accused of being the "Palookaville" of which the magnetic young actor spoke so disparagingly.

I have my one-way ticket now, to the new Hoboken, full of high-earning young investment bankers, many artists, writers, displaced Manhattanites and a few old New Jersey diehards, and I'm here to say, if it ever was Palookaville, it isn't any more. And it never was, by the way. Palooka was the old word for run-of-the-mill prizefighters, and Terry Malloy, the Brando character, was talking about his being denied the big time because his manager made him take a dive. Palookaville was never a place, but a state of mind.

Hoboken may be a state of mind, but it's not for losers or the world-weary. It's almost Manhattan now, maybe not quite, but a small, upscale town near enough for a round trip ticket to the big time.