Culhane: Let's continue the conversation
It’s been about a year and a half since 365gay editor Jay Vanasco emailed me, and invited me to write something for this site about the absurd goings-on in Virginia. (You might or might not remember that the Governor, Bob McDonnell, and the A.G., Ken Cucinelli were in a race to the bottom on LGBT rights.)
I had been blogging on the issue over on my own site, WordinEdgewise.org, and Jay thought that 365gay readers might be interested in what I had to say from the legal and political perspectives.
So that same night, I sat down and wrote what would turn out to be the first of my now more than 70(!) columns for this site. For reasons having only to do with my own compulsive nature, I haven’t missed a single week since that first column back in March 2010. I owe Jay a deep debt for giving me this platform. (Thanks, too, to James Withers for his tech help and for the “reality check” his pieces reliably provide. And to John Corvino for reaching out to me as a fellow columnist.)
And why would I ever want to miss a week? Many of the columns have triggered some of the most thoughtful and moving comments that you’ll read anywhere. As regular readers know, I often weigh in with my responses to readers – even, or perhaps especially, when they strongly disagree with me. I’ve tried to listen, and have found myself changing my views in response to many of the compelling responses that I read.
Moving from my own blog to 365gay opened me up to a much larger, and involved, audience.
My columns were the better for your input. While it’s hazardous to mention any of the commenters by name (for fear of leaving some valuable contributors out), that won’t stop me from mentioning a few of the most astute and compelling of the lot: Gerry Fisher, Alexander Fisher-levesque, Morgan, KaninZ, Janine Norberg, Lee Dorsey, Truth be Told, Keith Elston, Wayne M., deletethis, TigerTzu, and michaelandfred. (Apologies to the many I’ve missed.)
Some of these comments are so lengthy, well-informed and compelling that I found myself wondering why I was the one writing the pieces. And even the ones that weren’t as, um, civil, were a useful reminder of the pain and the emotion that many in our multiple, overlapping communities feel. Thanks to all of you, whether you commented or not.
Well, as you know, this particular ride is coming to an end. What’s next? Well, first: To quote a famous Monty Python line: “I’m not quite dead yet.” Since the site is going to be around until September 30 – a Friday, as it happens – I have at least two more columns after this one. So next week, it’s back to the events of the day.
After that? I’m still thinking about whether I want to seek out another regular, column-writing commitment to a site not my own. On the one hand, this has been a good gig for me. I’ve been forced into a schedule and focuses me on a subject (in this case, LGBT rights) where there’s an audience that has a similar focus.
On the other hand, I’ve learned that this kind of focus can be limiting. Before I migrated over here, I was blogging relentlessly at WordinEdgewise, on all manner of topics. In addition to LGBT rights, I wrote about: abortion, public health law, politics, racism, tort law, compensation for disaster victims, science, philosophy, human rights, theater, comic books, popular music, fiction, poetry, non-fiction works, tennis, swimming, and deviled egg servers. (If you’re interested in a particular topic, go to the left side of this page and scroll through Topics/Categories.) In other words, like most people I have lots of interests – not just in LGBT issues, although everything I write is surely informed by my perspective as a (fairly privileged) gay man.
And from my start date, in January 2009, until I started here, I was churning out five or so substantial (by blog standards) pieces each week. (At one point, David was referring to me as Bloggy Bloggenstein.) Many of these generated substantial internet buzz, especially my back-and-forth with Andrew Sullivan over abortion and my angry take on the Obama Administration’s initial defense of DOMA.
Under no circumstances could I have kept up that pace. I have a full-time job and a family with two young kids. (Most of my blogging went on between 10 p.m. and midnight.) But starting the weekly column and then, shortly thereafter, writing the first of several pieces for Slate, really did take my energy away from my own blog. Most recently, it’s existed primarily as a link to my other pieces.
But this has been a trade-off. Now I can seek some sort of balance in the topics I write about, and in the amount of writing I do. Since I only write for Slate occasionally, I’ll have some time to dig back into the joy of my own blog, and to explore a fuller range of topics.
I would love it if some of you would follow me over there. My short-term promise to you is that I will continue to write about the LGBT issues that matter to us, at least once a week. But I will also be posting on a range of other topics, as they grab my interest and as I have time. In general, I’m expecting to post at least one or two additional times per week. And, by the time they turn out the lights here at 365gay, I expect to have completed the redesign of my own site, in part to make clearer the broad categories of each post.
But for now, please wander over there if you have the chance and the inclination. I’d love to continue this conversation beyond the next two weeks. Look for something about Michele Bachmann and the HPV controversy early next week. (Teaser: She must be stopped.)
Let’s continue our conversation.