21 November 2005

You Are a Miracle, Reader: A Year of Blogging Life

I've been writing this blog for a year on Thursday. When I embarked on this journey, what I really wanted to do was to begin a conversation about how we live on this earth and how we go about protecting our environment. Along the way, this experiment has taken me into commenting on the oil business, hurricanes, market-based conservation, climate change, poverty and, perhaps most importantly, what we talk about when we talk about conservation.

The comments my work has received -- directly either in the blog or separately to me via email -- lead me to believe this is worth continuing. The most common question I receive from friends who learn about this blog is, "How do you know anyone is reading it?" My answer is similar to the one that keeps me writing poetry: "One reader is a miracle; two, a mass movement."

Walter Lowenfels said that. Lowenfels was born in New York City in 1897, and lived for extended periods in Europe. He was one of the expatriate poets of the 20s and 30s. Upon returning to the United States, he became editor of the Pennsylvania edition of the Daily Worker and gave up poetry. In the mid-50s, he was arrested for advocating the overthrow of the government and later released for lack of evidence. He then resumed his career as a poet. Walter Lowenfels was what would be called in modern management circles a "change agent."

I'm no Lowenfels and have no interest in sedition or even political posturing. In fact, I'm probably more conservative in my political leanings than many of my poet friends and colleagues. And I do not intend to give up poetry for punditry. Neither do I claim to have all the answers, as did another politically oriented poet, Ezra Pound. No, I'm more concerned about being the fly in the ointment, the sand in the oyster, the spanner in the gear. If my skepticism, something to which I come naturally, leads to questions in the minds of my readers, however few or many you may be, then I have succeeded. In part.

As I've become familiar with blogs as a form, I have noticed several things. One, there is a lot of blather on the blogrolls. Some use it as a public diary of their daily thoughts, which like most diaries only occasionally (and accidentally) lapse into brilliance. Two, the blogs that get the most attention are the ones set for attack mode. And three, for a blog to reach a large audience, there needs to be some sex in there.

Well, my dear reader, The Green Skeptic maintains that there is room for thoughtful, well-reasoned argument in the blogosphere. In the coming year, I hope to hone in on more questions along the lines of those I've raised thus far. You'll seldom see me condemn another, I'm just not interested in backbiting, but I'll try to offer solutions and to continue the line of concern I've laid out for myself. I do hope that more readers will comment or challenge some of the thoughts I offer. Only through dialogue will we advance our cause, only through believing in the power of words can our actions be thoughtful and our aim made true.

Thank you for being among the "mass movement" your Green Skeptic has engendered. I value your mind and your eyes and your very existence. You are a wonder to behold, even if only twice a month or for the time it takes to read these few paragraphs in the wilderness.

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Anonymous said...

Congratulations on 1 year of thoughtful blogging. We enjoy your blog and look forward to future posts.

J. & E.

Anonymous said...

just curious how you came upon Walter Lowenfels...
-from one of his 12 grandchildren

The Green Skeptic said...

Wow. Grandchild of Walter Lowenfels, amazing. I first heard about Mr. Lowefels about 20-21 years ago in a postcard sent to me by poet/publisher Jonathan Williams. I must have been complaining about not having an audience for my work and he sent a card with just that quote and your grandfather's name.

Those have been words to live by for me ever since...

So, how did YOU find out about The Green Skeptic and my mention of your grandfather's name?


Anonymous said...

I was "googling" Walter Lowenfels for Australian friends and clicked your blog to see if they would find it relevant. Walter said he would end up being a footnote, but that was before computers. He would be quite gratified to know he lives on in a blog.

Angela Lowenfels Schwartz (daughter)

The Green Skeptic said...

A miracle, indeed. Seems I've generated a virtual family reunion for the Lowenfels! The power of the Internet...