Friday, November 20, 2009

Why Do You Write About That?

Posted By on Fri, Nov 20, 2009 at 4:42 PM

A reader (I think) asks why I write about obscure sports that nobody in Memphis knows or cares anything about.

It's a fair question. He/she (?) is not the first to ask that. I ask myself that all the time.

The short answer is "because I feel like it."

The longer answer is that this is a blog, and by definition a "web log" is a personal indulgence. You not only write what you know, you write what you like, or you wouldn't do it for very long. In my first post six months ago I explained that my sports quest was to win a national age-group championship in an admittedly obscure sport. Whatever the sport, the quest to overcome failure and to get better is the overriding theme. If I was a serious runner I would blog about that. If I was a serious canasta player I would blog about that.

Obscurity is not necessarily a barrier to an interesting story. An hour ago I read a New York Times story about competitive Bikram yoga, and yesterday I read one about people who run hundreds of marathons. I don't know anyone who does either of those things.

There are plenty of forums to discuss the SEC, Tommy West, the Tigers, Josh Pastner, and the Grizzlies. My colleagues Chris Herrington and Frank Murtaugh do regular reporting and well-informed commentary on the Grizzlies and Tigers, respectively. I only chime in when I have a strong opinion I want to get off my chest. If your taste runs to Willie Herenton, racial rants, and celebrities then there are four local television stations with round-the-clock newscasts and websites, a daily newspaper with a print edition and a website, several local bloggers, as well as other Flyer writers who specialize in politics, food, music and other subjects on this site.

We're all spreading ourselves thin to make ends meet. I write a weekly non-sports column or two or three, another non-sports blog, a monthly column for Memphis magazine, a quarterly feature for our business magazine, and freelance articles. In all of them, the goal is to try to find something fresh to say. I know, you don't have to say it.

That's why this blog is personal and doubtless of no interest whatsoever to the great majority of Memphians. With all due respect, nobody's making you read it, and with a click you can be somewhere else more to your liking. More sympathetic I could not be. I came to blogging late in the game because when I started in the news business 30 years ago you got razzed about "wearing out the 'I" key on your keyboard" if you wrote a personal column. Blogging is a work in progress. It still feels strange, but also sort of fun, and that's why I write about what I write about in Get Memphis Moving.

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