Many, many years ago I started a small town newsletter. It was printed on 8.5 by 11 sheets of paper, and was run off on a hand cranked Gestetner mimeograph machine. A group of faithful friends would gather after the sheets were printed – to collate and staple – we called it “Bend, Fold, Staple and Mutilate Night.” I sold enough advertising to pay for the materials and the postage. Everyone in town was given a copy.
Eventually a Company that wanted to publish a Real Newspaper arrived in town. My newsletter was going to become redundant. And because my newsletter was a volunteer society, I couldn’t legally sell the assets. The Real Newspaper offered to give me a job if I let them use my name and reputation. I agreed, mostly because the job was only going to be one or two days a week, and it got me out of the house. I never made any money personally from this job. My salary only paid for the babysitter I had to hire because I wasn’t at home to look after the kids. I learned a lot though, not the least of which was that the editor of the paper couldn’t write all that coherently. This was where I learned to ghostwrite, in such a way that the editor didn’t really know I’d done just a bit more than correct his spelling errors… Several years passed, I moved away, and the little Town Newspaper continued on without me. I stopped writing except for my Annual Christmas letter.
A year ago I started writing again and chose a WordPress Blog to “publish” me. It feels just like my newspaper days, except it is so much easier. No messy ink, no typesetter machines, no paper cuts. No deadlines. No Advertisers. No Readers – well, in the beginning there weren’t any. But I didn’t really care. I was too busy playing with words and themes to care whether anyone saw it. I didn’t even tell my family and friends what I was doing. I didn’t want to feel like I was writing for anyone but me.
A year has gone by, and I am ready to tell my family and friends that I have a blog. It feels a bit like the old days, where I invited the team to come over to assemble the newsletter. So here we go! Welcome to the Red House! Who brought the stapler?