On March 5th, 2013, I posted my first blog entry on Henry’s Eclectic. This blog started out as a direct challenge from a former high school classmate, Miranda, who is an aspiring writer (and whose freelance work can be found all sorts of places when she isn’t busy supporting social media outreach at Fictionista). When talking about my travels around the US, she challenged me to put these stories online, and to get in the habit of writing. I too have literary aspirations, and this blog is a trial run of a kind. The only way to express yourself in writing is to well, write.
I decided to take a risk in my format for this blog, for the most successful blogs focus on one theme–such as food, travel or politics. I chose to filter whatever inspired me through the view of an eccentric collector of experiences (That in fact, is who I am). As it happens, the blog touches on all of these topics, and often more. I also took on this blog in what has unexpectedly turned out to be an annus mirabulis for me, including the birth of my first born, the start a new career path, and a relocation from the nation’s capital back to the American Heartland. Those events were also risky. For a brief moment, I thought my traveling days were lost. But as the cliche goes, those who wander are not always lost. And for me, a sometimes road warrior, I now have new places to visit in the years to come. In that way, this blog has been a bit of a mental escape, inspired by physical escapes. It functions that way not only for your author, but I hope for the reader as well.
The blog’s mission was to be mostly about travel, and travel has remained at the core of my writing. I have also taken to calling upon famous individuals of the past as avatars, relying upon them to express my personal views through their timeless wisdom and meaningful prose. I have covered a few places to find ambrosia and nectar–the sweets and savories found while on travel. Lastly, I have praised esoteric holidays and seasons, celebrating obscure little corners of Western Civilization. I will continue to do those things. And I may expand into other places as well.
I never expected to become the next super blogger, and have not done so to date. I thought that, if a few friends and family checked in on occasion, I would be satisfied with my effort. Unexpectedly, more than friends and family have stopped by. I am flattered every time that someone takes a few moments to read my entries, taking time out of their own lives, loves and explorations. The media industry always says their job is to put eyeballs on screens, and there is fierce competition for every moment of our collective attention. I am not in this game to make money, to ratchet up readership statistics or even to promote a book. Rather, I think of this space as a sort of community sandbox, where I spin up my own sandcastles from a shared commons. People are welcome to look on, or knock them down.
Amazingly, you have tolerated those sandcastles. What surprised me the most in my personal assessment of this blog is my readership, you band of brothers (and sisters) who come back for more musings weekly. I know some of you personally, but for those that I don’t, I am even more humbled by your readership. I have come to find that that readership is international in scope, including places as far away from my current Indiana home as Canada, the UK, Brazil, Argentina, Guatemala, the Netherlands, Argentina, Ecuador, Germany, France, Australia, Pakistan, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Turkey, Lebanon, Poland, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Austria, Finland, Russian Federation, Mexico, Czech Republic, Romania, Kuwait, El Salvador, India, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ukraine, South Korea, Serbia, Hungary, Iraq, Israel, Indonesia, China, Norway, Greece, Puerto Rico, Belgium, Peru, Slovakia, Chile, Switzerland, Poland and Azerbaijan. To think my humble little prose could reach the farthest shores and horizons would have been an impossible thought in the year I was born. I should not have been surprised by this panoply, as interest in traveling around America clearly extends off our shores. Just as yuppies in the US seek the “authentic” on their tours of the world, travelers to the US seek the same authenticity among the amber McArches, green Mermaids, big box stores and Anyplace USAs.
Some of you have found your way here through the comments, suggestions and collections of more talented, more popular and most excellent blogs of Caitlin Kelly at Broadside Blog, Richard Nielsen, and The Church of Tea, among others (found under “Summer Reading List” on the right column). I have never met any of those people in person, but through my enjoyment of their works and comments on their blogs, as well as their comments on mine, you have found your way here. Thank you for your visits!
As I think of topics for future posts, I looked to my most popular topics for guidance on what you, dear readers, have enjoyed the most. After over 65 postings, my top ten most visited posts include my weekend romp around Robert Redford’s Sundance, my musings about the language of Starbucks in Starbucks: Five Easy Pieces, taking in the eccentric Chicagoland burger joint The Billy Goat Tavern, my love of British haberdashers and the style of the Princes of Wales, past and present, in The Secret Language of Striped Ties, the most likely place you will find me in any city in Best Independent Bookeries, my paean to my adopted homeland in Hoosiers, reveling in the ironies of Duke Chapel and its place as sentinel among the Bacchanalians of the dorm rooms below it, the first citizens of Key West called the Gypsy Chickens of the Conch Republic, a memoir of my Pennsylvanian birthright in Old Country: River Rats, Frank Lloyd Wright and the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania and the conflicted nature of art and exploitation in Modern Mona Lisa: Afghan Girl. If you liked those, you can head into my back catalog for over 60 additional entries from around the US and beyond.
I will continue on my eclectic romp through life, sharing some of those things that made me smile as I traversed, and continue to traverse, America and points beyond. I thought that I would have exhausted my backpack of stories within a year. It turns out that there are many more stories to share.
Thank you again for joining me, and I look forward to another year of celebrating the life eclectic with you. And, if you like what you are reading here, don’t be shy. Comment often, share generously, and tell your friends!
Thank you for your patronage!
Pennyfarthing. Licensed by canstockphoto.com by the author
Lake Crescent, Washington: Ivan Meljac http://www.fotopedia.com/items/bjlhsj2drko3q-OV9QO1WkA
Globe: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Behaims_Erdapfel-edit-DenisBarthel.jpg Title: Behaims Erdapfel-edit-DenisBarthel