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Monday, May 18, 2015

The Joy of Writing This Blog





I had a heart transplant right before Thanksgiving in 2009 [see http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2010/01/about-that-heart-transplant.html], and, as required by law whenever anyone has had such a life-altering experience, I promptly started a blog.  In the beginning I published two or more posts a week, but that was easy to do then because I had lots of topics at my disposal.  I’ve been given an interesting life (law professor, gay rights activist, former Catholic but now atheist, four long term relationships with both men and a woman (two of them marriages), father, owner of pets, novelist, tournament bridge player, and much more, and these things were the fodder for those posts.  But as the years went on I’ve mostly exhausted the stories from my earlier life and discussions of the philosophy by which I live, and the postings have trailed off in number quite a bit.  In recent years I’ve averaged two posts a month, the decline being not one of interest but of wanting to make sure that the posts weren’t fluff, or forced, or things not worth reading lest I lose my readers.  Fortunately life keeps feeding me topics (or my readers suggest them—after I posted a popular one about “How To Write an Effective Legal Threat Letter,” http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2011/10/how-to-write-effective-legal-threat.html, a reader in a Comment begged for “How To Respond to a Legal Threat Letter,” so I complied, http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2014/03/how-to-respond-to-legal-threat.html).  The nightly news can send me to the computer with some new message buzzing around in my head: elections [http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2012/10/mitt-romney-mormon-presdient.html], new acts of discrimination against gays [http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2015/03/a-gay-hoosier-lawyer-looks-at-indianas.html], etc.  But posts can also come from many sources such as getting married late in life [http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2013/10/falling-in-love-turning-70-and-getting.html], publishing a new novel [http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2014/04/just-published-my-novel-corbin-milk.html] , sports [http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2011/03/basketball-and-its-announcers.html], and funny events in my life [http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2014/04/some-lottery-winners-score-400.html].

The joy of writing this blog arises from a combination of things.  One of them is having a platform to vent about something that makes me furious—such as our politicians selling their souls for big money [http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2015/03/the-shame-of-republicans-in-congress.html], but there’s also a pleasure in explaining complicated things that I happen to understand: gay history, legal issues, or specials interests that I’ve had for years such as how the brain works [http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2011/01/left-brainright-brain-life.html]. There is also a satisfaction in recording stories about others that would fade away if not chronicled.  We all die and take with us (unless we’re famous and have biographers) not only our own stories but those of people we love.  I had two terrific parents, both fantastic: a father who could start life in a small Indiana town dreaming of being a lawyer, become a pilot in World War II, drop an atomic bomb in a test, go to law school late in life, become a prosecutor of the mafia in Dallas, and a mother who would leave southern Indiana to marry the man of her dreams and live all over the world, bowl the highest score (270, rolling seven strikes in a row) that a woman ever bowled in Japan to that date, and have one of the most evil senses of humor on the planet [http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2010/04/my-mothers-sense-of-humor.html]. Many stories about them, other members of my family, and friends are preserved here forever.  As long as Google lasts this blog will go on, sort of an unofficial autobiography.
My Parents' Wedding Picture (1941)
One regret is that I cannot tell some of the best stories I know on this blog because they’d embarrass others or reveal things that are too personal to tell.  Damn.  There are some great stories—really fascinating ones—that will, alas, die with me.  But those of you who know me and understand all too well what stories I’m referring to, and who are now recoiling horror as you read this, relax. Tempting though it is to tell all, I’ll keep those stories locked away.

My greatest joy comes from my readers.  Every night I look through “Recent Visitor Activity” and am amazed that my blog has been visited by a hundred or more people in countries all over the world.  To see what I mean click on the “View My Stats” under the “STAT COUNTER” in the upper left, and when that next screen appears, click on “Recent Visitor Activity.”  It will reveal all of my visitors.  The stats only go back for the last 50,000 visitors of the 350,000 visitors I’ve had since the blog began in December of 2009, but they reflect the diversity of those who read my posts—(mostly from the United States, of course, but over 25% from other countries, for a total of 201 countries so far).
[Click To Enlarge]
I can’t tell who is reading my blog, but I can tell from what city, state, and country they visited, and what blog pages (though not specific posts) they’ve read.  The most popular posts concern legal issues: the need for someone foreclosing on a home to produce the original promissory note [ http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2013/02/mortgage-foreclosures-missing.html ], what happens if someone cashes a check tendered as “payment in full” [http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2011/04/payment-in-full-check-powerful-legal.html], and the above-mentioned legal threat letter posts.  I’m pleased to think I might have had some helpful advice for those facing foreclosures, or disputes with a creditor, and I have some future posts planned to help consumers understand their legal rights.  Embarrassingly, some of my most popular posts have to do with sexual topics, but I decline here to give you those links.

Let me confess that the visitors who most make me feel good about the blog are men and women struggling with the issue of being gay in a straight world and facing, some for the first time, the big issues such as: how do I know if I’m gay [http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2010/08/how-to-tell-if-youre-gay.html], can I change  [http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2010/09/how-to-change-gay-people-into-straight.html], will my parents disown me [http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2013/10/disowning-your-gay-children.html], what does the bible say [http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2014/06/does-bible-condemn-homosexuality-and.html], where does homosexuality come from [http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2010/04/homosexuality-iceberg-theory.html], how many homosexuals are there [http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2010/11/how-many-homosexuals-are-there-in-world.html], etc.  Because often readers visit some of these same posts over and over, I flatter myself in hoping that these posts might bring some needed light into a room filled with dark and scary questions.

And, best for my ego, are visitors who come back time and again.  Since the beginning of my blog certain readers have apparently read everything, and I’m amazed by that.  Some readers stumble across my blog and then proceed, over a period of time, to read all the posts.  In the first year there was someone in (I’m not making this up) Borneo(!) who did this, then someone in England, and, following that, a number of others.  Most recently someone in Mountain View, California, has not only read all the posts, but keeps revisiting favorite ones over and over.  Whoever you are, I love you.

To all my readers, many thanks for taking time out of your busy lives to visit mine.  I’ve written many law books (seven are used to teach commercial law and related subjects to law students throughout the country), law review articles, two novels, and much else.  But nothing I’ve written (and perhaps nothing I’ve done) is as important as the posts I’ve put on this blog.  They are the summation of my life and, as I said above, will outlive me.  That’s a thrill.
A Guide to the Best of My Blog, April 29, 2013; http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2013/04/a-guide-to-best-of-my-blog.html


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