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I read a wonderful piece over at Mouthful of Feathers by Bruce Smithhammer last evening, Trapped. The experience inspired me to share a few observations.
My father is a retired Statistics Professor. He is a literal man, hardened over the decades by facts, scientific process, graduate students, and predictions based on probability. Shortly after the Worldwide Web was first introduced to the masses many years ago, I recall a conversation in which he asked me what purpose the internet would serve. With only amateur interest in technology, but being a frequent and enthusiastic user of the internet, my hackles were raised as I prepared for intellectual battle to bestow upon him the virtues of this invaluable new business tool.
It's important that I put my father's inquiry in context. This would be the same man who waited until 1980, nearly seven years after Hewlitt-Packard first introduced their HP-35 scientific calculator, before buying one or allowing his students to use them. He was convinced the machines would turn people into idiots by virtue of the fact that they would lose a connection with how to actually do the math.
In any case, being a naive youngster in business and suffering from a lack of depth in making intellectual banter, I believe my answer to dad's question evolved into some sort of commentary on how easy it would be to find information and compare prices that would generally open up more markets and keep macro prices low for public consumption. My response was scientifically broken down, processed, and theoretically appraised. In only a brief moment, the internet was summarized to be a convenient catalog for shopping and instantly dismissed. He's never owned a computer. My apologies to Bill Gates, IBM, Apple, and the like.
For most, it is not a difficult undertaking to accept the notion that there is a profound difference between professional writers and amateurs. The internet and the evolution of blogs has never more accurately highlighted this distinction to a greater degree than it does today.
I read all manner of blogs, many beyond the scope of what I list in my blogroll. From ridiculously stupid funny, creative, rooted in technical know how, artfully eloquent and emotionally moving, or just damn good fishing and hunting, I savor the freedom to exchange one for another as my mood changes. It gives me the ability to migrate hither and thither based on an impulse of variety to satisfy a craving for different entertainment appetites. Had I known at the time what would evolve, I might have incorporated what I have learned by reading these works in my earlier conversation with my father. It's the capacity to engage in these written exercises that provides a new dimension to my leisure pursuits. Adding a fresh dynamic of how I will illustrate my adventures after the event has transpired has forever altered my attention to wildlife, my appreciation for the outdoors, and most importantly, magnified how the experiences I've shared with my cohorts is enhanced - those from my hunting and fishing posse that have been uniformly relegated to the "girlfriend list" by my wife.
From time to time, I come across a piece of written work that alters my conscience, literally changing my perspective, correcting a foul mood, energizing my gusto for an upcoming excursion, or purposefully bringing into full view refined raw talent. Sadly, these works can level a serious evaluation of my own anecdotes as child's play. But I don't care. I admire them too much to ignore them.
As I'm sure many of you would agree Mouthful of Feathers is such a place where one can find a fine collection of literary storytelling brilliance for the outdoor experience. Perhaps the greatest compliment I have observed is in the unanimous account of comments that tender so little substance. Substantially guilty of offering such quips myself, quite often I have read remarks to posts where very little is said other than perhaps, "wow, great work, bravo, loved this post, or my all time favorite, Damn dude, I'll bet your keyboard is smokin!" Gentlemen, you have my admiration and I genuinely appreciate your effort, for your words enrich my life.
Over the holiday's, my father had occasion to read some of my offerings while visiting my sister and brother-in-law. My brother-in-law is a very accomplished and talented computer programmer whose life's work has been spent refining the use of computers in the workplace as well as incorporating the internet as a daily tool. It's a safe bet he owns a computer or two for my father's exclusive use and enjoyment. One can only imagine the vigorous substance of conversation between these two over the years.
I called Christmas day to convey my good wishes as sadly I couldn't be with them this year for a variety of reasons. I was immediately put on a speaker phone, whereupon I was told the family, and particularly my father, had been reading my blog. Without hesitation my father asked me, "To what purpose does this project serve?" You could have heard a pin drop as my hackles began to raise. Taking a deep breath and gathering my thoughts, I responded, "Did you ever have a pen pal as a young man?" He affirmed that he did and that the experience was rewarding. "Well, it's kind of the same thing, only with a lot more electronic bells and whistles," I said. He replied, "Oh, that makes perfect sense. I've enjoyed reading your stories. You're quite the writer. I had no idea you had this talent."
I love you dad.