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December 28, 2011

A Stepping Stone Year

Hello, fellow travelers! The topic for today is 2011, a memorable year for me, if not for this blog. This entry is not for the casual reader of Easily Mused, one who arrived here by googling "Kaspar The Dead Baby" or "Betty Betz," although I appreciate that there are still people out there who still are curious about such arcane subjects. No, this entry is for the faithful few who have come here regularly, especially this year, and may have been disappointed by the infrequency of the posts or the direction, or lack of direction, of this blog.

Let me start by telling you a few things that happened this year that contributed to my absence here. In the summer, feeling a bit cramped in our smallish apartment, my girlfriend Heather and I moved down the street to a smallish townhouse. Around the same time, I received a promotion at work, which consumed more of my time and mental energies than I initially expected.

Another unexpected thing happened when I decided to cancel my cable service. My attention span grew! I was a serial channel switcher for years, and it had gotten to the point where my attention span was so short that I could not make it through a two hour movie to save my life. It was alternately amusing and deeply frustrating putting on a movie I really wanted to watch and falling asleep twenty minutes into it. I don't want to put the blame entirely on cable, as this phenomenon started occurring when I became a stay-at-home Dad and was routinely operating on four hours of sleep. I am happy to report that my attention span is quite healthy now, but as I again reclaimed the ability to watch entire movies, even entire seasons of television shows, less of my free time was used to blog. Last week, I had the cable reinstalled. I could happily do without 90% of all programming, but the shows and channels I missed, I REALLY missed. Turner Classic Movies, I'm talking to you. I also have noticed that there seem to be even more commercials than ever and the cadence of people's speech patterns sometimes seems unusually fast, especially on news channels. Or maybe I'm just slowing down.

What really drained most of my time and energy this year was a desire to focus less on the creative people who have inspired me ( and continue to do so ) and concentrate more on my own creative endeavors. I have written songs for many years, and most of them only exist in my mind. I feel the need to purge myself of this backlog of material, to record the old to make room for the new. I have no desire to be famous, but I do feel it would be a shame to spend so much time developing a talent and not share the results of my efforts. I have to admit, it would be exciting if one or more of my compositions resonated with people. At any rate, I am proud that I still have the optimism required to pursue a dream. I think it's a good thing.

As for this blog, there are a few things I know for sure. First, I still enjoy blogging and I want to find the time to post regularly. The blogs I follow regularly, like Mark Evanier's News From Me and Ivan G. Shreve, Jr.'s Thrilling Days of Yesteryear are fun to visit, in part, because they are updated frequently. Also, I think it's very important that I zero in on particular areas of interest, so that people have some idea of what kinds of articles to expect when they visit.

This blog is essentially a way of sharing the creative works that stimulate me, especially those works that I feel have been overlooked or are underappreciated. I am not an expert on copyright law, but let me pose this hypothetical question. If I post a "Sugar and Spike" story by Sheldon Mayer, and complement that with some information and/or links to information about Sheldon Mayer, and someone who was previously unaware of Sheldon Mayer or his work stumbles upon the story, and as a result, becomes interested in reading more stories by Sheldon Mayer, is this not educational and a legitimate Fair Use of said material?  Consider that I am not profiting from sharing the story, and that I do not even allow ads on this blog. Even if the story is reprinted in a Sugar and Spike Archive, is there really a serious concern that a reader would not purchase a 200 page volume of Sugar and Spike stories because one of the stories was posted on a blog? In fact, isn't it at least slightly more likely that someone with no prior knowledge of Sheldon Mayer might discover his work on this or another blog, and become interested in buying a Sugar and Spike Archive based on that exposure? If an entire story is too much, what is appropriate? A panel? A page? Who determines this? Of course I want to stay on the right side of the law. I just can't convince myself it's a crime or even a tiny disservice to say to a friend or even a stranger, "Sheldon Mayer is great. Check out this story, and you too may become a fan."

Hmmm, went off on a tangent. I will close for now by wishing you every happiness in the coming year. And I can't sign off without mentioning that I asked my sweetheart Heather to marry me and she said yes! She is my special angel and I am one damn lucky son of a gun!

Cheers!