(Blog note: I’ve switched skins. I ditched the other one because a) it used a dark background, which looks dramatic until you have to read text on it and b) it behaved badly under Mozilla/Firefox.)
I have a few blogs I read on a daily basis. While many of them are technical and work-related, there are many that aren’t. For example:
- Wil Wheaton Dot Net — author and actor Wil Wheaton. Wil’s a fantastic writer and I’d happily throw down lots of cash to buy volume after volume of Wil’s poker stories. I found out about his blog from my good friend Andrew (the soon-to-be ex-Managing Editor of Steve Jackson Games. w00t, ‘Drew!) and from one of my bosses at work, both on the same day. I’ve been a regular reader ever since.
- Whatever — another author, John Scalzi. I haven’t any of his books yet, but they’re half as good as his blog, I’m in for a treat, and I’m eagerly awaiting his first published novel, Old Man’s War. (He’s got another one available for download, Agent to the Stars, but I hadn’t gotten around to downloading it yet and it’s MIA from his site right at the moment.)
- Making Light — Teresa Nielsen Hayden, editor for Tor Books. She and her husband Patrick help keep me in new reading material and have been extremely gracious people every time I’ve had any interaction with them, usually via Usenet and e-mail many years back when I still was active in the rec.sf.arts.written groups.
Speaking of Making Light, Teresa posted a good joke today, with another fantastic one provided in the comments.
I find these three blogs especially appealing to read, because these are people who are directly involved in the profession that I am currently working on acquiring the discipline for: writer. Reading their blogs has helped me make some interesting discoveries about myself. See, I’ve always thought of myself as fairly conservative on the political spectrum; I’m the registered Republican in the household, while my wife leans Libertarian. The last year or two, I’ve been struggling with the notion that perhaps I really am a liberal. Granted, I’ve never been the kind to vote on party lines or to be strictly conservative, but in my head, the term “liberal” still has that faint whiff of decadence and indecency that it carried during my formative years. My parents were pretty good at filtering out most of that polarized world view, but they could only do so much; you grow up in a washed-out lumber and tourist town in Central Oregon, you grow up in a hotbed of conservatism.
Coming to terms with the fact that I’m not nearly the conservative my self-image would have me believe has been an interesting process. Wil, John, and Teresa in particular have helped ease my growing pains; these are people I professionally admire, people that I think I would like to hang out with, and they are not at all shy about their opinions. They explain their opinions clearly, they provide clear reasoning to support why they hold those opinions, and they make no apologies. I agree with them more often than I disagree, but I have no trouble pointing to why I disagree with them and I continue to respect their opinions. They are not idealogues; they are people of reason and principle. In short, these are people I admire; I can only make myself a better person by following their example of clear thinking, personal integrity, and forthrightness.