When he is not inhabiting a courtroom in his job as a public defender, Neil McDevitt is inhabiting Open Salon, on his personal blog, NeilPaul. Neil is kind of like the BMOC of Open Salon. He is a prolific blogger–so prolific, in fact, that I sometimes wonder if this “public defender” bit is a sham–whose metier runs from screenplay-like form, to memoir, to social commentary, to the occasional grumbling. He is also an avid reader and commenter of other bloggers’ pieces, and won’t hesitate to straighten you out, if he thinks straightening out is warranted. Neil straightens me out all the time, but regardless, we’re still friends. Check out his Blogger Space, and his blogging process, below.
There are a few different places I could designate as my blogger space. I have an office at work, and, unsurprisingly, there is a computer there. Since I work for myself I can and do spend time there, once in a while, either drafting posts, or logging on to check my blog and comment or rate up posts of other bloggers on the platform, a place called Open Salon.
And now that I have a better phone, I can blog pretty much anywhere, though composing posts on a three inch by one inch keyboard is arduous and annoying and makes me wish for pointier fingers.
But I mostly blog from home, the place I am most often when inspired by a clever idea or insomnia to type out a quick essay or a short memoir piece and throw it against the wall, hoping it will stick for a moment or two in the minds of my readers.
Here is a picture of the actual desk I type at, i.e., where the magic happens.
By “magic,” I of course mean short non-fiction works in the genres of memoir, apology, elucidation, analogy, and my most favorite, free advice. I also comment on social issues sometimes, usually from a leftist-libertarian view. I generally hold that people are good, to a point, and we should try to provide a sensible material floor to our fellow citizens and then leave them alone and hope for good things to follow. So my ideas are, I hope, always humane, and, I fear, probably unrealistic at times. And this attitude pervades my apology, elucidation, analogy and free advice pieces as well as my social commentary.
My memoir pieces are different. Half of them are an effort to turn my life into an amusing joke and share a laugh at my expense, or, more often, at the expense of the army of fools I’ve spent my life with. The other half of my memoirs are essentially hit-pieces in which I exact my puny blogging revenge on those who wronged me. I’ve been victimized by everyone from my own mother to the kid behind the counter at Starbucks who messed up my coffee order (isn’t it their job to figure out what I’m trying to say?). In my memoirs I tear up at these people in an effort to gin up my opprobrium against them in my readership.
Like I said, my revenge is rather puny.
Of course all memoirs are infused with a sense of regret. I regret that I so often made a fool of myself and that others did too. I regret the wrongs I suffered and those that I may have, purely accidentally and innocently, perpetrated too. And I regret that my revenge entails the use of a blog, not an aluminum baseball bat. My blog is where I process my regrets, so I don’t have to spend my day crying like a four-year-old and having those uncomfortable “I’m sorry” conversations with real-life people.
Here is a view from my desk. The bed is supposed to belong to the dog.
But most of my blogging, the composition of the work, doesn’t happen in front of the computer. Usually I spend less than 20 minutes actually pounding out and editing a post once I begin the actual typing. This is because I’ve spent an hour or two, or sometimes a day or two, pulling it together in my head. This could happen anywhere, but most often I am pacing my driveway when my best thinking happens.
Here are some views from the driveway, taken in fall, the prettiest season here in Boston.
Looking toward the street:
The raised garden bed in the back yard:
And back the other way:
Sometimes I’m joined by my cat, Pencil, and his wildcat companion, Mr. Tangles. Here they are after their morning repast. Pencil is wearing all black and Mr. Tangles in the extra-furry one:
So this is how I spend my blogging time, wandering around the driveway and side-yard, thinking of clever ways to compare child-rearing to animal control, relating the dumb ideas I had about women and sex, at age fifteen, bemoaning the state of our democracy, and imagining short snippets of conversation that are equivocal, but telling.
Sometimes joined by cats, sometimes not.
Blogger Space is a series devoted to showcasing the places bloggers choose to write. Want to show off your digs? Send a photo of your space, a blurb about why you write where you do, and a link to your blog to email@example.com.