Sunday, November 21, 2004

Grits' Thoughts at Post 100

I see this is my hundredth post on Grits, so rather than offer details of another drug task force scandal (coming quite soon), I thought I'd take a moment to reflect.

Grits started about six weeks ago, but I foolishly didn't put a site meter here until 3 weeks and 3 days ago. Since that time, though, as of this morning, the site's had 2059 visitors, around 87 per day. I have no idea whether that's good, bad or indifferent, but at least a couple of people have suggested it means Grits isn't doing too poorly for a startup.

I'm a writer, by nature and training if not present vocation, and I knew if I started blogging I would enjoy it, and enjoy having a venue. What I didn't predict, didn't understand about the whole blogging exercise, is the extent to which joining the debate would introduce me to a new online community. Grits now has quite a few regulars who not only come for information and perspective on my topics, but who also provide encouragement and keep me honest. I'm flattered and humbled by their attention, and I hope what you find here merits the time you spend with me.

I wasn't blogging for two weeks before the most prolific and respected drug policy bloggers on the web more or less adopted me as one of their own, and I wanted to say thank you -- Drug War Rant, Last One Speaks, D'Alliance, Decrimwatch and the Vice Squad, in particular, both together and individually, have been open, friendly, supportive, and helped get the word out about Texas stories that otherwise tend to keep us pretty isolated down here. Folks, I didn't realize I was going through life uninformed on these topics until I started reading your work every day! In a similar vein, though I'm sure lowly Grits is far off her radar screen, I've also really come to appreciate and rely on Jeralyn Merritt's work at Talk Left: The Politics of Crime, especially now that the elections are over and she's back to the crime beat.

The death penalty really isn't an issue I work on the way I do police accountability and the drug war, but regular readers know it's something I care about. Steve sent me several items that became Grits posts, and from there it didn't take long to get the attention of David and Carrie, whose fine blogs on the subject make my offerings look fairly trivial. I really respect their work.

Among Texas bloggers, the eminent Kuff has been exceedingly generous to link to some of my stuff and to include Grits' perspective in his political deliberations, and the Burnt Orange Report spread around some of my bad pre-election poetry. Others like The Fat Guy and a host from the Austin Bloggers bunch -- Adina, Prentiss, Sarah, and many more -- almost immediately welcomed me to the fold and started including me in the conversation. Thank you, and thanks to anybody I've missed or neglected; once you start naming names, you risk a slight, but I'm appreciative of everybody who's contributed to my Grits experience.

For me, Grits is an experiment, a way to learn about the "new media" and to get back into the habit of daily writing. I don't really know yet where it's going or what it'll turn into. I've enjoyed blogging quite a bit so far, though, and the best part, the happiest surprise, has definitely been the fine people whom I've met, if virtually, along the way.

Thanks, Grits readers, and thank you, friends.

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