File this one under "I guess they'll let anybody do this..."
Yes, I have the honor of being this week's Guest Editor. Direct any and all complaints to Joe, who I'm sure is starting to regret reading my email right about now. Nah, not yet. Joe rocks, and I thank him for giving me this opportunity.
A little about myself: well, there's the picture of me, which you can see on the journals page. I refuse to put it here because 1) I don't know how to do it (and yes, I realize there are about a billion instructional entries out there on how to do it, but welcome to my world, where things like that don't work, ever) and 2) I certainly don't want to look at it all the time. I'm 38 and I live in Park Ridge, Illinois which is about ten miles or so northwest of downtown Chicago. If you've ever flown into O'Hare Airport there's a decent chance you've gone right over Park Ridge. I'm a graduate student, going for my MFA (decipher that if you dare...) in creative writing at Roosevelt University in the loop. A quick synopsis of the last decade or so of my life: Boy graduates from college and embarks on career in retail management because it's the only thing he knows; Boy sleepwalks through most of the 1990's while working in some truly unique neighborhoods in the city; looking back, Boy regrets not having blog back then, because it would have some interesting tales in it; Boy has "epiphany" in 2002 (or you could call it an extremely early mid-life crisis), chucks career out window, sells house, and decides to travel until either he gets tired of it or the money runs out; Boy spends next two years visiting 45 states and five countries; Boy decides he can write for a career and goes back to school. This is where the story ends.
Well, except for the most important part, which is Boy meets the Girl and gets married. Kristen and I took the plunge back in April of this year. I can split my life into two parts: before I met her and after (April 12, 2003). If I hadn't met her, I'd probably be in the middle of the Pacific trying to canoe myself around the world or something. She's the best thing that has ever happened to me, and it isn't even close.
OK, I'm getting off topic. On to my picks:
Francesco's Life: I can't remember how I came across this journal, but I remember wishing I had a long time ago. I'm a sucker for stories abut fathers and sons/daughters, and Mary does it better than anyone I know. If you stopped reading this entry and spent the rest of the day over there, I'd understand. In fact, I kind of expect it.
Midlife Matters: As I said before, I don't include pictures in my journal. Fortunately, there's a virtual bevy of places in J-land that do, and this is one of the best. Take a look at the ladybug photo from November 3 and make a list of the one thousand words. And if that's not enough, the writing is pretty magnificent as well.
The Wizard of Ahs: Bruce won a VIVI last week for "Best Political Journal", but that's not why I am including him on this list. Sometimes you read a person's words, and you understand that he or she has "it," a certain perspective on the way the world works that makes more sense than most everyone else. Bruce definitely has "it." My only wish is that his VIVI inspires him to write more!
My last three picks go outside the realm of J-land, and I'll explain why when I'm finished:
Josh Reads the Comics: At the age of 38, I still am the type of person that has to read the comics before any other part of the newspaper. I got that from my father, who used to drive me nuts on Sunday with his methodical reading of the Tribune comics section. Anyway, Josh has an opinion on just about every comic out there, and he's hysterical.
Blog of a Bookslut: Hey, hey, hey--its not what you think. Step away from the TOS key please. I love books, and I love writing. Bookslut is like a bible for me, and Jessa's blog is the best part of it. If after reading a week's worth of entries you don't have at least three additions to your reading list, you're not paying close enough attention. I have decided that my life will not be complete until I am somehow mentioned in the bookslut blog.
Change of Subject: We have two papers in Chicago: the Tribune and the Sun-Times. I've always been a Tribune person. My favorite Tribune columnist is Eric Zorn, who writes about anything. He's also been writing this blog for the past two years, and while some of it focuses on Chicago, there's enough of the other stuff in it that it doesn't matter where you read it from. I'm not sure if his blog falls under the Trib's registration process. If it does, well, have you met Bug Me Not?
So there's my list. The reason I went outside J-land for half of it is because most of the folks that I read here are already very well known. People like Jennifer, Albert and Mrs. L. Armand, Remo and Candace. Tara, Patrick and Cynthia. Private folks like Amy and Paul. Every single one of them deserves the following that they have created, as they are writers with exceptional talent. And I know I have missed many, many others.
(Like my compadres in the "Best Kept Secret" category: Penny, Gigi, Nelle, Dawn and Jessica; I don't think any of us are a "secret" anymore.)
In January I will have been doing this for two years. Simply put, I would not be where I am in my life right now without this. It's given me the inspiration, and most importantly, the courage, to do what I believe I was born to do: write. The best thing about it has been the discovery of the writing and creativity that is out there, the people who make up this part of the blogosphere. I am continually blown away by the words and pictures that I see on my daily strolls through journals.
It has been and will continue to be such a pleasure.