[4/25/15: This was the inaugural post for my blog from 2006 to April 2015 called My Porch.]
In thinking about the kind of online discussion I wanted to initiate, I kept coming back to the idea of a place where people would engage each other. A place that would serve as an antidote to banal office conversation and the anonymous interactions that characterize most of our lives. Despite the absence of a physical location, the internet has done more to connect people with each other than anything else since television and suburban sprawl first disconnected us back in the 20th century. Sprinkled among the wasteland of post-World War II development, one can still find places like this–town squares, corner stores, and front porches–they just don’t get used much anymore.
Although I may end up ranting and raving from time to time, I want My Porch to be a place where the basis for every discussion is respect. I want us to disagree and argue like mad, but to remember above all that we are neighbors and have to live with each other. (Assuming someone other than me actually reads this…)
Topics of particular interest to me that will be featured in posts to come include, politics, urban planning, travel, TV (the great and the trashy), classical music, art, books, and about a million other things.
I take my inspiration from Samuel Barber’s (1910-1981) nostalgically beautiful Knoxville Summer of 1915.
“…It has become that time of evening when people sit on their porches, rocking gently and talking gently and watching the street and the standing up into their sphere of possession of the trees, of birds’ hung havens, hangars. People go by; things go by…”
Based on the opening section of James Agee’s A Death in the Family (which I haven’t read), Barber’s piece for soprano and orchestra opens in a rather peaceful, lilting way that never fails to remind me of some happy, yet undefined and fleeting moment from my childhood in small town Minnesota. A feeling rekindled during my graduate school sojourn in Ithaca, New York from 2000-2002. You know the feeling, one of those summer evenings at twilight with warm gentle breezes and crickets.
If you think I am living in a fantasy world you are partly right. It is a fantasy about living in a place where people care for other people and the world around them, and live honest, positive, engaged lives. It might actually be a great place. Let’s give it a whirl.