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September 05, 2007

The Font of Blog-Post Inspiration

Donald Pittenger writes:

Dear Blowhards --

I have no idea why Michael Blowhard is such a productive blogger. A Force of Nature, or something along those lines, I suspect.

Me? I'm doing well if I can crank out posts at 20 percent of Michael's pace. At least I know why I post what I do and in what quantity. I've been at it nearly two years now, so the picture is pretty clear.

Michael's initial marching orders were for me to write one longer and one shorter piece per week, with the unspoken hope that I do a little better than that to help reduce the pressure of being a one-man show, which he largely was at that time. I had the feeling that I could be productive for a while, though there were doubts. For instance, I figured that I could dredge up a dozen or so interesting articles simply by dipping into my memory. Yet I knew that it would be foolish to post all the supposed good stuff in one short spasm: showman Eddie Cantor's first television "special" was a knockout, but it chewed up a good deal of his best material from his previous decades in show biz, and his later appearances weren't nearly as great.

So I've been careful to spread my "best" material, posting from that storehouse perhaps once every two or three months while posting at the rate of around four items per week. Where do I get the rest of my material?

Michael has an interesting mix of long articles, shorter pieces and also posts several "link blogs" per week. I'm not much of a linker, tending to write essays. I try to avoid writing about the same subject in adjoining posts. That is, if I write about a painter I'll mix in two or three or more posts about other subjects before getting back to painters again.

I've been doing a lot of reading about art history these last two years because I quickly realized that I was rapidly using up the material I'd received years ago in college courses. Once I finish a book or article I try to use the information as grist for a post as soon as I can, while it's still fresh.

Otherwise -- and you readers who are bloggers yourselves will recognize this -- I try my best to be alert for things I encounter that might make for an interesting essay. I always carry a few small notepad sheets in my shirt pocket for note-taking. I also have a digital camera on my belt just in case I spy something that would make a good illustration for a post.

There's one more thing I do. Three or four times a week I drive over to the local Top Pot doughnut shop (see photo below) for a cup of coffee and a Double Trouble doughnut.

The Wedgwood Top Pot. Yes, tropical trees can grow in Seattle. The building is a converted gas station where the service bay is the indoor eating area whose walls are lined with filled bookcases. Very Seattle. So are the folks behind the counter: nice, polite, and festooned with tattoos and piercings.

The Double Trouble is a chocolate cake doughnut with chocolate icing. Coffee and doughnut at the ready, I whip out a ballpoint pen and scribble blog-subject ideas on a spare paper napkin. This system works very well and I recommend it highly to Seattle-area bloggers within striking distance of a Top Pot store. For the rest of you, a Starbucks, Tully's, Seattle's Best or a Peet's coffee place will work fairly well. However, results will not be optimal because Double Troubles are absent.



posted by Donald at September 5, 2007


A converted servo, a giant chocolate donut, criss-crossed palms...that is so moi. No wonder I love your art-postings, Donald.

Posted by: Robert Townshend on September 5, 2007 8:52 PM

That's a neat looking place to go!! And the Double Trouble sounds scrumptious, as a devoted chocoholic. But if I was sitting at that pretty place, eating chocolate, I don't know if I'd be thinking about blog postings!!! I'm not sure my brain would be engaged at all!

Posted by: annette on September 6, 2007 1:10 PM

I'll tell you Mike's secret, he's a blabbermouth.

Posted by: Alan Kellogg on September 7, 2007 11:06 AM

I think Alan has my number!

Now let's all go out for donuts.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on September 7, 2007 11:40 AM

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