This week's interview is with Seamus,
who writes the blog Damp Dog.
The first of the standard questions. Why do you blog?
In the beginning I wanted a venue in which to write and perhaps find some inspiration. I had no concept of the sense of community that I would find here. I’ve spent many years writing in journals; however, by their very nature it was not something that I particularly wanted to share. That one can publish here with varying amounts of anonymity made it seem like a perfect venue. The blog was also a way to share tales of my Bucolic Buffledog (a Bernese Mountain Dog
whose real name is Taylor) with others as well. It wasn’t long before photos came into play, and even though I was sharing with the photo community on PBase I was beginning to find a lot more interactive involvement on the blog.
I was introduced to blogging by a wonderful friend and former co-worker who had moved to San Francisco. She gave me the link to her blog so I could keep up with her since communication between us was sporadic at best! I decided to respond in kind. I had no idea at the time what I was going to write about or present. The same holds true today. The blog does have a voice, but style and content are not set.
The first year I did several memes trying to find my way or fill creative gaps, but I am much happier just sitting with the laptop when the inspiration strikes and let a post unfold. They almost always start with a key word or event that spawns the developing post, but they generally take on a life of their own and sometimes bear little resemblance to the original thought – stream-of-consciousness posts can be fun!
What's the story behind your blog name?
The blog’s name "Damp Dog" came about in a moment of inspiration while working on my PBase photo gallery account. I had already set up the gallery’s e-mail as “dampk9” and then “Damp Dog” just seemed right as the name of the blog. Living in damp Seattle with a very furry Bernese Mountain Dog gave rise to the name. It was also a little tongue in cheek because I knew some posts were going to be a bit smelly – LOL! "Damp Dog" is also a term used in the wine industry and is a description of the obvious and somehow it all just sort of fit.
What is the best thing about being a blogger?
Aside from the obvious pleasure of writing and publishing to a diverse audience (albeit fairly limited) and getting feedback, I think the best thing about blogging is the sense of community found here. There are those on the outside that think we just "need to get a life", but frankly one on the outside cannot understand the extent of life that exists here. I have been fortunate to meet many bloggers and I have yet to be disappointed. I have been in their homes and they have been in mine. We’ve met on the side of the road, in the rain, in parks, in bars, in restaurants and in airports. There has always been an instant chemistry and, without exception, I can call them all good friends, both in and out of the sphere.
When I lost my Buffledog to a terribly aggressive cancer last April I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of sympathy and support from all over the globe – letters, e-mails, blog posts and phone calls came from everywhere. Many came from members of the community I didn’t know at the time, but who came over from other’s blog posts or de-lurked. The one thing that keeps coming up is that for those of us who do this with consistency, it seems that we also participate with intention. In many ways I believe that groups that join together with intention are blessed beyond measure.
What key advice would you give to a newbie blogger?
I think the most important thing is to just get involved. Write, visit, comment and soon your blog will find its voice and its audience. I believe one should try and keep their blog somewhat uncluttered; in other words, don’t get widget-and-glitter-happy. I’ve seen wonderful content wasted because the site itself is too distracting – content wins over glam every time. One also needs to develop a fairly thick skin. You will get some crazy and critical comments sometimes.
Just remember that it is a public venue and by its very nature you will get some negative feedback - generally the readers who stay with you enjoy your content. Also remember that this is a very dynamic venue and folks come and go all the time. It’s a big sphere out there. There is also huge value in reciprocation. Visiting and commenting on other’s sites will bring loyal readers to yours. It also sets the stage for discourse with other bloggers and often lasting friendships will ensue.
What is the most significant blog post you've ever read?
I’m not sure I can name a particular post as being the "most significant". I read blogs because I’m interested in what folks have to say or present. I’ve become acquainted with the in and outs of their careers, interests, lives and families and find their artistic, sometimes emotional and often humorous presentations compelling. I believe that everyone has something interesting to say.
What is the most significant blog post you've ever written?
I’ve been writing here since February 2005 so there are a lot of posts to consider. Four that I consider to be really significant: three having the greatest impact on my life are these two about "Larry the homeless guy" - There And Back Again And Again And Again & Larry's A Lily and one about my Dad in the wake of Mom’s death, A Disassembled Life. The forth one is my favorite stream-of-consciousness post, Puck.
I want to thank you David for the interview and for allowing me to share your space and your readers.
Today's Sunday Roast with Seamus is the 28th in a weekly series of interviews with bloggers from around the world.