This interview marks the first anniversary of the Six Of The Best column. Initiated to act as a clarion call to celebrate the joy of blogging, it isn't just about promoting established blogs but also sharing the love for newer blogs already making a name for themselves in the blogosphere, such as Jonathan Linneman's Monstrous Matters.
(1) How long have you been blogging, and how’d you get into it in the first place?
I started at the beginning of this year. I had been following little corners of the blogosphere for years, starting way back with comic blogs, and then discovering the OSR blogging scene around six years ago.
I pretty much always knew that I wanted to start one of my own, but I always thought I needed to have some sort of schtick to make my blog stand out.
I was really drawn to the explorations of medicine in comics on Polite Dissent and the weirdness of Bully the little stuffed bull on Comics Oughta Be Fun!, and wanted to do something like that to keep me focused and interested. When I finally thought I had an angle, I jumped into it.
(2) What do you blog about, and how frequently do you post?
Well, as much as I focused on having a topic for my blog - as the name might imply, I intended to write about interesting creatures in games and other media - I've ended up posting about whatever geeky stuff is in my head at the moment.
I'd say it's mostly comics and RPGs, specifically with a leaning towards the old school, as far as the games are concerned.
It turns out that the reason I had such a hard time settling on a single focus for a blog is that my brain tends to jump around to a lot of different interests (I think that's pretty typical among our lot!). The upside is that the blog is a great way to give some attention to a specific idea, and then move on to something else without feeling like I've completely neglected something interesting.
I'd say I only get about three posts up a week at the moment. I have dreams of upping that number as I find my blogging "voice" a little more and move into a more settled stage of life. (I'm currently finishing grad school and have a little daimon constantly sitting on my shoulder telling me that no matter what I'm doing, I should be writing a dissertation instead.)
(3) How does your blog stand out from all the rest?
Oh man, I wish I had a quick answer to this question, but I really have to step back and think about this one. So much of enjoying others' blogs is just about finding folks' whose opinions and interests you like reading about and then keeping up with their thoughts, so I'm tempted to just say, "It's the only blog by me!" But...that sounds pretty pathetic for a number of reasons.
One thing that I have done is present a number of half-formed, but essentially complete, microgames on the blog. I like being able to have an idea like Ghostbusters for The Black Hack, or my take on 5E Microlite, or DIY dungeoneering with CCG cards, and putting it up in the best form I can at the moment and (hopefully) working more on it later. Someone who follows the blog may eventually see some of these half-formed ideas become fully formed.
I'm also probably the only vaguely OSR blogger who will admit to becoming a gamer thanks to Pokemon. That's why Underground Elemental Beastfighting is one of those things that I'd love to eventually work out as a complete game on the blog.
|Ghosthackers, by Jonathan Linneman|
(4) What’s the best (and worst) thing about blogging?
The best thing is easily making connections with other people who enjoy the same things I do. I love it that thoughts I have that would get no response if I threw them out at work, or over dinner with the wife, actually might have a few people who'd like to read them if I just put them up on the blog. I've met some great folks and had a lot of fun just geeking out over stuff. It's like a hobby in itself.
The worst thing is that it can actually feed into the idea that my thoughts are more valuable or interesting than they actually are, which I hate!
I'm not a big social media user, partly because it's so annoying to see what people seem to think it's important that the world knows about them.
I've realized, though, that when I post about, say, my thoughts on race in DC Rebirth and am kind of disappointed that it doesn't seem to resonate with anyone, that's pretty much my equivalent of putting up a picture of my dinner and obsessing over the number of "likes" on Facebook.
(5) Do you have any self-imposed rules (or guidelines) for your blog?
I try to keep to a general theme of geek cultural stuff, which is thankfully so broad that it covers just about everything I care to write about and actually has a vaguely unifying feel.
It's also interesting that in the real world, I can be a pretty opinionated person on political (or, at least, social) matters, and my language is very often somewhat NSFW. I've really avoided those things in my blogging, and I'm not really sure if it's a matter of trying to keep the blog somewhat neutral and family-safe, or if I just haven't had the guts or a reason to take the plunge beyond a PG rating yet. I guess that'll play itself out.
(6) Name one blog everyone should be reading (other than your own).
Oh man...hardest question of the bunch! I'm trying to figure out how to game this and answer the question honestly while slipping in multiple blogs...but I think I'll just act like I didn't read the question correctly and give more than one answer (while keeping it brief!).
Ross at Super-Team Family posts a great comic book cover, featuring a team-up that should have (but usually hasn't) happened, every single day. It's always fun to check out, and he does awesome work!
The toy blog Little Weirdos is always great for a bit of nostalgia, even if I've never seen the toys that are featured. There's just a fun feel to the place.
And finally, I try to keep up with what Justin is doing over at Halls of the Nephilim. It's very much a personal-geeky-interest type blog that's kind of what I imagine Monstrous Matters could be if I put more effort into it. There's a nice combination of "Hey, this is interesting!" posts and well-thought-out gaming material.
|A recent faux cover from the brilliant Super-Team Family blog|