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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Why Page 2

It’s been so long since I wrote a non-sports blog post, I have completely lost my rhythm for doing so. Of course, that statement assumes that I actually had some rhythm for it at one point.

A couple of years ago I combined my Philly Sports Review and Casual Critic blog into Rob Q. Ink in an effort to have a blog that was updated two or three times a week. Part of what I liked about the idea was being a writer with a disability offering commentary on various issues – including disability issues – all in the same spot.

As recently as a few weeks ago I wrote out a list of topics for articles that I wanted to write. The list started with the above topic:

• Why I write about multiple topics on the same blog
• Speech disabilities and disability hierarchy
• Scottie Pippen in the Hall of Fame (note)
• Pending lockouts, NFL & NBA
• “Mainstreaming” has benefits
• Widener class (my discussion with a group of prospective special ed teachers)

With only a few edits for the sake of clarity, that was the list. Topic number one may have tripped me up, as the more I thought about it the more I wondered if it really was a good idea.

In fact, I ultimately decided it was not a good idea to have a blog on multiple topics, at least not one that included sports. My blog posts on Philadelphia sports were dominating all of the other topics. It’s just easier for me to write about sports as I’m naturally following it every day. I can just sit at the keyboard and let my passion flow, and if I really get into a specific issue that requires some research, I have enough desire and knowledge to do it easily.

That’s not to suggest that I don’t have passion for other topics. I can certainly get revved up about disability issues, politics, and more. They’re just not things I have enough desire to write about two or three times a week.

My sports posts were dominating in other ways as well – they get the most hits and I have actually obtained a few advertisements within posts. I finally realized that it might be a good idea to try to maximize that modicum of “success.” The thought also occurred to me that people reading my sports posts – as well as other potential advertisers – were probably turned off by the occasional book review, political rant, or whatever.

Not wanting to go back to having a third blog – I also produce an informational blog for the disability community* – I tried to figure out how to display individual topics on their own pages. My hope was to take advantage of Blogger’s relatively new feature allowing stand alone pages. For instance, Rob Q. Ink would have had a “Sports” page with its own sidebar links, advertisements, etc. I did enough research to know that it was probably possible, but beyond my programming capabilities.

So, I comprised, and Rob Q. Ink – Page 2 was born. Of course I realize I’m back to a third blog, but hopefully the continuity in the name will pay off. Who knows? I’m already thinking that I should have just gone back to using Philly Sports Review for my sports blogging, but there were too many logistical, pain-in-the-butt things to do to transition back. I especially didn’t want to have to try to re-obtain a link on’s sports blog roll.

I still believe in the concept that people with disabilities who find a voice in the general community need to maintain some focus specifically on disability issues. The combination is key. I think it would help move the conversation on disability, and eventually those with disabilities, into the public conscious more.

For instance, if my pipe dream of establishing myself as a major Philadelphia sports blogger came to fruition, I think it would be incumbent on me to use that notoriety to speak to a larger audience on topics that are relevant to the disability community. The voices that are being heard from the disability community tend to speak only to disability issues, and therefore only that part of the population.

Mark E. Smith and, to a larger degree, Josh Blue are the two strongest voices that I know of in the disability community. Blue seems to have moved a little bit into areas outside of disability with his comedy from what I catch on YouTube now and then, and Smith touches on other topics in his essays but the focus is always on disability. Steven Hawking is probably the one guy that is still in the public eye occasionally with a disability known for his work totally unrelated to disability, though I’ve never heard anything about him drawing attention to disability issues. (That’s not to say he hasn’t done so.)

Even as an unknown blogger, I’ve learned that there is no doubt about the danger of spreading yourself too thin. My focus on sports blogging has only increased since I made the original Rob Q. Ink exclusively about sports. Hopefully, the increased effort will pay off.

Whether it does or not, Page 2 will be where I pontificate, babble, or just plain bitch and moan about the world outside of sports. Posts may run once a week, once a month, or on a completely random schedule. Disability subjects will be part of what I write about, but only a part. Politics, entertainment, news of the day, and whatever else moves me to write, will make up the rest of the posts.

Hopefully, the effort will move others to give Page 2 a read now and then.

*I no longer produce the disability blog as of the end of 2011.

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