I like to blame Chris Rogers for this but, truth be told, it easily could have been his wife, Andrea. I was kind of fired up that morning.
It was a bus stop morning a year ago this week and we were talking about the schools. Specifically, we were talking about the space issues at the high school and middle school. Our neighborhood email had been full of chatter about the upcoming Town Meeting vote and I was a little steamed.
Not necessarily at the school space issue. At myself. I’d looked at the schools before we moved to town. I’d been keeping up, or so I thought, with things that had been going on in town. I’d frequently railed about clueless readers back when I was a City Hall reporter, the people who would call the paper when a particular issue got hot who would demand to know, essentially, why I hadn’t been pounding on their door telling them to read the stuff I’d been writing all along.
Is this what my life had come to? Was I a clueless reader in my own town?
“It would be so easy,” I fumed to Chris, “to just start a website and write about the stuff I want to know about. I should just take those tours at the high school and middle school and write about them.”
“I can’t go to the high school tour,” Chris said. “But I’d love to hear about what they have to say.”
I went home that morning, went straight to the computer, and created a blog on Word Press. I didn’t want a Mommy blog — I was already writing one of those for my job — and I didn’t want to focus only on the schools. I decided to call it Greater Grafton. I liked the alliteration, I liked that it didn’t limit me to writing only about Grafton and I liked the play on words — information should make Grafton greater, because a public that’s informed tends to be a public that’s invested in its community.
I emailed Chris and said, essentially, “watch this space.”
I went on the high school tour a few days later. Took my camera and notebook. Asked lots of questions. Felt ridiculous for the first time when I admitted I’d be putting the information online in a blog.
I went home, wrote it all up, sent it out on the neighborhood email list. Repeated it over again for the middle school. A neighbor — probably Chris again, he was very supportive of the project — forwarded the link to the GEA and my stats counter started to climb. One hundred. Ooh, could I make it to two hundred? What if I wrote about something else? About this, or this? What if I linked here or there? Hey cool — someone wrote something on my blog!
A year (and 608 posts, 126,283 views, 2,016 comments) later, I’m happy to say I think my project was a success, in ways I never quite imagined. How else would I have met many of the people I now consider friends? What the heck would I have done without it after my layoff in October? Who could have predicted someone would actually hire me to help create an actual news site — with someone else selling the ads and me doing all the writing! — about Grafton?
It’s been an interesting year. Let’s continue the conversation!