I had coffee with a friend I hadn’t seen since 1962. “I love your blog,” he said, “and your website fascinates me. I have one question, though: ‘when will you grow up?’”
Never, I hope. Growing old is bad enough.
It’s true I’ve done a lot of different things in my life. As a journalist, I founded, published and wrote for The Kennett Paper, which was three times honored as Pennsylvania’s weekly Newspaper of the Year. That experience got me heavily involved with the Pennsylvania Newspaper (now Newsmedia) Association, where I wrote an open-records blog and helped launch the Pennsylvania Center for Investigative Reporting. Almost everything I’ve done has involved writing, research and teaching. With a PhD in American Culture, I’ve taught at all levels, from preschool to graduate school, including a short stint at College of the Atlantic. I also worked for many years with a non-profit scientific organization dedicated to understanding fresh water issues. And long ago I was a US Army sergeant and once managed a cattle ranch in Colombia.
In 1996 I ran for Congress because I wanted to expand the insights I had learned as a community newspaper publisher. I lost – but took this from the experience: most of us undervalue what seem our tiny contributions to our communities and the world. As a result, we feel powerless, even victimized. But, like the butterfly effect in science, the lives we lead with our families, in our communities, and at work – all the so-called little things we do – collectively change the world. As I grow older, my ambition grows more modest but not less important: to participate fully and to contribute what I can. That’s my goal with this blog.
Although I’m a recent fulltime resident of Northeast Harbor, I have deep roots in Maine, including the same name as the rambling house in Augusta where the governor lives. For the last four years I have written a regular blog (http://www.jamesgblaine.com) that connects personal observations and public issues. Last summer I did a long series about having to abandon ship 140 miles off the New England coast (http://www.jamesgblaine.com/rescue-at- sea-a- series/) and a shorter series on the refugee crisis in Eastern Europe (http://www.jamesgblaine.com/refugees-a- series/). For the next several months I will focus much, but not exclusively, on the national election campaign.
The blog, unlike the campaign, is committed to brevity. I hope it will stimulate you to think a bit differently and to expand the conversation I look forward to having here.