Blogging 101 Project: Hello

I started “The Gad About Town” last fall to reintroduce myself to the writing world after a long break from writing and publishing. I quickly discovered two things: One, that I still enjoy writing/publishing/designing a website, and two, that while I may very well have a book or two in me, I do not have 750-1000 words worth of ideas per day, every day. So for the last couple of months I have been writing responses to the WordPress Daily Post/Prompt, which has brought me a lot of feedback, some new online friendships, and many positive responses. The “Blogging 101” project is a good next step.

selfie

My name is Mark Aldrich. I am a one-time winner of the New York Press Association’s Best Humor Columnist award in its annual “Better Newspaper” contest. This blog, “The Gad About Town,” is about many topics, from social habits to baseball to art and movies. If I think something is worth commenting on, I do. I am a gad about town. When my column won its award in 1997, I contacted a syndicate and was told that there is no market for random thoughts from random people. I set out to prove that agent wrong and launched a blog in 1998 to the great acclaim of no one. He was right, for that era, but now we have the vast world of social media and self-publishing and partnership publishing.

I currently live in Goshen, NY. Up until May 2014, I mostly lived in New Paltz, NY, which I first moved to in 1990, left in 1996, returned to in 1997, left in 2000, and returned to in 2006 have always loved. Since 1990, I have lived in 17 places (I think) across three states, showing the same kind of stick-to-it-iveness that ought to include about a dozen jobs in the same time period. That would match my curious resume.

I have had many writing and copy editing jobs, including editing websites and creating instruction manuals. In the early 1990s, I became a writer and performer with a radio comedy group, the Magnificent Glass Pelican, which continues to produce and perform improvisational comedy.

I am no longer looking for a job, as I was diagnosed with a form of spinocerebellar ataxia in 2012, which was revised to spinal muscular atrophy in 2014. I am disabled and spend some of my time and column space talking and writing about rare disease awareness issues. It is not a great income, but I survive and I am planning on publishing for a living. Instead of a 9-to-5 job, I have a career, full-time, as a writer. This website/blog is a start towards that.

You can find me at these fine social media gathering places: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, About.me, Contently. I am even on Tumblr, and I do not know what that even is.

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5 comments

  1. girlluvsgreennbluestars · October 22, 2014

    It’s always nice to stumble upon another writer!

    I’m also glad that despite your disability you still are able to do something you are good at. Looking at your photo – you seem too young to have spinal muscular atrophy. I wish there was a way for your readers to monitor your progress or your condition, but from far away, where I am, I wish you good tidings and joy. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Aldrich · October 22, 2014

      It is definitely nice discovering other writers and the lack of envy for the most part in the blogging world is really cool. There is just a lot of encouragement.

      In an odd coincidence to you writing this, I just updated a piece from last year about my condition: thegadabouttown.wordpress.com/2013/12/03/50. And this: thegadabouttown.wordpress.com/2014/05/24/sca-or-sma-ataxia-or-atrophy

      All the best joys to you, too. And thank you for your thoughtful comment, Mark

      Like

  2. girlluvsgreennbluestars · October 23, 2014

    Now that I’ve toured your blog some, thankfully, I know more about your condition…especially what I was most curious about – at what age you felt the first symptoms of this nerve and spinal degeneration or disability. (I’m happy to note that you have both a caring girlfriend and a loving mother, plus true friends by your side!)

    Also, I’ve come to know about your lovely duck by the pond. I definitely am rooting for your duck as well!

    Whilst reading your blog and liking posts here, I noted that you were also reading mine. I wish you would stop by and read Boundless Curiosity so that you would know why I had the gall to call myself a writer in the first place! (You don’t have to like my posts if they’re not up to standard!)

    I’m comforted that late-onset SMA doesn’t mean one has to die an early death. You may have had this condition even before the age of 30 with no noticeable symptoms, and your type of SMA may have been the one with an ultra-slow rate of degeneration.

    Stay well and keep close to your caring loved ones, Mark, and stay sober (alcoholism is a curse both to the drinker and the people around the said drinker). You have not mentioned prayer so I reckon that you’re not religious, but I’ll pray for you anyway. 🙂

    – Amy

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Aldrich · October 23, 2014

      I would love to see your screenplays. Your piece, “Boundless Curiosity,” was promoted by the question that led me to write this: “First Instincts and Second Opinions” (thegadabouttown.wordpress.com/2014/08/10/daily-prompt-first-instincts-versus-second-opinions/). I also gave you an award today.

      Thank you so much for your thoughts and insightful comments. You are developing into a tantalizing writer who makes readers want more. Keep going. Mark

      Like

  3. girlluvsgreennbluestars · October 23, 2014

    THE STORY OF MY LIFE…haha

    Please excuse my effrontery as I tell, in two paragraphs, the tale of my first foray into playwrighting:

    I wrote my first screenplay (to great applause), at the age of nine, believe it or not. My music teacher approached me ONLY BECAUSE I was an honor student (you know…RELIABLE) and she told me she was desperate for a play (complete with a soundtrack!) which had to be performed in about two days (it was a Thursday afternoon and she needed a standing ovation by Saturday morning) for the kindergarten kids’ Parents’ Day presentation.

    To my protests that I WASN’T a scriptwriter at all, she merely replied,”You ARE a scriptwriter.”) Parents cried at the end of the play and asked the music teacher if she had written this tearjerker herself (she was the host of the school program). It was my first screenplay triumph.

    I re-read Boundless Curiosity and I apologize because in it I sounded like I was too eager to have readers review my work. My screenplays during gradeschool and highschool are now gone (I’m in my 50s).

    AGAIN, in two paragraphs I tell of what happened when I wrote my last (so far) screenplay. (Please be patient if I just bore you. Infact, you don’t have to read any of this except maybe someday, for reference) :

    My last screenplay was written when I was in college; I wrote it while I was a member of our town’s local theater group. I wasn’t a scriptwriter for the group at all. I was invited to join as an actress; but then one day they needed a stand-in scriptwriter and they asked ALL THE ACTORS PRESENT at the time to write screenplays.

    The outcome there was even more unusual: the committee evaluating the actors’ screenplays were unanimous in their decision to award me their first ever Best Scriptwriter award, EVEN IF THERE WERE NO AWARDS BEING PLANNED by the theater group IN THE FIRST PLACE…Also, the plan was to make one actor the “substitute scriptwriter” while they searched for someone…I ended up being their resident scriptwriter and actress.

    To cut a long story short, my application for the nunnery was accepted a little while thereafter. I became a nun and all my things, considered “material glories” of this world had to be burned. I don’t regret it because becoming a nun was my real life’s ambition!

    So you see, the only way people can evaluate me is if I’m asked to do a screenplay again (I’m not afraid of that at all) (I would’ve loved to write plays for my actor-boyfriend as he was starting to like acting in plays more than in the movies, but you know the rest). I’m not your usual “careerist” screenplay writer, although I’ve made fast friends with some from Hollywood (because I had an actor boyfriend??…maybe, maybe not…).

    Your piece above made me think a lot…you said the word “developing” and I was reminded that some at WordPress signed up here in order to hone their craft and publish books. I’m just here to have fun, although I’m never going to turn down the possibility of a new writing adventure. Thank you for that comment and encouragement; it warmed my heart.

    I went over to the post you referred to and made a comment there.

    Lastly, which award did you give me? Was it including me in your Followed Blogs’ Hall of Fame list? Thank you very much for thinking well of me!

    – Amy

    Like

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