Thursday, May 29, 2003

The other day I revisited LTHR EDGE's webpage. I can't remember how I first found out about this one, but it's long been a favorite spot to check out. I find it incredibly sexy, not just because of its content -- which is certainly hot enough if you're looking for kinky pictures and stories -- but especially thanks to its design. It looks great (black & white, nice fonts, ample white space), and it's so much more than just a collection of words and images to jerk off to. Among other things, it's a treasure trove of information and ideas about leathersex, which will at least get you thinking, whether you always agree with the author or not. So let's just say I find it a turn-on on both the aesthetic and the erotic level.

Anyway, on my most recent visit after a prolonged absence I noticed that "Edge" is actively encouraging leathermen and other kinky folks of varying genders and sexualities to start blogging. In addition to a page of links and how-to-blog advice on his own site, he and a few cohorts have launched a project called "100 Bloggers," the goal of which is to get 100 newbies to start keeping weblogs by Pride Weekend 2003. He spells out his reasons eloquently, and while there are too many to repeat in this space, I'll simply quote a few relevant ones below and refer you to the page dedicated to answering the question "Why?" for the rest:

*"A new generation needs mentoring. Every day, horny young people find the Web and discover that their vague fantasies of leather are realized in a million ways in a million webpages. Blogging records the real lives of real leathermen so that those young leatherfolk can find out what it's really like to be a leatherperson. Think of it this way: someone, sometime, somewhere helped you. Now it's your turn. And all it takes is for you to talk about your life."

*"No one should feel alone. I imagine it's happened to all of us at some time or another: you imagine that NO ONE could be feeling the way you feel, desiring the things you desire, experiencing the things you experience. That sense of isolation is antithetical to the very concept of community. In creating blogs, we leave behind places and spaces for others to come along and see themselves and realize they're NOT alone."

*"YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO OFFER. The biggest reason to blog is because you have something to offer, even though you may not think you do. You're a part of this community, and your thoughts, experiences, insights, and feelings are not just valid but valuable. ..."

All of these remind me of my own motivations for starting "Heroes & Villains" (just a few days too early to be included in the 100, though I'm listed as one of the "already converted"). I'm not totally sure I agree with a couple of Edge's other encouragements--that there's no need to be a good writer so long as you remain true to your experience, for instance--because I really don't think the world needs another outlet for badly executed, self-possessed literature. I mean, we've already got high school poetry, zines, several strains of performance art, memoirs, mediocre singer-songwriters, and the films of Kevin Costner, for starters, and during the brief lifespan of blogging I've come across far too many online lists of what people ate, cut-and-pasted song lyrics, and bitch sessions about how much somebody hates his/her job/boyfriend/family, and so on. And it troubles me that the most frequently used word on most blogs (including this one) is "I." On the other hand, I do believe on some fundamental level that our stories -- when told well -- have meaning, not only for ourselves but for the people around us. (That "we" includes everybody, not just queers and kink enthusiasts, though lesser-told tales often have the greatest impact.) As I've said a million times before, if only the internet had existed when I was in high school in a fairly small town, feeling isolated and freakish for the way my dick was behaving, maybe I could have spared myself a decade or three of self-loathing and jumped right into the good stuff.

So, whoever and wherever you are, I, too, encourage you to check out the how-to resources at "100 Bloggers" and consider starting a weblog of your own if you haven't already. If you do, please let me know about it. I've already had a wonderful time exploring the thoughts of total strangers/fellow travelers via such blogs as Singletails, Leather Adventures, Bound and Determined, Leather Egg, and of course Edge's own "Edge Diaries" -- all of which feature interesting writing about kinks of various kinds, many with a focus on politics and spirituality, much like I'm aiming for here. I already know I'm not alone, but it's nice to get a better sense of just who my new neighbors are.

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