"Read my book."
I've been wanting to say that for 31 years. When I first started writing poems about talking tacos at the age of seven, I was hooked. Granted my new book, Never Threaten To Eat Your Co-Workers: Best of Blogs (co-edited by Alan Graham, illustrations by John Burton), has nothing to do with articulate Mexican food.
This book gives blog addicts like yourself the power to walk in the shoes of a TV star, international journalist, criminal court lawyer, video sales clerk and a busy mom, among others. MTV's The Real World cast member Neil Forrester gives new meaning to the phrase "Bite your tongue." Star Trek: The Next Generation actor Wil Wheaton gives his take on the Hollywood system and fleeting stardom. Web designer Heather B. Hamilton finds herself in the unemployment line after publishing work stories in her blog, Dooce.com. Humorist Choire Sicha gives advice on broken hearts and timeshares. Illustrator Mark Frauenfelder throws out his cell phone and uproots his family from Los Angeles to the sandy beaches of Rarotonga.
Plus there are plenty of tales of creepy video store customers, online love lies, Iraqi politics, office pranks gone wrong, jury duty, a childhood meeting with Darth Vader and so much more.
In addition to their stories, I interviewed a selection of the bloggers to get their viewpoints on why documenting one's life complete with funny, insightful and somethings bizarre stories is important. Maybe I'm just naturally nosy, or I like the idea of stepping into someone else's shoes so much that the idea of reading other people's blogs is addictively appealing to me.
Of course, when I was first asked to help edit a book that compiled writing from some of the best bloggers around, the first thought that entered my mind was, "Finally! Bloggers get the props they so justly deserve." And then the second thought crept in, "How in the hell are we going to narrow it down?"
If I had my way, this book would probably be five times the size it is now, and impossible to carry around. (Though it would help with any of those arm lifts at gym!) But I had the daunting task of collecting and reading hundreds of entries from bloggers who wrote about their daily lives as store clerks, forensic morticians, actors, roadies, designers, skate punks, moms, students, international reporters, hackers, lawyers, dog trainers, dancers, librarians, horticulturalists, Washington interns and more.
Reading blogs is one of the few ways that we can legally peak into the lives of so many different types of people on an astoundingly personal level. It's not that easy for any of us to walk alongside a reporter as interviews citizens in a war-torn Iraq, or to look over the shoulder of a mortician as he attempts to determine the cause of a teenage girl's untimely death.
Blogs allow us to find out what it's like to be a child star or worse, a reality TV star. As we read blogs, we're allowed to eavesdrop on tales of bizarre incidents that can occur on the job as a porn store clerk, or giggle along with someone who recalls their deep-seated fear of Darth Vader. The topics, just as the bloggers themselves, are endlessly interesting.
Blogging serves a bigger purpose of keeping the media in check, and creating a sense of accountability to those who like to sweep controversy under the rug. But as for me, I love blogs merely because I want to be entertained by everyday folks doing some of the weirdest and funniest stuff around.
Unlike a lot of books backed by huge publishers and agents, Never Threaten To Eat Your Co-Workers: Best of Blogs. is being promoted by myself and others who made this book a reality. It's up to my fellow bloggers to get the word out that blog books are the next wave of DIY literature. You don't have to beat down the door of a publishing house to get your opinions heard. Blogs are be overflowing with talented writers. And this book features some of the coolest folks around.
These blogs serve as an entertaining and educating cross-section of the people dwelling online. But of course you knew that already, or you wouldn't be reading this now. So please do me a favor, and check out my book. Let me know what you think of it and of course, let any other bloggers and bloggers-to-be know about the book.