For openers

I just wanna say this is all my BF’s fault. I have read and enjoyed others’ blogs, but I was truly not thinking of doing my own until my BF started hers.

This is a woman who does not consider herself a writer, though in 1993 when she and I were wandering the California State Fair, she composed a personalized plate for my car: GUD WRTR. I protested, “I can’t put that on my car. People will think I’m bragging.” And she said, “Not spelled like that.” It’s still on my car.

She’s a hoot, my BF.

My BF and I became BFs in the late 1980s when she went off to college in Swansea, Wales, and asked me to write to her. “I’ll be your best friend,” she said, which made me laugh. I had no idea she was serious. Then the little thin, folded blue letters began arriving regularly, I began responding regularly, and we did, indeed, become best friends because of putting words on paper. In ink.

My BF started her blog because she’s been writing regularly with a writing group I host on Saturday mornings. Several people in that group have blogs, and though they are younger and way more hip than my 50-something BF and myself, it made sense to encourage writers to put their writing out into the ether.

My good friend Gina Spadafori, a nationally syndicated pet columnist, has an amazing blog ( that covers everything from puppy mills to the best cars for dog hauling.  She and her colleagues—all volunteers—broke the huge story about the pet food recall in 2007. She dazzles me with her writing output and passion for writing about companion animals.

So I am coming late and somewhat reluctantly to this party, and I don’t know what to wear, much less what to say.  This is embarrassing for a professor of journalism at a community collage to admit. My journalism colleague at Sacramento City College, Dianne Heimer, is of a similar vintage, and she has her newswriting students blogging like mad. I don’t have a Facebook page, and I don’t text much on my old-fashioned flip cell phone. It takes too long, among other things. A phone call is much faster. I do have a Twitter account, but I don’t use it, really. All this social media frankly befuddles me.

But I will be 52 at the end of July, and I hope to live a long life, so I figure that even someone with a half century under her belt can start to embrace these newfangled things.  I own a laptop, for heaven’s sake. Sure, it’s a five-year-old iBook G4, but I love it.

The Macs were not my idea originally, either. My late husband, Cliff Polland, talked me into spending $3,000 on a 512K Macintosh computer in 1984. We had just married a few months earlier, and we did not have an extra $3,000 in our lives. “I gotta typewriter,” I said.

And Cliff said, with such prescience it stunned me, “Toots, this is gonna change your life.” He was right. He set up a digital darkroom at his small-town newspaper before the Big Paper in the Big City Nearby did. He died before papers began using digital cameras every day, but he’d love that they do. New technology did not scare him a bit. And it didn’t take long before I was a huge champion of all things Apple. I still am. (iPhones intimidate me, but I have to say that from what I’ve seen of them, they look way cool.)

So thank you, Georgann, for urging me to Get With It and start my own blog. Thank you for helping me create this one. (You might want to check out my BF’s blog: It has recipes and good photos, too.)

I can’t imagine that even six people will want to read any of this, but it’s time to practice what I preach to writing students again and again: Write it. Don’t fight it. Put it out there. See what happens. You never know. If nothing else, the blog will inspire you to keep you writing, if you’re lucky.

And anything to keep writing our art out is a good, good thing.

About janishaag

Writer, writing teacher, editor
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7 Responses to For openers

  1. Dickie Dean says:

    Lookinʻ Güd, Janis Linn.
    You(?) have a Twitter account?????!!!!!
    Who sez you canʻt learn new stuff from blogs?

  2. Connie Raub says:

    Well, done! Let me be one of the “six people who care, and will really read your blog”. After all, Iʻm one of those “older” people yet willing to venture into cyberspace, and parts unknown including bogs. . . ah blogs! I have always admired your writing and look forward to more poetry, essays, fiction, blessings and other Jan-type adventures. Thanks for sharing with me and the world.

    • janishaag says:

      Thanks, Connie! You and Dick have the distinction of being the Very First to read this new blog. Thank you, too, for being the first commenters! Your comments and support mean a great deal to me. Safe journey home!

  3. Laura M. says:

    May I be person #3? 🙂

    Thank you for sharing your story with those of us you have inspired to tell theirs 🙂

    • janishaag says:

      Thanks, Katie. You inspire me, brave blogger that you are, with all that you’ve written and shared. I will be asking you for guidance as I tiptoe into these new waters!

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