Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The Beauty of the Blogosphere

Long-time readers of Working With Words may recall that I have a longstanding aversion to that word, blogosphere, which can often sound trite and contrived to my ears. And yet it worked for a poetic, alliterative touch in my headline a moment ago. As it does in my reading habits. And so I've broken my own rule. And rule-breaking is what writing should be all about.

In this context, I'm thinking specifically today of a guy I know named Tim Bakke. More acquaintance than friend, I've perhaps had all of about eight minutes of interchanges with him in the last 18 months, as we would bump into each other at this event or that, and chit-chat about our several mutual friends or our work. Tim is a talented designer, and he takes the online name Geek Zen. After even brief chats, it didn't take a genius to conclude that he's a special person, a guy of quiet moral power and impressive intellect, though one of relatively few words.

But none of that background could prepare me for his impossibly evocative, beautifully written tribute to his dad. I'll link to it
here, so that you might look around at his other work, but just in case the link fails at some later point, I wanted to preserve this entry in full here:
Theodore Rex
"It is not the critic who counts. Not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause. Who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."-
Theodore Roosevelt

My dad has this on his wall in his office up in Duluth. Over the years my father has seen much, done much. A boy born and bred in Northern Minnesota; a young man at sea in the Navy; a man knee deep in the car culture of Southern California in the 60's; a young husband and father of an only child; back to MN and from locomotive mechanic to Division General Foreman in less than than anyone in the history of the Chicago Northwestern Railroad; round about and in crazy days raising a boy and managing a far-ranging career all over the West Coast; now, full circle, back in Duluth, his childhood home - a consultant, free-agent, entrepreneur ... and a guy who just hit one OUT OF THE PARK. My dad has just wrestled a deal that is quite impressive and may be the deal of a lifetime. I've learned much from my dad over the years but no lesson more well learned than that of perseverance. No matter what shit the world places at your feet. No matter what roadblocks get in your way. No matter what people say about you or think about you and don't have the balls to say it. No matter what - hold your head high, believe in your God-given abilities and DO IT. Don't talk about it. Don't think about it. DO IT.My dad did. And he still does. Everyday.And so shall I. And as I look in the beautiful blue eyes of my only child, my son, I pray by all I hold holy that my boy learns this same lesson from his father

Good for you, Tim. On the very day when we writers, journalists, bloggers and other wrestlers with words will be gathering this evening to explore what we share, rather than what we don't, you've provided yet another timely reminder that no one has a monopoly on the power of the pen to incite and inspire. May that pen of yours keep scribbling, and may your finely tuned heart keep reaching out to readers.


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