Friday, April 9, 2010

My Bad Blogging Manners

T his blog wasn't launched by with a detailed, organized publication plan. In fact, it had a false start a year earlier (some of you may have found the Wordpress version), where I put up one post, got frustrated trying to make a custom header, and let it go. I thought about starting again every once in a while--I loved the name, "public defender revolution" and all it implied, and I was pissed that the Washington Defender Association had censored an article I had written about reforms--my blog won't censor itself, I thought.  Sure, ideas would percolate in my overperked brain--but it's not like I wrote out a blogging plan and had a bank of posts ready to go.  The only reasons public defender revolution actually launched this year are a) another year's frustration about public-defender stuff built up inside me; and b) I didn't have anything to do on New Year's Eve (resolution:  start blog this year!); and  c) my friend Little Crazy came by to help me do nothing and assisted with the set up.

Even though I didn't have a formal blogging plan, I operate under the assumption that I am relatively normal (I know, hold your comments) and blog readers, particularly public-defender blog readers, would probably respond to the same things that I respond to. I also knew that there was a vast untapped market for public defender stories and PD stuff.  I also had a reason behind the blogs--to try to empower public defenders to unite and assume control of  PD reform.

I knew almost nothing about blogging--I read a few blogs every once in a while--if I find a topic that interests me and a writer I like, I will have a little love affair with that blog.  If a blog-crush keeps giving me something on a regular basis, I get hooked.  Thus, I planned to post as much as I could as often as I could during the first month.

But daily posting ate up all of my free time, and left little time to explore the blogging world or rules of etiquette. Little Crazy told me about Site Meter, which I guess everyone else knows about, but it almost felt dirty having it--seeing where readers were from and what they clicked on.  But apparently I can get OK with dirty, because I found the spinning world thing, which I really like ...

I noticed that the number of readers was going up, and I kept writing or making PD cards/bumper stickers, etc. I found the 'referrals" section of Site Meter and could tell which links readers were following to the blog. Even though I have never been to South Carolina, I have developed a fondness for it, because the little dots on the S.C. map were the first to light up with regularity. I would look at those dots, and think, Who are those guys? In fact, S.C. kept me going for awhile, because it would be 11:00 p.m. and I'd think, I'm not going to finish this tonight--I'll have to post it in the morning, but then I'd think, By the time it's morning here, the day is almost done in S. Carolina--and they're my only readers. There's even a head PD in S.C. who I chat with every once in a while (Hey Mike!)

My college friend Scott at Grits for Breakfast posted the first link--without him, I would still be blogging to myself, thinking, Why is My City the only dot on the map? A few weeks after Scott's link,  some blogger I didn't even know said something nice about PDR on his blog. And then a few more. I was stunned and grateful and just kept going.  I thought, As soon as I get a minute, I am going to write these bloggers a really nice thank-you note. Do you know what happens with yet-to-be-written really nice thank-you notes? They never get written.

So all of you guys and gals, thank you for reading and helping push this blog and revolution along.  I will be glad to send any of you a bumper sticker, PD Valentines card, or PD business card if you send me your mailing address.  Here's the list of blogs that deserve a really nice thank-you note:

grits for breakfast--Scott is a one-man, criminal justice reform movement.  He is based in TX, but every state can benefit from fact-based, unbiased analysis, and every state would benefit from a blog like his.  He is a hero, and he does it without a paycheck.
south carolina criminal defense blog--I think this is where the S. Carolina guys came from.
koehler law--I can hear him talking to a jury, because I know he must sound like his blog--intelligent, reasonable, and kind.
SCOID blog--Great legal blog from Idaho, but my favorite is the sidebar quote: "No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money."--Samuel Johnson
v is for victory--while I don't agree with the politics of this blog, I do very much like the writer, and it reminded me that I can find shared values with someone who is ardent about issues I do not support.  Favorite thing she said about the blog, "Be aware that it contains some salty language, and is not for the timid."
trial theory--has made "trial chicken" part of the trial theory lexicon.
a public defender--when I grow up, I want to be like him.
public defender stuff--the first PD news blog I ever read; I was afraid it had disappeared but is back and strong.
underdog blog--one of the first bloggers to link to this blog and get things rolling
blonde justice--I have loved her long time.  I read that she would post a link once you had put up posts regularly for 30 days.  So I waited 30 days.  And then I thought, I want to know if she finds PDR without me, and what she thinks.  And then she liked it; she really, really liked it!
law of criminal defense--John Wesley Hall's blog.  I gave him my card at the NACDL conference.
simple justice--deserves thanks not only for support, but also for his provocative (but kind) criticism, which is more engaging than effusive adoration.
woman of the law--her last post is the reason I did not attempt real anonymity.  I knew I could never maintain anonymity--who would blab?  me!  I made my name easy to discover so that I wouldn't fool myself about my identity being secret.  The fact that I am identifiable makes me a) not have to worry about being discovered; b) makes me visualize the Bar Association evaluating every post; and c) also means I won't have to quit when someone outs me.  Ha!  I already outed myself!
gamso for the defense--English Professor turned criminal defense lawyer.  Beautiful.
tales of a public defender investigator--an informative and insightful connection to the tribe.
not guilty no way--my newest blog crush.

One more thing.  I've had a rough couple of weeks. I won't go into details, because that would involve whining, but suffice it to say, the last couple of weeks have been not just ordinary PD rough, but woman-on-the-verge rough (from my upcoming trial schedule, more than anything).

My friends at work have worried about the blog, worried that I am too outspoken, worried that I'll be punished or picked to death or fired.  They probably also recognize my woman-on-the-verge look, and I know they are trying to protect me when they say, "I'm worried about you doing this blog."

At lunch-time yesterday, I shut and locked my office door, lay down across my client chairs, and tried to imagine how I could manage to juggle my next 5 trials and, oh, my 75 other clients. (I know: Revolutionary, heal thyself!) This isn't normal for me, but happens maybe every two or three years.  Anyway, I was lying across my chairs, trying to talk myself off the verge, when I heard my iphone beep a message alert.

Best email message ever. Back from the verge.

I know my friends are sincere and thinking only of me when they say that they're worried about me doing this blog. All I can tell them is, "I worry about me if I don't do the blog."

(If you're wondering what I think of Mr. Adachi (total PD-Boss Super Hero), look here and here.)


Rural and I mean RURAL, Idaho said...

Worried about you? How about worried about me and your other dedicated readers? I check your blog every day so that I can either cheer out loud in agreement, laugh hysterically, or click disappointedly to the next email in my inbox if you have not posted. As a solo practioner who takes PD conflict cases at $70 an hour and then gets badmouthed by the judges who sign my bills because I charged for requesting discovery or met with my clients too often, you help keep me sprinting instead of slowing to a walk. I LOVE your blog. You are amazing and inspiring. You keep blogging for you and people like me.

Woman of the Law said...

viva la revolution! I haven't taken down my site yet because I'm not willing to throw in the towel just yet... you keep me inspired! I hope to rejoin you in the PD blawger revolution soon. Maybe even this weekend... but keep it up. Don't ever sacrifice the job you love for this old blog thing, but I think there's plenty you can do without sacrifice.

BFrederick said...

You are an inspiration, and not just for the public defenders. Thank you for speaking out - it is a beautiful voice in a crazy world.

carol d said...

woman of the law: COME BACK, please!!!!! Rural Idaho and I need you, and Bfrederick will pump you up with kind words ...

Anonymous said...

Loving the trial chicken concept! And the blog. You rock, Carol.

Anonymous said...

Don't leave, we need you and your clients need you.

Anita Moore said...

Thank you, Carol! I wouldn't agree with your politics either, but Public Defender Revolution is hysterical...because the experiences described therein are TRUE. No novelist could ever make up the crap we deal with on a daily basis. (By the way, I loved "But Why Are Jurors Coming In"?)

Gideon said...

Now you're making me feel old.

Kevin said...

Is sarcasm allowed in this love fest? It seems like it would be appropriate here ... something like "too long, didn't read."

I'll click everyday to check until the site is removed from the interwebs. Keep rocking. It's spring, a good time for a little collapse and the goodness that follows.

mirriam said...

It's truly liberating in a way to not be anonymous anymore. I was anon for a while, but was outed and now just don't give a shit anymore. I love your salty language and I ain't timid and p.s.the crush is returned.

Jamison said...

Intelligent, reasonable and kind is about the nicest thing anyone has ever said about me as a trial lawyer. Thank you. If I could frame it and put it on my wall, I would.

Having worked quite a while myself as a public defender, it's been a lot of fun following your blog. My only complaint is that I wish you would post more often.

Anonymous said...

Love your blog. I check it everyday.

Blonde Justice said...

Wow, it's a real lovefest in here, and I love it. Keep up the great work, I know you're already inspiring me to get back in there and at least write more. But as for me, I'm staying anonymous for as long as I can.