As you might imagine, there is an interesting story behind my choice of blog name. After all, it’s not as though I go by Blogging Pioneer because I have pioneered blogging. When blogging became a thing, I was just a kid, learning to type on ancient typewriters. Remember typewriters? Occasionally playing the game Oregon Trail (remember the Oregon Trail?) on gigantic awkward looking Apple desktop computers was a hard-won privilege for those of us with enough fortitude to survive the death march of keyboarding exercises. Remember the horrible typing lessons? …. asa, fcf, jyj, l;l, shoot me please…. So I haven’t pioneered anything in the blogging world, but before we discuss my credentials as a potential pioneer, let’s first delve into how I ended up with the name.
I originally had a great name picked out, and I was so excited to claim it that I overlooked the possibility it might not be available. In hindsight, the name didn’t really suit the tone of my blog, but I really wanted it at the time, like that pair of hot pants that you know are wrong but you just don’t care. I am not going to tell you the name because you might laugh. Or you might stop reading my posts because you think that ‘blogging pioneer’ is so lame in contrast to the name I didn’t get (in which case you are lame). Anyway, I went to the Go Daddy site and entered my name choice into the little box (whatever that is called) but was informed that the name was available only if I paid $750 to the current owner. That is not a typo. $750.00. For a NAME. Hmmm. I had my heart set on that name, but being a thrifty pragmatist, I also had a back up list of eight other names, just in case this happened.
Every damn backup name I submitted was either not available at all, or available to purchase for several hundred dollars! Even my own first name! What unscrupulous bastard had purchased “Georgeann” for use as a domain name? I decided my name was too weird anyway; most days I can’t even spell it right so why impose such high standards on anyone else? I was about to give up when I suddenly thought “I could try ‘blogging pioneer’! It fits with my South Dakota theme and my willingness to jump into life and try new adventures…“ Surprisingly, this name was available, free, and not the dumbest one I had contrived.
It took me a few days to feel entirely comfortable with ‘bloggingpioneer’. I wanted to live up to the name but wasn’t sure it would convey a general sense of who I am. Then I realized that the only way to show my readers ME was through my writing. Just starting a blog is an activity in pioneering forward in life. It takes courage to self publish without really knowing what will happen as a consequence. Like many Americans, I come from a long history of pioneers. My grandfather told elaborate stories about his Scottish and Danish ancestors sailing to America and traveling west to settle in South Dakota, where they shaped farms and lives from the vast flowing plains. I like to think I have their spirit, even if my activity isn’t as courageous as sailing across the world and taming the Great Plains. Even a blog project can be daunting for someone as meek as myself!
My grandmother is a major inspiration. Full of the pioneer spirit, a retired school teacher and farm wife, she wrote a column in the local newspaper. She set up her writing office in a cool, shady spare room with a desk, typewriter, stacks of paper, and lots of little boxes of fun things like paper clips, extra pencils, and stamps from all over the world. Grandma wrote old-timey gossipy articles, something like: “Mr. and Mrs. Hosenscheisser celebrated their 35th anniversary last weekend at the Lutheran Church on 5th Street. Ham salad sandwiches and lime Jell-O were served with chocolate cake and terrible tasting coffee.” She also wrote recipes for church cookbooks, composed long story-filled letters, and assembled colorful scrapbooks for her grandchildren.
With a gift for conversation, a love of details, and a strong desire to write, she would have been a wonderful blogger. I have no doubt that she passed along her sense of urgency for preserving family history and telling stories. For me, being a pioneer, especially through this blog, is about revisiting my roots and reinventing myself by examining where I’ve come from and looking ahead to where I’m going. I no longer have any doubt that I chose the perfect name.