Well, it appears LDW lost his mind back in 2004 and started a Live Journal. Yup, 'tis true ... this is the place to go for the mental ramblings of one L. David Wheeler, he of the countless idiosyncracies and the occasionally really strange beard, the second strangest among his circle of friends ... (EDIT: the first-strangest now that mrgoodwraith is mostly beard-free.)
Which begs the question, why? After all, those who know me know I lead a fairly boring life. Many writers who aren't named Ernest Hemingway or Graham Greene or Cordwainer Smith do. Well, not really, but I'm not running for office or jumping out of airplanes or running marathons or all of the above ... just livin' my life, as always. And I guess for a long time I thought there was something a touch narcissistic about having one's own online journal, or Web site for that matter -- kind of a feeling of "why do I think the entire world of cyberspace would be even slightly interested in my meanderings?" But in 2004, michaelhinman recommended I give the LJ thing a try, and I ultimately decided that "the entire world of cyberspace" isn't the point. I started the journal for two reasons:
1. Motivation. I am a writer -- in my day job I'm an editor at a daily newspaper who sometimes even gets to carve out time to do an article; and after hours, I have a slew of personal projects going. But sometimes after a looooong day at the office, it's hard to get the creative juices flowing, to use a tired cliche -- keeping a journal limbers up the mental muscles. And knowing there's an audience -- well, at least two or three people checking in every six months or so :-) -- should keep me motivated to do the journal. It's all so very logical. Sort of.
2. Connection. I've been blessed with more friends, good ones, than I ever expected to have. However, they are scattered all over the country -- actually, all over the hemisphere. I would love to keep in frequent and qualitative contact with everybody -- but of course, we all know that's impossible to do based on the nature of our lives. While I still write letters (well, mostly e-mails), I can't do so anywhere near as often as I would like -- got to have a life before I can tell anyone about it. A LJ, I think, will help some of my friends keep up with my life, for whatever it's worth, and contact me or leave feedback if they so desire. It's a good, and moderately convenient, way to stay connected; or at least in theory. We'll see. (Addendum: Since starting the Land O' Ledley in May 2004, I've become acquainted with many a new person 'round these parts, and enjoyed my acquaintance with all. Any sane individual of good will who wishes to add me may feel free to do so if they so desire.)
So ... in the extremely unlikely circumstance that you're here by accident, here's a brief, incomplete lowdown of who this "L. DAVID WHEELER" is ...
I am a CHRISTIAN. Granted, these days there are about as many definitions of that term as there are starfish in the sea. By "Christian," I mean that I consider Jesus Christ to have been God incarnate, who showed us how to live; died in such a way that he assumed the collective and personal guilt of humanity; and, yes, did not stay dead. Further, I believe my life to have been transformed -- and in the process of a gradual transforming (if you know me, you know I'm still in the beginning stages of any kind of spiritual maturity) -- by the presence of God with me. (Which is what "Emmanuel" means -- God with us.) I have found Jesus to be my most faithful friend and counselor. I don't much hold to labels, but I suppose you could call me an evangelical Protestant if you want -- both terms are accurate enough if not all that helpfully descriptive. Let's just say that when you scrape away everything else, the core of my life is about growing closer, I hope, to Jesus, and to fulfilling the potential he gave me when I put my life in his hands. Hope that doesn't scare anybody. I don't wallop people over the head with my faith, though I've never hidden it either. It's just who I am.
I am a JOURNALIST. Specifically these days, I'm the arts and entertainment editor of a daily newspaper in New York's Finger Lakes region, where I'm the primary writer and page designer for a weekly A&E/coming-events section focusing on music, theater, visual and performing arts, film, books and area attractions. My interest in journalism started back in college with work on the Houghton Star, a campus newsmagazine I edited for two years, the latter in partnership with Ivan T. Rocha. Following graduation, I worked for six years for the American Publishing Co., working at small newspapers in Hornell and Bath, N.Y. It was there that I truly learned my trade or craft, because in those small types of papers you end up doing literally everything. After six years I felt the rumblings, the yen, the itch, the divine proddings, etc., to move on. (Plus, my father had passed on, and I wished to spend more time with my mother.) And so for the past seven years I've been at my present job. Thirteen years in professional journalism has yielded a diverse spectrum of experiences: Sitting in a hunting cabin listening to a Croatian refugee tell his story of a Serb onslaught while his son and a half-dozen Croatian-American friends pass the kielbasa and cognac. Realizing how dark and troubled the human condition can at times be as I sat in court hearing testimony about a 4-year-old's murder by a 13-year-old neighbor. Realizing that it's not always dark and troubled, as I watched a Church of God pastor stoop to his knees and apologize, with emotion, to a Seneca elder for atrocities done by ancestors past. Interviewing the occasional Big Name celebrity (e.g., actor Bill Pullman), the occasional Former Big Name (e.g., Greg Lake, the "Lake" in Emerson, Lake & Palmer) and the Big Name in Small Circles (e.g., brilliant science-fiction writer and recent Hugo winner Robert J. Sawyer). Wouldn't trade the experiences for anything -- well not most things, anyway. I also do a touch of freelance work -- I've had articles in the now-defunct regional publication Genesee Country and Renaissance Magazine.
I am a BIBLIOPHILE, with more books than sense. :-) Actually, certain of my friends (WRH comes to mind, if you're out there) would scoff at my claim, since my paltry couple thousand books don't cut anywhere near their particular mustard. So far my books haven't taken over the apartment -- I still have a clear path to the bathroom, which is all anyone needs, really. :-) I'll read just about anything (I'm similarly omnivorous when it comes to music), but my particular favorite genres are history (particularly American history); theology/spirituality/apologetics (Lewis, Zacharias, Chesterton, Nee); classic fiction (particularly partial to Dostoevsky, Dickens, Greene, Chesterton again); and quality science fiction and fantasy. Which leads me to ...
I am a SCIENCE FICTION/FANTASY FAN, which gets its own paragraph because fandom can be a fair chunk of one's persona. I enjoy much of the literature (Tolkien, Sawyer, Turtledove, Card and Bradbury in particular at the moment) and some of the media (really like Trek, except for Voyager; and always had a soft spot for Dr. Who); and I try to get to two or three general SF conventions each year. Randy Hoffman can probably be blamed more than anyone else for introducing me to fandom, back when he talked me into accompanying some friends to a Pittsburgh convention in 1990. (Actually, he talked me into doing all the driving too, as I recall.) Lately, I've been drawn to the "filk" -- the music of SF/fantasy fandom, which is a varied, diverse and rich spectrum of musical offerings, one which has to be experienced to be fully appreciated. Over the past few years, I've finally started writing and singing a few songs myself.
I am a MISCELLANEOUS. Well, not really, but here are a few other miscellaneous tidbits: I'm a Boston Red Sox fan, so I'm used to disappointment, frustration and existential malaise (yet was vindicated in 2004). ... I'm a hopeless independent, politically -- I used to call myself a "moderate," but too many people think that means someone who doesn't stnd for anything -- for me, I think it involves making one's decisions based on one's own considered and thoughtful judgment rather than what one's party leadership says; if I had my way, Congress would consist of 535 Independents. ... I can be plied with dark chocolate and strong, rich coffee. ... I don't look right without a beard. ... I think sushi is an abomination (the fish-based ones anyway). ... I've never had pets, except for a black Lab briefly when I was very young -- though I've always liked dogs, but these days am finding myself turning more into a cat person (probably due to the influence of assorted feline-oriented friends (Therese, Jessica, Marcy, Peter, etc. etc.) ... I find idiosyncratic (and kinda nasal) voices like Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and Neil Young strangely compelling. ... And I'm tired of talking about myself.