Just the other day, I got an e-mail and then a call from my friend Harvey Brock asking me if I would like to post some of my offerings from a blog I’ve been doing for a year or so now on Area Voices on the Dickinson Press website. My response was “That would be cool. I might still have a few fans out there.”
You see, there was a time when my name appeared regularly on the pages of the Dickinson Press. The last time probably was in November of 1975, 35 years ago now, when I left my job as wire editor of the Press and moved just east of the Missouri River, where I spent most of the last 35 years, and now live again in west Bismarck. Those were the days, of course, before the invention of the Internet, and the presses had to roll before anyone could read what I wrote.
Now I write on a blog, The Prairie Blog, which is generally about two things: Politics and Prairie Literature. My P0litics lean left, but my love of Prairie Literature knows no bounds, has no direction, and consumes a good part of my day each day now, in my retirement years.
And so, from time to time, I am going to share with you what I call “The Best Things Ever Written About North Dakota.” Although its scope will be just a little broader than written things. Iâ€™m going to expand the meaning of some of the words in the title.
“Best” will include Most Interesting, Most Important, Funniest and Most Inspiring.
“Things” will include Songs, Books, Speeches, Sermons, Essays, Stories and Poems.
“Written” will include Said, Sung, Read, Told and Given.
“About” will include In, To, For, or By North Dakotans (including former North Dakotans, even though I think being a North Dakotan is kind of like being a Catholicâ€”youâ€™re in for life, no matter what you say).
“North Dakota” will include the Dakota or Dacotah people, from whom we got our name, as well as The Prairie and The Great Plains Areas of Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas, although Iâ€™m going to be careful to not go too far afield, too often.
There are, for example, a lot of good songwriters in North Dakota or from North Dakota. There have been a lot of good speeches given in North Dakota, or about North Dakota. There are a lot of important books all North Dakotans should read. For example, my friend Ardell Tharaldson says every North Dakotan should read two books: â€œThe North Dakota Political Traditionâ€ a series of essays providing a concise political history of North Dakota, edited by Thomas W. Howard, and Bruce Nelsonâ€™s â€œLand of the Dacotahs,â€ a kind of fractured history containing a lot of really good stories about the Dacotah people and our part of the Great Plains. Heâ€™s right, and Iâ€™ll provide some excerpts from each of those one of these days.
And so you might find the title â€œSome Of The Funniest Things Ever Written About North Dakotaâ€ over some excerpts from columns by Wayne Lubenow or Tony Bender or Lloyd Omdahl. Or â€œSome of the Best Songs Ever Sung By North Dakotansâ€ over songs by Chuck Suchy or Bobby Vee. You get the idea.
So, here we go. I welcome comments and suggestions. My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Having a hotmail e-mail address is a code for being unemployed or retired–those of us who use hotmail no longer have an employer to provide us an e-mail account (my last one was email@example.com, and I thought having a medora.com address was just the coolest thing ever). Earlier posts of mine can be found on my blog, which is found at theprairieblog.blogspot.com. Although from now on, what goes on The Prairie Blog also goes here on Area Voices, to save you a trip across the keyboard.
Thank you, Harvey, for this opportunity. I hope I live up to your expectations.