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Chili of Don’t Try This At Home was tagged in conjunction with a meme so she decided to host a group carnival and I heard about it at An Island Life.

It’s not too late for you to join in! Just answer the following questions on your own blog and leave a link to your post. I will visit and read your responses. And don’t forget to visit the other participants, too. You might make some new blogging friends!

Here’s my story:

1. How did you start blogging?

I began blogging in March 2005, as Terri Schindler-Schiavo was dying. I lent support and some assistance to her parents as they fought to save her, but there wasn’t much I could do since the case was venued in Florida. I provided my research, briefs, etc. from Conservatorship of Wendland and did media appearances with Terri’s father, Bob Schindler, while my case was still pending here in California. I also responded to some media inquiries while Terry was being murdered, including this appearance on Scarborough Country.

People had been telling me for several years that I should write a book about my experiences litigating Wendland, but I opted to blog about it. So that was the genesis of this blog, as you will see from the earliest entries.

I have now spun the entries pertaining to Terri and Robert’s cases, and related issues, into a separate blog, Robert’s Legacy.

2. Did you intend to be a blog with a following? If so, how did you go about it?

At first, I just wanted to educate people about advance directives and the need to talk with your loved ones about your desires in the event that you become incapacitated and unable to communicate your wishes to your health care providers.

When I began writing, my goal was to spare one family the agony that my clients and the Schindlers suffered. Just one. Because no matter what you would want your fate to be should you suffer a catastrophic, life-altering injury or illness, this fact is true: You have a right to have your desires honored and implemented, and to have decisions made by the person(s) you designate. No one’s family should become embroiled in protracted litigation about how to care for a loved one, but it happens all too often and the result is that everyone loses, including the attorneys, judges, justices and caregivers.

It took me more than a year to really “get into” the whole blogging experience and expand my writing into other areas, submit my blog to the various directories, etc. When I did, I decided it was time to change the name, so that’s how and when “Colloquium” came into being.

3. What do you hope to achieve or accomplish with your blog? Have you been successful? If not, do you have a plan to achieve those goals?

I’ve been criticized for writing posts that are too lengthy so I have deliberately been referring to them lately as “articles” because my goal is to write about things that matter. Sure, I want to have fun, too, but I write in order to encourage folks to think about their life, the lives of their loved ones, the way we all impact each other’s lives . . . Sometimes I can’t do that in two paragraphs or less. So I consider this endeavor a success and I intend to keep doing what I’ve been doing. When it ceases to be fun or fulfilling on some level, I will be finished.

4. Has the focus of your blog changed since you started blogging? How?

Yes, as I explained above, the scope broadened over time and I have now established a second blog which picks up where my original writings left off.

5. What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you started?

I wish I could have foreseen the phenomenon that blogging has become . . . I might have made some money!

I also wish I had started with WordPress rather than Blogger because I think that software has some definite advantages, the main one being the ability to edit the timestamp so that posts automatically publish even if you are away from your computer. That would be a huge advantage for me. I’m still toying with the idea of switching . . . I was very impressed by the import function they have built into WordPress 2.2. I imported all of my posts from this blog into Robert’s Legacy with no effort at all. The formatting remained and so did all of the original comments that predate my use of Haloscan. At this point, the only thing keeping me on Blogger is the template, but I’m working on learning how to build a template in WordPress.

6. Do you make money with your blog?

No.

7. Does your immediate or extended family know about your blog? If so, do they read it? If not, why?

My family members are not very tech-savvy. My nephews know that I have a blog and I have mentioned putting photos of them here, but they just sort of shrug . . . My kids know, obviously, but I don’t think they have ever read any of my articles. They are only interested in knowing which picture of them I am using at any given time before going back to their games, friends, etc.

As for my sister? Fuhgetaboutit. I don’t leave messages on her cell phone because she still hasn’t figured out how to retrieve them. She switched providers and never set up a new e-mail address. I used to e-mail her, but she could never figure out how to open the attachments, so I just send things to my nephew and tell him to print them out for her. He’s going away to college in the fall and my older nephew has his own house . . . don’t know what she’ll do.

Basically, she has never lived down an incident that took place a couple of years ago. We were at her house watching a movie. When it was over, she asked my nephew if he would “rewind the DVD.” Well, you can imagine the hysterical fits of laughter that evoked! Every time the subject gets around to something remotely technical, somebody says “Yeah, that reminds me of the time when . . . ” and then she yells, “DO NOT go there” and we all laugh about it again.

It’s a virtually sure bet that she’ll never see this humiliating photo from 1976 that I almost used for the Photo Hunt theme “Hair.” (Yes, I have an evil streak.)

8. What two pieces of advice would you give to a new blogger?

* Write from your heart.
* Read Write Stuff regularly because there are some great suggestions there about how to improve your writing and, more particularly, blogging. I have learned a lot from my teammates.

So . . . what’s your story?

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