Writing seems simple – you sit down and let the words come out of you. Sometimes they flow easily, naturally. You have a thing to say and you know who your audience is. (You, gentle reader have always been my audience. I write for you even though ‘they’ say I should write for myself. I have a journal for myself. You won’t see what’s in there until I am dead. Why would I write all of this for myself in this way? It makes no sense.) Then you explain the thing, you tell people what you think about the thing.
Most of the time I have an emotion I want to evoke in you. Usually, that emotion is outrage. I want you to be angry at what is happening around you while you are busy shaking your fist at other things (things I don’t think matter much and, quite honestly, all the fist shaking in the world won’t change) and hastily posting on social media. I want you to have more knowledge of the law and this system of so called justice under which we work. Look, this is your country. This is your stuff. People literally died for your rights. Literally in the literal sense not the figurative literal sense. And I want you to, for 3 minutes a day – because I write short blog posts – I want you to feel how angry I am. I want you to feel angry too. I don’t know what you do with that anger after you leave this page. Do you talk to your friends and family. Do you mention what you’ve read and are you moved to look up other things and fill your bag of knowledge even more?
I hope so.
I have a voice and I am lucky enough that I get to use it. I get paid to use it. It’s part of my job. And here, on this page, I get to have an even bigger voice that reaches even more people. I’ve written about war and rape and due process and Afghanistan. I’ve written about having writer’s block (which plagued me for years) and I’ve written about how miserable and wonderful my job is, this life is, my kids are.
And for 12 years many of you have joined me on this journey. And I thank you for that. I thank you for living through the shitty writing and typos and for disagreeing with me publicly. The nature of blogs has changed. We don’t have the same sort of inter-connectedness we used to have where legal bloggers played off one another. To be honest, I don’t miss it. It was a very stressful way of existing in writing – if someone had written about something before, not giving credit or linking to that person (even if, perhaps, you didn’t read the post) was viewed as a horrible offense. Popular bloggers would keep you off their blog roll if you didn’t play nicely with them. In fact, (I was recently taken off a blog-roll because of my lack of gentility.) The ability to have a voice and use it freely and fully was constrained by being accepted by the in-crowd. It wasn’t much different than the mean girls’ table in middle school.
I’ve never owed anything to anyone but you, dear reader. The law is a varied and vast field with much nuance and even more misunderstanding. If we can continue to have a discussion where I try to tell you what I can, teach you what I know, and let the rest of it be me saying WHAT THE FUCK I will feel this endeavor a success.