25 November 2005

What is Point Pleasant?

I have read other people's blogs for years, and I've thought about it many times. Point Pleasant is my first attempt at a blog.

You will find herein a mixture of thoughts from the disparate elements of my life. You will learn that I am a passionate and enthusiastic husband and father. You will read of my faith, and the delicate balance I seek between mystical and literal and the practice of it. There will be lots of book reviews and commentary. From time to time I will even indulge in my two vices: politics and sport.

Why would I name a blog Point Pleasant? I am a diplomatic person, some say, but I have never been called 'pleasant' by those with whom I have dialogued. If I make a point, I try not to waste time with pleasantries. Instead I try to get to the point.

Point Pleasant, then, has little to do with my arguments and ideas. Instead, it comes from the deepest part of me: my childhood, my heroes, and my fondest memories.

Point Pleasant is a place on the Ohio River about 100 miles away from where I grew up halfway between Athens and Marietta. I spent most of my grade school years there, somewhat isolated from the world and able to indulge my imagination by hiking through the hills around my house. I attended small, one-room church schools, and few friends lived less than 30 minutes' drive away. When I trace my origins, I think of rivers. I tell people, "The Ohio is my father; the Danube is my mother."

Point Pleasant is the birthplace of one of my childhood heroes, Ulysses S. Grant. I am a huge history buff, and the Civil War looms large over American history. Grant and another Ohioan, William T. Sherman, were the generals most responsible for keeping our country unified. (My sister, Julie, lives in Savannah, Georgia, so I keep quiet about my true feelings for Sherman when I'm down there.)

I admire Grant because of his relentlessness and because of his strategy as a warrior. Grant felt that it was bad luck to retrace one's steps. As a result, even when he was beaten in battle, he usually shifted to the left or right and then continued his relentless assault on the enemy. Where previous Union generals had turned tail and run or sat on their hands after important victories, Grant wore down Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia and brought an end to the Civil War.

I have applied Grant's strategy in a number of ways. First, as an adventurer, I try not to travel the same road twice. This has led me down many fascinating byways. My motto is "When in doubt, take the Scenic Route."

Secondly, as a curious person and promoter of ideas, I take a relentless approach towards both learning and teaching. I look at debate the same way a running back looks at a defense. Sometimes I have to run around a topic; other times I have to run over it. In every case the goal is not to lose ground. If I have a pet peeve, it is losing ground and backing up to defend an idea that should be patently obvious.

Is there a way to feature both Pleasant and Relentless? I will try it here. It should be an interesting ride.

1 comment:

AMcNulty said...

Hey JD, enjoyed reading your blog. I am looking forward to reading your insights on things particularly items on books or politics. I should probably work on setting up my own blog as well. Enjoyed spending Thanksgiving with you and your family.