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Tomas Gallucci

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A Lifetime of Writing [Apr. 7th, 2009|08:40 am]
Tomas Gallucci
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[music |The Nutracker- Valery Gergiev conductor]

A friend. A father. A son. A kid at heart. Husband and lover. Writer, photographer, System Administrator extraordinaire. Globetrotter, political activist, reporter. It's always an adventure with ehowton.

In a recent conversation, he told me about his latest escapade--becoming a reporter for annanews.net. I asked Eric if he would agree to sit for an interview to discuss his writing career in an attempt to capture his unique perspective. He graciously accepted.

Writing has always played an ever-present and important role in ehowton's life. Our discussion covered almost forty years of rich, personal history as we walked down memory lane...


Tomas Gallucci: You've publicly stated many times that you're not a creative person, yet, ever time you assert this, people come out in droves to tell you that you're blog is a very creative place. Did you ever dream of being a writer as a kid?
Eric Howton: I toyed with the idea once or twice, even thinking of applying to Texas Tech for a journalism degree. Problem being, I wasn't very good. I was a voracious reader and decided I didn't have the inclination to struggle to the level required to succeed. To work that hard, I needed something which would captivate my interest. Computers were my first love, and proved to be far more successful for me.

TG: You wrote a lot of Apple Basic when you were growing up. How do you compare writing code to writing a blog?
EH: In the early days of HTML I often felt that coding webpages was akin to basic programming, but I don't see any correlation between writing a blog and programming.

TG: You were the photographer for the school paper. Did you ever write for the paper?
EH: I did write for the paper, though not often - I still have them somewhere. Most of them were news pieces, not for entertainment purposes. As we had many on staff but only one photographer, I enjoyed the status that afforded me, as well as getting out into the student body to interact with people I normally wouldn't have.

TG: Did you keep a journal growing up?
EH: In 6th grade I had to. Bored the everliving shit out of me. Not since then, though I did used to write stories for my friends and save them to 5.25-inch floppies, and print out my poems on an old dot-matrix printer.

TG: How would it compare to your blog now?
EH: There is no comparison.


TG: You've told the story of how your dad wrote you every day you were in the service. You've also said that there were days that the only thing that got you through the day were your dad's letters. Clearly, these letters were tools of exhortation and inspiration. Is there a particular letter or thought that sticks out from that time period?
EH: One of his most touching was actually just after I'd left the Air Force. catttitude and I were living in New Jersey and it was a letter from him in response to our wedding announcement.

TG: Your dad was also in the Air Force so he knew exactly what you would be going through. Was there ever a time where his experience came through in his letters in such a manner that it helped you face a difficult situation?
EH: Mostly just unending encouragement when I needed it.

TG: Did the Air Force mandate you keep a journal?
EH: Things like that just don't ever take place.


TG: What was your first contact with a blog?
EH: drax0r had one and spent an endless amount of time on it. I asked him what he was doing and he said, "A blog." I told him that sounded gay. Knowing that we could host our own, I asked why he didn't just go that route and he explained to me about the FL and updates and keeping in touch that we wouldn't be able to create outside of a community. This was in 2005. Shortly thereafter, I stuck my own toe in the water, so to speak.

TG: You have said that you write The Empirical Manifesto as your personal memoir to and for your children. Other than serving as a memento, what do you expect The Empirical Manifesto to be to your children?
EH: I expect my blog to be a virtual-reality me that they can come to to ask questions they might have after I'm gone. By then, I should have everything covered.

TG: But your responses will be limited! How about your general readership? Do you wish to inspire your readers to action? To amuse them?
EH: I have no such goals. I blog for myself, though I am often inspired by those on my FL--my 'muses' as I've come to call them (mostly because I wouldn't mind fingering a few of them). I blog mostly to amuse myself, and of course I'm always thrilled when others are amused as well. Regardless, if my readership were zero, that wouldn't stop me from blogging.

TG: If you had to compare your blog to an author, who would it be? Why?
EH: Mark Twain. He had a wryness about him.

TG: Do you consider your blog a political tool?
EH: Not even accidentally. Blogs are soapboxes, nothing more. If you're not willing to go out and do the work, potificating on it only makes you appear as if a buffoon.

TG: Do you think you've effected change with your blog?
EH: No. Only a fool would think something like that.


TG: How did Anna News first approach you to write for them? Was there anyone instrumental in that process?
EH: It was actually all because of glodowg. She has some super-secret master plan for drax0r and brought the editor of the paper and he together. Think of me more as an afterthought.

TG: How often will you write for the paper?
EH: As often, or as little as I like, though right now I'm simpling making small updates every other week as to the events which take place on the local city forum.

TG: Will your columns have a common theme?
EH: Right now, as I mentioned, I'm just providing online readers an update of that week's forum activities, but I certainly won't limit myself to that. Just about anything I accomplish which is newsworthy, I'll likely write about, as well as local news which I feel strongly about.

TG: How will writing for Anna News affect your blogging? Do you think you will blog less to spend more time writing for the paper?
EH: Considering how amazing I am, its unlikely.

TG: How did annanews.net come about?
EH: The domain was owned by the owner of North Texas Media - an avid forum reader, but his page sucked and was rarely updated. He and glodowg got to speaking and she suggeted hee contact drax0r who in turn contacted me. We simply made it happen.

TG: What sets annanews.net apart from other news sites?
EH: Currently there are no other news sites, which makes ours pretty fucking awesome.

TG: The site is new. What plans do you have for the site in the near future? Six months from now? A year?
EH: Content, content, content; advertisers, advertisers, advertisers!

TG: Are you going to quit your day job?
EH: Not just yet. We'll have to see how things go.