A Real Southern Man Never Quits: A Confession

It’s Friday. Very few people will read this website today. That’s what our statistics tell us. Wednesdays and Thursdays tend to be our strongest days. The weekends are abysmal.  Why? We really don’t know. That’s the thing statistics can’t tell you: the why.

For example, I can tell you that there have been 190 posts on this site since we started on April 9. Of those, I’ve written about 165. I generally write at least five posts a week, sometimes more. Between a Be A Real Southern Man, two Twanglish Lessons, a RSM Profile and one A Real Southern Man Is… post, I’ll knock out roughly 2,000 words. My feature stories are usually a little more wordy – somewhere in the 1,400-word range. On a busy week, I’ll put more than 20 hours into writing and maintaining this site.

Those are the stats. But they don’t tell you why I do it. It’s not my job, in the sense that I don’t get paid for it. I wouldn’t really call it a hobby, either. Hobbies involve golf clubs or mountain bikes or model glue or funny costumes. I don’t do hobbies.

So why? Why do I do it? It started as a lark, just a funny notion. In fact, it was going to be a hobby. I would go out once a month and do something that was Southern in nature and write about it in a tongue-in-cheek way. Simple. And it would get me out of the house and doing…anything.

Somewhere along the way, the vision changed. I started talking to others about getting involved. I started seeing a grander vision for the site. I started thinking that maybe, just maybe it could be something that eventually makes a little money. I knew it was a long shot, but hey, it seemed like a fun thing to try.

So here we are. We’re four months into doing this site, and on an average day we get about 150 page views. Some days are a little higher, some a little lower. (We did have one off-the-charts day thanks to a tweet from Birmingham meteorologist James Spann. Behold the power of the local weatherman!) Needless to say, with those numbers we’re nowhere near monetizing it. Yet I keep going. Why?

If you read the title of this post, you know the flippant answer: Real Southern Men never quit. And there’s some truth in that.

Some will never quit fighting the federal government. Just this week, Alabama once again rattled its sabers in the name of state sovereignty. Unfortunately, Alabama leaders only seem to trump out that phrase when it comes to laws governing people with brown skin. First it was slavery, then civil rights, now the country’s most aggressive immigration law, silently targeted at Hispanics. Maybe once this is defeated, they’ll go after people who are really tan. You know how “those people” are…

Some will never quit on the fields. Vanderbilt University’s Commodores haven’t had a winning football record in the SEC since 1984. Yet they talk boldly of victory at the start of every fall. Then again, most of their football players can actually spell “victory,” so that’s a win in and of itself.

But most Southern men and women fight on in smaller, less visible ways. They fight for families struggling to make ends meet. They fight for faltering marriages. They fight against hunger, cold and hopelessness on behalf of their neighbors. They fight against faithlessness.

So what about me? What’s my fight?

Real Southern Men, this little blog/magazine that we’ve created with the funny name that sounds like either porn or a dating site and keeps most men from “liking” it on Facebook, is a calling of sorts for me. It’s a place where I can make someone laugh or inspire someone or just generally make their day brighter. But it goes deeper than that.

In my own peculiar way, I’m fighting for the very cultural identity of the South. Strip malls and fast food joints and cable TV are robbing our cities and towns of their differences, their uniqueness. The quirky and quaint are being erased by the corporately approved banal. We make a lot of jokes on here about “the Walmarts,” but no big box super store will ever have the charm and local flavor of a locally-owned business. That’s just one glaring example of the cultural sameness that is being foisted upon us.

I’m fighting for the right to say “y’all” and fixin’ to.” I’m also fighting for “near ’bout,” “slap out,” calling overweight people healthy and blessing people’s hearts. I’m fighting for the right to find the positive in a sometimes ugly sectional history. I’m fighting for the right to root out the bad of the South without throwing away everything that’s good. And there is so very much that’s good about the South.

And I have some fine men by my side in this fight. You’ll find their names listed on the “About” page.

So I press on. I write 800+ words in this post – even though when I got up, I really only wanted to write two: I quit. I keep researching and writing and posting and managing comments and Facebooking and tweeting about this site all the live-long day … only to get 150 page views.

Why? Because you, our small group of readers, matter. Maybe someday, you’ll be a big group. I hope so. I really hope so.

9 Responses to “A Real Southern Man Never Quits: A Confession”

  1. Great post! It’s always interesting to hear why people blog, and not only blog, but reach a point where they feel a responsibility to continue writing day after day with likely no pay and often very little recognition. I like your reasoning though – its a noble cause as I agree with you about the “blanding” of our society. That, unfortunately is true not only in the South, but up here in the north as well!

    • Thanks! More often than not, it’s an absolute joy to write for this site, and I’ve enjoyed creating a unique editorial voice for it. Today was not one of those days. So I decided to break from that voice a little and just be me for today. Check out the rest of the site. There’s some fun content here!

  2. Bless your heart! Forge on! Another awesome post on the grandeur and grace of being Southern.

    After reading this, though, I almost wish it were a dating site! Sadly and ironically, there are no REAL SOUTHERN MEN in Nashville….Dash Goff, where are you?

  3. I was so afraid this was going to be an “I’m stepping down…” post.

    Never quit, Wayne. At least not until I finish my long winded story.

  4. We all feel this way at one point or another. At least I have, and I’ve read a few of these kinds of posts already. Some do quit, and that’s okay. But if it’s really important to you – if it’s a hobby, but more than a hobby – you stick with it. I do think these kinds of posts are important to both the writers and the readers, though.

    The truth is that it’s work. It’s fun and you WANT to do it. But it’s still work. There is a lot of maintenance that goes into blogging that I didn’t anticipate. And, if you want to produce a good product, then the writing is work. For some of us, it’s not just slapping a few thoughts down and hitting Publish. I’m not saving the world with my blog, or even the South :), but I know how much effort I put into my posts.

    I’m glad to see that Southern men don’t quit.

    • No, there was never any thought of quitting outright. Neglecting it for awhile? Maybe. But that’s as good as killing it. But we do have some big plans and are looking forward to implementing those. Thanks for commenting!

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