An article I penned for The Douglas Review in May: Gabourey Sidibe’s Memoir Released Gabourey Sidibe was probably sent to earth to show the rest of us how to live a truly authentic life. Her physical appearance is, to most people, the thing most remarkable about her. It is antithetical to everything our culture has trained us to value. Obese and dark skinned, she has nevertheless carved out a stellar career in an industry that celebrates thinness and fairness – especially for women.
People sometimes pop into your life and, in no time, leave an indelible impression. That's what’s so with Ed Newman, who stayed at my house for a couple of days in March.
[caption id="attachment_2903" align="alignleft" width="225"] Ed Newman, Ennyman[/caption]
On the surface Ed and I are as different as chalk and cheese, as the British say.
He’s a white guy from Minnesota. He sports a baseball cap. I’m a black woman, a Caribbean immigrant, dreadlocked. He lives in a region I've never considered even visiting, having my origins in the tropics and a strong aversion to ice and snow. I have chosen a Maryland suburb of Washington, D.C., as far into the American South as I can culturally bear to live, and where the winters aren’t all that bad.
Yet the commonalities are striking.
Ed is a writer, like me. He has been blogging for more than 2 decades—“Have been known online as Ennyman since the mid 1990s..." his blog bio says—and posts to his multiple blogs almost every day.
"Every day???" I ask, incredulous. "Where on earth do the ideas come from?"
"It's more like, ‘How do I find time to write down all the ideas that come to me!’ That's the question!" he says.
Ed, who still holds down a day job, begins every single day sitting at his computer. As he moves through life he gathers sights and sounds and impressions - and takes lots and lots of pictures. I imagine that by now, with such long practice, the blog is almost writing itself as he frames his shots, the words and pictures weaving themselves into stories that then, in one hour every morning, get formalized and posted.
This has led to a fantastic body of work.
Ed chronicles the art scene in the environs around the city of Duluth which, I now know, is a community bursting with artists and musicians. He is himself a painter, and one of his blogs is a showcase for his own work. Duluth is also the birthplace of legendary folk singer Bob Dylan, and home to a good-sized Dylan cult. Ed also writes frequently about music.
[caption id="attachment_3094" align="alignright" width="240"] Bob Dylan ~ by Ed Newman[/caption]