Is it fair to call a project a “side project” when you’re not really sure what the main project in your life is?
Most of my writing – academic, professional and informal – is about international development, Africa, technology, activism. But there’s a good chunk of my life that’s about living in a small town in Western Massachusetts and loving the quirks of that particular lifestyle.
For a few years, Rachel, I and other friends have talked about building a guidebook to our favorite places in the Berkshires and surrounding places. The idea wasn’t to write a traditional travel guide, with reviews of hotels and of every mediocre restaurant. This was going to be a guide to our favorites, the gems we discover and share with our friends, the secret places that take years to discover.
As a result, it wasn’t going to be a fair picture of a place – it would be grossly biased, slanted towards our preferences and preconceptions. And so, we started talking about “The Grossly Biased Guide to the Berkshires.” We got as far as soliticing a couple of pieces of writing back in 2003, before everyone’s main projects demanded attention and the project withered away.
A few weeks ago, I stumbled on an amazingly good Colombian restaurant in downtown Pittsfield, and realized I wanted to take every one of my Berkshire friends there for a heaping plate of chicarrones. And so I registered GrosslyBiased.com and Rachel, I and our friends are slowly building GBGB, the Grossly Biased Guide to the Berkshires.
Who knows what comes next? I hope that friends who contribute will give me a few new favorite places, and that we can guide both locals and visitors to some of the best corners of this side of the state. If it goes well, I could imagine friends in other parts of the world starting other sites, offering their own Grossly Biased view of their favorite part of the world.
After all, everyone’s got to have a hobby, and a blogger’s hobby is almost bound to be another blog, right?