Patch Blogger Carole Trottere says she wants to live in the Old Field Lighthouse, like the ocean watchers of old, if only someone would let her.
She has great qualifications: she’s a mother and has experience warning people about imminent danger. She also mailed 600 of those little plastic “wagon wheels” back to the company that runs the water treatment plant where they came from after the curious objects started washing up on beaches all over the Long Island Sound. And blogging for Patch makes her feel a little like Lois Lane.
Trottere, who says her true love is “writing screenplays that no one buys,” works as the director of communications for the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine. Her observations of living on the North Shore are sometimes funny, sometimes poignant but always entertaining. She shares her vision of life by writing on Three Village Patch contributing her voice to the growing conversation engaged in by a multitude of Patch Bloggers.
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We sat down for an email conversation with Trottere about her blog. We asked her why she blogs, what her writing process is like and her favorite George Clooney movie (see her bio for why we asked that particular question.)
Here is what she had to say:
Patch: Your last blog post on the Old Field Lighthouse was tongue-in-cheek but it also seemed entirely sincere at the same time – especially the last point you made about being a great lighthouse keeper because you’re a mom and used to yelling helpful advice out. I can imagine it. Where did that list of qualifications and bit of inspiration come from?
CT: Part of my inspiration for my blogs and other writings come from my awe of nature and the joy of living in this North Shore paradise along Smithtown Bay. The other part comes from a person inside me who is not anchored in reality. She’s saying, “Sure, why wouldn’t the Village of Old Field let you live in that lighthouse?”
Patch: Before you blogged for Patch, did you write anywhere else? What is your writing background?
CT: I have a Journalism/News Writing degree from Penn State. I started out at the Herald Community newspapers and still credit them with giving me the best experience a reporter can get for an extremely low salary. I have had jobs writing about anything from real estate to thoroughbred horse racing to horseshoe crabs. I am most proud of a newspaper I started back in the 80’s at Belmont Racetrack called “The Backstretch Bugle.” The bulk of my professional career has been in communications for government officials and I am now at the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine. I tell people I do brain surgery here, but I really just write press releases. I have also written pieces for Newsday, The Long Island Press and other magazines. My true love is writing screenplays that no one buys.
Patch: Do you have a process you follow when you write a blog post?
CT: I love writing the blog posts because it’s like a short conversation with a neighbor. I try to not make them too long, because we all suffer from ADD. I mean, sometimes I open the New York Times Magazine on Sunday and get a little intimidated seeing a 150,000-word story. Those are not “articles.” They are longer than a Nicholas Sparks novel. But I think the beauty of a blog is that you are trying to get a conversation started, or make an observation or just vent.
I have to be inspired to write a blog, which is why I don’t write on a daily basis. I have a small ego and would never assume that anyone, not even my mother, would want to hear what I have to say on a daily basis.
Patch: Blogging has been simultaneously heralded as the next evolution of journalism and dismissed as trivial. The truth lies somewhere in between, I think. What do you think? And why do you blog?
CT: I think that blogging can certainly be a component of journalism today, but I sure hope it is never the only one. There is a place for blogs, but there’s also a place for the longer, investigative journalism stories, and beautifully written feature articles about interesting people that you might find in the New York Times metro section. I think some blogs can seem trivial, just as some social media can seem very trivial, but I try not to ever be self indulgent and to never mention what I had for lunch today, because then you’d think you were on Facebook.
I blog for the Patch because I like to think that somewhere in the Three Village area someone is reading it and either laughing or getting ticked off about what I am ticked off about. Or maybe the blog gives them a Zen moment. That’s ok, too. I have another blog called Opinion Lady and she only writes when she has had a few glasses of wine.
Patch: What is your favorite website - besides Patch, of course ;)?
CT: Funny or Die.
Patch: Your blog about Superstorm Sandy seemed cathartic, part of your healing process. How hard was it to write that diary or was it easy? What did you get from it and what do you hope others got from it?
CT: I like feeling that I am the unofficial Old Field correspondent for the Patch. It makes me feel like Lois Lane. During the hurricane I updated people on what was occurring in our little corner of the world. How high was the water coming up? What just floated past my door? In the two weeks that followed with no power, I felt my blog was more of an “adventures in camping” diary. I didn’t write everyday with updates because so many people were really suffering and had lost so much that I felt it would have been too trivial to just whine about not being able to blow dry my hair.
Patch: What is the most important issue facing your community right now?
CT: Let’s see… issues in paradise… It’s getting too damn beautiful around here?
I think that environmental issues are important in this area because our geography consist of a series of inlets, bays, marshes and beaches on the Sound. These sensitive areas clean the water and are home to hundreds of species of birds, fish and animals. We have to preserve that. After all, they were here first and we owe them that.
I would like to see the Town of Brookhaven bring a dump truck onto the beaches every year so that residents could have a place to throw some of the plastic garbage that accumulates. Plastics are the number one trash item that washes up here along Smithtown Bay. (My unofficial observation) I pick up what I can and drag it off the beach, but a more official concerted effort once a year would be nice (HINT, HINT Supervisor Ed Romaine).
I also think that keeping small businesses strong is a top issue and I try to support my small businesses all the time. I literally do 99% of my shopping within a few mile radius of where I live.
Patch: In your lighthouse blog post you mentioned having been born a couple centuries too late. While that might have been a joke (or not) do you have a favorite time period where you think you’d loved to have lived in?
CT: That’s a tough question. While I might imagine myself being happy in a simpler time with no electronics and my bare feet on the earth, I love the freedom that women have in this time in history in the United States. It breaks my heart to know that not all women are blessed with that and I don’t think I would be willing to trade that for anything. And I like a nice hot shower.
Patch: Finally, which is your favorite George Clooney movie?
CT: “The Perfect Storm” because I don’t like him in those other movies where he kisses Julia Roberts. I get very jealous.
You can read all of Carole Trottere’s blog posts by clicking here.