a brand-new blog!

Posted on: September 5, 2011

It’s been an awfully long time since last we gathered, to meet and read and talk of things. And for that, I am responsible and I do, of course, apologize. Nothing would make me happier than to provide you, my devoted and well-loved readers, with a reasonable explanation for this dreadful lapse on my part, but, while explanations I can provide in abundance, whether or not they seem reasonable is for you to judge; all I can say for myself is that they seemed compelling at the time:

1. The Facebook effect – While it is true that my blog had been a part of my Myspace account, and while it is also true that no one is using Myspace anymore, it is not true that the demise of Myspace is as much a factor as you might think. Rather, the culprit is that a regular post on Facebook is limited to a sentence or two; as one (such as myself) becomes a more regular poster on Facebook, one becomes more adept at succinctly stating things, but the trade-off is that it becomes very, very difficult to think expansively about a topic. At least, it did for me.

It is true that Facebook does have the “Notes” feature that could help combat this pernicious brevity of thought, that is not a feature I am comfortable using; I don’t really need every single person I’ve ever met, plus all members of my family, and several of my current coworkers, to read all of the things we share here online. It might be somewhat ridiculous to lament a lack of privacy in so public a forum, and when I am just about to discuss a lack of an audience, but, as the French say, C’est Moi.

2. Lack of an audience – Please don’t take this personally; you know that I love each and every one of you dearly. And that I do, at times, love writing just for the sake of writing. However, I know that there are only about 8 of you reading this (right now and ever), and I further know that I will be communicating with each of the 8 of you in some other fashion (very likely on Facebook) in the future. Thus, the urgency of blogging is somewhat diminished when I know that I’ll be talking with you sooner and later; additionally, as I am so often in need of things to talk about, I do on occasion like to hold on to things to make sure that, when we are enjoying each others’ company, awkward silences will be kept at a minimum.

3. Lack of confidence – You all may not be aware of this, but there is a LOT of mediocre writing in the world, and while it is easy enough to find examples of it online, please do not be fooled that this is merely an online problem. Old-fashioned books and magazines are home to more mediocrity than you can fathom.

There is no greater example that I can think of of this alarming trend than this book,  an impartial review of which you can read here.  (Incidentally, that book review is probably the single greatest thing I’ll ever write, so you might want to take a second to read it; no, go ahead – I’ll wait.)

(See? Wasn’t that worth it?)

But, one thing that I didn’t mention in that review, but that I could not stop thinking while I read it is that that dude’s friends, the friends of Brock Clarke, undoubtedly think that he is hilarious. And all of the people who are writing online, tiresome writing so overwrought to create illusions of depth when really there is nothing being said at all, they too have friends who think they’re hilarious. And while there are some who would take notice of this phenomena and make a positive conclusion that there must be an audience for everyone, I, personally, as an individual, could only believe that for so long. I really did try, but in the dark of night, as I couldn’t fall asleep and worried about never being able to find a job, there it was: what if I suck as bad as Brock Clarke? Or like all of the other people who have jobs and harbor a fantasy of being a published author and so blog in their downtime of any random thought that pops in their head? Certainly, some of them have hundreds of readers, but it is not the case that whoever shouts the loudest is right, or that just because a lot people like something, it must be good.

Once a thought like that takes hold, there’s no shaking it. And the true beauty of it is that there is nothing anyone can say to help: if my problem is that I only appeal to my friends, assurances from my friends will only perpetuate that belief. Its insularity is unassailable and over-powering – once I started to think that I was only putting trash out into the world, the desire to produce vanished.


So why are we, the 8 of us, here together now? Well, I don’t know. We have a blog at work now, and I enjoyed posting about Oola during pet week (just to reiterate – that there is a work blog; you probably won’t want to read it regularly, and you can’t comment on it). And the new desk schedule for the Fall semester has just been released; I have very few desk hours, but both committees I was on have completed their tasks, so I have a lot of down time that needs filling. And I’m not in school anymore; there’s no specific benefit to that that applies in this particular case, but I do like to point it out. And, every now and then, I will have a thought that requires a little more explicating than Facebook will allow, and it perhaps now, it is time to start moving beyond Facebook’s borders once again.

So we’re here now; I can make no promises when or how often we’ll be here again, or what will bring us together. I’ll do my best. I’m open to suggestions. And you have to do yours best, too; if you see something you like, tell your friends.


3 Responses to "a brand-new blog!"

I am glad you are blogging again. For you. And for me.

Glad you are back. Crossing my fingers for more such writing.

Your Brock Clarke review was of your usual high caliber, and I would have been happy to say as much in the comments for the review, except that my choices were to:

1) create a new account that I will never use and with a new password that I would have to remember or

2) sign up with my twitter/facebook/google account and let goodreads see all of my contacts and maybe spam me. Charming.

So again, glad to have you back to sharing your insights with the world.

Glad to find the new blog! Wish that would help your confidence but I can see why you would be skeptical.

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