I hate blogs.
There. I said it. Admitting the problem is the first step on the road to recovery.
Just because there’s now a forum in which anyone can write or attempt to write things witty and pithy on an hourly/daily/weekly/monthly schedule, I feel this pressure to be pithy and witty on some kind of regular basis. If you fancy yourself a writer (and I do fancy myself a writer) there seems to be an expectation that you can be witty and pithy at will. And I can’t.
This is the reason I never tried to become a stand-up comic. Sure, I’m funny as hell if I’m in the right mood, but what always worried me is what would happen if I wasn’t in the right mood — if I was, in fact, in the wrong mood because my dog died or my imaginary girlfriend gave me a surprisingly real case of genital warts. I can’t be funny at will, and my tattered ego is too fragile for heckling despite the handfuls of psychopharmaceuticals I swallow on a daily basis.
I’ll save the story of my inner crazy for another blog. Suffice it to say that the wallet card that goes with my medic alert is really an 81/2″ by 11″ sheet of paper folded into eighths.
Since I can’t express reliably myself with comedy, I write. Mainly, I write novels. I write short stories out of necessity because they seem to be the crampons with which ascension to the peak of Mt. Noveldom is purchased. I don’t normally have an urge to write short stories, although I have a stable of them that I send out for publication and, so far, with mild success.
If I write five hundred words a day on any project, I consider that satisfactory output. (Shopping lists are included in that total.) If I write a thousand, then I’m feeling truly inspired. If I write two thousand, I start to mistake myself for Philip Roth or Stephen King (Roth on a good writing day, King on any day I happen to be aware of my checking account balance). If I write over two thousand words, I try to have someone glance over it to make sure I haven’t written twenty-five pages of “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog” two hundred and twenty-two times.
I’m a firm believer in consensus-building as a route to the construction of “consensus reality.” That quick brown fox is an insidious creature.
Another thing I hate about blogs is the exposure; that is, the negative exposure. It’s the nature of a blog that any idiot with rudimentary language and motor skills can leave scathing insults in the comments section, and they frequently do. My ego is a little fragile for that, too.
If there’s one thing I learned from running a news blog is that when there’s the promise of anonymity and the medium of the Internet, the gloves come off. People will savage each other not because they feel it’s necessary, but because they can. It says a lot about us as a civilization and as a species.
It doesn’t say anything good.
Huh? What’s that? Turn the comment off, you say? Sure, I could do that, but if I do then I’m sending the message to myself and anyone who reads the blog that there’s no possibility of there being a positive comment. When it comes to writers and writing, being self-effacing and wracked with self-doubt is an invitation to make one’s would-be detractors let you have it, both hammers back. Some people just don’t feel comfortable unless they’re standing on a corpse or two.
The worst consequence of blog-writing is, of course, being ignored.
Despite all of my whining, there will be other blogs and other attempts at pithy witticism as I try to maneuver myself through the writing game. I do mean the world “game” in a literal rather than metaphoric sense. So much of it depends on luck I might as well be playing backgammon.
Frankly, backgammon would be a lot more fun.