This Explains NothingMay 25, 2011
[Note to readers: my fishing license has been revoked. I’m not looking for reassurance. I’m trying to work something out using the few tools I have available.]
It’s been long, too long since I’ve posted anything of value in here. Well, I’ve posted plenty of stuff, mainly music-related, but no original writing. Apologies all around and apologies in advance is this piece goes long/gets weird/gets tiresome/has too many parentheses.
Quite honestly, I’m working through some weird sort of writer’s block. It’s not normal writer’s block as I’ve been doing quite a bit of work over at Techdirt. Given context and a starting point, I’m doing fine. Coming up with something on my own? Not so much.
Now I do enjoy the Techdirt gig, with all of its attendant “getting published elsewhere” glory and included perk of being able to say I write for Techdirt, something that probably will remain more important to me than anyone else but still won’t prevent me from name-dropping it frequently (often inside this very post) in hopes that it will somehow turn into a well-paying career for a respectable publisher that isn’t currently going out of business.
On the downside, it does tend to use up a lot of what I used to refer to as my “free time.” I feel bad that I’ve let this blog kind of slide, but the other thing is very shiny and new and I haven’t been doing it for 2+ years and so it kind of gets priority thanks to my willingness to be entranced by novel experiences.
(But not actual “novel experiences.” Like many others, I harbor the secret [but not so secret now, is it?] desire to write a Novel. [Capitalized so as to be easily identified as Something With Pretensions Toward Greatness.] I have some unorganized scrawlings in some notebooks and some ideas that float around, but nothing substantial, so you can all stop holding your breath. Or start holding it, and then stop, just as a favor to me.)
Let me take a moment here before this all goes downhill/sideways and tell you how grateful I am for your comments and compliments over the past 2+ years. No matter what I say from this point on, remember that.
(I’m serious. It is important that you know that I highly value your readership. Especially considering how flaky I have been lately about responding to comments and posting entertaining articles. [And nobody mention Tanager. I really need to go answer those comments. If you don’t bring it up, I won’t feel nearly as shitty as I do everytime I look in there and see the dust gathering.])
From this point on, I have nothing prepared. I am winging this in hopes that a breakthrough occurs as I ramble on, hopefully to some sort of conclusion or enlightenment.
BOLD STATEMENT OF NON-INTENT
Do you know what people hate more than poor writing? Writers bitching about writing.
Therefore, there will be no complaints beyond this point. Just positive stuff with the occasional bitterness. (Directed at nobody in particular — the best kind of bitterness. It’s the kind of unfocused bitterness that makes family reunions and office retirement parties the kind of excruciating event you wished you had the callousness to just say, “You know what, I’d rather drag my unprotected eyes across a stack of thin cardboard that’s been dipped in margarita salt than hang out here any longer.” We could say those sorts of things. We honestly could. We’d be branded “misanthropic” or “fired” but at least we wouldn’t have to make any more small talk about Aunt Whoever’s prize-winning quilt pattern or the 40+ years of middle management by the guest of honor.)
HERE’S WHAT I HAVE LEARNED FROM BLOGGING
It’s hard. It’s fulfilling. It’s sometimes scarily easy. It’s its own reward occasionally. There are way too many smart and funny people* out there. The overall ratio of smart/funny to the rest of the internet may be low, but I don’t read stupid or unentertaining blogs, so I can’t give you any stats.
*See also: the blogroll. If your name is on there, then you are who I am talking about.
Sometimes I stare at the blog and hate it for needing my help. Without me (or RF) cranking out posts, it does nothing. A week goes by and I’ve got nothing and I start to feel like a cybersquatter. “No one’s taking this name. If for no other reason, this stays live. I’ve got a brand to maintain.” (“Maintain” apparently meaning posting intermittently with a definite lack of cohesion.)
I have this blog on my RSS feeds. Why? Because it looks more professional when it shows up there. I find it inspiring. (I also find it narcisstic. But I want to try to remain positive.) The simple, clean lines of the RSS feed show up with a lot of established blogs and it feels good to me. “Look at it go! Hanging out with Marginal Revolution! And Cato@Liberty! And Techdirt! (Again. I warned you.)
Google Reader allows me to flatter myself. That’s got to be the most unintended use ever. I’m sure beta testers never stumbled across that “feature.”
POSSIBLY RELATED ANECDOTE
I used to work as a DJ in a bar. And it was fun. It was the most fun I’d had while still earning money. I could drink and play music and get paid. I did this for a few years until the management decided they wanted to chase out The Dance Crowd and replace them with The Rock Crowd, mainly to get rid of The Black Crowd.
And I played along. And then I left. I quit and moved halfway across the country to kill what was left of my soul with a nine-month stint as occasional boyfriend and stand-in dad for the last woman I dated before meeting my wife. This fell apart in 9 months or so and I returned to the town I left and reclaimed the job I left.
Why? Well, because I could. DJing is easy. Things had changed and the bar was back to at least being all-inclusive as long as sales were good. But it didn’t last. And then management made the same decision. The employees fought it but I was right back in the job I loved hating every minute of it. I was no longer a DJ. I was just some guy playing records for money, catering to a crowd that wanted to be somewhere else, working for people he didn’t respect.
So I drank more. And more often. I handled this soul-crushing, whorish job like anyone else would: I attempted to set some stuff in the employee restroom on fire and got canned.
I’m not sure. Something about how doing the thing(s) you love can still be heaped full of suck occasionally. In the bar case, it was external. (Except for the drinking. That was all me.) Here, it’s internal. Sometimes it’s a mixed blessing. Other times, it’s hangs all over everything like an overly talkative acquaintance, hammering away at you with inanities and sucking away your inspiration. (Again, internally.) You want to do the things you love, except sometimes you can’t find the easy joy in those things. The upside is this is usually temporary.
My brain is bricked. But it will be back. It’s happened before. I’ve written my way through (once). I’ve waited it out (once). This is some of each.