Do I have anything to say?
The internet is full of lots of people who say lots of things about lots of different subjects, but what motivates them? I feel as though people are motivated only by a desire to be heard. It’s selfish, not benevolent or idealistic. The proliferation of opinions serves not to introduce new ideas to the world, but to create a signature voice — one more authorial identity forged by text. I’d like to think I’m different, that I’m doing this for selfless reasons in the interest of the amelioration of the world at large but I’d be liar, and frankly no one would believe me; anyone who thought about it would realize that I was ultimately self interested like everyone else.
I suppose the key is to remove myself as much as possible from the work itself. The blog format allows a degree of anonymity; however, if I touch anything relatively controversial, I owe it to integrity to identify myself.
Okay, so I won’t touch anything controversial…that often.
It’s about the glory, and I’m through pretending that it’s anything else, I want to be read, and as a byproduct, I want my work to matter to someone. It’s the desire to be read, loved, talked about and paid that gets me going but none of that can happen unless I create something that people care about. The work has to benefit something much bigger. I’ll only find self-value in that.
But this is the attitude of every single one of millions who set out to do precisely the same thing. It’s very difficult to deal with the fact that this format, though fresh, hip and undeniably the easiest way to get yourself out there, is the most bastardized form of writing next to texting, tweets and status updates. Everybody’s doing it, so how do you stand above the rest? How can I deal with creating another garbage bag full of letters and punctuation to toss into the landfill of the internet?
What can a writer hope for? No one can publish a book or a long-form expose every day. Despite this, our society forgets us if we fail to publish regularly. It seems the best thing that can happen to a writer is to write an article that gets people talking and gets passed around for a few days like a kitten meme. The ravenous hunger of public consciousness must be fed every couple of minutes. The courses of its meals happen in cycles — at best, a few weeks at a time (sex scandal), or in multiple installments, divided by lengthy hiatuses (controversial/historic legislation). How is a person of letters to keep up?
F. told me something that stuck in defense of Twitter, an institution much derided by many writers I admire, not the least Jonathan Franzen. It is necessary in her professional world to glean relevant information from a multitude of sources, a daunting task considering that new information is hurled at us constantly from every direction. Using Twitter, she can filter the information from the sources of her choosing simply by controlling who and what she follows. This provides her with a stream of links and headlines all of which originate from sources that are relevant to her. Indeed, some (or most) of us click feverishly on the follow buttons of our favorite performers and athletes, but for an educated reader, a list of quality sources can serve a much more useful purpose of building expertise in the subject of her own stratosphere. Sorry, Lebron.
This phenomenon can work in reverse. As one of the educated reader’s personalized links, Selective Appeal will only be read by those interested in reading it. Complete strangers will never find it in the bottomless sea of blogs and articles. In a sense, this allows me to select my readers, not one by one, of course, but by the magical chain of exchange that virtual word-of-mouth provides.
This is the pattern of the world: first a friend, then a friend of a friend and so on.
Inevitably, SA, will fall on uninterested eyes and that branch of the chain will end. The beauty is that it will only branch out where interest exists. No one has time to read 700 boring words.
Forgive me, dear reader, the banality of this explanatory post. It is not my intention to patronize, but remember, I set out to write with pursuit of glory in mind and as a byproduct, I realized the real value of what I was doing. Suffice it to say that I’ve given myself reason enough to press on.
But, quickly, an appeal to you:
I want a forum, not a soapbox.
Give me something to go on, because if you don’t I’ll just publish stupid reviews of movies from the seventies and poetry about my girlfriend and Philadelphia sports. That’s not a threat, it’s a plea. I’m not interested in writing a diary.
Onward into the day, a new world in every footstep, a quotation in every breath, history with every thought.
Work in progress,
But can evolution leave the bluebirds alone?
The coffee in the pot has evaporated to acid. Time to take a break.