Friday, February 02, 2007

The loneliness of the Long-distance blogger

Ah, the beginning blogger with a literary bent.

I have been watching them come and go.

At first there is the enthusiasm.

This blog is going to set the world on its ass. The reader response will be deafening.

So up comes this blog, a manifesto, a testament to the blogger's brilliance, insight, devastating wit.

He or she puts up the blog.

A week goes by.


Must be something wrong with blogger.

A month goes by.

No response.

Jaysus. I'd better put up a poem or two, maybe something I published in the college magazine, long ago.

Dead silence.

This is embarrasing.

Out comes your new blog. "Sorry I have been so quiet of late. Been busy."

Still no response.

So you write anonymous comments to yourself. Intellectual dishonesty, sure, but you're into blog Darwinism. Self-pollination. Komodo lizards do it all the time.

The way your luck has been going, you'll likely to come up against a commode lizard. "Hi there."

Finally, there is the tiniest, cowering appreciation.

"I enjoyed your poetry. I am a poet myself. Now here is my own poor stuff."
The correspondent has just used your site to publish his poetry.

Ah, well. It's a response. So you fire back on his site and force-feed your own poetry on him.

This is starting to buzz; there are comments on the other guy's site. Your site is finally getting hits.

Holy Cow.

Suddenly you are getting 23 hits a day, not great, but noteworthy.

You produce another blog, this one taken from another old published piece.

You are now getting thirty hits a day.

Suddenly, up to fifty.

Hey this is great. Now I can produce fresh material, blog like a madman.

So, high on your roll, you sit in front of the screen.

Mental block.

Nothing is coming.

Hey, you're supposed to be a writer. A firehouse of words.
Some female wants to bandy words with you, but you can't find the words to bandy.

You start writing on the most mundane of subjects. Things the neighbour said, things the policeman said, your kids, cutting grass, getting impaled by dog turds.

Mentally blocked nevertheless. You are now right out of material.

You are dying of starvation. You are gasping for air.

Now is the time to pay for all those superiorities of the past. Your composing fonts are jammed up, and as you sit in front of the screen, another part of you seems to be watching the pitching and tossing of your brain.

When in doubt, copy. So you pull out some vintage Mencken and start to copy that, but you know some of those literati are extremely well-read so they might catch you stealing material from dead authors and columnists.

You wonder what the hell is wrong with you.

You used to be the fastest mouth in town, literary hired gun for the papers.

Ah, how you loved to fish in forbidden streams, hunt, like a vice-president for exotic game.

Now your genius seems to have left you.

There are comments from other bloggers, some already established writers.

"Ivan's talent isn't strong enough to carry him."

You reply with grace and tact: F*ck off!

You are starting fights with your spouse.

The mental block has made you resent your life, your destiny, your kids, your dog.

So you go back to your H.L. Mencken.

Mentally blocked? asks Heinrich Ludwig: That's easy. It's all in food.

Eat the biggest, most nourishing meal you can find. Hang the diet.

You'll be surprised at the result.

Okay, okay. So I tucked into some roast beef, lots of gravy, potatoes, sprouts.

Ah, Mencken, you wise old sage of Baltimore.

You are right on.

I can now write like a fool.

But my penis droops.


Josie said...

Ivan, there are about 93 bazillion blogs out there, of all stripes, and you just have to not take it too seriously. There are some blogs that don't get any comments at all, but they're good writers. The thing is to have fun with it, which is what you do. You have a lot more readers than commenters ("lurkers" as it were). You're a good writer, always have interesting posts, and are lots of fun.


EA Monroe said...

Ivan, I always know where the party is! Commode Lizards -- you come up with the most exotic creatures!

My only bent was "curiosity." I didn't really believe anyone existed out there. Imagine my surprise one day when someone "laughed" at my Knight of Columbus falling on his ass!

I'm with Josie. I see a many blogs with excellent writing and very few comments, if any. Sometimes, I pause and toss a stone into the water to watch the ripples.

ivan said...

Thanks fellow Quark.
I greatly enjoy your posts as well, as do scores of others.

ivan said...

Thanks, Liz.

Yeah commode lizards.

Standing there in the washroom, some Commode Lizard keeps looking down at me. "Cute," he says.

Okay, okay, I might not be deep, but I'm fancy.

Yes, tossing stones and watching the ripples.

"I shot an arrow in the air.
It fell to earth, I know not where."
...I lose more dame arrow that way!

JR's Thumbprints said...

Dear Ivan,
After reading your words, I feel so very very ashamed. Should I go back and delete all my bad blog posts? Or, as luck would have it, will they never be read again? Please advise.

ivan said...

Oh hang it all, JR.

You are a teacher.
I used to be a teacher.

We are a pair o' docs.

Read American.

Write American.

Good old New York advertising copy.

Otherwise it's like the Welshman who says, "My sister you will not marry."

--And I've had a Welsh girlfriend.


Josie said...

Ivan, you're always a lot of fun. Anyone who read MAD magazine can't be all bad.

I just sat through a two-hour accreditation meeting which I have to do every Friday afternoon, and now I am going to go home and crash and burn...


ivan said...

Remember Freddie Prinze Sr.?

Bedbugs say, "You ain't in by midnight, we're gonna slam the door on you, man!

Dont let the bedbugs bite.

Donnetta Lee said...

Ivan:I agree with Josie. It takes all kinds. Everything exists on a continuum after all. And there is a lot to be said for tolerance. Earns us a place in Heaven--or one of it's levels--or another dimension--or with the force--or somewhere. You're own writing is to be envied. That's all that matters. Droopy d***s don't mean much to anyone over 50. Haven't thought of Mencken in a very long time. Donnetta

Danny Tagalog said...

Ivan, scathingly funny in a sense, but needless: what's eating you right now?

What Josie says is pretty much right - most bloggers, even those in the literary bent category don't do this for the recognition, but perhaps due to the discipline needed to keep it going which might perhaps unlock the mental blocks that you spake of.

I'm still stifling sniggers though....

ivan said...

Thanks, Donnetta--there, I've finally spelled your name properly.

H. L. Mencken is god!

ivan said...


I know it's not you and the mirrot, it's the space between you and the mirror.
Is that what you're seeing?

I have always admired the Japanese way of thinking.

We extraterrestrials have to stick together.

Danny Tagalog said...

Hi Ivan,

Yes, I see the space but it's a bit murky right now. Hopefully it will clear up soon. Perhaps a bout of Mencken might be the remedy? I know next to nothing about him, but have seem some works on Gutenberg. What do you recommend?

ivan said...

"A Mencken Chrestomathy"--hardcover; extremely hard to find.

For immediate results, google
text. H.L. Mencken.

Also try Mencken Sunpapers.
(Mencken wrote in l925+ -)

Donnetta Lee said...

Ivan: Am definitely looking up Mencken. I get so involved with special ed and speech path issues that I forget to study anything else. Need to mold my life into something with more dimension here, obviously. Hey, I like that idea. "There's a fifth dimension..." saith Rod Serling. Going to go find it! Donnetta

ivan said...


H.L. Mencken was not a mystic, just an extremely able essayist with a satirical bent that makes you laugh and laugh at "The Boobus
Americanus"--his appelation, not mine. His columns in the old Baltimore Sun papers are very good for style. He was quite ahead of his time, writing in the Twenties and Thirties pretty much the way we write today.

I know something about time and geometry, but I think your partner in philosophy, Elizabeth might know more, especially in her dabbling with string theory.

Used to enjoy Rod Serling, especially any stories on the Flying Dutchman, be he ship captain or aviator.

I do listen to Art Bell and George Noory, kind of giggling as their guests spew out the most outrageous horsecrap
while all the while maintaing the decorum of serious scholarship.

Monkey business.

HeiressChild said...

hi ivan, i'm one of the lurkers that josie mentioned. you are always interesting. i love the dialogue between you, josie, lgs, donnetta, jr, etc. see, i know all the names. i read you on her blog and here; just hadn't left comments before now.


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