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