Wednesday, December 29, 2004

My Contribution

More thoughts on the nature of blogging, I'm afraid. One thing I love about blogs is the pathway it provides to the blogger's mind. People just don't write how they speak, and they certainly say things in writing that they wouldn't say out loud. With blogs, you can get the most unfiltered access to a person's thought process, even if they're making shit up or trying too hard to be funny/insightful/caustic/heartwarming/etc. Whatever they're writing says something about what's going in their brains that you don't get just talking to them. I love reading women's blogs because it's the best version of how they think and what they think about that I'll ever get. Not that I've discovered THE WAY women think, but I've seen, through blogs, how some women think more vividly than I have in almost every woman I've even known in person. I've always been fascinated by women and their perspectives, and now I get even more material by reading their blogs.

This brings me to my blog and its purpose. I honestly started a blog because I thought "I'm funny, I can riff on pop culture, news and politics, and get a loyal fan base with whom I can exchange a witty repartee." Some posts have been honest, direct accounts of my experiences and some have been conscious efforts at writing funnily on a manufactured topic. My editor has called me out on my style, letting me know that my posts aren't very interesting. Either my topics are boring, or my "musings and observations"* are a bit forced and unfunny. Also, she says that my profile pictures don't invite readers to stay, because they're not me or don't convey something about me (as opposed to someone else, like, say, Matthew Lillard). And she's absolutely right on all counts! Her comments aren't as harsh, though, as I make them out to be (because I'm bitter, goddammit!). The key, it seems, to having a successful blog is hyperbole, exaggeration. Describe crazy people/situations in funny, almost over-the-top ways and use a lot of grumpy interjections (real or substitute swear words, like my "goddammit" parenthetical above). I've always been more of an understatement kinda guy than an overstatement one, but when I'm ticked, I can come up with pretty good, vulgar, gone-too-far insults. But I usually don't feel that way when I sit down to write. When I'm writing, I'm bored. So what to do, what to do?

I had a crisis of commitment after my editor talked to me. Should I really keep blogging, wasting time at work, writing to people who only stop by for a second and move along, not reading, not commenting, not trying to cyber-stalk me? Should I change my style, make up weird and wacky events and write about that? I checked out some of the Best of Blog nominations and found out that there are some insanely boring blogs out there that people love to read. My new favorite, The Hot Librarian, has a pretty loyal following now, but reading through her archives she complained at the lack of readers, and would often write about how bored and uninspired she was. But she did it in a funny way (often with hyperbole). So even if she didn't have the world's most interesting and bizarre family and roommates, it would still be entertaining. So I've decided to keep blogging, and take it as it comes. Try to post regularly for the couple of return visitors I get and not worry about what I'm going to write. Something will come to me, I'm sure, even if it's totally inane. After all, this is supposed to be "stream of consciousness" stuff that offers people a doorway into my mind, should they want to look in. It doesn't have to be syndication-worthy stuff that makes me money (but that would be cool if it was!)

In an attempt to make a really worthy, noticeable contribution here, I have decided to share what are probably my two best ideas of my life. They aren't going to end war or hunger, or anything like that, but I think they're so good they should make me, or someone else, famous if they can be put into action. I'll share them later to string you all along. Stay tuned!

iPod: "Meet Me at the Harbour" by Idlewild, and "Mayonnaise" my favorite Smashing Pumpkins song, just came on.

*"Musings", "observations" and "ramblings" are used WAY TOO MUCH on blog descriptions. Blogspot should impose a moratorium on them! And revoke them on existing blogs.