Ho Hum

Bluddy drum. Sittin up in this bitch just waiting for GF to get back. It’s weird because I know she won’t get back for a while but I know when she comes in I’m going to have to stop writing for a while so I didn’t want to get on a roll and then have to stop. And now I’m getting sleepy and I’m reading other blogs and drinking more wine and starting to feel like I’m just procrastinating writing. I was thinking for a while after I wrote The Essay that I might not put it on a new blog because this blog is where it’s at, why start a new one? Here’s where the fun stuff is. But I do want to reach a wider audience with the posts that I actually put time into. Or rather just force myself to stay on topic instead of writing whatever the hell I feel like. I mean it’s the most awesome thing in the world that I can be entertaining to other bloggers. I’d also like to write other kinds of things too…or at least have written them I suppose. Well I feel like it’s a big learning experience the whole thing. I feel like I’m learning so much that I forgot at least half of it. Or maybe I’m just experiencing things and not learning them. Shit I don’t know.

For instance, my mom said on the phone when I thought I was doing the right thing and giving her a call, well she said things weren’t going well with all the other kids because they weren’t doing the Christian things and they were all unruly and it was driving her mad. Well for one thing she has three teenage boys at once so how could she help but be absolutely crazy, but then throw in the high expectations that everyone will be God fearing and so on, especially at that age. And then she throws in that she might be coming up in the middle of the month and she might want to stay with me. Well that won’t be good at all because she thinks GF still lives in Washington DC. But with the blog and all and being open and honest and saying whatever the hell I want all the time even saying shit I never thought I’d say about anything…well I feel like it’s ridiculous to not be honest with people. But I can’t be honest with my parents. It’s not about them loving me or not, because they can’t help but love me. But for all they’ve been through with my brothers saying to their face that they don’t believe in God, well they don’t seem to have grown to be able to really accept that, and so to take away basically the last hope they can hold onto, well shit I can’t do that at all. And yet what am I going to do if she comes up here? GF isn’t going to go hiding because she really hates that and she’s already told her Catholic parents so I’m pretty much fucked. And beyond that, I can’t even be honest with real friends. I can only be honest when people have no idea who I am so there really aren’t any consequences. Hell it’s getting harder every day for me to continue to be honest on here the more I get to know ya’ll. I guess I just think deep down where I can’t automatically turn it off that everyone hates me…or that what I have to say is not valid…or that my existence is inconvenient. Sheeit. Well so now I’ve got to figure out what to do if she comes up here. Last time when they tried to visit me in DC I had to say I got kicked out of the apartment basically, and to continue that story ridiculously for over a year, which means I had to make up all kinds of stuff about where I was living, living on the streets, things my fake roommates did. And I’m still doing that now and the bad part is I forget one of my roommate’s names. I can’t remember if I told them it was Omir or Omar.

I think I’d rather just disappear and never hear from my parents again than have them know who I really am. They are sad that I left town and live so far away, but I tell them over and over again that they wouldn’t be happy with me if I had stuck around. They have hinted at knowing that I’m “immoral,” but they have no idea the extent of this shit. I always thought that parents basically know anything you’re doing. But they don’t, they really don’t. Sometimes they ask me roundabout if I believe in God and stuff, but they won’t ask me directly because they know deep down that some shit is not right, and they don’t want to take the lid off that pressure cooker. They know they don’t want to know. But then they do some shit like this and ask to come up and visit. Which makes me think they really don’t know shit. But then even my brothers don’t know GF lives up here. And it’s pretty bad because come wedding day some shit’s going to get real awkward real fast. But at least her parents and mine aren’t the type of people to mix. Rich Semi-Liberal Catholics vs. Poor Extreme Evangelical Conservative Christians. Ah shit. It’s a real conundrum.

It’s these kinds of stupid ass things that I have to think about sometimes and it ruins everything. I have to stop thinking about it and push it away and focus on the moment, and I’m really good at doing that. I’ll enjoy the fuck out of every day from here to there and then when that day comes it will still be there waiting for me and I’ll have done nothing to stop it. Shit. Fuck it.

Back in the House

It’s cold out there ya’ll. Snowing last night and shit. Snows like a mofo in this town. But I am so warm and toasty now I got the space heater and the regular heaters rocking. And I heated up some soup from last night, the squash soup, and opened up a bottle of red wine I bought from work to learn about since my wine education has been slowing down to the point it’s falling backwards. And now I got a head rush. And I’m eating this roasted duck,what’s left of it. Oh my God I can hardly function this way. And I just finished reading Ruth Reichl’s Garlic and Sapphires. An amazing book that talks about food all the time, so I am in a food place right now, a food paradise. A paradise of the senses. And fingers on the keys too so I got the touch and I’m listening to The National so I got the ears going too. Life just doesn’t get much better than this.

I wanted to link to this interview about Seth Godin if only to remind myself later that I read it at this time, because I think it’s going to change the way I look at writing, or at least change a little bit, or at least start a change to the way I approach the idea of writing. This is how Seth Godin writes. This was the part that really made me think:

What’s your best advice for overcoming procrastination?

The deadline focuses the mind, of course. The curse of the traditional writer is that the publisher wants a book no more often than once a year. So procrastination is part of the process.

But blogging? Once a day. Not every minute like Twitter, which provokes mediocre writing because there’s so much of it. But every day? Better write something, better make it good.

Oh my god I’m like the posterboy for gluttony right now. This class I took once, Biblical and Classical Literature, one of the five major contributors to my renouncing my Christian faith, we had to illustrate the seven deadly sins. I could take a picture of myself right now. Shoving basically an entire duck in my mouth. Oh my god oh my god.

Though I’ll remember not to recommend this wine with duck.

“Better write something. Better make it good.” I’ve just been thinking that over and over again today.

Tonight should be a good night for writing. GF has a lot of reading to do and I don’t think we have anywhere to go. Tomorrow I’m going to take this rusted bike to the bike shop and see what’s what. I’ve been having to take a taxi home after work too many times  and it’s not financially sustainable so time to consider other options. Helmets probably cost a shitload. Or a shit-ton. Or at least a guinea.

I’m slowly making my way through Great Expectations. The last time I read it was in…ninth grade or before that. I’m at the time when Pip is taking leave of his old friends and he’s being a total douche. Poor Joe.

I’m going to try to write something about something specific today. Maybe instead of being a food critic like Ruth Reichl I could be a book reviewer. I need more time to read books though. Fuck it I’m already a bartender. I’ll write a post about this wine.

Ohio Won’t Remember Me

Well I’ll be damned. Ya’ll are some irascible mother fuckers. God damn I love you crazy bastards.

And I use irascible in the street sense of course. Which means cool as shit.

Well I had myself a time writing that essay, and a better time reading your comments.

And there is just so much shit that I want to say right now, and I won’t get any of it done I know. Because it’s about Midnight and Ohio won’t remember shit. AKA GF is almost ready for bed and I still haven’t showered.

I wanted to talk about what I just ate and how damned good it was. And the work day with coworker. The coworker from the other posts. Everything turned out hunkey dorey with that red faced dude. Man, I like him actually. And I wanted to talk about how I been looking at Seth Godin all wrong. I been straight up talking a lot about that dude, in fact he’s about to rival Chuck Klosterman for most talked about dude on Anyone’s Ghost. But all my memories of what Seth Godin is talking about are all skewed because I read them like three or more years ago and I’m a whole different dude these days. And I wanted to talk about…something else too what was it. Oh how I totally lied to my coworker and he loved me for it.

In a perfect world I’ll have some time to write tomorrow. But the world ain’t perfect so we’ll just have to see.

But ho damn I just ate the most luxurious shit. Just walked through the door and had some roast duck and some squash soup GF made in class. Then I had some banana bread GF made at home. And I drank some Harpoon Winter Warmer. I feel so warm on the inside.

Sinnerman (The Post Where I Write a Whole Essay)

Alright ya’ll fuck it this shit’s going into overdrive right now. I’m going to finish this damn thing, essay, blog post, whatever you call it so it seems easier to do.

What’s the point of the post? What am I trying to say?

I want to convey all that I learned in my first week of blogging. Especially as it relates to other people like me. Maybe if we all thought we could interest others by being open and honest, we’d have fun blogging right away, and we wouldn’t feel the need to preface everything with, well you won’t like this…but here it is.

But maybe it really is the prerogative of everyone to say that. And maybe not everyone is exactly like me. Not everyone is really saying that they don’t want anyone to read it and then at the same time hoping everyone does read it. Maybe they actually don’t want anyone to read it.

I just finished eating dinner. I think I need to get some typing done just to get in the mood. I got in the old Zipcar and drove to the Super 88 Market. Then GF told me she wasn’t there yet, she was still in school, and why did I have the car? Shouldn’t we just walk? Well, too late for that, and actually she didn’t protest. It was cold as a bitch out there, like a freeze drying cold, and no gloves, too. And that place was pretty ghetto. But I guess it’s kind of like this blog. Like there was everything you needed there but it was just kind of put around and that’s it. No thought went into the marketing of it, like they do at Whole Foods with the nice lighting and mirrors and colors and all that shit. No everything in the Super 88 looks lurid as shit. But it’s probably the same exact thing. Then we came home and made stir fry together and it was pretty good, although I dumped on too much sesame oil. And now I’m feeling sleepy as fuck even though I made us both coffee and gulped that shit down. I was thinking of having wine, too, but I guess that will put me to sleep even faster. Then I was thinking of what I was going to read. And this essay thing was bothering me, so I thought I’d better just fucking go hard on this shit.

If I’m going to be a writer I’d better damn well act like it.

There’s this Amway CD where this guy’s talking about how to discipline yourself. He says, “You don’t think you can write yourself into taking action do you? You think you go to an athlete’s house they got notes everywhere that say, ‘You need to practice!’ Open up the cabinet. ‘You need to practice!’ Flip the toilet seat, ‘You need to practice!'” Yeah I think of that every time I write something I wish I actually did. “You need to practice!” He tells a story about this couple their kid had to wear leg braces. He said they told her if she wore them for a year they’d take her to Disney World, so she was motivated to do it. Instead he said they could’ve gone the route of the post it notes and held them in front of her saying, “You need to wear these braces! You need to wear these braces! You need to wear these braces!” I think his name was Mark Gorman. That was some funny shit. I can just see the adults shaking the braces at the kid and saying that over and over again. Haha. Ok, fuck it. Back to the task then.

When I started blogging just a few weeks ago it was kind of on a lark.

I started blogging a few weeks ago because I’d come home from work early and I had too much coffee.

A few weeks ago, I came home from work jazzed up with caffeine hit straight out the gills from a shot of espresso in some coffee like a hi jinx high jumping bravo gomorrah out this bitch and I said fuck it! I’m writing a blog bitches. Well it wasn’t the first time some shit went down like that. But you know it was the first time I decided not to self-edit. I wasn’t going to worry about the impression I was making. I was just going to type whatever the fuck came into my head and let the chips fall where they may.

Some people can get away with saying “let the chips fall where they may” and come off sounding pretty cool. I don’t think I got it here.

A few weeks ago before going to work at the bar, I paid four dollars for a shot of espresso in a large cup of coffee. Then I got sent home early. Soon enough I found myself sitting in front of a computer, across the table from my girlfriend, with my fingers shaking and not a god damn thing to do. So I started my sixth blog.

This time was going to be different. Instead of trying to be cool and witty and awesome, I decided to just write as fast as I could and hit publish. Then I decided to read other people’s blogs and do the same thing to the comment box. I guess there was no real goal to it. I always think I need a blog to build an audience for my novels that will be written sometime in the next ten years. So I’ve started a lot of them. I always try to actually add value to the blogosphere with the shit that I write. And so I usually post about  five times and call it a day. Because I know you’re not supposed to post more than once unless you want to alienate your audience. So I just go at it for a while and then just up and leave. Nothing to hold me there since no one ever commented on my blog before, at least no one that I didn’t know in person. So this time I was just doing it for pure fun.

Damn it. It’s the fun things. It’s the not fun things that make you better at what you want to do. But what’s worth doing if it isn’t fun? Maybe I should stop writing this essay because it’s stressing me out. Fuck it.

If you want to be taken seriously as a writer, you’d better have a blog. And that’s the first of many rules you’ll encounter. The second rule is don’t post more than once a day. The third rule is control your image. Revise what you write, just like your novel will be revised a million times. The revolution will be televised. Revised.

Any serious writer in the 21st Century better have a blog. Unless you already have a published novel and it’s selling millions. Then someone else will keep a blog for you. But you’ll need a way to reach your audience. Build your tribe.  Your platform. Deliver your unwitting followers into the hands of the man.

The revolution won’t be televised until it has been revised.

An unpublished writer who’s serious about publication better have a mailing address and a checking account.

I’ve started about six blogs and five of them weren’t any fun. I’ve started about six blogs before this one and five of them weren’t any fun. The last one was just about as fun as a barrel of friendly monkeys with bleached assholes.

In my time as an aspiring writer (by aspiring I mean I wrote an essay in fifth grade that got a gold star and I said hells yeah I’m onto this game for sure and not getting a real job because I don’t want space taken up in my brain that I could use for writing) I have begun many a blog. Some for profit. Some for learning. Some for burning. Some for turning and some for yearning. Some forever and some to be tethered. Some some some some.

You might not know it to look at me, but I’ve got six blogs going. No one’s looked at any of them. Except one. It’s awesome. I love it so much. It’s so much fucking fun. Man this blog shit is so much fuckin’ fun.

I’ve started six blogs and five of them weren’t any good. The last one I started because I had too much coffee. I jumped on that shit and said fuck it, this blog is going to suck way worse than the other ones. And I just started writing whatever I wanted. And posting like a motherfucker I mean I was just doing crazy shit!

Nah this shit isn’t working out.

Got to get at the point right away.

If you spend any time reading new blogs you’ll see a lot of disclaimers. “Don’t read this…it’s not for you!” some will say. “This is not suitable for general consumption…it will not enrich your life.” “I don’t know who would be silly enough to read this.”

New blogs are like new gym membership. Everyone is telling us we need to blog. You’d better have an online presence if you’re going to do anything creative. You know you need to have a blog. So you get one, post five times and melt away. And no one gives a shit because no one knew you were there anyway. Unless you stole the domain name they wanted to register for their new blog.

Maybe I need a new focus. I’m trying to turn this into some kind of rant against commercialism or something. I don’t know. In my head. A small bell tolleth.

Maybe I should just write why people should have a blog, and why I think it has value even if you think it’s shit.

You should totally have a blog. You already do, or you wouldn’t be reading this. But you totally should. Stop worrying about what everyone thinks about it. Well, that’s impossible because that’s the reason you should have a blog. It’s good for your soul. It makes your soul grow.

Ah fuck me.

My writing teacher in college once said, You have to be pretty arrogant to be a writer. To think people want to spend some of their lives reading your thoughts. That’s pretty arrogant. So I guess writing isn’t for the faint of heart. And if it is, it comes to us meek ones and we don’t know what to do with it. We have to write anyway, we just like to write and we do want people to read it, but we’re not arrogant enough to think that they’ll enjoy it if they do, we think there’s definitely something else they should be doing, because we should probably be doing something else, too, unless we shouldn’t. So we start a blog, because there’s no requirements or prerequisites, you just type some shit and hit publish. But of course you feel pretty guilty about that because you know it’s not good enough to be published. So you try to warn people away from it. I know I published it, but don’t read it. I just did it because I want it to be out there, I want to have said something, I wanted to fight against the silence, but I don’t want to waste your time. And that’s what you would be doing if you read this. You’ll see it in many different degrees. The one extreme really doesn’t want you to read it, because they are a hundred percent sure it sucks. Then you have the ones who jokingly say, ah you’d be silly to read this drivel, right before they implore you to follow because they really are offering up some kind of entertainment, they feel, even if it isn’t Shakespeare.

But who the fuck wants to read Shakespeare? God damn it, I’m tired of this shit. Howard Bloom can pass out if he wants to I’m not reading any Shakespeare.

Alright, don’t know where that came from since Harold Bloom’s The Invention of the Human is a pretty awesome book. Or am I just saying that? Where is the ego or the super ego…who am I…the one who reads Shakespeare or the one who laughs at him…the one who wants to be original or the one who laughs at originals the one who knows whether or not he likes Shakespeare…no.

Five of the six blogs I’ve written were shit. I started one out of boredom one night, having had too much caffeine and too little to do, and I broke all my rules for blogging or writing in general. For life in general. I said whatever I wanted to. I punched my inner critic in the face. I bypassed the censors. I didn’t look back. I made grammatical mistakes. I said fuck three hundred times an hour. And I’m having a great time.

If you had shown me this blog back then, I would have said, oh yeah that’s where I post my readable material. Now I say, Oh yeah, that’s G Flanders lite. That’s for the people who don’t have the time. The people who would like me but don’t really have time to be down with me a hundred percent. Not like the readers of Anyone’s Ghost. Those mother fuckers are down to ride. Those mother fuckers put up with a hundred posts a day and still find time to write amazing posts themselves.

When I started that blog I felt the need to classify each post as readable or unreadable. It was half a joke with myself, like most of the things I said in my ridiculous posts were. If I started thinking about a crack in the wall while I was talking about Proust, I switched to the crack in the wall. Because fuck it. If I want to write like I think than I’ll just do it and let the chips fall where they may.

I’d write shit like that, too, or at least think it. Well if you don’t like it, I’d think, go read some other blog. Leave me alone. But I didn’t feel like that at all. It’s just that inner critic, you can’t keep that bastard down. He jumps right up and says, hey man, nobody’s going to like that! And you feel the need to answer him, to answer all the bastards that won’t read your blog because they don’t know it’s there, because you post too much, because you use the f-word, because you ramble like a Led Zeppelin song. You feel the need to assault them because you feel them laughing at you, when what you’re really feeling is your own ego telling you that this is not your best work and no one should have to sit through it.

It’s a protective measure. And maybe it makes you feel a little bad ass. I think, hell yeah, I’ll show these mother fuckers. I’ll say whatever I want and they’ll have to deal with it! Meanwhile, mother fuckers who read it are either enjoying the shit out of it or just leaving or just not even showing up to decide one way or the other. And the people who enjoy it, well maybe you’re constantly afraid of alienating them once you’ve got them reading. You didn’t know it could be so fun, to have people connect with what you’re just spouting off, but now that they are, you’re inner critic grows stronger and stronger and you think you should defer to him for their sake. Because you’re sure he knows what they want.

But somehow I’ve managed to fend him off pretty well. He shows up a lot. But most of the time I outrun him. And I would encourage anyone who has felt this way to stop apologizing for it. Embrace it. Bare your soul and connect with those that connect with what you’re saying. Because then you would not be so all alone. And when writing can do that for you, well what the hell else do you want from it?

 

Well that seems pretty good. I brought it around to how I feel about blogging now. What I think blogging really is. What the benefit for me really is. And I’ve identified the over arching sentiment that makes people put disclaimers at the tops of their blogs, instead of picking out each individual one like a fact machine or something.

 

Five of the six blogs I’ve written were shit. I started the sixth one out of boredom one night, having ingested too much caffeine and having too little to do, and with it I broke all my rules for blogging, for writing in general. Hell I broke all the rules I have for life in general. I said whatever I wanted to. I punched my inner critic in the face. I bypassed the censors. I didn’t look back. I made grammatical mistakes. I said fuck three hundred times an hour. It was awesome.

I conceptualized this new blog in my mind early on. I thought if I garnered a following writing these mad thoughts down…typing as fast as my mad thoughts came then I could always start a new blog that would hold material that REALLY added value to people’s lives. Now that I have some followers, and I am following some, and now that I have made meaningful connections with other minds like mine, and now that I have understood a tiny bit about what blogging is all about, I look at this new blog as G Flanders lite. This is for the people who don’t have the time. The people who would like to read some crazy G Flanders shit but can’t be down with the get down a hundred percent. This isn’t just for the readers of Anyone’s Ghost. Those crazy bastards are down to ride any time of the day or night. They put up with three, four, five random posts a day and still find time to write amazing posts themselves. This is for posts that I revise. Posts that I select instead of just throwing whatever comes into my head. For the less fun writing, but perhaps the writing that could reach a greater audience than my core audience. I see this blog as being a gateway into my writing. Because with these followers and my “like” count on Anyone’s Ghost, well shit I have to admit I’m starting to get that writer’s arrogance.

When I started Anyone’s Ghost I felt the need to classify each post as readable or unreadable. It was half a joke with myself, like most of the things I wrote. But at the same time I really did feel like people would get to the end of a post and say to themselves, well shit there’s ten minutes I’ll never get back. I wish someone would have warned me. Because that other post was so great, why does this one ramble around in a circle of shit? So the “Readability Index” was my clever way of telling people that if they wasted time reading these posts, well I washed my hands of it early on. Don’t say I didn’t bloody well warn you! Because I know that’s what you’re saying!

I’d write shit like that, too, or at least think it. “Well if you don’t like it,” I’d think, “go read some other blog. Leave me alone.” But I didn’t feel like that at all. I certainly didn’t want people to leave me alone. It’s just that inner critic talking, you can’t keep that bastard down. He jumps right up in your grill and says, “Hey man, nobody’s going to like that!” And you feel the need to answer him, to answer all the bastards that won’t read your blog because they don’t know it’s there, because you post too much, because you use the f-word, because you ramble like a Led Zeppelin song. You feel the need to assault them because you feel them laughing at you, when what you’re really feeling is your own ego telling you that this is not your best work and no one should have to sit through it.

It’s a protective measure. A defense mechanism. And besides that maybe it made me feel a little bad ass. “I’ll show these rubes. I’ll say whatever I want and they’ll have to deal with it!” Meanwhile, the bloggers who read it are either enjoying the shit out of it or just leaving or just not even showing up to decide one way or the other.

And then, as people began to follow Anyone’s Ghost, and comment on it, and like the posts, well then I was in big trouble. I became constantly afraid of alienating them with some new random tangent that even they didn’t want to waste time on. I didn’t know it could be so fun, to have people connect with what I was just spouting off, and now I had something to lose. And that was fuel for the inner critic, like a protein shake for that bastard, like creatine even. He grew stronger and stronger and I began to think I should defer to him for their sake. Because he always seems like he knows what they want.

Luckily I realized what was happening and I managed to fend him off pretty well. He shows up a lot. But most of the time I outrun him. And I would encourage anyone who has felt this way, anyone who has heard that bastard whispering, “Don’t publish this. Don’t waste people’s time. It sucks,” I encourage you to tell that stupid fuck to go straight to hell. Stop apologizing before anyone has a chance to complain. Embrace your own voice. Bare your soul without reservation and you will connect with those that connect with what you’re saying. Because then you will not be so all alone. And what greater gift could writing give you?

That’s better. Took out the you’s and whatnot. The last line should be better though. And maybe I’m forcing the Bob Dylan reference in the second to last line. If it’s not going to work it’s not going to work!

And maybe the call to action in the end is a little too wide. Like there is something to be said about running faster than your inner critic and writing some crazy shit, and then going back over it. That’s what writing is all about. Not just pissing all over a piece of paper and calling it art. Hm but what is blogging all about? Well I guess we’re talking about two different things entirely.

If you want to start a blog where you can just write whatever you’re feeling and connect with some other poor bastards who can empathize, well just jump into that shit like a mother fucker. I encourage you, leave your editor at home. Pay no mind to the rabble. You will find that a few people, if you take some time to look around and find someone saying pretty much what you’re thinking, you’ll find that they and you will benefit from the interplay of ideas that just comes straight out of your mind.

What’s the purpose here. What am I trying to say? Stop apologizing, basically, but why do I want them to stop apologizing? I really just want to relay how I feel about personal blogging, about how I felt like I had to apologize for it at first, and now I realize it’s awesome.

What I’ll do is I’ll go ahead an insert a paragraph after the first paragraph, so a second paragraph, wherein I endorse having a personal blog where you connect with people and just write whatever your feeling, even if you have a regular blog where you try to add value in a specific intentional way to the world.

So second paragraph:

What I ended up with is what Seth Godin used to call a “Cat Blog.” Something that shouldn’t be interesting to most people. But somehow it is interesting. Somehow it did resonate with some people. Because writers, well shit, we all go through a lot of the same things. Especially those of us who aren’t arrogant, and who have time to look at other bloggers. Even though I was starting a personal, stream-of-consciousness style blog, I didn’t expect anyone to read it because I couldn’t be bothered to read theirs. I wouldn’t even read a novel by a popular author because I figured they were probably crap, all the good stuff has already been written. I’ll just go read Catch-22 for the eighth time. But what I found was there’s gold strewn across the swamps of the blogosphere. And then I realized that the whole damn swamp WAS gold. And this will probably raise some contention, you see there I go thinking about how this will be received. But I found immense value in reading the thoughts of other people, even when they didn’t exactly match up with what I was going through at the time or anything like that. And having the people I thought were interesting think I was interesting, well that gave me the confidence to write some shit like this! It really changed my whole outlook on what writing actually means.

Okay maybe this should be the last paragraph.

So I encourage any writer to go ahead and do some dumb shit. Just write whatever comes in your head. Use a fake name, make up an email address, don’t tell any of your 3D friends you’re doing it, and connect with some other minds. Because that’s what it’s all about. That blog will be like a record of your head, what happened to you, and it will be like your mind just available to someone else, searching for another mind like theirs.

Ok starting to get muddled now. Starting again from the top.

Five of the six blogs I’ve written were shit. I started the sixth one out of boredom one night, having ingested too much caffeine and having too little to do, and with it I broke all my rules for blogging, for writing in general. Hell I broke all the rules I have for life in general. I said whatever I wanted to. I punched my inner critic in the face. I bypassed the censors. I didn’t look back. I made grammatical mistakes. I said the f-word three hundred times an hour. It was awesome.

What I had created was what Seth Godin would call a “Cat Blog,” something I had always tried to avoid, as I had thought it was not the best way to establish a “following” or build a “tribe” or create a “platform.” But Anyone’s Ghost gave me what’s at that heart of all of those words: Bloggers read what I wrote, I read what they wrote, and for the first time in my life, in my writing career, I made meaningful connections with other minds solely through the written word, and so came to understand a tiny bit about what blogging, and writing, is all about.

When I started Anyone’s Ghost I felt the need to classify each post as readable or unreadable. It was half a joke with myself, like most of the things I wrote. But at the same time I really did feel like people would get to the end of a post and say to themselves, “Well there’s ten minutes I’ll never get back. That other post was so great, why does this one ramble around in a circle of shit?” Thus I created the “Readability Index,” my clever way of absolving myself. “Don’t say I didn’t bloody well warn you! Because I know that’s what you’re thinking!” I’d think, “If you don’t like it, just go somewhere else and leave me alone!”

And yet I certainly didn’t want people to leave my blog. I found myself checking my stats every five minutes wishing more people could see how clever I was even when I wasn’t REALLY trying. And still I couldn’t keep my inner critic down. He would jump right up in my face and say, “Hey man, nobody’s going to like that!” And so I felt the need to respond aloud to my own mind, to preemptively answer all the bastards that wouldn’t read my blog because they didn’t know it was there, because I posted too much, because I used the f-word, because I ramble like a Led Zeppelin song. I felt the need to attack these imaginary readers because I could feel them laughing at me. What I was really feeling was my own ego saying that this is not your best work and no one should have to sit through it.

It’s a kind of defense mechanism. And besides that maybe it made me feel a little bad-ass. “I’ll show these rubes. I’ll say whatever I want and they’ll have to deal with it!” Meanwhile, the bloggers who actually end up on the blog were either simply enjoying the writing or deciding not to read it and leaving.

When people began to follow Anyone’s Ghost, and comment on it, and like the posts, well then I was in big trouble. I became constantly afraid of alienating them with some new random tangent that even they didn’t want to waste time on. I didn’t know it could be so fun, to have people connect with what I was just spouting off, and now I had something to lose. And that was like a protein shake for my inner critic. He grew stronger and stronger and I began to think I should defer to him for their sake. Because he always sounded like he knew what they wanted. Luckily I saw what was happening and was able to fend him off. And the better I get at doing that, the more I like writing.

I encourage you to go to war with your inner critic. Use a fake name, make up an email address, don’t tell any of your 3D friends you’re doing it, and throw together a “cat blog.” Write about your cat for three thousand words. Write about your goldfish or your stuffed rabbit. Connect with some other minds. Somehow, I guarantee whatever you say, if you say it honestly, will resonate deeply with at least a few other bloggers. And in between sessions of pouring your wild thoughts onto the screen, be sure to spend some time reading those other “Cat Blogs” out there. You may be just as surprised at how deeply the stray words of another mad blogger resonate with you.

Hoo shit that’s it for now! God damn! Got to go to bed.

Burn Out

Alright maybe I’m experiencing some burn out. I can’t focus at the moment. I have all these things to do and I can’t tear myself away from the blog. Just writing writing writing and then reading reading reading reading reading reading reading reading. It’s great to read and write but I have other stuff I should be doing, too.

I’ll come back to my illustrious essay. I have to make dinner anyway. Asian food, says GF. I have no idea how to make Asian food.

Probably I’ve just been sitting down too long.

Reminds me of this time we were sitting around and the boss asked my coworker, “Is your friend coming in for an interview?”

“Who?”

“The one you said he was a burnout.”

“Burn out? I didn’t say he was a burn out. I never said he was a burn out!”

“Yes you did.”

“No I said he was a deadbeat.”

Damn It Damn It Damn It

Here’s what I’ve got so far for my illustrious new essay on people who don’t think their blogs are good enough to read:

 

The particular writing paradox I want to address is illustrated succinctly by this quote from a blog post entitled “Here We Go Again,” from The Matticus Kingdom:

I’d really like to be able to make a living doing this writing thing and I’m hoping this blog will be a good platform to learn and grow as a writer, test my abilities, and build up a following.  Though, I’m not sure who would be silly enough to actually enjoy anything I write.

I’ve seen it said a hundred different ways and the first time I saw it was on my own blog, probably twelve different ways in twelve different posts that I posted on the same day.

Most everyone who blogs has at least considered making money from writing. I’m going to go so far as to say that most everyone who blogs fancies themselves a writer. And everyone knows these days that whatever you’re doing, you should probably have a following, a tribe, a platform. But how the hell do you do that? Well, you probably type that question into Google and spend the next three hours learning how to create a following. Then you don’t do anything about it for another week. Then you sit down to write some of your novel and you think, shit, I should probably have a following. Then you wonder why you haven’t been blogging all week.

Well, that’s one way things can go. Another way is you have those ideas in the back of your head, about a platform and this and that, and you think, well shit, I’m going to just write whatever I want on this blog. No one can stop me! But then you’re pretty sure that’s a bad idea. No one gets a following that way. Like Seth Godin says, are you sure what you’re saying is interesting, or is it just interesting to you? Well, if you’re a writer and you probably are, you’re probably pretty sure nothing you have to say is interesting, except those things that you work really hard on and edit and revise and you’re working on that, it’s coming out next summer, you swear!

 

Well that’s it. It sounds like a god damn preface to writing blogs for dummies. How did I get so detached from the subject? How did me become you? How did I lose the feeling…how did I lose the subject for that matter? I’m talking about this cycle that happens to me, not what I mean to be talking about which is this widespread belief that what you’re writing isn’t fit for reading. What you’re writing? What we’re writing? Shit! This is hard.

Complications

I get all excited to write this damn essay and then I start to do this research and momentum grinds to a mother fucking halt. Next thing you know I’m curled up on the kitchen floor with a week old half frozen muffin staring at the ceiling and hoping my cell phone won’t erupt out of the bedroom and start ringing in my face.

My coworker is calling me like thirty times in this bitch so he can ask me to work tonight because his friend’s only in town for tonight. Well god damn it. I never ask anyone to work for me and I deserve a day off, too god damn it. Just leave me alone, coworker. God damn it that’s why I didn’t want to make friends with everyone, which I ended up doing in the end because I can’t help it. I know I’m going to tell that mother fucker no I can’t come in and he’s going to want to have an argument about it. Merlin’s beard! Shit! Tell your friend to take a nap and ya’ll can hang out after work! The agony. I can’t answer the phone because if I do I know I’ll end up going in and I already told GF I wouldn’t. She hates when I have to go in on short notice. The worst part was I went into the bedroom to get the phone to see if she had texted me. She had so I started texting her back, but my phone if you type on it and someone calls, it doesn’t matter which button you push it answers, so he called and I pushed and we were connected. I hung up right away but now I’m sure he suspects some fucking chicanery out this bitch.

But that’s not why I ran out of momentum. That happened when I actually started collecting facts. I like just writing shit I don’t want to have to do actual work! Damn it! Shit!

Maybe I can only spontaneously create shit. Maybe I’m trying to force an organic process. Damn it. I’ve got to pull it together!

How did Joan Didion do it?

I guess you write it first and you fact check later. I don’t know. Shit.

The Desire to Write Grows With Writing

That’s a quote from something Erasmus that popped up after I posted yesterday. It’s true I think. The more I write the more I want to write. But I wonder when this Erasmus wrote that. Did he mean to say that the more one writes the more they want to write or did he mean something else…since maybe he wrote that before many people can write.

It’s amazing to think that, aside from the obviously crazy fact that anyone can publish anything, to think that everyone or basically everyone can read and write now. It’s a much different world. And crazy for the kids, our kids, who will have access to all of our histories in detail so rich I don’t know how they’ll handle it. Probably just ignore most of it I guess as they’ll be bombarded with their own pictures and such and obsessed with their own lives. Then again obsession with yourself could lead to reading the history of your family.

My feet are so cold. The ground out there is colder than ice. My coworker is trying to get me to cover for him again. He just texts me things like “Do it.” He sounds really mean in his texts and then acts really nice in person…except when he doesn’t. He’s like some kind of emotional bully.

I’ve been thinking of something I tell myself when the shit hits the fan at work: Embrace the chaos. I forget where I heard that first, or read it first, maybe it was in this book about finding the right career for yourself by wandering called “You Majored in What?” But anyway, maybe that’s what I have to do in life. I often feel like I’m not getting the things done I should, like I haven’t called my parents and other people, and I feel like these things build up and are going to come back and bite me in the ass. But that’s how I feel on a smaller scale a lot of the time during dinner service, but if I just go with it, embracing the chaos of the immediate moment, somehow at the end of the night everything gets done. Some people leave unhappy with the service I suppose but most people are A-OK.

I also looked at Seth Godin’s blog yesterday and today, after it came up in my post yesterday. And I started getting discouraged. All of his posts have genius ideas in them. And he always makes me feel like I should do more. I should “ship” something. And I suppose he’s right. And I was sure he was right yesterday and this morning and I was getting more and more down on myself. I thought, “This essay thing will never work. Nobody cares about it. It pretty much sucks since a thousand people have already said exactly what I’m going to say. There’s probably thirty books out on the front table at Barnes and Noble with this exact story in them. I should do something people are actually going to be interested in…like…shit…fuck I don’t know anything that interests anyone! How could I possibly think I could entertain or inform anyone when I haven’t done shit with my life!” This isn’t Seth Godin’s intention I’m sure. Probably he’d rather I did the opposite and actually create something, if I asked him his opinion on the matter and he had time to answer. But for some reason, this is how his blog effects me. And not only that, there are so many good ideas one right after the other, that my feeble mind can’t keep track of all of them, and in the end I don’t remember a single thing! Or so it seems. I do remember if I really think about it, some things, but the effect of all those brilliant ideas one after another like a machine gun is daunting and I lose track of the one really good idea I got when I first started reading. Of course he posts only once a day unlike me, so if you follow the blog every day you’ll have all day to consider each idea. But anyway.

Some needs we cannot ignore. Like I just walked into my house with the bottoms of my pants wet and my feet cold and starving hungry but I didn’t worry about any of that. I didn’t hardly take my coat of just sat down and started writing. Until I suddenly had to use the bathroom like a mother fucker. And I couldn’t ignore that. And while I was away from the computer I changed my pants put on some slippers and threw these hand warmers in there, too. Never used them before and the idea just struck me. I’ve had them around for years, my mom got them for me as a Christmas gift. So fuck it.

Also, maybe the reason I haven’t gotten anything written is that I don’t have an editor. Maybe if I had an editor who got on me about deadlines and also took everything I typed and made some kind of sense out of it, like Hunter Thompson’s editor did for him, and Thomas Wolfe’s did for him, then maybe I could have some reputable shit.

But back to whatever I was talking about before. Yeah so I was getting discouraged and finally I said to myself, Fuck it. You came in this game with nothing and you found out some interesting shit and you’re writing more than you’ve written in a long time. You’ve been reading Seth’s blog for five years and it never once gave you the satisfaction that you’ve gotten these last two weeks of blogging yourself. The infuriating thing is that everything I say to myself, I can hear Seth Godin saying, “That’s what I was saying all along!” I know I know Christ! Just let me have my own moment okay fuck! Jesus got damn it mother fucker I can’t get any peace around here! All these mother fuckers in my head talking nonsense. In all probability I will never have a real conversation with Seth Godin and yet I can’t type some shit that I feel without deferring to him and apologizing in advance.

It’s like a curse. I always try to see both sides of an argument, and therefore I never argue. Even when arguing would be healthy and productive.

Also I lie a lot, like everyone, to keep up appearances. Even to an extreme degree. Like my parents don’t know that I’m not a hardcore evangelical Christian. And it’s strange that I have this memory of getting in trouble and my dad asking me why I didn’t do some chore or other, and I worked up my courage and said, “I didn’t feel like it.” I didn’t say it smart, because I was afraid as fuck of my dad, but I really wanted to answer his question honestly. Damn it my parents were always asking, “Why did you do that? Answer me! Why?” I don’t know! “You don’t know? You don’t know! I’m going to don’t know your butt!” So I thought that time, shit, I’m going to god damn well answer him. So I thought about why I didn’t do the chore and all I could come up with was that I didn’t feel like doing it, honestly. So I said that and he was SUPER PISSED. He put me in my room for the rest of the day and whatever else and I remember walking around my room crying saying to myself ” at least I was honest! I was just trying to be honest!” Ha my childhood looks pretty tragic when you put it like that. But for whatever reason that stayed with me, I was like eight or something, and now it would be nice to link my penchant for lying with the discovery I apparently made that day about what being honest gets you. I lie all the time now and no one ever gets mad at me. They would if I didn’t lie because then they would know that I actually think they’re an idiot. Or what have you. It’s probably too simple to say that triggered the web of lies I’m in these days, but it’s a neat story anyway.

And my blog has flat lined. At least for the past few hours no one’s looked at it. I’m a sad panda.

But anyway…fuck it. Time to do some research.

Ah Shit

Just got back from the game. Was fun. Glad I got a ride back with the homeboy’s ex-fiance’s brother. Yeah. But my team won and that’s good. I didn’t win the 100 or 200 I could’ve if the Ravens really dominated, but I did win the 12 pack of beer I bet my man so that’s good enough I suppose.

I came up with some cool shit to say. But can’t think of it now. Had too much to drink and what not. Going to try to sleep. Than GF is going to school and time for me to put the mother fucking hammer down on this shit.

Public Consumption

Readability Index: To blazes with this index as it’s not doing shit for anybody.

Sounds like this post is going to be about tuberculosis. But what I’m talking about is also a kind of disease that I’ve come to recognize, first in myself and now in the blogging world at large.

Me and people like me, we are scared that people won’t want to read our shit. We are pretty sure they won’t want to. We are also nice and we don’t want to waste people’s time. So we try to warn people not to read our shit.

This could end up being the subject of my first essay as a part of my new project.

I was just looking at pricklymooseprincess’s blog…I think I got that right, but can’t look it up because time is running out and anyway I’ll come back and do all the proper research before posting to my new blog…which I haven’t decided yet how to handle…but anyway her tagline says, “This will not enrich your life.” It was a very familiar sentiment to me, because I could have used it for my own blog. I thought before I started blogging that all this amateur feelings driven diary type bullshit was meaningless to everyone. I wouldn’t want to read someone else’s bullshit so why would they want to read mine?

Seth Godin calls these kinds of blogs “Cat Blogs” because you basically tell long stories about your cat and have pictures and people are just as bored by that as they are by you in real life. He says these blogs add little value to the world. And maybe he’s right, he’s pretty fucking smart. And he has the most viewed blog anywhere, or he did two years ago when I was reading his posts every day.

So you think, well shit I’m going to go ahead and throw up some words on a blog and tell everyone not to read them, that way they can’t blame me when they find out that I can’t write for shit, that I have nothing interesting to say to anyone. That’s what I thought when I started.

But there I was reading pricklymooseprincess’s blog and I thought, well god damn, this shit has enriched my life. Who would have thought?

And hers is definitely not the only blog that I have found this to be true about.

For my essay I’ll give specifics, but just to get a general idea…well when I look for new blogs to read I just type in “Random Bullshit” or “Rambling” or “Not fit for public consumption” and there are lots of blogs to choose from. Everyone is hedging, they want people to read their writing and be moved by it, but they think that this is a lot harder than it is. I think so even now as I type and imply that it isn’t. Because maybe it isn’t.

So anyway you got a guy who fancies himself a writer but has never published anything because he doesn’t think it’s good enough. And then he can just get on a blog and hit publish all day and no one can stop him. But he still says every time, well this shit’s no good, but if you want to waste your time reading it…well I won’t stop you.

Next thing you know people are liking that shit. Now this doesn’t always happen because a lot of writers will hit publish and then never go around reading other people’s shit. I did that a few times before I made this blog and no one has looked at those blogs to this day. So in order to have people connect to what you write, you have to at least make an effort to connect to what they’re writing. And personally I didn’t think it would be worth my time to do that, since I already knew my blog wasn’t worth anyone’s time, and I held a deep seated belief that even though my work was crap I was a better writer than most people. Even authors who have been published. So this arrogance and this self-loathing…or work-loathing leads to isolation. No one does look at your work and you’re proved right all along.

But it’s crazy. I had some free time and I started this blog and said fuck it I’m just going to write whatever dumb shit comes to mind and I don’t care what Seth Godin says. And forget all the advice I’ve read about blogging and capturing audiences and creating tribes and all that shit. Fuck that shit. Fuck making money on this…fuck everything. And then after I wrote it I decided fuck it, I bet I can get some people to read this dumb shit. So I went out and to get some comments going on and to like some stuff purely so people would come back and read my shit. But when I got out there on the blogosphere suddenly I found myself engaged in these other writers. Then I really did like what they wrote. Then I decided to comment the same way I was blogging. I’ll just say whatever comes to mind, no matter how dumb it is, no matter how uncool it might seem. And bam, what the fuck, here I am with some real shit going on. My whole outlook on blogging and even life has changed to a degree. And definitely my idea of writing.

So anyway, I have to go to this god damn super bowl party now. But I’ll be back tomorrow to further explore this idea this thing I’m trying to get at. And to call out some people who seem to be going through what I was, too.

Hot damn. Blogging is the shit.