Saturday, March 10, 2012

To Blog or Not to Blog

It's been said that the writer must write, as surely as the bee must buzz and baby the rain must fall (name that singer). This might imply that those who label themselves as "writers", when presented with the myriad possibilities of ways to spend time, are more likely to need to write, be it poetry, essays, short stories, novels, letters, etc. than to need to do anything else (not including basic physical needs like eating, sleeping, sex etc. Sex? Is that a physical need? Did that memo go out to everybody?)

One easy way to avoid this trick and thus be able to guiltlessly do things besides writing is to avoid labeling yourself as a writer in the first place. Even if communications has been your primary source of income over the course of a 35 year career, it doesn't mean you have to go around calling yourself a writer and thus be driven by this urgent need to write all the time! Even if you are being paid to write meaningless corporate drivel and powerpoint presentations during the normal business day doesn't mean that when you clock out you have to continue writing, for if you don't you will surely burst with all the words, sentences, metaphors, similes, double-entendres, stories, rhymes, verse and general bullshit that has inexorably built up inside your tortured brain. Even if your muse has been suffocated by the deadening monotone of business-speak for 9-hours at a stretch doesn't mean that you have to set it free to romp around your brain the rest of your waking hours.

Then again if such were the case why don't I just shut up and go watch TV? These days it obviously doesn't mean watching re-runs of Hogan's Heroes and Kung Fu, wondering if Bob Crane and David Carradine might have been secret buddies. This could lead to conjecture about the nature of Hollywood sexual dysfunction and the next thing you know another worthless blog has been born. Round 1: blogger.

Everybody knows there are plenty of ways to muzzle that irritating little voice. Call it the muse, call it psychobabble, call it Mexican Radio. For years it was as simple as just doing something else. Drinking, for example. Drinking and cooking, even better! Drinking and writing/recording songs. Drinking and painting. Drinking and watching Mary Poppins, or Bambi, for the 134th time. I guess since I don't drink with the same level of commitment that I once had I've found myself with time on my hands.

So why blog? It's hard, it eats up time like a nasty-ass honey badger munching on the head of a cobra, and without a compelling topic - like a CLEANSE - the readers hardly come flocking. We know it's not because the writer is inexorably driven to write else the brain will spontaneously combust, and we suspect there are quite possibly better things to do. There are no profound insights that I feel so strongly about that I must broadcast them to all 7 of my followers. The CLEANSE is gone,but not forgotten, and the next colonoscopy...well let's see maybe we could get something done this year, just for the sake of something newsworthy. My daughter the lovely PieWhacker is working on a full length feature film starring the actor we love to hate, Bruce Dern - I could report on that, but it would probably be easier just to link to their FB page. And there's always Jack's fish, but again, he does a better job blogging on that than I ever could.

Here's why, and I say so with as much certainty as I can muster about anything these days: blogging is like practicing my instrument (which I don't do so much of now that I'm blogging!) When practicing, every once in awhile the player may come upon an accidental arrangement of notes and rhythm that can be a discovery of pure delight. It may happen while improvising at a gig, but it is more likely to happen when simply messing around. The blog is the mess-around. During the process of arranging words on the page, it is possible (though be no means guaranteed) to come across an accidental turn of a phrase, a combination of sounds, a juxtaposition of imagery, that has a freshness all it's own (though the smart cynics always know better).

Okay, that's a pretty weak reason, I admit. But if you promise to follow, I promise to think of something better! And if you like my FB HACK page, I promise I'll write a better novel next time! By then they will be printed on rolls of toilet paper so as to maximize the value of a tree!

PS. My son Jack is a much better blogger than I am. He just lets it rip - whatever is on his mind so long as it has something to do with fishing. Even then he has this wonderful natural ability to weave his fishing experiences into broader observations that ring clear and true for the 23 year-old putting together his "book of answers". And his blogs are short, compact, concise. Perhaps the loss of a taut mental process is just one of many taut things that gets looser with age. Youth feels as if there's no time to ramble. Unfortunately it is I who has less time to ramble than does my son, yet I am apt to do just that...another of life's cruel ironies.If you can't follow me, follow Jack: he's the snappy and fun one! I guess I've got the morose and contemplative beat for now...

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