Digging in the ancient but still functioning bowels of an old (6 years!) laptop, I came across a story I wrote in the spring. Immediately I thought “I should post this on Wuthering Bites,” not “I should send this out for publication.” Back in the spring I was in a fever, a St. Vitus at the keyboard, having decided that the time had come to peddle my prose beyond the blogosphere.
I’m not gonna whine. I’m not gonna complain. I’ve got nothin’ to complain about. I’m lucky I have time to write instead of working a second job as a banquet server on the Al Gore $1000 a plate stump circuit to make rent. Instead, I get to go to my desk after dinner, sit and gaze out over the neighbours’ rooftops, through the naked trees, up into the stars and write.
Over at Red’s Wrap, Jan Wilberg wrote about wanting to have more impact from her blog. I admire her ambition. I look at my two blogs and I am thrilled that ANYBODY reads and that some of you seem to enjoy what I write. What more could I ask?
I’ve made half-hearted attempts to find publications for both my fiction and non-fiction writing but I always come back to ‘why bother’ when I already have an audience? Fame isn’t my goal. Wealth isn’t what I’m after. I’m after readers. Why does it matter whether some external source decides to publish something I sent in? Why are the readers of those publications supposedly better than blog readers?
In theory, it might matter because I have a story to tell and those publications have bigger (not necessarily better) reach than my two tiny blogs. It matters because I want to be heard. It matters because telling a story around an empty campfire isn’t the same as telling it to attentive listeners. But you do that right here. And over there at Wuthering Bites.
I could sit at my desk and pump out stories, get my expert editor (aka my husband) to red pen them, shine them up ‘til they smell like shoe polish, then send them out to sit in publishers’ slush piles gradually turning yellow like unwatered grass until some avid young intern is sent to shovel the mess into the writer’s bonfire. (Let’s call it the bonfire of the vanities.) No one but my husband and I would ever have read the stories. But I like hearing from YOU, real people, real readers. Does that make me a self-absorbed narcissist – as someone once said to me about blogging? That same person also said if bloggers had anything worth saying they’d go out and get their work published.
Writing and putting it out there is risky business, especially in the blogosphere. It’s like being a dancer and getting a gig at this club known for its edgy performances. You get on stage and layer by layer you reveal yourself through movement, trying to get at some truth you’re not even sure you understand. You’re left standing on the stage, naked, with a bunch of slavering neanderthals transferring all their desires onto you when what you meant to do was bare your soul, not your breasts. And then you end up feeling like a boob. But you keep doing it because you have to, not because you want to be drooled on. Sometimes though you think maybe you should have just stayed in your kitchen and danced alone – fully clothed – because there are some people out there who think you’re just a stripper, not an artist, who secretly wants to be ogled.
Maybe not the best analogy but do you get my drift? I’m going to get this stuff off my hard drive and into the ether. I’m going to keep dancing. I hope you’ll keep reading. In the meantime I encourage you to visit some of my favourite bloggers whose work is wondrous.
DryCrikJournal – John Dofflemyer
TheLittleOldLadyWho – Cynthia Jobin
Weave a Web – Bruce Goodman
Ellen Morris Prewitt
Dawn2Dawn – Michael Andrew Just
The Sick Days – Shelley Page
On The Heath – Heath Muchena
Red’s Wrap – Jan Wilberg
Martha Lightfoot Illustrator
Artists – every one of them.