I originally developed this site as a platform for my (hopeful) career as a writer and editor. I figured I'd use this blog to post updates and maybe share some hints and tips on writing. But as you know, more than 9,000 of you(!), the blog has evolved into something closer to an online column or even electronic literature on some days. I thought I was "blogging" as I'd write away on topics as diverse as navaratna or things like numerology, even Kaballah, but then I started to look around at more established blogs...and I was frankly stunned.
The award-winning movie Julie and Julia is based on a book that was based on a blog...and it's not alone in its adaptative genre. There are others. So yes, I'd say there are a fair number of blogs out there that can be downright literary. But then, there are others that, though someone is clearly pushing keys on an unseen keyboard, aren't exactly what I'd call "writing." Egomaniacal rants and chants about fashion, food, travel...you name it. And these blogs have advertisers. These bloggers have even branched into product branding. Can you believe that??? I thought maybe I was having some kind of psychotic episode. If I'd been alive in the 60's and took acid, an acid-induced flashback would have made sense. But no, it was neither. What was it then? It was bad writing. Staring me in the face. Kicking in my ribs. Making it hard for me to breath. Why so violent a reaction??? Ever heard of the movie Idiocracy? Because in that moment, it was staring me in the face. I was toe-to-toe with the degradation of not just the written word, which is bad enough, but with undeniable signs of how twenty-first century western society has changed...though "devolved" seems more appropriate.
Obviously, my professorly-snobbery seems to have surfaced--but is it academic snobbery to be horrified by the recognition that the thing you have given every moment of your life to is becoming a vaguery, an historic memory: "Using allusion, that's so OLD FASHIONED...." Oh, Hemingway, oh Faulkner, wherefore art thou??? We are woefully without almost any sense of what writing actually means in today's world. While it's nice that this very lovely young woman and author of a well-known blog, has many pictures taken of herself in fashions obviously given to her and in exotic locales she has obviously not paid for--the reader might imagine that with so much freedom going around, that the lovely young woman might actually take the time to WRITE. Alas, such is our world.
Jealous, you say? Not a wit. I could put advertisers on my site--but I'd rather not be distracted by pop-ups or flashing anything when I view websites for reading purposes. And I thought I'd pay that consideration forward to you, dearest readers. Product branding is another story--but if Coach came to me and said they'd like me to design a bag, I wouldn't say no. Would you??? Although why they'd come to a lowly writer to design a high-end handbag, I have no idea. Now, Hollywood coming to me to "design" a movie script--that's a little more along my lines of expertise.... ;)
As we move forward with our summer plans in honor of the glorious sunshine, find a good book--an actual book with actual pages would be preferable but any form of a good book will do, electronic, audio or otherwise. Have you read the classics? The Three Musketeers, Sherlock Holmes, Jane Eyre, Moby Dick, As I Lay Dying, The Old Man and the Sea? What about things like HG Wells's Time Machine, The Invisible Man, War of the Worlds? Everyone's always looking for a "good book" to read while at the beach or on vacation. But if what you're really looking for is accessible engagement, buy a Vogue and get it over with. Though there are many great writers in the 21st century, many of whom I've had opportunity to meet, like Colson Whitehead, Rick Moody, Joanna Scott, Andre Dubus III, even Anne Rice, it is always good for the modern-day reader to take an adventure into the past. Look backward. You'd be amazed at how forward the writers, the real writers, of yesteryear truly were...and still are. And if you believe I'm lying or biased, just remember how many times Jane Austin's books have been adapted, or Edgar Allan Poe, or Nathaniel Hawthorne, or HG Wells--Shakespeare even!
This is the season to become reacquainted with what "real" writing means and how it can enrich your living experience, serving as more than just a temporary distraction you'll forget about tomorrow when you hit the next website. Experiencing good writing is like acquiring a life-long friend. You might also liken good writing to spaghetti-- it sticks to your ribs, nourishing your soul as you complete the marathon of life. Can you tell I'm hungry??? Hungry to see better writing (and blogging), that's for certain!
Until next time, dearest readers...happy reading!