ON NOT BLOGGING
(IN WHICH THE AUTHOR CLEVERLY FINDS HERSELF A LOOPHOLE)
Recently, I have been advised by a number of well-meaning and
media-savvy associates that it might be in my interest to begin
writing a blog. They seem to be under the impression that my
reluctance is the result of age-related stodginess and technophobia,
and that if they can just show me how simple it is, I'll become an
enthusiastic adopter. (Look, Grandma! The picture-box has the same
programs you listen to on the radio, but now you can see the
characters!) They talk about “immediacy” and “fresh
content” and “repeated site visits.” They describe
readers hungry for “a glimpse into my mind.”
In fact, therein lies the problem. If you've read any of my
books—which I would never assume you have, though I can't imagine
what you'd be doing here otherwise—then you've already gotten a
glimpse into my mind. And what you've gotten is the good glimpse.
You know that old line about starting with a block of marble and
carving away anything that doesn't look like an elephant? There's a
reason sculptors don't save the discarded rubble and put it on
My mind is like anyone's: on any given day, it traverses a vast and
jumbled terrain. I'm quite certain you don't want to hear the details
of my trip to the dentist, or follow me to Target and watch as I shop
for sheets, trying to find that magical sweet spot where bargain and
thread count converge.
So let's assume, for our purposes here, that I would limit myself to
topics related to writing. I was willing to give it a shot. I
sketched out a few ideas for entries, jotted down notes every time a
vaguely literary topic interrupted my wait in line at the dry
cleaner's. And I learned something about myself: I am insufferable.
I grumble; I wallow; I pontificate. Not that any of this is terribly
surprising; I suspect that under the right circumstances, you can be
insufferable, too. But that doesn't mean I want to read about it.
So. Here, for the first and last time, is a sampling of the entries
I'm not going to write and you, therefore, don't have to read:
A wide-eyed discussion of the poetry found in everyday life, centered
around a classified notice I once saw, advertising “collie
puppies, rough and smooth.” Some low-level fretting about
whether or not I will ever write a phrase as effortlessly lovely.
My musings about “the value of literature,” spurred by an
email I received in which a potential reader asked whether my latest
novel is “worth” the $23.95 it costs to procure it, or
whether she should wait for the paperback. (Interestingly, she didn't
seem worried that it wouldn't be worth the $13.50.) Some ironic
comments (in which I'm not quite able to hide my bitterness) about the
fact that any one of my books can be purchased online for a penny,
A brief autobiographical essay about the time in college when a
professor assigned Jane Eyre, and I decided to save money by rereading
the same copy I'd used when I first read the novel in the eighth
grade. Description of the red eyes and vampire teeth doodled onto the
watercolor portrait of Charlotte Bronte on the cover. Incongruity of
the content I absorbed the second time around (notes in the margin
about “the ambiguous role of the governess in the Victorian
household”) vs. the details I was paying attention to the first
time (vocabulary words circled throughout: antipathy, soporific,
cudgel). Faux-profound closing question: “Can it really be said
I was reading the same book?” (Here's a hint: Reader, it can.)
See what I mean? We don't want this, either of us. So there you go—we're both off the hook. I hope you're as relieved as I am.
Posted April 17, 2009.
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