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 display.

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, plus shipping.

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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