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October 13, 2005

Quote of the day

From Steve Almond's recent Salon article:

"But there are also bloggers who, like Sarvas, are simply too lazy and insecure to risk making art, to release their deepest emotions onto a blank page with no promise of recognition. So they launch a blog instead.

Posted by Chris Clarke at October 13, 2005 03:41 PM TrackBack URL for this entry:

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Posted by: Miguel Alondra at October 13, 2005 04:50 PM
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at Almond, or at my quoting him?

He does say nice things about "some bloggers." I just liked the quote.

Posted by: Chris Clarke at October 13, 2005 05:19 PM
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Chris asked about my "yawn."

Well, the quote itself is deliciously contradictory. If there is any writer willing to release emotions with no promise of recognition, it's a blogger. And I suspect that's why you quoted it.

No, my "yawn" was triggered by my foray into Almond's and Sarvas' respective blogs, and the thought that the world of blogdom--the blogosphere as some might call it--is really self-absorbed, almost to the point of narcissism in some (many?) cases.

Each blogger (especially in the lit genre) seems to have a cadre of admirers and detractors, and each is linked to others of the same ilk, with lurking snipers. Some of it is just, well... sometimes, I feel like responding, "Get a life, already, people!"

I don't have the same of opinion of all blogs, and especially not of those (like Creek) that simply revel in life's ups and downs and strive to enlighten. Nor do I mind a good debate. But when blogs get "competitive" in a meta-"dozens" sort of way, I "yawn."

Maybe five people care. Or five hundred. Probably closer to five.

On the other hand, there is the argument that the blogworld is similar to the early days of the revolutionary press, when arguments were made in hand-printed tracts, circulated by posting on boards in the public square and handed out on street corners. This applies especially to the political blogs that expose information otherwise suppressed or under-reported by the print media. (Yesterday morning I had occasion to venture into the Special Collections department of the local university library, where there were several early printing presses on display. Made me think about things a bit).

Anyway, I was being snarky. Sometimes self-righteous bleating is annoying. And sometimes I'm just snarky.

Posted by: Miguel Alondra at October 13, 2005 06:11 PM
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You're beautiful when you snark.

Posted by: Chris Clarke at October 13, 2005 06:28 PM
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Wait. I don't get it. And I'm too lazy to read the article. (Sorry, I'm busy ... with things. And stuff.) I think you make art here every day. I don't know that this medium suffers for lack of art, at least not at this address.

Hugs to Zeke.

Posted by: ae at October 13, 2005 06:57 PM
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Wait. Are you saying, in a roundabout way, that you're too (whatever) to take the chance to make art elsewhere? Well, I cannot comment on that. But I maintain, there is plenty of beauty here for any medium.

Can I get a witness?

Posted by: ae at October 13, 2005 07:04 PM
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I wonder what's going on with Salon? Two shitty articles in the pole position on their site in the same week - and not a week that was wanting for interesting news.

Did you happen to notice the related articles listed at the end of the RealDoll article? Why - this is the 3rd article Salon's done about RealDolls. The only other time in my life I had to sully my mind with stories of men having sex with dolls was when they published a similar article 5 years ago.

At least Ask the Pilot and War Room are still cool.

Posted by: The Liberal Avenger at October 13, 2005 07:16 PM
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(Sorry, I'm busy ... with things. And stuff.)

How dare you!

I liked the quote because this is my week to be amused by things that would be insulting if said by people who were not utterly inconsequential.

There's a line from the old Stones song "It's Only Rock and Roll"* that increasingly reminds me of my approach to blogging. I'll let you all guess which one. Reading the above-quoted line on top of those thoughts set up a profound mental dysphoria.

I'm an editor. I save writers' asses from embarrassment every single day. Most of them are good about it, appreciate my work, and I have no complaints about my role as editor - though I am ready to start working on my own writing exclusively, and soon.

But this guy thinks working on a blog, without being able to hide behind an editor, where people will call you on the carpet within minutes if you make a mistake and then if you correct it, and then doing it for free at that... he thinks that's safer than writing a book?

The only way blogging is safer than writing a book is that no one will tell you you're not a good enough writer to have a blog. So you're safe from that momentary discomfort in the editor's office, and free to experience the revulsion of the greater world for your puerile prose - from which a book editor would defend you.

* as my feminist street cred evaporates

Posted by: Chris Clarke at October 13, 2005 10:26 PM
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(Almond's above-quoted line, I mean.)

Posted by: Chris Clarke at October 13, 2005 10:41 PM
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My reaction was the opposite from Miguel's. Too many gems in that article to quote, and I agreed with all of them. (Well, except the ass f*cking.) The quote above, about Sarvas, actually could apply to me. I've tried writing in solitude, and writing a blog, and blogging is a hell of a lot easier. And it comes with much more recognition.

For the record, he made a distinction between very good writers who blog and bloggers who just write. The line previous to the one quoted:

"To be clear: Some bloggers, such as Wendy McClure, also happen to be terrific writers. They use their blogs to undertake the honest labor of self-reflection. The improvisational form activates their love of the language. More power to them."

I think we all agree that CRN is one of the former (there may be more of them than Almond is aware of). He was also specifically talking about lit blogs that seem to exist to tear down certain authors.

(Interestingly, I didn't remember until I finished the article that I'd blogged about Almond before, on Valentine's Day. Mentioned his book Candyfreak.)

Anyway, read the whole article before jumping on him. He almost made me want to write again, yet this line: "The modern writer is engaged in an enterprise almost guaranteed to crush her spirit" is still too true. I was thinking yesterday that the publishing industry today is like the meatpacking industry of The Jungle.

Hey! Maybe I should write a book about that! Nah, too risky.

Posted by: KathyF at October 14, 2005 03:22 AM
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I have to laugh a bit about the either/or quality of that quotation. Yeah, I blog, but it's not _instead_ of doing "art" (whatever they mean by that) -- blogging co-exists with a bunch of other creative things I do in my life.

Now, if I spent all the hours of my day blogging, they might have a point, but I just don't see it. I think too that they have a rather limited notion of art, anyway -- is it really art, for them, if done in the privacy of one's home and no one ever sees it except for family and friends, or what? Or is it publicity that makes it cease being art? Is it only about barfing one's soul out where others can see it, or only in private, or what?

Now I'm all confused.

Posted by: Rana at October 14, 2005 11:08 AM
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