I have tossed the idea of a blog around for awhile — okay, at least a year. I’ve been hesitant to pull the trigger because I look out in the ‘webiverse’ and see thousands and thousands of blogs. So the real question has been, if I’m going to blog, what exactly will I blog about. I thought of a blog about writing. Many of my compatriots who live in the world of publish, about to be published, hoping to one day be published post blogs regularly. There’s a wealth of great blogs about writing, publishing, social networking and even how to blog your blog.
I don’t have any empirical evidence to support this claim, but I’m sure many writers have had the experience of walking into a large library or a big box bookstore to find themselves surrounded by thousands upon thousands of novels. My most recent experience occurred in a Barnes and Noble here in Seattle, doing some market research. I’ve got a humorous sci-fi novel in the can and wanted to know where on the shelves I’d find that genre and the writers represented on that shelf. Among the many, Douglas Adams had not simply a shelve, but more of a literary shrine on an eye level shelf. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, numerous other titles, dictionaries, compendiums, boxed sets and glossaries loaded the shelf. Standing at the Adams altar I noticed that the store had neglected to set up votive candles and then I turned to see, as theologians like to say, a cloud of witnesses. Hundreds, thousands of authors, known and unknown, commercial successes and flashes in the pan, literary greats and not so much, encompassing me on all sides.
I turned to them, shouting, “Who am I to write a novel? How on earth can I compete not only with my contemporaries, but every Tom, Dick and Jane who has lifted a pen, tapped on a typewriter or a flipped open a laptop since Beowulf?”
The answer is long and complicated. Which leads me to the purpose of this blog. If I were going to give the blog a title it would be something like, “Just Who the Hell Do You Think You Are?” How do any of us stand in this moment and create? What does it mean to be creative? Do I have to make money at my art to be successful? Has everything already been done and if so, why bother? Is there room for anything short of the Great American Novel? Do I have to be the literary equivalent of the next American Idol, Top Chef, or at least the NYTimes Book Review?
So that’s my plan. Ponder the meaning of writing and creating, sharing book reviews of books I enjoy and tossing in the occasional story about food, the world and life. Should be fun. Hope you’ll come along for the ride.