Thursday, September 22, 2005

Good Riddance

My recent post on the current status of the blogosphere seems to have touched a small nerve, at least among those who never saw the existence of a blogosphere-wide conversation as a necessity in any event. Looking back on my original post it's easy to see how my sentiment could have been misconstrued, because my tone definitely carried a slight note of elegy. But in all seriousness, any nostalgia for the heady days of yesteryear was only half-hearted on my part, because, really, I don't miss it that much.

Let's be frank: the endless reams of back-and-forth conversation got tiresome. There were small moments of interest to be found in any exchange, but there was also self-indulgence, passive-aggressive rancor, obsequiety, oblivious misinformation and downright hostility on all sides, myself included. Sure, there was an open exchange of opinions, but there was also a lot of shouting and condescension. Do I yearn for a return to those days? Er, not really.

Of course, that was never why I wanted to blog to begin with. I know a lot of people who really get into the interactive elements of the format, but I've never been entirely comfortable with it myself. I simply like to have a forum for my thoughts, some of which take the form of silly photochop illustrations or satire pieces or weird pseudo fan-fic, and some of which take the form of reviews and mini-essays which wouldn't fit anywhere else. I don't do a lot of reviews anymore since I've got other outlets for those. I used to do more theoretical critical writing before realizing that it's fucking hard. Basically, I do what I want to do, and I never feel comfortable doing anything else.

One of the main points of my post was that the perception of the blogosphere as this great ongoing conversation was slightly chimerical. There were a few people who tended to lead, and to that end they effectively organized the conversation. The person who, I think, most believed in the potential of the blogosphere as a dialectical tool was Dirk Deppey, and he used Journalista! as a tool to this regard. His tenure at the helm of the Journal is notable for its utilization of bloggers as a serious resource for publication, so it's obvious he still believes in the format.

I don't believe in anything as high-minded as that. Blogging is, for me, a means to an end. Is it addictive? Yes, I'd be a fool to deny that. But I've always kept the subjects covered on this blog to a very narrow spectrum out of the desire to avoid becoming anything but what was intended from the very beginning: a blog about comics. As much as I dearly appreciate each and every person who tunes in to read my words (nearly) every day, I'd much more appreciate if this blog could one day serve as a gateway to actual paying work. Why is it that no one ever asks me to write an issue of Spider-Man? I'd do it, too, I'd write the best God-damned Spider-Man story ever written. All they gotta do is spell my name right and make sure the check clears. Hell, I'd write for Eros if the check didn't bounce. I won't even say which I would enjoy more. Whomever pays gets to be the most handsome man in the world for a whole hour, just leave my money on the dresser.

So, when you get down to it, I'm a greedy motherfucker. At some point, having a blog became a choice thing to have on a writers' resume. I'm down with that. Given the short shelf-life of many blogs and the relative size of the community, I've even become something of an elder-statesman in my chosen field through the process of attrition. Whoop-dee-doo. But really, if someone came along and wanted to pay me to write on the condition that I never blog another word again . . . well, that wouldn't be much of a choice at all, would it?

Which is not to say that I'm a total mercenary. Just that, in terms of anyone's writing, there are two kinds of work. Work that pays and work that doesn't. Everyone, except for the very lucky, do the former to pay for the latter. People who do the latter exclusively obviously have other means of getting by. I do too, but the idea of making a substantial portion of my income through writing, even if it was repetitive work-for-hire, thrills me. That'd be cool.

I think I'd draw the line at erotic fiction for a NAMBLA magazine, but other than that, I'm pretty open.

On that note, don't forget that the Birthday Week FUNraiser is still going strong! What's the use of charity if it doesn't begin at home?

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