I was doing it twice a week. Then once. Now if I can manage one good one a month, I consider myself a success. And I peer in on my neighbors daily, keeping an eye on how they go about it. Oh, did I mention I am discussing blogging?
Most of you, I must confess, I don’t read. (And from the number of visitors I log, most of you feel the same about me.) I keep an open mind though, and any topic sentence that jolts my (admittedly narrow) range of interests earns a click. A few of you I gobble up at every opportunity, awe-struck by your ability to deliver quality work on a regular basis. And one or two of you raise my concern lest your continued outbursts draw the attention of someone bearing restraints and a syringe of Thorazine.
I have made a couple Red Room pals. I have been fooled – and charmed – by a couple sock puppets. I have seen bloggers who seemed as regular as my shower’s drip vanish as completely as the hog-nosed skunk. A fellow I had not spoken to in forty years promised to call the next time he was in the Bay Area. I won one “fan” – who never responded when I asked how I might show my gratitude. I swapped books with two of you. One of you steered my wife to a journal that published her short story, and I steered someone to an anthology that published him.
I wonder why we blog. Many of us seem to only to promote our own work and readings. (I have done that without identifiable success.) Some radiate confidence in their ability to hoist my flagging political consciousness in areas where everyone from Noam Chomsky to Rush Limbaugh has come up short. Some offer tips on the writing biz which I, wizened and embittered by fortune’s slung arrows, receive as openly as a Gulag lifer might a visit from Dale Carnegie. Some wish to spread the enlightenment they have gleaned from the minutiae of everyday life that I have missed, blinkered, stumbling in my darkness. Many, I suspect – and again I raise my hand – hope that the splendor of their voices will finally alert the bitch goddess to our existence. We fantasize the cash register’s jingle, the contracts stuck below our noses.
The funnest thing blogging has provided me is a reason to explore aspects of my past that had previously seemed unworthy of pen-to-paper investigation. (This, in turn, led me to develop some of these pieces so that another site has even paid American dollars for them.) And then there is the aspect of writing regularly which I find, forgive me, recalls an old joke. This tenderfoot, new to town, comes upon a shaggy whiskered, tobacco juice-stained reprobate, seated on a stool outside the Lucky Dollar, whittling a stick into a pile of shavings. “Hey, old timer,” he inquires, “wha’cha doing?” “Why, sonny, this keeps away the wild elephants.” “You old fool, there aren’t any elephants around here.” “See!” the man exclaims triumphantly.
I’ve been keeping free of pachyderms for years.
Causes Bob Levin Supports
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, ACLU, PEN, Berkeley Emergency Food & Housing Project.