Monday, June 8, 2009

WRITING IS A MANY-SPLENDORED THING


Two years ago, when I finally convinced myself that a blog was the best substitute for a column I once wrote for “The Daily Iberian” entitled “Cherchez la femme,” ( and which a not-so-well meaning friend dubbed “Diane’s rantings”), I began writing “A Wordsworth.” According to the mandates of Google, I’m only allowed a select list of friends to whom I can send the “rantings,” but this past year, I discovered my blog site is being visited 200 times a month by readers from 14 different countries. For me, that’s a satisfactory audience, and I really enjoy spinning a few stories about humdrum and not-so-humdrum subjects each week.

Yesterday, when I settled down to reading the Sunday edition of the “New York Times,” I turned to the section, “Style,” and found a long article about bloggers entitled “When Blogs Fall In An Empty Forest” by Douglas Quenqua. A few statements that predict the demise of the blog indicated that since 2002, 133 million blogs have been launched, but of those blogs, only 7.4 million have been updated in the last four months. The rest have been abandoned. “Here we go,” I thought, “I’m on my way to obsolescence again.” I’m already hopelessly old-fashioned in that I believe books are to be written, put in printed form on paper, bound, held in two hands, and read – on planes and trains, in beds, while relaxing on sofas and chairs, etc. However, I’m supposed to be up-to-date, squinting at the Internet screen, scrolling, scrolling, scrolling, until I’ve finished the computerized edition of WAR AND PEACE, and my tired 74 year old eyes tell me that I should hasten to an optician to get new glasses.

Then, I’m further behind the times because I love news print and get small jolts of euphoria when I hold the crisp sheets of newspapers like “The New York Times” in my ink-smudged hands while I lie on the sofa in the living room, now and then resting my eyes by looking out the windows overlooking my wooded backyard. I thought I had advanced myself enough by taking on bloggery, but there are new platforms out there, Mr. Quenqua informs me – Facebook, MySpace, and now Twitter.

To make matters worse, I’m so old-fashioned as to write poetry with a ballpoint pen in a small black moleskin notebook -- the kind that Ernest Hemingway once used, although the use of it hasn’t impressed the publishing world that I’m the breakthrough writer of the century, yet. As the young folks say, “whatever!” Now mind you, I do appreciate having at least one new technology in my writing room, so don’t think that I’m debunking blogs now that I’ve learned how to use one, I just want to enjoy this process for at least a few years and hope Google doesn’t discontinue offering this service. I ’m not egotistical enough to think that my blog should attract the attention of “Blogwatch,” of “Wall Street Journal” fame, but I’m fiercely protective of my list of readers who send me e-mails about its content and like what I share with them. This is enough to keep me fascinated with what I call the “audience immediacy” of blogging. So far, I’ve amassed 177 “columns,” and I really don’t intend to give in to any more pressures of the contemporary publishing world to develop another technology.

So I blog on, knowing I’m a small post in the big world of electronic publishing, but I feel confident that I’ll surpass the joked about “blogs have an audience of one,” and am happy with the small allowance of readers on the select list that Google allows and the anonymous 200 per month other followers. What greater support for a writer than the comments of someone on my list who wrote the other day: “You have helped me see many things through new eyes, re-introduced me to familiar subjects that had slipped to the peripheral… and shared insights into nature, religion, words, and heartfelt musings…thank you.”

Always, writing expands the joy of co-creation, and no writer is smug enough to say that an audience isn’t needed. I’m writing this for all those unsung writers who aspire to reach the greatest number of readers, to tell you that perhaps one remark from your small circle of followers may provide enough fodder for you to continue your commitment to this wonderful process. Pencil, manual typewriter, computer, blog, twitter, whatever you use, write on!

P.S. Susan, I guess you could dub this another “rant.”
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