Friday, September 19, 2008

Flogging the blogger

“It’s Charles’ turn to blog,” she said, unable to hide the bitter disappointment in her voice.

Next Thursday the copywriters at the ad agency are all off to a one-day seminar about blogging and I’m honestly looking forward to it. I’m sure that it will have an advertising spin to it (How to start a blog for your client and make it look like the postings are from real consumers, How to make a blog sticky and buzz worthy, How to actually come up with things to say about products that aren’t all that exciting…), but I’m still excited to attend. Hopefully they’ll cover stuff like “It’s Ten Minutes to Deadline: Coming Up with Killer Blog Topics on the Fly” or “Is There Anyone Out There?: How to Tell if You’re the Only One Reading Your Blog.” I could use these topics, not for work but for, well, this.

Until I attend that seminar, I’ll have to go about writing blogs the same way I have these past two years or so and I thought that I’d write about how I pick a topic and write on it ever week and, after all that time and all those blogs, still bring untold joy to my fans. And you both know who you are.

The first thing I do is re-read what my fellow Type M bloggers have written and see if I can add something worthy to the conversation. Sunday started with Donis’ interview with guest blogger Carolyn D. Wall who recounted her amazing path to publication and the ups and downs she has experienced since then. Her story (see below) is a lot more interesting than mine (wrote book, sent it in, got it published) so, if I was hunting for a topic to write on, I would not attempt to follow her lead.

Normally I’d next read Vicki’s blog but she’s off in South Africa and anything she would say from South Africa would be more interesting than anything I could say from Rochester, so I’ll just pretend she didn’t blog this week—which she didn’t, but I like pretending.

So, that takes me to Rick’s entry in which he skillfully analyzes current trends in the publishing industry—complete with a hyper link to a New York magazine article—drawing deft analogies to the music biz and his never-say-die life philosophy. Again, as the Friday morning deadline approaches, I’d reread Rick’s entry and, as I have so many times before, choose not to comment on his points since the less I say, the smarter I can continue looking. At least to myself. Someday Rick will write on a simple topic, say, which character on Futurama would I want to meet (Bender) or what was the lamest pop song of all time (Phil Collins, In the Air Tonight) or which is cuter, laughing babies or silly dogs (babies, hands down). But no, Rick always elevates the conversation and for a guy looking for a coattail to ride, his is a tad out of my reach.

Debby writes on Thursdays and this past Thursday she wrote a touching entry on the recent passing of Rob Levandoski. I realize now, of course, that I didn’t know Rob as well as I could have or should have and reading Debby’s entry I thought of all the people I only know casually that I wish I knew better and it made me think of the many authors whose books I first read years after they had died. And—you’d have to know me and my only-one-life philosophy to understand this part—it made me smile to think that there will be one or two readers who will first pick up one of my books when I’m gone too. But mostly I thought about Rob and how he will be missed by everyone who knew him.

So now it’s Friday and I still don’t have any unique angle or anything poignant to add to the discussions posted by my fellow bloggers, so I guess I’ll just bow out quietly, assuring you that next week I’ll have something interesting to say. Just as long as somebody doesn’t say it before me.

PS - be sure to check out the guest blog I wrote for Patti Abbot's website

8 comments:

Debby (Deborah Turrell) Atkinson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debby (Deborah Turrell) Atkinson said...

The idea of putting whatever banalities are bouncing around inside my skull out in cyberspace absolutely paralyzes me. I am not as interesting as other people, so I'd rather tell stories about fictional characters who have dangerous, life-changing experiences. Reading that you might feel the same way was heartening. I was clobbered by Rob's death, and may have to cope by dealing with something light next week--the treacheries of English grammar, perhaps. Or--how about agents who go to writers' conferences?

Rick Blechta said...

Debby, if you think you're uninteresting, it's only in your head, not in ours, I assure you.

Several years ago, I was supposed to do a short essay for a friend who was editing a Toronto free daily. I had no topic and the deadline was an hour away, and I HATE missing deadlines -- especially when I'm getting paid.

Since I was driving to work and the clouds that day were really quite lovely. I got to work, quickly scribbled out something about clouds and how people in the city don't or can't notice them because they're, well, in a city with all its tall buildings. Certainly it was not a great piece of prose, but it sure must have struck a chord with readers because did they get mail!

You're a good writer. I'm sure you could make a shopping list interesting -- or at least suspenseful!

Rick Blechta said...

Charles, I take issue. "In the Air Tonight" might have some traction as the worst pop song ever, except then Collins ruined it with that absolutely killer drum fill in the middle.

How can you possibly not think "My Sharona" is not the worst pop song ever?

If you, Debby and I were to show up at the Pearly Gates together, St. Peter would say,

"Debby, here's your harp. You go right on in. Charles, here's your accordion. You take that elevator over there.

"Blechta, you're playing in The Knack for the next few millenia. Next show is in an hour. It's for a audience of music lovers and they've been given all the rotten fruits and vegetables they'll ever need."

Debby (Deborah Turrell) Atkinson said...

I love it, Rick! Clouds--it's the writer, isn't it? And St. Peter would send me to the elevator if he heard me sing & play the piano, which I do alone. I wait for everyone to leave the house. As for worst songs, the Monkees did one so bad I've spaced on the name. Something with "yeah, yeah," and the same four notes over & over.

Charles benoit said...

I actually like the Knack song - but maybe it's because it's tied to so many good memories. I was just 19 or so when it was a hit and it was one of the few 'new wave-ish' songs radio would play. And the girl I was dating loved to dance to the song and if you recall the song you may know why I loved it myself.

Rick Blechta said...

Charles,

I'm going to hurl now.

Rick

Rick Blechta said...

Charles,

I'm going to hurl now.

Rick