Monday, February 13, 2006

Promises Renewed

I have been called out. No question about it. See for yourself...

Date: Saturday, February 11th

Time: 8:30ish PM

Place: Christopher's Restaurant. Massachusetts Avenue. Porter Square. Cambridge, MA

Reason for being (there): My dear friend Hopalong... er, Wynne's 26th birthday extravaganza.

O.K. So here's the situation. My parents went away on a weeks vacation aaaand they left the keys to the brand new Porsche! Would they mind? Mmmm.. well.. of co...

Sorry, sorry.... mind is.... off in crazy town... Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, though... *sigh* never mind... I'm making no sense. Let's start again. I'll provide a transcript. OK? OK. Alright stop, collaborate and listen...

(Note: Although more people were present, the conversation to follow consists of only Wynne, Andrew & me. Wynne (whose name is Welsh and means "blessed, white & fair") and Andrew (whose name originates from the New Testament - namely the apostle Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, who according to legend was crucified on an X-shaped cross, and is the patron saint of Scotland, Russia & Greece) have been mentioned in this space before. They seem to have a knack for infesting my thoughts. Maybe we need to spend some time away from each other...)

Me: Happy Birthday Wynne!

Wynne: You didn't update your blog today. There are a few websites I check every morning before work. Yours is among them.... for now... but every morning I go to (imitates typing motion with hands) and almost every morning, I'm disappointed. There are no updates.

Me: Huh? You can't expect me to update every day. That's ludicrous.

Andrew: Oh, but we can! Yes. When you started writing that thing you were consistent. You posted, at a minimum, every two or three days. Now, we wait days, sometimes WEEKS for a new post. You led us down the primrose path and just as we were getting comfortable, you walk away! Well, let me tell you, friend... the path is no longer primrose! It's treacherous! What you're doing... well, it isn't fair. We expect more frequent updates. It isn't fair at all, dammit, and I don't like it!

Me: Uh... Happy Birthday Wynne!

(My dear friends will excuse me for applying a dab of poetic license. While superfluous dialogue was deleted for succinctness' sake, and counterfeit statements were injected for dramatic effect, the essence of the exchange remains true. I'm sure they are in no wise abashed by my literary embellishment.)

I've heard this from other people before, and my response is generally the same. On the surface, I just sort of nod my head and shyly acquiesce, offering a rather sheepish, "Yeah you're right. I've been lazy. I'll update soon."

The voice inside? Well, that's an entirely different story. Usually it says something like, "Fuck them. I write random, somewhat meaningless ramblings on a half-assed, fly-by-night blog that maybe ten people, tops, read, and they're complaining about the frequency in which I do it? What, am I supposed to provide their entertainment? It's not like I'm charging a subscription fee, here. Hell, I even provide a free mp3 for them to download. Get your own blog and read that. Leech."

Alright, so I'm not quite so harsh, but yeah, I kind of felt like although I enjoyed updating, and writing posts filled with inside jokes for my friends, that this site was more of a sideshow than anything else. I started this thing simply to get back into the habit of writing again. I wrote a lot in college, and although I enjoyed it tremendously, I put my quill down to pursue other, more desirable interests. The luster on those "other interests" faded rather quickly as it turned out, and last April, when I decided to start writing again in earnest, I figured that a blog would be a good way to ease back into the craft and provide a good method for regular practice. Whether anyone read it or not (and I assumed that it would most likely be "not") was none of my business.

Or so I thought. After Saturday nights wake-up call (for lack of a better term) with Wynne and Andrew, I decided to check the stats on this site. Yeah, they're my friends but I was still a little surprised to hear that they poke their heads in daily, looking to see if there's anything new. Like I said, this is my writing practice. I didn't expect anyone except friends and family to actually read the thing, much less regularly. What I saw when checking my stats was rather surprising. Somewhere along the line (I don't know why or where), this little site picked up an audience. It isn't huge, and in no way have I reached uber blog status yet, but the amount of people checking in daily is significantly more than just friends and family. Why is that surprising? Because the last time I bothered to check the stats on this page, none of you were around.

Christ. Who the hell invited you all? Thanks for that two ton pile of pressure to perform you just threw on my shoulders. Actually, scratch that. I'd offer a hearty welcome, but it appears that you folks were already here. If anything, I'm the one that needs welcoming.

"Welcome back to your own blog, Eric! Glad to see you made it back safely!"

Thank you. Glad to be here. So what, you're probably wondering, can you expect? Daily updates? Not a chance. At least not yet. I DO have a full time job still, and life gets more than a bit busy sometimes. In fact, it's kind of crazy at the moment. But, for what it's worth, I've decided to take this blogging thing seriously again, if only because writing is important to me and I want to get better at it. Like I've said before, the only way I know how to do that is to keep writing. So, I'll make every effort to update with the same frequency I did in the beginning (around every two or three days.) I've promised this before, I know, but believe me when I say that those promises were probably not much more than lip service to appease some whining friend who wouldn't shut up. This time, there's more of a feeling of a renewed sense of purpose (much as I loathe the term.) Content? More of the same, which is to say I don't really know, but expect it to be rather self-centered because I'm an egotist like that. I'll try not to let the fact that this blog has gotten a small readership actually influence what I write. I don't think it will be that difficult, simply because I don't really know who any of you are. Furthermore, my friends and family are the ones who started reading this, and who, in some small way, I geared this towards. Don't see any reason to change that now. See? All it takes is for you to invite me to your birthday party and then chastise me for being a slacker.

In closing, I'll quote Stephen King, who I'm not ashamed to say is one of my favorite authors. He wrote a book about writing a couple of years back (titled On Writing, oddly enough) which I haven't actually finished (story of my life) but there is one passage in there that I found particularly appropriate:

"You can approach the act of writing with nervousness, excitement, hopefulness, or even despair - the sense that you can never completely put on the page what's in your mind and heart. You can come to the act with your fists clenched and your eyes narrowed, ready to kick ass and take down names. You can come to it because you want a girl to marry you or you want to change the world. Come to it any way but lightly. Let me say it again: you must not come lightly to the blank page.

I'm not asking you to come reverently or unquestioningly; I'm not asking you to be politically correct or cast aside your sense of humor (please God you have one). This isn't a popularity contest, it's not the moral Olympics, and it's not church. But it's writing, damn it, not washing the car or putting on eyeliner. If you can take it seriously, we can do business. If you can't or won't, it's time for you to do something else. Wash the car, maybe."

Writers write. Best get started.


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