.Letting It All Hang Out
First a brief note... the elderly relative that I spoke of being hospitalized unfortunately remains in the hospital. When I returned home at roughly 9pm from visiting her, I was bushed. However, I am hopeful she may be released sometime on Wednesday or Thursday (it is now technically Wednesday, but my visit was until 9pm on Tuesday evening).
The following series of comments were generated based upon a grand essay written by the Grumpy Old Man (GOM) on his blog Unconventional Ideas. I think the writer of this blog shows tremendous flair and talent in writing and also in choice of subject matter. As you may discern from the following comments, at least one other reader of his work did not think so, and this lead to a longish series of comments onto the GOM site. As I feel some of the comments were directed at me, I have chosen to post them here and have a final stab at explaining my thoughts and ideas. If you have interest, you may read the original post that GOM wrote if you scroll down to his January 19, 2006 post. Again, my final comments follow the quoted comments below:QUOTES BEGIN HERE Anonymous said...
I have been watching your sitemeter the past few days and you have really lost readership. You were getting up to fifty hits a day and now average around twenty. I think it is your material. You write about drunks and clerks in dead end jobs at convenience stores. Not very interesting stuff. Maybe you need to “retool” your blog and then you would get more hits. Don’t get me wrong. I think you write very well and coherently. I just don’t think what you write about will ever garner you much readership.
5:01 PM, January 19, 2006
I agree with annabel, that blogging shouldn't be about how many page hits you get. All that matters is what is important to you. I admit that I normally wouldn't be interested in reading about some of the mundane things you write about, like drinking and the piggly wiggly gang...yet I keep coming back. So go figure.
Maybe what that second commentator is trying to imply is that they sense that you are capable of writing on a broader possibly more interesting range of topics, like your political views for instance, but that you are practicing self-censorship so as not to offend anyone?
I say no matter what you do just be true to yourself. Write about whatever you feel the call to write about without regard to losing or gaining readership.
to which I replied...
I say "bah" to both of the anonymous comments and feel they may mean well, but are in reality b*llsh*t. A writer experiences life and often uses those experiences as the palate of his greatest work. For both of you anonymous folks, have you ever read "Cannery Row" by John Steinbeck? What is considered by many to be Steinbeck's greatest work is all about the "mundane" (your word anonymous, not mine) people he knew and interacted with. Some were unemployed, others were "drunks" as you might phrase them.... but the point is... they were sincere, true, portraits of people that helped to express greater truths about humans and human nature. I feel this is much like what GOM is practicing in his writings on this blog. He delves far beyond the surface of the individuals (even though it seems perhaps you two anonoymous folks only look at the skin deep, surface detail) and uncovers causal and ultimate insights into the frailty of human emotion.
To my eye, it seems the anonomyous folk would want some sort of a) glossy fiction that is often akin to the nonsense of a "Harry Potter" or a "Matrix" which has the depth of a potato chip, or b) another in a long line of political diatrabes that spout off half-baked rubbish that is a poor imitation of the rubbish mongers such as Rush Limbaugh or G. Gordon Libby. I ask you, why do we need MORE of that?
I suggest that GOM is doing a damn fine job at exploring and immersing himself into life and transforming that onto paper (albeit electronic paper). As an academic, I can sense in his writings and thoughts an ability and a desire to transcend the ordinary writings of most of us and instead ascend to heights only found by a few.
In other words... let the man do his work, in his way, as he sees fit. He is doing damn good.
To which an apparently overly sensitive Anonymous "#2" repliled...
You appear to have completely misinterpreted my comment. Not that I care so much, since I'm here to read Grumpys thoughts not yours, but to clear up any misunderstandings I'd like to say that I don't know how the hell you managed to construe from my comment that I would prefer glossy fiction, because I don't, and I never said Grumpy wasn't doing a good job.
I said that stories about the mundane "normally" don't interest me, but in this case he's managed to make the mundane interesting, which I'd say is a pretty good compliment. Still all writers can benefit by exploring different subjects and styles of writing. This was just a suggestion not a demand, and did not in any way reflect anything wrong with his usual theme.
In any case I will repeat my closing remark from my original comment, as it truly expressed the most important point I was trying to make, you must have missed it.
"I say no matter what you do just be true to yourself. Write about whatever you feel the call to write about without regard to losing or gaining readership."
You know they say those who know do, those who can't teach. You know so much about great writers, but besides these long lofty comments you make here, what great works have you written?
I say "bah" to you Mr. Pipe Tobacco.
Then I mentioned that I would reply to the rude comments of Anonymous "#2" to which he replied....
I'm sorry if you thought I was being rude, it wasn't my intention. All I was trying to do in my second comment was to clarify what I felt you misunderstood. I didn't mean to attack you, but I was upset because personally your comment seemed rude and insensitive to me.
I can't even believe you're still dwelling on it. There's no reason to even respond to my original comment, there's certainly nothing good to be gained from it. Or do always have to be the man with the final word? Why can't you just let it go?
anonymous #2 QUOTES END HERE
In my mind, Mr. Anonymous "#2" if he is a second anonymous poster, is the one who is overly sensitive and rude. I stated and still believe that the anonymous posts in a collective sense suggest a preference for either fluff or political drivel that is not what GOM is focusing on at this time. I also feel that GOM has the capability to do great things with his writing.
When my comments were then responded to by the Anonymous "#2" in a rather rude fashion, I did find it rather unpleasant for the following reasons:
1. His "how the hell you managed to construe from my comment that I would prefer glossy fiction
" comment is a bit unnecessary taken in the light of my original comment being directed at the totality of BOTH anonymous comments. This leads me to hypothesize that Mr. Anonymous #2 may actually be the same individual who posted the first anonymous comment. If that is the case, why the need to suggest one comment is yours and the other is not? If the two comments ARE from two different posters, I suggest you re-read my original comment so as to clarify in your own mind that I spoke about both comments simultaneously. It was the first of the two anonymous comments that lead me to believe a "glossy" style of fiction was prefered, not the second anonymous comment.
2. The final rudeness on the part of Mr. Anonymous "#2" occurred when he stated, "You know they say those who know do, those who can't teach. You know so much about great writers, but besides these long lofty comments you make here, what great works have you written?
" To which I shall reply. Yes, I do know a fair amount about the biography of great writers. My father was a literature teacher in the high school of the town I was raised in. Is that so terrible? What the hell is your point in stating the tired, pitiful, and untrue illiteration of "those who can do, those who cannot, teach?
" Do you dislike people who enjoy education? Do you feel a need to criticize teachers or others that help people learn new things? That particular comment you adulterated is one of the most idiotic and inane comments that is commonly thrown about in our society. Finally, you attempt to slam me and my integrity by suggesting "what great works have you written?" to which I respond with.... NONE... who the hell ever said or suggested I have written any great work? I am a biology professor, and while I have written scientific research articles and other academic works, I in no way have ever considered myself a great author, or even a great potential author. That said, I can appreciate and recognize the ability of great writing in others, and that is what I was commenting on with GOM.
So, in conclusion, yes, I think you are a rude cur, Mr. Anonymous "#2". Your spiteful comments were directed at me and my profession, whereas my comments were primairly directed to the first anonymous post above, to which you may or may not be the author of. A question to you sir, if you should by chance read this response... why is it you choose to post anonymously? If you truly are a different author from the first anonymous post, that would have been more readily discernable if you had an actual identity to associate with your comment. Perhaps then I and others would not presume you were one and the same.