for love, not money

I subscribe to about 50 blogs. The exact number ebbs and flows as people get added and dropped. My reasons for dropping a blog are generally:

  • they start getting preachy about shit I don’t want to be preached to about
  • they’ve received a bit of national press and have been changed by the experience (in a negative way)
  • they turn the blog into a blatant attempt to make money/get a book deal/”monetize”

I’ve watched it happen numerous times. It’s always disappointing.

There’s a guy out in West Texas who initially blogged about off-grid living in the middle of nowhere. His daily posts were an interesting peek into a more simple, if not more difficult, way of life. Then the New York Times came to visit. His posts for the few months after that became a lot more self-congratulatory. (I don’t know how he was able to type with only one hand available.) The NYT story led to a few other stories. The posts were no longer about his lifestyle–they were about his life’s style. He was selling a commodity, wearing a costume, pretending. He became a caricature. I dropped him after a time, and a recent check in on his blog shows that he’s now gone off on a religious zealot/Armageddon tangent. Yeah. I doubt the NYT will be back any time soon.

I’ve grappled with how to manage content for this blog, and I understand having conflicting emotions about how to do it over the long haul. For a while, I was beating myself up for not posting often enough, or not being political enough. But then I realized: I want to write about whatever I want to write about at that moment. Sometimes I want to write about politics. Sometimes farts. Sometimes nothing (hence the occasional week-long silences). Since I’m not selling anything, I don’t have to conform to a theme or a schedule. I can do WHATEVER THE FUCK I WANT. And therein lies freedom.

This blog won’t catch the eye of the NYT, but the good news is: you won’t have to watch me turn into a media-obsessed jackass. (maybe just a regular jackass)

4 thoughts on “for love, not money

  1. While I am frequently guilty of every item on your list I try to be at least entertaining while I do it. The last line about the blatant attempt to “make money/ get a book deal/monetize really hit home. I tried to monetize my Blog but was stopped by some technicality or another…I think it was because I didn’t have a bank account or some such thing. As far as book deals go, that is a subject that has tormented my soul since I was about twelve years old.

    I just saw that a guy in China got the Nobel for “Hallucinatory Realism.” Are you fucking kidding me? I INVENTED that shit. But no Nobel here, baby.

    But yeah, I appreciate your comments. As a Bloggist, (and particularly a bicycle bloggist), I have a kind of built-in audience that is already good-natured and enthusiastic. They aren’t likely to call me out on my bullshit and sometimes that is a necessary thing.

    All my best stuff originated in my personal journal and was written as a mode of exploration of my psyche and also as a form of expiation. But sometimes I just want to say Hello to my loyal readers and therein lies the trap: writing just to be there and not really saying anything. Plus I am a comment junkie.

    Book deals? Hell yeah! The problem is, I am a terrible writer of fiction and I can’t get a handle on how to write the truth, or tell true stories without some form of fictionalization. I told someone recently (You?) that fiction does not exist; it is actually the truth dressed up in better clothes and with a new haircut so it is more ready for public consumption.

    A sad example of how I get tangled with hangups that can divert my purpose for years at a time is “The Prairie Home Companion.” I love that show and will sit and laugh out loud and tap my feet to the music and come away with a warm-hearted feeling that stays with me the rest of the day. But I bought one of Garrison Keillor’s books and put it on the shelf after a dozen pages. So every once in a while when I start thinking about the Nobel Prize and thinking about “Tales of the Trailer Park Cyclist” and I think about how Keillor’s Lake Woebegone stories simply failed to resonate with me so why would I write a collection of the same kind of stuff?

    But the Real World of the Trailer Park is so ripe with intrigue and drama and steamy and gritty hallucinatory realism that it makes “The Sun Also Rises” looks like a lost copy of the Hardy Boys by Franklin Dixon. (Do you know about Franklin Dixon?)

    So there. I am so egocentric and paranoid that I was certain that your post was written just for me. Even if it wasn’t.

    tj

    p.s. Can I keep the stickers?

    1. I’ll post a longer response to this later. For now: your blog is among my favorites, and I read it as soon as I get a little alert in my subscription thingy. So go be paranoid elsewhere.

      1. I’ve got nothing against using god-given (or wine-driven) talent to earn some scratch. I don’t like being presented with a commercial by a person who’s acting like we’re just having a casual chat. I never did like Tom Sawyer (the character) (though the RUSH song is pretty good). I don’t want to paint anyone’s fence.

        When you get your inevitable book or movie deal, I would hope that you’d continue to blog about your life. Being clear that, man, this is one helluva fucking ride. And I hope that if my plays start being produced around the country, I’ll still be writing about farts.

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