Thursday, January 31, 2013

Eight Isn't Enough

     I haven't been around much, I know, and for that I'm sorry. I've been busy pouring gallons of water into sand dunes and watching it disappear without a trace.
     At least, that's the metaphor that most readily springs to mind because trying to accumulate awareness of your self-published books, and translating that awareness into actual sales, has been just like that. Or, as I also like to put it, it's like dropping a ball of lint from 50 miles in space and waiting for the impact.
     To show just how unforgivably lax I've been while establishing myself on Goodreads, Twitter, my book blog, Google+ and the writer's forums on Linked In, I've let the 8th anniversary of my blogginess pass without fanfare. I'm a day or two off. But it's not as if I haven't been following the news. It's just that I've had (at the risk of sounding like Five Deferments Dick Cheney) other priorities.
     The world didn't make much sense when I began political blogging in late January 2005, which is, I suppose, the reason why I'd begun blogging. Throwing my candle onto a torch that had already long since been blazing thanks to places such as Firedoglake, Crooks and Liars and Eschaton, blogging about politics and social events was a classic case of, "The more you learn, the less you know." The higher I struggled up the learning curve, the less sense things made unless one were to entertain a conspiracy theory mindset.
     During the Dark Ages of the Bush years, only wild conspiracy theories made certain otherwise inexplicable events easier to understand. This occasional foray into Mel Gibson/Conspiracy Theory territory only made us seem more unhinged, spittle-flecked and wild-eyed than we in fact were. Among these conspiracy theories were who really pulled off 9/11, why was Iraq invaded and so forth?
     The absence of facts does not prove anything and these bizarre times have made a mockery of Occam's Razor.
     So, no, the world didn't make much sense to me when I was still a political neophyte in 2005 and it hardly makes any more sense to me now. A few of us, too many, have since fallen to the wayside because we went "legit", moved on to other things, got outrage fatigue or, in some tragic instances (Jon Swift, Steve Gilliard, Joe Bageant and, perhaps most tragically, Major Andrew Olmstead) have passed to whatever's on the other side.
     Those handful of you who have been following me from the very beginning or nearly the beginning have long noted I've been trying to get out of this mug's game of political blogging. I've said on countless times it's a dirty, thankless business that'll suck you dry and leave you with nothing but disillusion. Something, however, is sure to pull me back in. I've become like that latter day horror movie cliche of some scared victim who falls down right in front of the camera and, after a period of uncertainty, abruptly gets pulled kicking and screaming back into the shadows.
     I can't say that I'd wound up spending the spare time I would've ordinarily have dedicated to my blogging on my writing career instead in an ultimately judicious manner. But at the time I took my renewed ambition to try the self-publishing waters as a sign that perhaps this was all for the best, that this is my cue to start actually building a career instead of pouring gallons of water into the sand dunes of the digital ethers of political blogging.
     But then I got something in the mail yesterday from a dear, dear friend of mine in the Middle East, someone who'd been incalculably kind to us over the last year or two. Along with a generous gift, he wrote something in a card that seemed to put everything I've been doing these past eight years, at least for the moment, into perspective. He wrote,
     "Sometimes, the news is just so depressing and the people who are supposed to fix it are clearly not up to (the) job that I am glad to know there are people out there trying to do something about it."
     Lord knows I'm not the only one trying to spread awareness of the evils spreading across this planet of ours like a mutant, runaway cancer and, of late, many of them have been doing a much better job of it than I.
     There are only so many hours in the day and only so much time to do all the things I need to do. There's my eternal, Godot-like job hunt, household chores, blogging on three different venues, researching the publishing market and all the quotidian responsibilities and obligations that make up a human life. I haven't been around too much lately and for that I am so sorry.
     And I realize that my friend in the Middle East who's been on more than one occasion the only difference between life and death or at least middling, temporary solvency and shame is not the only reader I have who feels that way. My ongoing struggle against the Powers That Be both on a macroscopic and on a personal level has not been heroic. It has not admirable and, if I could do it all over again, I probably would've taken a pass and knuckled down on the writing for which I'd much rather be known.
     But for some bizarre, unfathomable reason, people care more about these semi-hysterical, barely-revised topical political posts I've tossed off by the thousands over these past 96 months than the literary work I've been painstakingly cobbling and crafting. Fleeting popularity is nice, especially when I get the occasional link on Crooks and Liars or somewhere else. But I'd much rather be making a living from my books than begging for donations every month or two.
     I'm sure you know where my much-abused Paypal button is. If you can at all help us out as I enter my 9th year of blogging (No, I'm not going anywhere), you'd be taking a great burden off my friend in the Middle East and whatever few other benefactors remaining who've yet to get sick of our constant problems.
     In the meantime, while I haven't the slightest intention of abandoning my stubborn, Quixotic quest to kick start my writing career, I promise to make a more concerted effort to stay on top of things and give you the content to which you're accustomed and to continue justifying in some measure whatever largesse comes our way. Those who have stuck with us through thick and the even more prevalent thin (and you know who you are), you know how much I love you and I want you all to know I have not abandoned or forgotten about you.

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