Saturday, January 30, 2010

I Got Wood

Oh, get your fucking minds out of the gutter. You know damned good and well that wood is the traditional 5th anniversary gift. And whose 5th anniversary is it for what?

Well, today's my fifth anniversary of blogging. It was the day before the first of the Iraqi elections. Remember all the purple fingers all the idiot Republicans were holding up during Bush's 2005 State of the Union Address in February and how they thought he was a fucking genius for forcing Democratic elections on people living in a massive war zone, people who were killed by insurgents as they walked out of the polls, people who weren't given their food ration cards until they voted? The election with the 10% Sunni turnout in which the ballots had to be taken to Jordan because Iraq was too unstable for the votes to be counted, the results took months to come in and most of the candidates had to campaign in secret so nobody knew who the fuck they were voting for?

Yeah, those elections. That's what got me into blogging, that and the second stolen election less than three months earlier. It was also about the Iraq War itself, a war that came not to merely define a presidency but one that would redefine the presidency itself.

Well, about three thousand posts, three blogs and two and a half million hits later, where the fuck has it gotten me? Despite writing some of the most insightful and perspicacious political posts on this side of the tracks, I still haven't been blogrolled on a major blog, am studiously ignored by 99.999% of the blogosphere and am even reviled by my so-called colleagues simply for trying to get people to see the truth. On a good day without linkage, I'm getting, after all these years in the trenches, maybe 400 hits daily.

Basically, I've met the same fate my creative fiction writing has. For some reason, except for a precious few whose antennas happen to be tuned to my obscure frequency, whatever it is that I'm doing seems to be inspiring the liveliest apathy in those whose attention I try to solicit.

I know writing talent isn't a factor any more than is my presentation or research.

I've stubbornly stuck to it, tried not to be temperamental about being ignored during the year and a half-long run of this blog, I haven't threatened to quit. But reputations die hard and I have one for being a quitter. I guess it'll always follow me.

Frankly, I never thought in the beginning or for years thereafter that I'd still be doing this. Blogging is the most addictive form of writing for an OCD personality like me. There was never a five year-long period in my life in which I wrote 3000 poems or earned even the fleeting, transient attention of hundreds of thousands in any one year. I'd developed as a political blogger much faster than I ever had as a poet or a novelist so I can't say my time has been entirely wasted.

I've found myself saying that in the beginning I honestly wouldn't've recognized Karl Rove if I shared an elevator with him and the learning curve is quite steep if you start out from a position of near ignorance as I had.

But, as always, I can't say the rewards have been worth the sacrifices, the loss. Perhaps my incessant blogging and obsessive alarm with the direction my country was taking contributed to my losing my family. Sure, I could've done other things and no one ever demanded that I take time away from my family so I could entertain or educate the piddling masses I typically attracted.

But I had and the payback has been miserable. These past five years I could've taken all that time and energy to write 10 or 12 novels and at a time when it was a little easier to get the attention of a stupid literary agent instead of producing only one and getting form rejection letters for all my hard work.

It's obvious that save for a tiny fraction of 1% of the readers out there, I've overstayed my welcome. Sure, I've been linked and frontpaged on James Wolcott, Andrew Sullivan, Daily Kos, Eschaton, Huffington Post, The Nation, Crooks and Liars, Buzzflash and hundreds of other blogs and sites but they quickly forget me. I have to remind them I'm still out there. Blogging's been the only constant in my empty and ever-changing universe. And I don't think I can do this, anymore. The hits aren't there, the comments aren't there and it's obvious that I'm not reaching enough people to fill a Fiat. My last Assclowns of the Week got one comment. Most of my hits come from stalker ex girlfriends, trolls and perverts looking for porn. Pottersville's been turned into the real thing, a ghetto for guttersnipes and sickos and I never intended for it to be that way.

I don't think I can do this anymore.

I was writing to a poet friend of mine earlier this month. When we first began corresponding, he was about the same age I am now. I was a 21 year-old desperate for a critique on my poetry. No one can write in a vacuum indefinitely so I'd pester people. Like I'm doing now.

Just yesterday, yesterday, I tell ya, I was in my 20's. On the 16th I turned 51 with even less fanfare than my rotten, ungrateful, thieving, sociopathic family gave my 50th. I still think I'm getting better and better as a writer at an age when most writers start to dry up and wind down.

So I want to concentrate on my fiction and to try to sell some of it before I dry up. I just thought my 5th anniversary was a good time to just hang it up at least for the time being.

I need to concentrate on my fiction, on getting a job. It's unimaginably hard out there, perhaps even harder than you guys realize, and I can no longer justify the expense of time, energy and spirit that it takes to keep Pottersville one of the best (in my opinion) political blogs out there.

I'd say, See ya around. But I can't guarantee that.


At January 31, 2010 at 2:17 AM, Blogger Stan B. said...

Congrats!!! And best of luck on whatever you finally decide (and/or redecide).

A couple of observations:

There really is no accounting for talent, taste- or luck.

I think most people prefer a good news, "positive" vibe place to hang their weary hats on. I'm a fan- and sometimes I really have to psyche myself up to journey through the muck here with ya, after delving in it all day starting with Democracy Now at 6AM. Anyone paying attention is experiencing a massive beatdown from all corners each and every day. And its only a tribute to your skills that we come here to drag ourselves in it anew. It's both cathartic- and agonizing.

Why isn't Mike Malloy a household name? Why is Michael Moore despised by those he supports, defends and fights for? We're a totally ass backward country in a totally fucked up world. I guess that's why so many who can, prefer to write fiction...

At January 31, 2010 at 6:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't comment much but you've been a daily stop for me for a few years now. If you feel the need to move on to other things, by all means do so. Thanks for the great posts and best of luck to you.


At January 31, 2010 at 9:54 AM, Anonymous Comrade Rutherford said...

"Writing some of the most insightful and perspicacious political posts"

I'll say! My favorite blogger, you are JP (RC).

"Blogging is the most addictive form of writing for an OCD personality like me."

Which is why this is about the fifth time you've quit ... only to come back days or weeks later. You fooled me once and I took you off my blog list, I'll not make that mistake again.

"Just yesterday, yesterday, I tell ya, I was in my 20's"

I agree. I'm 43 and wonder why 20-somethings think I'm a dirty old man when I try to flirt with them. I thought I was 23...

Well, I want nothing more than for any one of your manuscripts to be published. I will buy everything you do, because I love your writing. Please don't be gone too long this time...

At January 31, 2010 at 10:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah! What the Comrade said above. Except I'm 56.


At January 31, 2010 at 11:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jp the best to you in the future, I'll still drop by to see if your back for the day.

At January 31, 2010 at 11:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps you'd do better if you didn't have contempt for the "Piddling masses." Your anger and condescending attitude drives people away

At January 31, 2010 at 1:24 PM, Blogger Jill said...

JP, you'll always have a home at B@B, so if you want to hang this up and just pop into B@B when the spirit moves you, that's fine with me.

As for publishing, I never would have said this at one time, but times have changed. While it is still more "prestigious" to have a "real publisher" do your book, the success of a self-published book is only limited by your willingness to promote it. Perhaps you might consider starting out that route. I realize there are no advances involved, but publishers aren't exactly generous with advances these days anyway. It would be a start towards testing the waters of your marketability as a novelist.

Just my $0.02. I could be wrong.

At January 31, 2010 at 7:09 PM, Anonymous ShortWoman said...

Happy Blogiversary!

Seriously, I hope you are still moved to post occasionally. Even if it's very occasionally.

At January 31, 2010 at 7:16 PM, Blogger driftglass said...

Happy 5th blogiversary

At January 31, 2010 at 9:01 PM, Anonymous sixdollarman said...

This afternoon, I found a dead guy face-planted in a snowbank across the street. Jeans and sneakers, jacket, mittens, and cap with local NFL team logo. For a few moments I tried to rouse him, then went to the house to call 911.

Guy was our age.

None of us can be faulted for wanting to get a little more happiness in our lives. When doing what it is you like to do starts wearing you down, it's time to move along.

I happened upon your blog just a few weeks ago, and it will be missed. Congratulations on a good run, and best of luck in your future endeavors.

At February 1, 2010 at 12:17 AM, Anonymous tw said...

Will miss ya but wish you the best in whatever you do in the future

At February 1, 2010 at 1:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a Stu also...63 and still believe I'm 23 ! I protested
Viet Nam in College on the quad
with other students and professors.
When I read your blog I feel a
Comrade in arms of thought; rights;
and ideas.
Do the fiction thing! But do not
depend on "publishers" unless you
know an insider. Follow Jill's
suggestion. Try an audio book;
online book something new and
different... the gimmick to lure the readers in...keep your blog here so we can all look in periodically and get an update.
That's 2.5 million hits in the next 5 years to link to your latest
work. Your only 51 the next 10 years will be rich in rewards...just keep moving and pushing ahead.
Maybe blogging about how f'd up everything is just gets you down and then the best story telling can't come out...let it come out.
What have you got to loose..we're
here just tell where to click to get more. Write it and we will Read it!
Florida Stu

At February 2, 2010 at 10:37 PM, Blogger Tengrain said...

JP - Happy blog-o-versary - I just had my fourth the other day.

Now, onto serious matters. JP, above all others, I wish I could write like you. I admire your intelligence and your courage. I've followed all your blogs in their various incarnations, and when you've closed each one, I've mourned its passing.

Please keep blogging. We need you.



At February 2, 2010 at 10:43 PM, Blogger Cleveland Bob said...

I'm with Tengrain. Stick to it. You've always provided a sane, yet sometimes fragile, voice in the weeds.

We're out there and we're reading.

At February 3, 2010 at 12:22 PM, Blogger truth said...

as a Quitty McQuitter blogger myself (and also about the 5 year mark) I can say nothing other than that you have to do what is right for you. While I'll miss your pithy observations and often brilliant writing, I realize that this kind of unpaid commitment is financial harikari by many slow cuts.



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