The Usual Hybernation

Following the Sharks’ annual ouster from the playoffs I usually get kind of quiet around here. I’m sure part of it has to do with all the Sharks talk that precedes their inevitable failure leaving little more to say once they finally succumb to their own mediocrity. Plus, I tend to make it a point to do other stuff besides think about sports once I’ve been let down once again and coming back to the site is a harsh reminder of the hope and promise I held a few short weeks ago.

But life goes on and I haven’t been entirely silent since I’ve been filling up my video game journal these last few weeks. I suppose it makes no sense to have a separate place to talk about video games and not sports since I’d guess there are just as many people who couldn’t care less about the Sharks as there are people who couldn’t care less about XBox or whatever. Let’s face it, most of what I’m interested in writing about is of no interest to anyone, anywhere, ever. Perhaps I should just accept that and recognize the futility of trying to cater to a readership which, frankly, doesn’t exist.

At least in this case I’ve already started keeping ’em separated so there’s no sense stopping now. I’m just saying.

While I wouldn’t call my general lack of postiness a problem exactly, it does bely a general apathy toward the kind of daily updates that are in theory the point of Even then, apathy isn’t exactly the right word. I don’t want to get all meta the way I used to with existential angst over the deeper meaning of the blog or whatever. All I’m saying is that I have things I want to relate and stories I might be interested in telling but there is a curious clash between three distinct desires: One is the desire to chronicle myself as has been the historical focus of this site. Two is the intention of writing in some sort of functional capacity, be it creating a novel or writing for other outlets (paid or unpaid). Three is the basic inclination to save thoughts and ideas for use in actual conversation with other humans.

Here’s what I mean: If I write down the little thoughts and theories that occur to me regularly and post them here, I find that I feel discussing them in person with people is somewhat redundant. Are they simply being polite and letting me carry on when they’ve already read the Cliff’s Notes version online? Meanwhile, if I spend the time I have writing these blog entries is that actively preventing me from using my “writing time” for projects that might better benefit me or, ultimately, be more satisfying from a creative standpoint? In either case, my desire to have a repository where I can keep some of the random ideas I come up with is steadfast and maybe useful to others? It’s difficult to separate oneself from it enough to come up with any useful conclusions.

The exacerbating factor is that I’m not really digging on my “day” job with the kind of enthusiasm I’d hoped for. Whenever this is the case I tend to romanticize the act of creating (especially writing) to an unhealthy degree and feel that if I just had that one break I could be ridiculously happy tapping away my thoughts and ideas for a living. Logically I know this is a zillion to one chance and rife with pitfalls and hardships along the way which, compared to my generally comfortable existence, isn’t nearly as attractive as it seems. Not to mention the fact that while I enjoy it immensely, I’m aware of my considerable shortcomings regarding the skill of writing. And no, I’m not fishing for compliments so don’t bother.

In fact—and I’m going to be more honest about my intentions here than I usually am—I confess that part of my melancholy regarding the site is that it isn’t likely to merit compliments were I to fish for them anyway. Nor does it merit debate when I wax controversial. Nor does it seem to merit much at all. I guess I was told often enough as a youngster that I was a talented writer that I started to feel that if I just put writing out there, whatever it was, people would recognize said talent and come flocking for more. I had daydreams of phantom phone calls from publishing houses and news journals asking—no, begging for my services. That my “audience” consists entirely of a handful of old friends and my family and has remained so for five years of pretty consistent updating has been an unmistakable indication that my “talent” either does not exist or exists at a level indiscernible from the millions of others who probably had the exact same fantasy.

On any given day I’m fine with this: Complaints from someone as blessed as I must sound like the pestering whine of a mosquito in the ear. Please, swat me away. However the examination of this phenomena (or lack of any phenomena I suppose) reveals that the issue lies in the fundamental assumptions: Namely, I’m not a remarkable writer and I probably don’t really have anything all that interesting to say.

Which leads back to the earlier issue which is that maybe the problem is the blog gets in my way. Maybe I need to work harder on more formal writings, maybe I need to sever the ties with the loose-format, disposable post dashed off in a few minutes of downtime. Perhaps I just need to stop using writing time to get introspective about sports teams or video games. Or, maybe it’s just a silly pipe dream anyway and what I should be doing is paying more attention to my work instead of feeding wild flights of fancy about jobs I’m woefully unqualified for.

Anyway, it’s unlikely to matter as I’ll forget all about my current sour mood in time and go back to cheerful obscurity as I intensely debate the merits of the new Transformers movie or something to my audience of three. Whatever the case, thanks for sticking with me. I don’t say it enough, but I’m honored you care enough to let me bother you now and then. Sorry I can’t make it more worth your while.

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2 thoughts on “The Usual Hybernation

  1. Scott

    Well, whether you are a talented writer or not, I still like listening to you. And I’m always entertained by iS, to the point that I still wait expectantly for ironSoap: The Novel. So you have at least one fan. That’s got to be worth something, i suppose.

  2. Don (a.k.a. Dad)

    Well, as an unpublished pipe-dreamer myself, who HAS taken classes in professional writing, I can say that unquestionably you do have significant, natural writing talent. And, in my uneducated opinion, artistic talent. And musical talent.

    Personally, though, I have found that my writing may have been headed in the wrong direction. Although I find fiction the most fun, I’m becoming convinced it is not what I need to be doing. It’s true I love creating and maturing characters, refining the intricacies of a story, and in parable-like fashion making what I feel is a profound point by the time the story is through. However, like you, I find my audience extremely limited. Even those few who read (and then rave about) one of my stories seem uninspired to download another and read it. Except for your mom I am not aware of anyone else who has read all of my fiction. It becomes the proverbial tree falling in the forest with no one around. So, instead, I have turned to writing Bible-study lessons. And here, I believe, I have found my niche and purpose for my writing. Our church just finished a 12-week set of Care Group studies using my 12-chapter “What If You Had Been There” manuscript. Nothing I have ever written (including “Anthrocide”) has ever been so well-received. And, unlike the unpredictable world of Christian fiction, I believe quality adult Bible lesson material will be far more marketable. Not that it’s about money; I’d gladly give them away. But the idea that a name publisher could distribute what I’ve written nationwide–enabling my writing to affect hearts everywhere for the Lord Jesus–would be more precious to me than a Pulitzer for a piece of fiction. All that came before may very well have been leading to this. As Esther in the Bible was told, “who knows whether you have not attained royalty [no pun intended] for such a time as this?” I believe this is God revealing His purpose for my writing talent. I’d bet He has a purpose in mind for you, too. – Love, Dad.

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