Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added) is the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers.--John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Blog End

To blog or not to blog? All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.
--Faux-Shakespeare + Tolkien

Last week I was contemplating whether I ought to stop blogging--to shut the door on my little house at Blog End, and let the habit sleep... I tend to get a good number of visitors, and lots of comments on facebook links on posts, but I still felt a little unsure about whether it was worthwhile--and whatever do I mean by that? Perhaps that I'm busy; my time is limited. Perhaps that I have lots of books popping up and not much time to do that thing called "marketing." (I am only erratically good at marketing.) Perhaps that I'm reading 300+ books for an award. And that I have other books of mine in the pipeline that I need to work on.

Just when I was leaning toward closing up Blog End, the universe seemed to take an interest in my little habits. I had a spate of marvelous compliments about the blog, online and off, from writers and editors. I suppose that no matter one's age, a resounding response is always helpful--or that I am in some things a weathercock, easily blown from one direction to another.

So today I was looking at my top five most-read posts, and wondering whether high readership could tell me anything. I think it's interesting that the most-read one is about a lively young woman--a sort of character sketch via interview. Two of them have to do with the world of my friend Dave Bonta. One is about guest-editing qarrtsiluni, the magazine he edits with Beth Adams. The other is from a series I did called "The House of Words," and it features poet Luisa Igloria, who posts daily poems on Bonta's Via Negativa. One is about The Throne of Psyche winning an Addy. And the last is about Karin Svahn's ecclesiastical embroidery.

I'm not sure what I can conclude from those five. Perhaps that people and their passions are wonderfully interesting subjects. Perhaps that despite all my novels I lean toward poetry on the blog, though I'm not sure that's true. Perhaps that doing things for other people--featuring someone who has a little more life than most people or a relatively unknown person's passion or a poet's thoughts--is the most pleasing thing a blog can do. The most fun. The most enjoyable to write and to read.

11 comments:

  1. Well thank heavens for that!

    It always amazes me how you do all the things you do and blog too, but I'm glad you do.

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  2. I'm a great admirer of your Box Elder, Lucy, though sometimes I whip through without leaving a comment. Layer after layer makes a pearl!

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  3. I'm glad you decided not to quit, though I have almost done so myself. It would be such a shame because you are such a lively presence on the blog, and I would miss you.
    Just don't worry about it now. Do what you have to do, and get back to it when you can.

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  4. As I've already written tomorrow's post, I suppose that I am toddling on...

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  5. One must ask why one does anything, I suppose. If you’re blogging for the joy of doing so, as if you’re conversing with friends or guests, then it would seem you would want to keep on keeping on, as the saying goes.

    Many, of course, blog as an adjunct to ensure that the world knows of their other artistic efforts. Or they’ve been advised to have a platform from which they might pontificate. Find that somewhat silly, for it reminds me beauty pageants.

    Hesitate to write advertise, more just a matter of holding open a broadcast channel. Even the Grumpy Old Bookman has resumed posting a bit after his long absence. He’s using it for that very purpose, to promote his books.

    It’s quite valid to consider how full one’s life away from the computer is, in addition to writing one’s other materials, and then adding the writing of blog posts. Writing a good, effective, entertaining post takes time, too. People underestimate that task.

    Actions must be weighed against one another, and the benefits of each pondered.

    I, for one, would miss your lovely, well-modulated voice if it were no longer speaking to us across the æther...

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  6. Platform! Yes, that's horrible... Like "product" for a piece of art or a book. But both are common views now.

    I'm not so sure that posting on a blog or facebook or twitter functions well as "advertising," anyway. And I'm afraid that I think others misguided who count on it. I know people who counted on facebook as a venue and didn't break 100 in the count of books sold... One who didn't break 50, for that matter.

    Perhaps people only come to a blog either by accident of search engines or because they have already encountered the person or his/her work elsewhere.

    Well, here I am. I suppose that the work of posting, like many another thing, must be accepted again and again. One always has doubts, and sometimes wonders whether many things are worth the effort. For right now, "yes."

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  7. When I saw your title in RSS, I went 'NOoooo!". Whew, thanks for staying. I've lost too many blog friends over the years and still miss them.

    I've wondered about our online presence as artists and writers, whether it helps or not. Then again, I would never have met you if not for blog connections! It IS a lot of work to keep up, and sometimes I fade for a while, but I think for me, it provides many benefits: making new friends (being such a homebody as I am), giving a structure where I do write a bit and put up photos and art, learn much and be inspired by others.

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  8. Yes, I should be nothing but grateful, really--lovely friends in and out of the arts have drifted into my life because of the blog. And lots of collaborations have happened because of it as well.

    But you're right; it's a bit of a seesaw!

    Just Bag End and not Blog End for now...

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  9. Marly, it would be a sad day in the Palace at 2 AM was destroyed! dont you normally take a summer hiatus!

    sometimes you just have to say "I cant quit you baby, but I got to put you down for a while."

    I always enjoy being introduced to to new artists and poets.
    You are far to kind to me Marly.

    Sus

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  10. Lemme see. Susanna? Susumu?

    Not the end yet... Just a day in the complaint box, I suppose. More to come.

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  11. Many thanks for writing valuable post regarding the subject. I am a fan of your site. Maintain the great work.

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Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.