Stan Hieronymus commented on my previous post and I began writing a response to his comment and next thing I knew my comment had morphed into a lengthy and probably useless rumination on other things. And had therefore become more of a blog entry than a comment, and hey! Who am I to waste a possible blog entry?
Particularly when the entry is about blogging and therefore self-referential and therefore . . . Anyway, in that previous entry I wrote:
But there wouldn’t be much point to the blog if I weren’t writing the book.
I was referring to the meat book, my work-in-progress. And Stan commented “Not sure what you mean by “the point.” And then he asked:
So you are blogging to support the meat book or the beer book?
And hmmm, I thought. Good question.
I think what I originally meant was “I blog because I’m hoping when the next book comes out, more than one person will know about me and therefore it.” (*1)
Or . . . maybe not. Because if I weren’t planning to write another book, would I want be writing anything? And if I were writing another book, then I’d probably be, ya know, writing, and so I’d probably be blogging.
Anyway, while I was pondering that circularity (because, really, this is just an exercise to see how far I can push the circularity and self-referentiality — which probably isn’t a real word — of a single blog entry), I started thinking about the process of blogging (especially in light of the fact that I’ve just experienced about a ten-day period of not much blogging.
And I realized again just how much I enjoy blogging, far more than I expected to. So, why, I wondered, was that? Answer: Because it’s intellectually challenging. More so than I expected it to be.
This short format provides more freedom of structure and content than does a 115,000-word book, weirdly enough. The content of a book is confined by a whole lotta parameters (ones that many writers are tinkering with and pushing to the max).
That’s especially true of non-fiction: A book can’t start out being about beer, and midway through turn into a discourse on nuclear power or the mating habits of prairie dogs. Well, okay, it COULD be — but no one would read it. A blog entry, however, can be about anything I want it to be about.
Better still, I can use the blog to explore and think about all manners of ideas/subjects that I might not otherwise ponder at any length. Because it’s one thing to think about something — for example, are we living in a truly new age or is there nothing new under the sun , or where is the American economy going? — but it’s another thing to think thoroughly about that something.
That’s the point of writing, isn’t it? Presumably human beings have been thinking about complex issues since, well, since they stood upright and became “human.” And the motive for creating systems of writing was so that humans could organize and disseminate those complex ideas.
Yes, for millennia people relied on an oral tradition as a way to share knowledge. But the act of writing makes it easier to do that.
So, to wrap up what has now become an absurdly long-winded thought about probably not much of anything: I think the blog is less about supporting the beer book or supporting the meat book than it is about supporting my thinking habit. Because I am an idea junkie. Low-rent, to be sure, but a junkie nonetheless.
And aside from talking, writing is the best way I know to assess, analyze, and ponder ideas. Or, to paraphrase someone a lot smarter than me: I think; therefore I blog.
*1: Because the brutal reality of writing for money is that the money only comes in if someone buys the writing. And therefore writers have no choice but to expend huge amounts of energy promoting their work. Until they hit the Bigtime, at which point promotion is optional.