...I started another blog.
Very different from this one, though. I have a past, you see, and I've been carrying around this great story for a lot of years now—the story of how my son Xander came into the world and how I somehow ended up with him. I don't tell the story very often any more, but when he was young I told it innumerable times. It takes about 45 minutes to an hour and a half to tell, and the comment I got most often was, "Wow, you should be on 'Oprah'!" (That was back before Oprah disappeared into cable-land. Xander was born in '93.)
Writing the story as a book seems to be beyond my powers. I can slap words together pretty good, but I lack the aptitude of organization. I don't mean I'm a bit on the disorganized side. I mean I have a deficit—I'm at the lower end of the scale. If we were talking about reading ability I'd be a moderate dyslexic reading at about the sixth-grade level. I'm not faking this, and it's not something I can magically fix. My house is messy but I hate messy houses and I would love to live in a well-ordered one. I just don't have the skill*. And the very thing that makes me a good writer of blog posts—skipping around from this subject to that, going off on wild tangents and digressions, interrupting myself, following threads wherever they lead, spicing everything up with stories and anecdotes—makes me, I think, poorly suited as a writer of books. I can't stick to the story, and in any event I have only a vague idea where the heck the story is going anyway.
The thing about writing that's not terribly natural is that it is remoselessly, relentlessly linear. Even a great novel—even Moby Dick—is one single line of words from beginning to end. This is not how human beings think and it is not how we interact (write a cocktail party as a single line). It's not the way we perceive things (write a complete description of anything as a single line of words; heed the parable of the sunfish). To organize a highly complex story with many facets into a single continuous string requires formidable mental organizational skills.
What you might not know about me is that, while I can be a decent writer of blog posts (and emails and letters and school papers and short essays and magazine articles and magazine op/ed columns and even, once in a while, a halfway decent short story), at the length of a long blog post or a magazine article I'm right about at my limit. I don't write long form because I can't write long form, not because I would prefer not to.
So my idea is to try to write down the story in blog format. Just get started on it and meander along until it's all out in the open for all to see.
You know what they say: Could work.
[A question: The last time we talked about WordPress, somebody mentioned a good app for writing posts offline. Anybody remember what that was? TIA. —M. the Wrtr.]
When it's done it won't be a book, probably. Or not a very good one. But it'll still be a good story. And it might be entertaining along the way.
If I can get it done. As regular readers here realize, I sort of already have enough to do; I not only need an assistant, I need an assistant who has an assistant. So this new blog won't be a big thing. I'm hoping to write 500 words maybe three times a week. That's cake for me. I could do that in the time I spend waiting for the water to boil for the Kona. No biggie.
I want to get the first chapter done before I post the link for the first time. Maybe Sunday?
Hope you have a nice weekend!
(Thanks to Ctein and Kirk, whose book projects inspired me)
*Organizational aptitude is a fascinating subject. People who are very deficient in it tend to gravitate to highly structured situations, such as the lower ranks of the armed forces or even prison. They're a small minority in either place, of course.
In extreme cases, it explains people who join cults. Again, it doesn't account for every cult member by a far sight, I'm sure, but some fraction of cult members are people who have such extreme organizational disability and lack of decisiveness (often accompanied by low willpower and lack of ego-strength) that having someone to tell them not only what to do 24/7 but also what to eat, when to get up and go to bed, how to dress, and even what to think, can be comforting and regulating.
I'm not that bad by a far sight...unless you consider TOP to be a cult. ;-)
"Open Mike," the Rambler and Tattler and Spectator of TOP, usually appears on Sundays, but this week it's Friday on account of this new writing project Yr. Hmbl. Ed. is getting into. Hope you don't mind.
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Featured Comments from:
raul vomisescu: "Go for it, Mike ! Dostoevsky also published his Brothers Karamazov in serial format in a magazine over the course of two years. I guess that would be called a blog today."
Mike replies: Yikes! :-)
NancyP: "A fellow disorganized person greets you. Oddly, my disorganization became an issue in mid-life. I know how to be organized, but have trouble sticking to habits that would keep me organized. Need I say that my Lightroom catalog contents have not been thoroughly keyworded, starred, and collected, though I constructed a very good (for my needs) keyword tree. ;-)
"Dragging myself to do the electronic paperwork and to throw out the trash (unsuccessful photos that have been examined for reason of the failure) is a nighttime or stuck-waiting pursuit. I am an amateur photographer and have the luxury of putting off cataloging and editing. Pros can't afford lack of organization."
Paul Amyes: "I read the illustrated version in Black & White Photography magazine and it made quite an impact upon me. I was left wondering for quite some time how I would have coped in a similar situation. Having never met you both and only being allowed glimpses from afar I think you have done a great job and I think it is a story worth telling."