Whilst at repose considering the lore of the Digital Age (e.g. all these webpages featuring content about how you should blog, what you should say, what not to say, how no one should ever start a writing blog, how I should pay money to attend classes about blogging, etc.), a reading from my AP class came to mind—Cyrano’s “No, I Thank You” speech.
It is, in a nutshell, everything Rostand, who I love (no homo) and deeply respect as an artist for providing me with what is perhaps my favorite play, had to say about writing. What follows is my vain attempt to apply his genius to our modern context:
Cyrano: Be like the creeper and blog about gimmicky, topical dreck to gain popularity without original thought? No, I thank you. Refuse to write about exactly what’s on my mind for fear of what my critics will say? No, I thank you. Choose but one focus, without any deviation, and build my subscribers based upon a single idea instead enabling my readers to grasp my true personality? No, I thank you. Concern myself only with the number of hits in my “stats” window rather than finding an appropriate audience to hear what I have to say? No, I thank you. Assume, like the meta-blogger, that the majority of readers are too ignorant (and with a tool like the Internet in front of them!) to understand my musings and so strip the dressings of my words down to a rude varnish? No, I thank you. PAY FOR TRAFFIC TO MY BLOG? ‘Tis sheer vanity! No, I thank you! No, I thank you! No, I thank you!
The best thing about being a teacher is that the kids can inspire you. One of my students was reading Cyrano de Bergerac last Tuesday, and it resonated within me for nigh a week.
Please, those of you that have writing blogs, continue to write about writing if you so desire. I, at least, will come check out what you have to say when my time permits. It’s inspiring to me that in this postmodern carnival of economy and despair that so many people out there are still dreaming and creating. And having romantics (in the true, quixotic sense of the word) like me around is good for you because you want to build up a readership that will stick by you.
We knights are loyal.
For those of you bloggers out there who feel pigeon-holed or ready to abandon the effort, branch out at bit. I’ve noticed that Mike, for example (http://mikesfilmtalk.com/) doesn’t just talk film; he also posts enticing recipes that as a wannabe vegan I can’t wait to try. After I go to the store today, he’s going to wonder if I’m stalking him.
Or, for a non-wordpress example, how about The Oatmeal (http://theoatmeal.com/), who writes about whatever the hell he wants and almost always leaves me in stitches. He’s building a museum for Tesla with blog donations, exposing the lack of research in major U.S. publications, and creating snarky grammar posters I would love to use in my English classes but can’t for fear of being fired. Let’s not forget (http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/). What happened, Allie? We miss your antics “alot”.
For my part, I’m going to write about zombies, publishing, family shenanigans, my part in Zharmae’s upcoming anthology, video games, Science Fiction and Fantasy, education, the fluffy ball of stupid that is my dog, and whatever else comes to mind. I’m going to use archaic language when it suits my mood. When I’m teaching Chaucer, I’m going to make sublime rhymes on your dime both by accident and design. I’ll also overanalyze topics of all kinds, with words both coarse and fine, and you can laugh at the tunnel visions and revisions of a man out of time. (Please try to laugh at least half as much as Eliot’s ghost is at my wrenched rhyme disaster above.)
I also want to make my little pocket of Cyberspace a nexus of collaboration. Please leave a comment regarding how I can help you branch out, whether it’s posting a link or visiting your site and writing a review. I might not have that many subscribers yet, but every little bit helps.
For you haters, the “unsubscribe” button is located to right. A little higher. There you go. Good.
For you dreamers, the “subscribe” button is located in about the same area. Just a little lower… Ah, that felt so nice I wish you’d do it twice. Heh. What a vice.
More importantly, leave a comment. My narrator’s maxim in Manifesto is, “The written word preserves us.” I firmly believe it.