Sunday, September 29, 2019

More Rambling with DFW

I often think I can see it in myself and in other young writers, this desperate desire to please coupled with a kind of hostility to the reader.
 - David Foster Wallace

Desire to please? Eh...

Desire to make you think, perhaps.

Hostility? Yeah, definitely some hostility. I can totally see that, given my ongoing struggle for audience interactivity, which, as for on my domain and primary host of my blog, I have mostly removed. Yeah, the commenting feature is gone. Nobody seemed to notice.

My mirrors still have comments open, but hardly anybody reads those, unless they were members of the networks that I mirror my posts on before I came to be there, like Scuttlebutt. SSB is great, and people talk to me or about me, but nobody is there who I referred.

And I closed down my Facebook accounts back in May. I haven't heard anything about that either. To be fair, though, most of the people who I was connected to on Facebook, I was only connected to on Facebook, so they'd have no means of messaging me once those accounts went away.

But I'm trying to go about things more my way.

In the words of (yes, I know, this is Rambling with DFW, not Rambling with NG) Neil Gaiman, in Lesson 17 of his Masterclass:
When people tell you that something doesn't work for them, they're right. It doesn't work for them. ...You also have to remember that when people tell you what they think is wrong and how you should fix it that they're almost always wrong.
Neil goes on to say that if I try to do things their way, I'm writing their story, not mine.

I'm trying to make my blog work. I'm closing in on eight years of sharing my perspective of the world and from your ("their") side of the table, I'm not sure if it looks like much has changed. I certainly don't feel like my writing style has changed much, if any; and I know the appearance of this website has hardly changed at all, a few links shifted around and the advertisements came and went, but as a whole, it's the same site.

I'd ask if you'd noticed any change these last seven-and-a-bit years...

Neil also says that things usually seem to go wrong further back than when you notice a problem. You could be halfway to Isengard and realize you forgot to pack spare undies. If you're an adventurer, you either have to turn around, make a pit stop somewhere, or improvise. If you're a writer, you have to thumb back however many pages ago you were last at whatever little hamlet you came from, repack your bags, and pray you don't have to rewrite all those pages to account for the extra baggage.

I don't think it's ever too late to start over, and I have heard enough about Tolkien that he rewrote LotR no less than seven times because he kept forgetting some important detail, and instead of rewriting from that moment onward, he just scrapped the whole thing and started fresh.

I really don't want to go quite that extreme, but I have thought about moving on, perhaps to somewhere with a bit more permanence...

Oh yeah, DFW was right. Definite hostility. Maybe not to all readers, but certainly those that give me the feeling that I'm not good enough or not doing things well enough simply because I'm trying to fix things my way or because I feel my words bear worth, instead of their way or their words.

Go get your own blog if you want somebody to write your words. And then make that somebody you, because I'm certainly not going to do it.

Though I might quote you out of context, some long way down the line...