I’m struggling for a way to even start this post because frankly I don’t feel that I’m qualified to be writing it in the first place. It won’t require a level of expertise that can only be achieved by having taken years of schooling. It’s not something that requires years of experience. It’s a blog post. Anyone can make one. However, it’s difficult to find an appropriate way to express how small I can sometimes feel when standing in the shadow of something so well done, knowing it contains a level of quality that I could never hope to match even if I were to plagiarize. After all, the people that bring out these feelings may never (will never) see this – however we are all on the Internet. So that’s at least some degree of separation, anyway.
I write for fun. It’s something I’ve always liked to tell myself that I enjoy doing. I don’t claim to be very good at it. As far back as I can remember I have been writing. I loved the idea of filling up a notebook with just a pen and words. My cousin and I would write detective stories to pass the time during slow, painful family gatherings to avoid getting our cheeks pinched and our heads patted. In junior high school, when sleepovers were the norm, my friends and I would write stories about ridiculous adventures on which we imagined we might embark when we were adults. In college, I happily switched my major to history because the majority of the classes shared the same pattern: go to (or skip) a bunch of classes, read a bunch of text and then write a long paper about it. I wanted to do this. As an angst-ridden teen and even twenty-something I would keep tabs on myself and chase away my terrifying social anxieties over unindented, overwritten paragraphs and haphazardly saved, well-hidden text files.
As I’ve aged, however, I’ve found a great deal of enjoyment in seeking out and reading what is generally considered brilliant writing. Every so often I find pieces that make me shake my head in amazement. I wonder what experiences some of these writers have gone through to become so talented – and I wonder about it so hard that it becomes a kind of paralysis. The very idea of this talent is then culled together to form some sort of inescapable strait jacket. I don’t want to post anything let alone scare up an idea of something I might post because it won’t be good enough to live up to the standards of a select few authors that would never see the aforementioned non-existent post and thus it’s not good enough for me; the absurdity of that being that I am not those authors and so why hold myself in some regard in which I do not and never will exist?
For example, not that long ago I tried examining the ways that being a Cubs fan has sucked the fun out of the entire sport of baseball. Last season I can honestly say I hated baseball. I didn’t watch it from maybe June on through the final half-inning of the World Series where I finally tuned in to see the Giants throw a massive party, the likes of which Cub fans of the living variety have never seen. I wondered what had happened to us as baseball fans if we could no longer enjoy the sport (the pastime – the fun activity) because of the bumbling ways of the franchise that happens to inhabit the general region in which we happened to be born. After all, I grew up loving the sport – both in playing and watching it. I had let the Cubs’ ineptitude destroy that passion and it rendered me bitter and incapable of appreciation in any capacity for even the most incredible of events. The Giants finally winning a title seems to fall under that category, having not earned the honor of being called champions since 1954. That moment not only left me unmoved but almost a shade of disgusted. Everything good only happens to others, right? See the next paragraph.
My point: that was something I decided to write and I was satisfied with it but much like all the stuff I write I was hesitant to post it because then it’s out there. Sure, I can delete it – but someone saw it. Surely, someone stumbled upon it. Thick skin would come in handy for chasing away thoughts such as these. I recently stumbled upon a piece written by one of my favorite Internet writers named Brian Phillips, who blogs at the incredible Run of Play, about just this very thing albeit from the perspective of soccer fan trying to beat back the onslaught of hyperpartisanship. Essentially, his point was similar to mine but articulated in a manner I could never hope to achieve. This, as you can guess, thrills and depresses me to no end. I can only explain that this is because I am grateful for the opportunity to read his writing (for free!) yet at the same time I am woefully unable to duplicate even 1/1,000th of the quality of prose he effortlessly puts out time after time.
Thanks to my Twitter addiction, I discovered the genius that is the Et Tu, Mr. Destructo blog written by a fella named Mobute who also has a Twitter account. At the risk of sounding sycophantic, this individual or possibly collective of individuals is awesome. Is he mean? Yes. However, I get the feeling that if one happens to be in his direct line of fire it’s not worth taking each of his barbs as a final judgement of sorts on one’s very own existence as much as a comment on the specific thing he happens to be dissecting at the point of attack. The way words and metaphors and who-the-Christ-knows what other devices he uses come together to form the whole of his posts leaves me slack-jawed and bereft of comprehension as to how he’s done it.
I don’t like being effusive with praise because I’m a cynic and cynics hate most things. But I’m not clever or smart enough to be a professional cynic, something I’ve always wanted to become. This author is over-qualified. Once again, you can read this stuff for free. It’s almost not fair. I feel like I should be making donations for this kind of work. To think that he simply does it for shits and smiles blows my mind. Maybe in a couple of lifetimes I can harness enough brain power from my former selves to be half as good as this.
These are two examples of reasons I don’t write or update my blog as often as I should. I renewed the domain name earlier this year knowing I may or may not ever write another post again. I’m more in love with the idea of having a blog in which to indulge myself than the actual undertaking of putting together something that resembles writing that any human being with any shred of personal autonomy would ever want to read. My thoughts and opinions and half-assed analysis seem pointless and droll in comparison to the truly amazing writing that’s waiting to be read. But I suppose the point isn’t to compare myself or get recognized. In fact, I almost hope no one reads this. If they did they might think for a few seconds about how forgettable it is before moving on with their lives.
However, I now feel a lot better – and that’s what counts.