Archive for November, 2008
As opposed to “sound and fury signifying nothing.”
I was reading Merlin Mann’s blog a few days ago and he said this, which I am going to quote and then when you read it you are going to think it’s funny I quoted it.
Anybody can have a blog and post observations about things other people said first. I did it just now, and I want to do it again. Maybe, at some point, I can even manage to do it without all this self-referential belly-aching.
But, I’m also going to take my friend’s advice and quit acting like the world of ideas will wither if I’m not there to rephrase it in a slightly fancier way for my blog. I’m gonna post stuff here, but I’m also not going to sweat it or let it define me. I want to do that with other stuff that you can evaluate on its own terms.
I’ve come to the realization that six years of blogging here has pretty much achieved its original purpose. It’s put me in the habit of writing again. Although I’m occasionally ungrammatical, frequently edit verbs out of my sentences, or spend too little time refining a clumsy turn of phrase I think I’ve found my writing voice. I’ve also discovered where my writing interests are, and it’s not quite where I expected them to be when I graduated from college.
But now it’s time to do something a bit more. To take this foundation I’ve made and build on it. And to do that I’ve had to admit two very difficult things to myself.
First, I have absolutely no standing to write on the subject matter I am interested in. I have no degree in history. I have no policy-making background. I am not a political activist or a party functionary, and I have no connections. Not only that, but I have no desire to work in a Congressman’s office or do any of the things anyone whose typically interested in politics and policy would usually do.
Secondly, I have next no academic skills. I can barely write a term paper. I have no idea how to do structured research. Even if I entered a Master’s program in English literature I’d be a bit behind the curve.
I don’t see these as being insurmountable problems. The first problem is one that might work to my advantage, since I want to write for the general public. I am the audience I am looking for. And the second one is just a matter of finding out how.
But at this point I think Natalie Goldberg’s advice of “just write” has taken me about as far as it can, at least to the place I want to go.
Enough poorly thought out and/or underfunded online services are dying that someone has started a death watch blog. This is a market where too many startups thought they were going to capture 10% of the market and make gazillions with their wizzy Web 2.0 service (file storage, online collaboration, etc.).
Many of these services are just quietly turning off the servers with little or no notification of their customers. So buyer beware if you are storing all your company documents or family baby pictures on one of these sites--your backups may just disappear one day.