Monday, December 17, 2007

Master of the Myspace Comment Genre

Our tag reads: I need numerous diversions from writing and I figure the best diversion is probably writing. But what happens when I'm not writing at all? Well, obviously: no writing, no need for diversion.

Which is to say, now that our semester's work is done, I'm feeling a bit listless. Basically, I'm not writing all that much. I had big plans for these days--I was going to work hard on my novella; I was going to edit my ghost story to its natural degree of awesomeness; I was going to write actual letters to my greatest friends, telling them how much I love them (this last one came to me in a fit of unrequited enthusiasm.)

Instead, I'm cooking massive pots of soup. I'm eating glorious dinners. I'm drinking too much wine. I'm hanging out, talking. And, finally, four years after the purchase, I'm reading the instruction manual for my camera.

So, yeah, I'm doing all kinds of Not Writing. But you know what? I'm not really feeling so bad about it. I'm feeling like I've written enough over the past months. I need to take a break.

So why am I here, writing a blog?

Well, for one thing, I'm wildly addicted to writing. When I'm not writing I feel itchy. I actually feel itchy. It's an acute physical sensation.

So, I'm itching my elbows and wondering: Is it even possible to take a break?

I mean today I wrote: two or three meaningful e-mails, one very meaningful Christmas card, two or three meaningful messages on Myspace, and about twenty Myspace comments.

Yeah, it's true: instead of working on my novella, I've been tooling around, posting comments on Myspace. I kind of like this one:

"I think I can accurately say I eat more chicken any man ever seen. Do you agree?"

This is a comment I posted on my wife's Myspace page at approximately 4:49 PM.

Elsewhere, I wrote:

"I am chicken."

~Seth, upon being asked, "Do you do chicken?"

Writing this, weirdly, satisfied me. Reading it, weirdly, also satisfies me.

Remember when I said:

Blogs, letters, e-mails--to me, they're part of it, just as important as the "real" work. Your writing life is just that, your life. When you write a blog, it's not like the blog is not you--it is you. I mean do you really look at your writing as something outside your life? You move from one to the other. You write. You figure things out. Without the blogs, you'd be itching to write elsewhere--you'd be sending mad e-mails; you'd take up letter-writing, you'd deliberately fog your bathroom mirror just so you could finger a few lines on the glass.

I think I'm ready to say, for sure, that writing a Myspace comment often fulfills me as much or more than working on my novella.


Recently Janet wrote a review of a book by Marie Phillips called "Gods Behaving Badly" for the NYTimes.

Here's a brief excerpt from the review:

"Ms. Phillips’s premise is that the Greek deities have collectively suffered a whopping reversal of fortune, but that they still endure tenuously in the modern world. They live together in a disintegrating London house with a laurel-wreath knocker (nostalgia counts for a lot here) on the front door. Thus ensconced, with time on their hands, they trade spiteful wisecracks about the glory days."

The book looks ridiculous, but that's besides the point. Janet's not entirely kind in her review. Later, she writes:

"In a story so conventionally constructed that it suggests the help of fiction-writing software (yes, there is some), “Gods Behaving Badly” injects a pair of human lovebirds into the world of its downtrodden deities."

Finally, she writes:

"...although Ms. Phillips fulfills her purely lighthearted ambitions for this story, she provides a cautionary example to budding novelists everywhere. Though her background includes stints as an independent bookseller and BBC researcher, she also has a blog full of her thoughts about the hot competition on a television dance-contest show. When writers lived on Mount Olympus, they didn’t talk about things like that."

What the fuck, exactly, is Janet Maslin trying to say?

Basically, she's saying: Of course this novel is a joke, but more than that, the writer is a joke too. At the very least, she's certainly not a serious writer, an Olympian, as she most certainly should aspire to be.

I cringe. What would Janet Maslin have to say about my obsessive Myspace commenting?

Maybe it's just me, but I look at every venue as just another genre. Right now, I'm really working on my Myspace commenting. I'm trying to become a Master of the Genre. I've even met a few Masters. Recently, I discovered a new Master. His Myspace name is boxy and if they ever decide to give a Pulitzer for Myspace comments he will be nominated. From him, I've re-affirmed that the Myspace comment can be: offensive, hilarious, and utterly illuminating.

A few weeks ago, I was deeply immersed in my novella, so deeply that I couldn't even fathom taking a week or two off. Now I'm like novella-shmovela. I have Myspace comments to write!

An admission: I've been cooking dinner and writing this blog at the same time.

I would never do that when working on my novella.

But what if I did?

If all writing is the same, as I'm trying to say maybe it is, then why do I always set aside the most special time for my novella? Why do I pace around beforehand, procrastinating?

Perhaps I take it more seriously. Perhaps not. Maybe I'm just psyching myself out.

Whatever. Dinners almost ready.

I have wine to drink, chicken to eat.


jen said...

Boxy's pretty much amazing.
Also, that soup looks delicious.
I like soup.
And myspace.

Toby said...

MySpace is a source of truth and beauty, you are right to take it seriously. Friends are serious creatures, flesh or pixels. I like that writing pumps through your veins and spills out of your fingertips wherever you are whatever you are doing. That is how it should be.

boxy said...

who the heck is boxy?

boxy said...

i feel awkward now.
if wits were limbs
i'd be a leper colony.

i'm accepting this blog as our promise ring said...

I think the key element to be a master comment poster is to write something that everyone will absolutely love, but that only the person you are leaving the comment for will fully understand.

Without this personal and intimate key, the comment is just pure exhibitionnism of words, which you might say isn't so bad, but doesn't quite use fully the ingredients it hold in it's hands... it becomes more like a spread out blog.

I will send you a message of an outrageous thing I did that will make you understand my point...

victorious girl said...

==============preparing food,
eating food,=================
…and appetite as driver
….have been too rooted in the body to be of any philosophical interest. Philosophers, in fact, dismiss food altogether as a worthy topic of inquiry.
This fact is well rooted in history. Take Plato’s Gorgias, 'Do You Really Know How to Cook?'//////////For Plato, cooking was a mere knack, as opposed to a genuine art like medicine.
So my point is what,)))))((((( and how do I make any connection to your blog? Exactly! I don’t have to.
I will offer this, however:0~0~0~0~
Writing is a craft that needs to be practiced everyday, in any format, in any venue, in any way and most certainly with a glorious pot of soup,and an exquisite bottle of wine,,,,,Bon apetite

not boxy said...

whats a myspace?

Anonymous said...

I like and agree with what toby said; I love commenting, and I love taking time when commenting ... composing slowly sometimes ... there is something about it that can slow me down ... focus on something that is feeding my soul ... looking for transcendence, or just crafting the touch so it will indeed be felt as a touch from the heart or soul ...

.. Miguel, wwE

The Man Who Couldn't Blog said...

When you look up Albert von Schrenck-Notzing on Google images, and scroll through the images by size, you find nothing in Extra Large images, and nothing of use in Large images. The first set of pertinent images comes up, funnily enough, in Medium images.

Seth said...

The Man Who Couldn't Blog:

I think it's goes without asking, but I'll ask: What the hell are you talking about?

chicaloungin said...

i itched too
so I came back

Anonymous said...

...please where can I buy a unicorn?

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