Here’s the 9-billionth installment of my weekly blog. Another lap around the pool, as it were.
I write to you from the end of the semester In Iowa City. Fall 22 is over. Spring 23 is on the way. I write to you because I keep writing to you.
Originally, these blogs happened because I was told they would generate attention for my writing. Naive then. Naive now. Attention never came. It’s ten years latter and I’m still writing. So I guess I’m not doing this for attention.
I was going to graduate school at the time I started these blogs. I had this idea for writing a book about my experience as a high school teacher. I figured that would have something to do with my dissertation. It didn’t. But I kept writing anyway. Ended up with three memoirs. The Weepy Memoir Trilogy. Buy 9 billion copies here. Help me recoup my string of financial losses.
I’m no titan of industry, but I do write. Just keep writing.
My writing hasn’t brought fame and fortune. This is true in any genre. I’ve taken stabs at memoir, at science fiction, at academic writing, at poetry, and at humor. You can find examples of my work scattered across the internet. McSweeney’s did cut me a check for $15 for the piece I wrote with my friend Ben a few years back. Pure profit, baby. Actually, that’s not entirely true when you factor in the cost of labor, which a titan of industry might do. I’m probably making a cool negative $1,500 per hour.
Recently a friend asked me why I didn’t hire an editor for my memoir about my mother. Determined Weeds. I can’t pretend that all three of my independently published books were copyedited all that well.
“I never found an agent for them, the publishing industry is madness, and I’m not independently wealthy!” I screamed at my friend. No I didn’t. I rarely scream at people. I just shrugged.
I don’t have any urge to return to those books and clean them up. They are what they are. I made what I could make. And then I moved onto the next thing.
I’ve been shopping a science fiction novel for almost two years now. I can’t get any takers. Maybe it’s my query letters. Maybe my synopsis. Maybe it’s the improvisational genre blurring of the book. Maybe it’s the lack of copyediting. Again, I don’t feel the urge to revise the work. I really like the book for what it is. An honest expression of the science fiction I could write at the time I wrote it. I’ll probably end up putting it out like I did my memoirs but, darn it, I’d love to experience traditional publishing after all these years. We’ll see.
I’ve got two other academic books in progress. Some amateur theology. Some poetry. All sorts of academic articles. Despite the enormity of my new job, I just keep at it. I just keep writing.
Writing and thinking are essentially the same thing. Writing is intentional thinking. Organizing thoughts to share them with others. It is good to think, so it’s good to write.
The fortune and fame doesn’t come. And it’s hard for me to know how much others enjoy the geyser of words, often poorly edited, that have been erupting from me for years. But it just seems like those things have little to do with my writing habits. These weekly blogs. A weekly routine. Maybe more than anything else, in these loud and frenetic times that seem hellbent on keeping me from thinking, it matters to me to make time to think. To sit with my thoughts with some degree of intention. To process in peace.
Processing is good. Peace is good. That might be a little of why these blogs keep happening almost ten years later.