Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I don't know nothin'.

I was perusing the magazine racks at Borders a day ago, an activity totally foreign to me. I don't read magazines, generally speaking, unless they are conveniently located next to a toilet (to the dismay of those waiting). Since the only ones old enough to have a job and purchase magazines in my home are females, the selection usually includes People, Us, Better Homes and Garden's Christmas Cookie Spectacular, and Seventeen. Mixed in the bunch one might find the latest news from Franciscan University (they keep sending me magazines…did I give them money? Impossible - I have no money.), catalogs for home school supplies, and programming notes from the local Catholic radio station. They tend to hang around for three month intervals. I usually re-read them several times.

While I reviewed the titles I picked up a copy of Writer's Digest; I fashion myself to be a diamond in the rough when it comes to literature. The truth is I am more like a briquette in a bucket. The tag line on the cover said, "Write About What You Know". Apparently that will translate into huge contracts, whirlwind book tours, and a castle in Wales. Or at least it will get suckers like me who want to be the next GK Chesterton to keep buying their lousy magazine. Either way, it has joined the rest of the magazines in my bathroom.

Write about what you know.

What if what you know isn't particularly interesting to most of America? What if what you know consists primarily of lawnmowers, barbecue grilling and cleaning M&M's out of a DVD player? Or driving to work, taking the wife to dinner once a week, and cleaning crayon marks off the bathroom wall? Who the heck is crazy and bored enough to read about that? Okay, maybe my mom, but that ain't gonna get me no flippin' castle.

There has to be more. Did J.K. Rowling grow up with wizards? Did Anne Rice suffer puncture wounds to her neck? Did Stephen King get dropped on his head? (C'mon, that guy's mind is NUTS.) Did Mary Shelley collect brains in a jar? Did Herman Melville spear seafaring mammals? No, I say, hogwash. They had talent. They made this stuff up. And it was good. They expanded their own reality and wrote about things the LIKED. They found out that a lot of us liked it, too.

Unfortunately, even knowing that means little. The great writers of our day and days gone by are a woefully small minority of humankind. They do not grow on trees. They are not a dime a dozen. You can't find them as easily as, say, an artist (don't tell me you don't know that the greatest masters of the canvas can all be identified by how well they draw Tippy?!?).

That being said, many amateur writers are capable every once in a while of something pretty good. Generally it has to be short (good comes in spurts for most). Which makes blogging the PERFECT outlet.

As I browse the web I have found a few bloggers with what I consider real talent - they hold my attention, make me laugh, cry, or sometimes even get angry. They write about things they like…their faith, their families, their thoughts and feelings. Most have never been published, and probably never will. But each day they offer their words to the world for free, and I think that is pretty doggone awesome. So today I will finish by writing about what I like - blogs. Your blogs. You inspire me, amuse me, and make me think. Pat yourself on the back. Because we can't. We aren't anywhere near you. Of course, you are probably okay with that.

So join me in raising a glass to the lowly blogger. May your laptop hold its charge and your spell check never fail.


  1. I like what you like!

  2. Melville DID spear seafaring animals...

  3. Okay, okay...did Steinbeck work in a cannery? Did Tolkien play with elves? Did Orwell raise swine?

  4. Sorry, I always wanted to be a whaler... I think Steinbeck DID work in a cannery... Did Tolkien play with elves? LOL! Your point WAS and still IS taken though, sir!!! What YOU know about is life, my friend, even if you don't know which hockey club will win the Cup this year.

  5. I do know who it won't be - a certain Russian choke-artist's team from the District of Columbia...Go SABRES - Win the Stasiu Cup!

  6. I only wish I could have gotten my personalized license plates before you make it down to TX: OVCHKIN

  7. I raise my (homebrew) pint glass to you, David!

  8. And a Dewar's on the Rocks to you as well, Nod!


I am always interested and appreciative of your comments and thank you for taking the time. God bless you.