Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Necessary Periodic Self-Indulgence Post: Serious People You Have Been Warned

Most of the time the circumstance that my blog seems to have no, or virtually no, readership does not bother me that much. For whatever reason it amuses me to keep at it, always in the hope of course that something I put up will resonate, or connect, with somebody at some point, but usually content to consider that that point may not come until some time in the future, or that such demands on other people are not reasonable to expect. Occasionally however my mood is a little more despairing and I become for a day or two despondent of the whole enterprise, not merely of writing but of all forms of mental exertion. It is of course not any help to the greater project of life to have such thoughts, let alone specific and peculiar activities of it, but they will insinuate themselves nonetheless. One had thought of writing about an article he saw about a wedding, or a suspicious series of events in the world of professional chess, or about a dream he had (it is boring to read about people's dreams, but in this one I was supposed to be in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a place I have never been, at a sort of writer's conference but with a gift shop cashier I know and the young mother of a kid at my son's kindergarten and they were miffed at me because I found a paper in a library book saying that I had won $35 and was trying to claim it, which was considered gauche) but it occurs to him, on this particular occasion only, that no one is interested to hear his thoughts on such matters, that everyone he might tell it to knows everything he is inclined to think, and is capable of thinking, about them already. Not being habituated to or proficient in other activities, and unable to get away at the moment for a jaunt, one seeks consolation in drink. It would be fun to smoke a few cigarettes too, but that sort of thing really isn't done in the circles to which the subject is currently relegated, for reasons beyond just his personal wimpiness (though some commentators, who apparently don't adhere to any belief in the context of a situation beyond the will or failure of will of each individual actor, will not accept this--they will insist that you must direct all relevant context in your life to serve your personal ends). Perhaps he will find a welcome distraction in various forms of audio-visual media (the sight of any print or "text"--I have always hated that word--making him, temporarily, nauseous); but none of these is any solution to his real dilemma, which is that he cannot really stop himself from writing on his blog, or trying to write his stories, though they consume great portions of his life to no evident or necessary purpose.

What is really setting me off lately is that I have been thinking of publishing my novel, which I finished about 5 years ago and which has been languishing on old hard disks and in a cabinet while multiple advancements in word processing technology have since occurred, on one of the POD sites. I don't have any illusions that anyone in the world is going to buy or read the book this way, but the fact of its still being in my sole possession and not bound or anything seems to be weighing on my ability to move forward, and I like to imagine that if I were able to say it, or a handful of copies of it which, I don't know, I'll dump in the bins of cast-off books they have sometimes at grocery stores or something, exists out in the world, or on the internet, that I will be able to say, "I am done with it", and try to complete something else. It is 773 pages long, all stored on separate files on outmoded disks, and though I have managed to transfer it for the most part onto my new computer, which has OpenOffice, there are a number of things I cannot fix, like getting the page numbers in the proper places, and there are instances of small letters that should be capitalized and paragraph in 10-point instead of the desired 12-point type that I cannot get to change in the saved file no matter how many times I do it. Things like this send people like me very near to the line between being functional and being committed to an asylum. Then the cheap self-publishing sites want you to upload everything on PDFs and set your own margins and all of that--I have a terrible time with these computer things. In short, this process is something that should take a couple of hours and I have been trying to figure out how to do it now for almost a year, and I really don't know what I am going to do at this point. It is quite discouraging. The book anyway is, like most books are, ultimately a failure, but there are some parts in it obviously that I think are good, and worthy of publication, and it is the work--the only work that ever will be, now--of my youth, on which I toiled for many years, and obviously it is very hard for me to let it go.

To anybody who did read this I thank you for bearing with me. After this, the blog should go back to only being mildly despondent. I do feel somewhat better, though I liked the first paragraph better than the second, mostly because I lack the language to write coherently about computers, and this annoys me too.


Hannah (Stires) Ard said...

I read your blog. And I like it.

Bourgeois Surrender said...

Well. Hi. Thanks for the kind word.