On What To Write

I think I write, more than anything, because I like how it feels afterwards. I like the feeling of I can do this.

It’s not a feeling that comes easily to me. For most of each day, I’m feeling like I’m doing things I don’t understand, I’m not good at, or really dislike doing.

So, when I write, it might not always be my idea of fun, but there’s a small ego-boost at the end of it. Sometimes.

As with most things in life, the secret is a low bar.

The first problem I have when it comes to writing (but long-time readers will agree, certainly not the only problem) is knowing what to write about. What subject will be interesting enough for me to not only start but keep going? And what would also be interesting enough for readers to want to read the damn thing – and then come back to see what else I’ve written?

A lot of my ideas used to come from taking walks. When we lived in an apartment, three or four time a day, I walked the dogs around the complex. Which is why the bulk of my posts from that time were about dogs, walking dogs, training dogs, and weird things people dump in the trash.

And, based on the number of views, those are the things people are most interested in. My readers don’t care about Prince, Tom Waits, or nostalgic reveries about my childhood as much as I do. And that’s reasonable.

My most consistently popular posts are the pug-related ones, although I once got mentioned on Twitter by comic book legend Kurt Busiek, and my views shot up to an alarming number. My brief experience with semi-viral-fame was thrilling and very short-lived.

Soon enough, it was back to the pug stories, the movie memories, and the pictures of ill-considered signage.

This, as Americans say, is my lane. I know it well and will probably not stray far.

My new method is to keep a diary of interesting things, in the manner of David Sedaris. Unlike DS, I don’t write every day – in my mind, it would be more like making notes to help me remember events, interesting quotations, and other things my ever-aging brain would otherwise forget.

It does not seem to be going well. In fact, it’a barely going at all. I have no entries since 2019. The whole of 2020, when I could have been chronicling lockdown, providing my own unique insights into the state of the country I find myself living in during what we are obliged to call unprecedented times…I was apparently too busy elsewhere.

This might not be a bad thing. My entries for 2019 are hardly the stuff of legend.

While, for example,

Hell is being locked in a room being played bad cover versions of much-loved songs.

…is no doubt true, I’m not sure there’s a wider point to be made from this. Other than, What the hell was I thinking?

Mostly, like everyone – even David Sedaris – my life is mundane. My thoughts more along the lines of:

I can’t stop watching out the window as the cars go by and stop – or don’t stop – at our 4-way stop sign outside. Do you know how many actually stop at a stop sign? Approximately none. Some slow down – the paradoxically named “rolling stop” – but no one stops unless they actually have to. That is, if there’s a car already rolling through. If all is quiet, no one stops. And this includes you, cyclists and scooter riders.

Insightful, original, fascinating. Welcome to my blog for the month of July 2021. I’ll try to do better…

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