Friday, May 10, 2013

First and Last Post

I read on some advice blog, a blog about blogging, that you should treat every post as your first.  On another advice blog, this one a technical site, it said to treat every blog post as your last.

Unless you are a novice at this, get paid for it, or are just plain crazy, you could be on the verge of ending the whole damn thing.  I know I am.  It takes effort and a certain amount of commitment.  And, to really make it big, even medium, you need to be a whole lot more technologically savvy than I am, and a lot more aggressive than I am, and a lot more willing to be just a pawn in the game here on the innerwebs.  Basically, I don't want a G+ account or a Twitter account or a Discus registration password or a YouTube channel or, for God's sake, a Pintrest page.  I don't want to beg and cajole everyone I know to get four-hundred Facebook friends or thousands of likes on my page.  The frustration of all of this sometimes makes me feel like giving it all up.  Done.

I'm not doing it right, am I?

And, I am pathologically naive.  I thought that if I offered up something interesting and new people, well,  would read it.

On the other hand, the assertion that we should treat every post as our first is extremely valid.  I have said repeatedly that this is a stupidly ass-backwards medium.  When you go to a site for the first time you read the most recent post, maybe scroll down and that's what you get, right off, the most recent thing.  None of the clever and carefully developed nuance of tone or voice, style or look, is recognized or, frankly, even considered.  A new reader doesn't know what your getting at from just one post.  And what if that one post is an ad or review or, say a craft made out of snacks.  That's just not what I am trying to do here.

Because of this, I am constantly linking to old posts and explaining backstory and, well, case in point right here.  Up there at the top of this page I mention that this thing is about childhood and my twins and nonsense and cute stuff.  Until that last sentence, you wouldn't even know I had kids, you could have assumed you were on an advice blog, or that I was some blah-blah-blob-blobbity-blogger with nothing worthwhile to share.

I'm not doing it right, am I?

I don't stay trendy either, or offer reviews of products, or make Star Wars references, or even have a book to offer you or that's in the works.  Nope, I don't have much to offer in this era of rampart consumerism and petty capitalism, although I do like LEGOs.  I don't recommend many products, except, apparently, LEGOs.  I don't really like computers, and loathe smart-phones.  I don't give advice because I don't think my way is the only way, that, and I fail a lot.

I do endorse grand ideals.  I believe in hopes and dreams.  I love wholly and boundlessly.  I think words matter.

I'm not doing it right, am I?

So this is neither my first nor last post, my best or worst post, funniest or saddest, most poignant or grand.  This is the post I'm doing right now, and, it's the one you are reading right now.  I better think quick:

I don't think I need the decoder ring and, alas, there is no magical ring that can make an eight-year-old boy make sense.  I'll leave it as is.

I know that Zack and his team have been hard at work on this and that it is really important to him, but there is more to me putting this here.

It’s hard to explain, but, I think when he reads this, someday, in “future perfect” world, he will be able to remember this precisely.  Part of what I am doing here is supplying the boys with details, tangible evidence of their youth, which, for me, and so many others, is lacking.  Sure, there are pictures and such of me as a kid, but, the real evidence of my own childhood, those precious memories, is circumstantial and questionable and, selfishly subjective. 

Sometimes, a smell will bring back a memory of a fresh plowed field being split by a sharp blade.  The shape of a face recalls an old hardware store; an old corded phone, a girl I longed for in high school; summer lightning in the distance assures me, because my father assured me and calmed my fears.  These are good, strong and sacred memories.  I cannot assure you of their accuracy.

So Z might look at these and remember that time, on the bus – Miss Leslie’s Bus – when he had an idea and was helped by his friends and made this specific thing.   

I think he’ll like seeing it again.   

I know I will.

I'm not doing it right, or, am I?


  1. You probably don't want to write like your first post, since people usually start a blog with "hello world, I'm looking forward to writing blah blah blah". It's never a hit-the-ground-running post. It's some apologetic post about how they'll try to not suck. And the final post is usually the same thing but inverse: "Well, goodbye, it's been fun but I just don't have time/inspiration anymore."

    It's poetic to suggest people write like it's their first or last, but it's more practical to write like it's your 100th post. Or whatever midpoint you've got. That way, you write with all of the things you've learned in the meantime - not just about your audience, but yourself, and which stories you like to tell the most - and you write, knowing that you don't have some heavy guilt about walking away from your site.

    Anyway, you're doing it right because hey, there's no blog police, and as long as you're providing us with a slice of life, there's no way to lose.

  2. I pretty much agree with Zach up there. And you're definitely "doing it right." In ten or twenty or thirty years (or all of those) the stuff you've got here will be like gold to everyone who loves you and who you've loved.

    There are guys who make their blogs into Blockbuster movie events; there's a place for that. But really, the world would be a much sadder place without those quirky, sincere indie films, or those personal documentary reflections like what Ross McElwee used in "Bright Leaves." I'd bet you'd like McElwee's stuff, Bill.

  3. You are absolutely correct that it's an upside down world, this blogging thing. Serializing in reverse makes no sense.

    The way I've put it is this: every post is a first impression. You don't get a second chance. That's probably why I post as infrequently as I do. Perhaps you feel the same tug. The quality of your work suggests that you do. Keep doing.