I am starting a blog, something I thought I would never do. When my late friend Peter M., a worldly man who was an expert on publicity and whom I dearly miss, advised me to start a blog coinciding with the publication of my last book, I pooh-pooh’d the idea. I also told the publicist at the publishing company: I don’t blog, I don’t twitter, I’m not on Facebook or MySpace, so you’ll just have to promote me without my assisting in these newfangled ways. (Lotsa luck: nowadays, publishers expect the writers to do all the promoting.) I was playing the geezer card. Never, never would I consent to keep a blog, that catchment for random drivel.
But now I have agreed to write a weekly blog, which is scheduled to run for a year. Why? Because Sudip Bose, an editor at The American Scholar with whom I worked in the past when he was at Preservation, asked me to, and I like Sudip, whom I have never met incidentally, or if I have I don’t remember (forgive me, Sudip, it was probably at a crowded literary event), and I’m not even sure if Sudip is a man or a woman, but I think a man—in any case, I’ve enjoyed the way he dealt with me via emails, and so I agreed. One year, 400-600 words a week. I am on the road to hell. Or simply, I have finally joined the 21st Century, 16 years into it. Good thing I am not a purist. I am an impurist, which is probably why I voted for Hillary Clinton and not Bernie Sanders in the primary. Oops, there goes half my readership. Well, I’ve always been a firm believer in the notion that it’s all right for a personal essayist to tweak or alienate the reader from time to time, and not insist on warm agreement.
I also thought it might be good to try a blog because it could help generate some unexpected material and fresh ideas, which could then be recycled by combining them into diary-like essays for my next collection (Notes on X, that sort of thing). Clearly, this first entry will not be useful in that regard. Have I mentioned that the pay for this blog is wretched? I can’t wait for Congress to raise the hourly minimum wage. See you next week.
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