Sunday, December 22, 2019
I am the Internet
I am well acquainted with the famous artists who never look at or listen to their work after they're done making it.
"I never listen to my albums, and if a song of mine comes on the radio I have to turn it off."
"I don't reread anything I've written after it's published. I just see the mistakes."
"I never want to watch my own movies. I'm only interested in the next thing."
are all representative of the kinds of things I have read and heard notable artists say about their own work. And that's fine for them. But I don't have that luxury. They have millions of people to look at their artwork for them. Millions.
I just have a few.
So, thank you by the way.
But while Cat's Cradle is (fair enough, deservedly) being read somewhere every second of every single day, the vast, vast majority of my own handcrafted 2,500 plus blog posts are floating in the black, anonymous space of the great, sleeping Internet. At any given time it is likely not just that no one is reading any given essay of mine, but that no one is actually reading anything I ever wrote. And while I genuinely count myself fortunate to have had ten or 15 readers of any of my posts, for some of my posts that moment of light might have happened five years ago! Some of even the nicest things I have written have been wallowing in absolute Internet darkness for half a decade now.
And so that is why I regularly, constantly even, go back and reread my old posts.
Or wait, let me put it an entirely different way:
I am on the Internet a lot! I am on it slightly more than I can get away with at work. I check it out regularly at home. I shop on it, watch movies on it, and play games on it. I check the weather on it. It is not accurate but I keep trying. I even work on the Internet! But in all that Internet time I am often dissatisfied. I have a lot of problems with the Internet, a great catalog of problems, many of them exhaustively articulated here, on this blog on the Internet. Sometimes I come to my senses and turn off the Internet. But sometimes I go round and round until I come, in desultory fashion, to my blog.
And I look at my traffic.
And I see that some weird bot in Russia that I don't really understand went to Saturday, October 3, 2015. It's one of those letter to the publisher posts, First Follow Up Letter to Editor. So I go there too. Just like the bot. But unlike the bot, I read it. Maybe the first time anyone has done so in years.
I like it!
So, as the right sidebar of my blog lists the other blog posts in nearby sequence, I choose one by title, October 6, 2015, My Friend Bob Dylan.
I like it too!
How about October 1, 2015, Dear Jerome Foundation?
I think, "Hey, I should send this letter. I could use $250 in stamps!"
And I realize, this is all I want the Internet to be. I just want it to be this good. And then I read some more of my old posts until I get tired of them and stop thinking they're so great. And then I go to Reddit and watch some cats fall off couches.