F*** You, You Whining F***: Dog Days of Awe edition

I don’t do much blogging by the end of summer. It’s a yearly malaise, which you can chalk up partly to my work schedule (a couple of big issues and our annual conference) but also to the dog-day-ishness of the season. That’s not to say that the heat gets to me, exactly. I just feel enervated and incapable of sitting down to write anything I think worth sharing with my adoring public.

I’ve blown off a couple of What It Is installments lately because I’d rather not spend a chunk of my Sundays trying to make my media-consumption habits seem witty and engaging. I have so many ideas for longer posts, but can’t bring myself to perform the work they need.

And then there’s The World At Large, which I can’t bear to write about. I don’t feel I have any commentary to offer anymore about war, the economy, sports, religion, the future of publishing, the future of pharma, the future of cars, the future of No Future, etc. Which isn’t to say that I’m depressed, but that I’m tired of the cacophony and feel like I’d just be adding to the ranting. I wrote to a pal recently that I’d love to know when I lost all interest in contemporary fiction, because I think it predates my newfound affection for high-end gin and good clothes, but I’m not sure.

One thing I’ve noticed is that I’m no longer very satisfied with the blog as a format. Facebook and Twitter now provide venues for writing and sharing shorter notes, links and jokes that I once would’ve blathered on about here. In fact, many of my Unrequired Reading links come from tweets I posted during the previous week (twitter.com/groth18).

I also have really long-form topics I’d love to write about, but don’t know how I’d be able to sustain the effort to compose them. One of them is a modern Parallel Lives series of essays/studies, but I think the lives I’d parallel are so esoteric that no one would have any interest in reading them. Be honest: would you like to read my comparisons and contrasts of John Walker Lindh and Gary Brooks Faulkner? Andy Warhol and George Plimpton? Tom Ford and Andrew Cunanan? (Okay, I’m still trying to figure out whom to pair with Cunanan.)

Sometimes I think I should put together an insanely good book pitch, sell it, and then let the deadline pressure drive me to actually finish the project. But then I remember how I used to ridicule that guy I knew in college who wanted to become a best-selling novelist so that he’d be able to go to Marvel or DC and have his pick of superhero projects to write.

Also, I’m still getting used to having an iPad as my main online interface; it’s not as easy to write with as my laptop, although I wasn’t doing a ton of writing on the laptop before. (I’m writing this on my home office desktop, with OmmWriter.)

And then there’s work, which takes precedence over any other writing I’d like to do.

So I mutter, and don’t post much, and take my dogs for walks, and read books and a million RSS feeds, and try to remember that point about the Iliad that I didn’t write down last night because I was reading in bed and didn’t have a notebook nearby. Oh, yeah, it was about how the envoy to Achilles in Book Nine finds him playing a lyre that he picked up after sacking the city of Eëtion. I was interested in how he was composing lovely lilting songs (“pleasurig his heart, and singing of men’s fame”) on an instrument that he won by pillage. Then I thought about the irony of how he was hanging out by the boats and singing to Patroklos, when the first line of the whole poem is, “Sing, goddess, the rage of Achilles.” Wish I had something to add to that.

But enough with the griping! Tonight heralds a new year! Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown, and I’m going to head out to the Chabad congregation nearby to celebrate. I doubt I’ll write a comprehensive take on it all, a la Operation: Yizkor a few years ago, but I hope I’ll find some inspiration in my introspection.

Happy new year, every(Jewish)body. I’ll try to do better in the year ahead (or I’ll shut down the blog and go in another direction; either way, you’ll be the first to know).

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