Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Make a New Start?

The following g-chat conversation may or may not have taken place last Friday between myself and a party or parties who may or may not have been the lovely, and soon to be emissary of goodwill and good times abroad, Megan.

strut092: i'm reading this blog, that for some really odd reason, always reminds me of you

me: because it's lame?

strut092: naw, you heard of it? dooce?

me: no
looks awesome

strut092: no it really is, you should read it sometime if you have a chance
i've been reading dooce since i was a sophomore in college.... strangely, i've been following the life of this gal for like 5 years
she's pretty effing hilarious. and i admire the fact that she and her husband both quit their jobs b/c selling ads on her blog more-than-sustains their income...

me: what???
that's insane

strut092: oh yea, dooce is wildly successful. and it looks so easy. just start blogging, every day, about your, life?

me: Hmmm
That's really, really interesting

strut092: i hope dan's wheels are turning

me: I've been wanting to change directions with blogging, do less music and movies

strut092: which takes me back to my original message, about this blog really reminding me of you

me: I will definitely check this blog out

strut092: word. don't be lame. just start a new blog. see where it takes you.

me: Ok


So then I started reading By the time I took my lunch break I was a fan for life. She - Heather B. Armstrong - has been publishing the blog since 2001. From her "About" section:

This website chronicles my life from a time when I was single and making a lot of money as a web designer in Los Angeles, to when I was dating the man who would become my husband, to when I lost my job and lived life as an unemployed drunk, to when I married my husband and moved to Utah, to when I became pregnant, to when I threw up and became unbearably swollen during the pregnancy, to the birth, to the aftermath, to the postpartum depression that landed me in a mental hospital. I'm better now.

Her archives are posted on the site so, after scanning enough to know that I liked her attitude and acidic wit (she is what is known in some circles as a "hater"), I decided this woman's story was one I wanted to read. I started from the beginning, the summer of 2001. I'm up to Christmas of that year (she currently has gas from eating too many bowls of grape nuts). It's fluffy stuff, but most of it is really funny and she has some kind of genius for making you feel totally welcome. I come away feeling that I'm just like her. We both had to deprogram ourselves from religious brainwashing; we're both parents; both nap in our car during lunch breaks.... She's like my brain twin (when I told this to Megan she said that everybody feels like that when reading her). So yeah, in general there is a lot of ruling involved, on many levels of ruling.

But what I really wanted to say is that I've decided to rip her off. Understand, I've spent my entire creative life trying to be original, or at least subtly unoriginal. As a musician, a good rule of thumb is that you're going to rip people off, intentionally or not. But if you have to plagiarize, copy from the underground. So I aped the Afghan Whigs, Swervedriver, Catherine Wheel. And nobody was the wiser.

But fuck it, I'm going to blatantly rip of At least at first. Long enough to find out what I want to do with this blog thing. Not because I aspire to make a living selling ads on my blog (although that would win a gold medal for ruling). But because for some reason I can't get it out of my head that blogging and I should stay friends. I think that because I am a chronically over-serious bastard, I've tried to write meaningful things. The only problem is it's easy to wander into the dark forest of opinion doing that. And I am so burned out on opinion. I'm trying to go post-opinion. Of course, nobody could ever be entirely free of it. But trust me, in my case I need to go on an opinion diet.

So I'll rip her off. She posts pictures of her dog, I'll post pictures of our pet fish Tiara. She makes an update just to notify you that she has gas, I'll write a pamphlet on how to search the bathroom stalls at work in the morning and detect which ones haven't been defiled yet. She tells you about how her whole family went on vacation and then spent a week in their hotel room with the flu, I'll try to explain the butt wicked strand of Congo-bred SARS-concentrate that has attacked me TWICE this winter. And when I'm done ripping her off, I'll take it to the next level. I'm going to borrow a video camera and make a home movie called Ice Cold, where I play up to hilarious effect these little unintentional, poker-faced gangsta-isms that Claire does from time to time. Dooce gets called out on questionable mothering practices? I'm going to be the first R-rated parent blog. Have I played you the mp3 I made called "Falcor Gets Lucky," where, with a slight amount of editing, characters from the Neverending Story sound just like they're servicing each other? No? I will.

I still want to write about, and post tracks of, music that inflates my trousers for my other blog Fone Culture. (I harbor a secret dream where I, single-handedly, reverse the distasteful stigma attached to the word REGGAE – you know, rank incense, dorm rooms, Marley paraphenelia – and replace it with an image of soul, futurism and crazy-ass innovation that I've found in some of the genre's deepest, oldest cuts. I know: losing battle.) But I'm also ready to try something new.

When I try to break down what it is I love about, and the idea of, it's that she's only communicating texture, not trying to convince anybody of anything. Yeah, she has a section called Daily Style that is essentially a guide to blowing your disposable income on cuteness. But because she's only writing about things she likes, she's all PRO, no CON. That's an approach I've tried to take with my culture writing. But I still hit a ceiling because it was all culture. I love music. I love it when a movie makes me think. And sure, I even love the act of just trying to put that rush of thought into words. But I also have this whole other life, in which some pretty amazing things happen that defy me to try and describe them. For instance, my four-year-old daughter, the Walking Whimsical One, is some strange hybrid of sass and manners, so that you never see what's coming. You're either getting your heart melted or your ass handed to you on a plate of "no-duh." And there's all these shenanigans that my lady and I are involved in. Our joint pipe dream. And a concoction for romance involving whiskey, scrabble, and lots of inappropriate touching. I mean, all day I'm thinking "I should write this down."

So now, I will.

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