I’ve been trying to come up with something clever to say for a while. Something that will make readers either go “Wow! Why didn’t I think of that!” or “I’ve always thought of that but Bottledworder said it first. Shucks! ”
In case you didn’t figure it out yet, I’ve been trying my best to be smart, funny and presentable all this while. Sometimes presentable light. Sometimes presentable intense. Sometimes presentable knowledgeable.
If I was a natural, this would be easy. But as you’ve also probably figured out by now, the presentability slips frequently for I am none of the above in reality. So obviously, I’ve had to think a lot and think hard about being clever.
But instead of my words coming out witty or funny or intense or heavy or whatever it is that I am, I was staring at a bit of a blank page. Like the frog that had seen the fly on the big leaf in the garden. Waiting. A long time. (Is there a story like that? An Aesop’s fable? If not, there ought to be.)
When the blank page wouldn’t go away, I blinked and started thinking about the nature of being clever itself. In a a blog post.
I know that’s not being very clever but I thought we already settled that.
I mean, any kind of writing is hard. You need to calm down from whatever it was that was bothering you, make your mind go sort of blank, then fill that blank with something, whatever it is, whether it’s the elections or the behaviour of your neighbour’s dog, and then start typing about it.
Chaos. →Blank. →Fill. →Type.
Now, there are times when the mind will get stuck at stage 2, blank and refuse to fill.
Then you are stuck.
That can happen with any kind of writing. That’s writer’s block.
But a blog is different. Posting on a blog presents special difficulties.
If you’re working on a longish project, say a critical book, a work of fiction or non-fiction, an essay or memoir, you either have an underlying argument or a story to come back to everyday.
You go to sleep at night and you come back to it in the morning. Your life gets disrupted by a storm and you come back to it after things settle.You go for the holidays. You come back to it in the new year. If you have writer’s block, it can be hard but you still have that cocoon of the whole (of which you will only write a part on a particular day) to go back to.
But here, in the blog world, you have to come up with something new to say everyday (or frequently enough). No direction for you. No small parts adding to one large whole to guide you.
The blog will say just be new and be clever each day. Everyday. Be clever for the whole week, the month, several months, the rest of the year, for many years.
Either you’re writing new things every time or you’re presenting the same old items in your post in new ways every day with admirable frequency because you have your niche. The challenge is even more if you follow the niche path, make old wine in brand new bottles. An even harder task if you ask me.
But perhaps I got it all wrong. About blogging and being clever I mean.
[And no. Not because I’m naive enough to believe writing comes from the heart. Between the heart and the pen, or the keyboard, the words travel a long distance through twisted paths and if they don’t, the flood of thoughts is rarely readable. So revision is a must.]
But why feel the need to be clever in a blog at all?
Every other public genre privileges form, presents ideas, attempts finality.
The blog is the everyday, the conversational, the eternally revisable, the everyperson’s mode of expression.
Why spoil it by grasping at cleverness/smartness/excellence/brilliance or any of those other states of being that hound us in daily life?
So, I’m not coming up with anything clever to say. At least not in this post. Not this time. Not today.