Warning! this article is not very funny! I’m depressed.
As I write these words, I imagine myself tossing the finished pages out into the wind. They swirl and whip past people on the street, stick momentarily to the front of a car, and are carried up again when a truck passses, never to be seen by human eyes again. A squirrel or a mouse may use a portion of this article for a cozy winter nest. A plant may be nourished byt its decomposing cellulose and starch fillers. But nobody will read it. Nobody will comment on it, or ask questions about it. It will never inspire any derivative works, or follow-up articles. And yet, it isn’t really gone. It is all just as permanent, and apparently just as secure, as if I had written it in my personal journal on acid free paper, and locked it safely away in a vault.
Day after day I write, and though none of it ever really disappears, it is slowly being buried by cyber-dust-bunnies. Each article I add to the list pops another off into the archives, relegated to the digital filing cabinet of the internet’s basement.
Real writers must feel very much like this when, if they never gain the fame and fortune they might desire, their works are finally only registered with the library of congress, never to see the light of day.
But this is not Doubleday, or Harlequin. There is no struggle to get published; I simply click a button, and my story is there. And that, I believe, makes the angst even worse. For whether I am good or not, whether my story has worth in anyone’s eyes or not, I am doomed to obscurity by sheer numbers. The endless tide of submissions would drown out Shakespeare were he our contemporary.
Now I am not so arrogant as to compare myself to The Bard; not in the least, but I have read my share of blog posts. It is amazing how many blogs are 2 posts or less. And everybody, myself included, writes at least one statement of purpose post, one “hello! This is my first post” post. That is to be expected. What is sickening is the number of posts which read like a junk email “I found this great article on the internet about blah and such. I think you’ll really like it.” How can anything original make headway struggling against a current of re-prints and suggested reading?
How can anyone read all 150,000 daily posts to find the one they like best? They can’t! That’s why today’s top posts were garbage like “Can I has new PS3 Patch?” or whatever the hell it was called, and “White people like Potatoes”. La-dee-freakin’-da!
Of course I’m jealous! I’d be happy to get even 1% of the visits that “Stuff White People Like” has gotten since January 0f 2008. I’d be dancing in the freakin street naked!
Must I resort to devious and deceitful means to convince people that what I have to say may be worth their time? Must I recommend my own articles on digg? Must I spread myself on myspace like Paris Hilton? Must I resort to using profanity? Must I post pornography? If I must then I shall! Damn ethics! Damn honesty! Screw the Pulitzer prize, I never wanted it anyway! By God, if they’re all going to play dirty then so shall I! I shall whore myself to every delicious, reddit, digg, and search engine until my words are read!
Well, I’m not depressed anymore, I’m freakin furious! Now I can’t sleep!
1 thought on “The Angst of Obscurity”
Fame is the new currency.
FIOS, wifi, laptop, and no social circle.
Yes. It’s called a ‘query letter’.
No. You recommend mine. I recommend yours. It’s like “Throw Mama From the Train”, including the bad dialogue and cheap plot tricks.
Paris is French for Passe.
I fucking hate it when that happens.
Is that what you meant by “spread myself on myspace”? Maybe I should change my answer for that one.
P.S. If you’re going to ask so many questions in one post, numbering them would help folks keep their answers in order.