you can't name a topic that doesn't have a devoted subculture
With The Just Beyond in a holding pattern while the editor and cover artist do their work, a few posts not quite on topic may sneak their way in here. Which is a servicable segue into today's offering.
The great thing about blogging is that anyone can do it. The trouble with blogging is that anyone can do it.
It's not surprising that every nobody, his brother, his cat, his goldfish, and his niece's Barbie doll are cranking out blogs. What is amazing is that people read them.
Referring to the legion of prospective memoirists ("I should write a book!!")--which pretty much includes the entire human population--Kurt Vonnegut said something to the effect that your life story isn't half as fascinating to other people as you think it is. I'll restrain myself from digressing into the obvious tie-ins of that statement to dating and just say that his observation seems self-evident. On the face of it you'd think that principle would naturally extend to one's opinions, arguably even more tedious and grating than most life stories. And yet, the blogosphere is rife with otherwise ordinary individuals that have collected vast followings of daily readers. What gives?
Well, for one thing, with due respect to Mr. Vonnegut who certainly was not wrong in a general sense, with the explosion of global communication it turns out there ARE some people who are utterly fascinated by...well...fill in the blank. It appears you can't name a topic that doesn't have a devoted subculture, and while in any given region their percentage of the population may be small, when you multiply by the number of regions across the face of the Earth, all of a sudden the numbers are meaningful.
And this is actually pretty cool. It gives the blogger an outlet of expression and a sense that somebody cares about what they think, and it gives readers reassurance that they're not alone in the world with their interests and quirks. While I may have no use whatsoever for 9,999 out of 10,000 blogs, that remaining one may be my sole and precious tie to the community of the like-minded. It doesn't matter that each such community comprises only an infinitessimal slice of humanity overall. What matters is that its constituents found each other. Before the Internet's cheap, fast, and easy access to instant worldwide publication, this was impossible. It represents nothing less than a fundamental shift in the human condition, and its implications will only be fully appreciable through the hindsight of decades.
Only a handful of people care enough about my little book project to monitor these half-baked writings. Even after it's published and even if it does reasonably well, the numbers won't impress in the context of a population of 7 billion souls. Nothing has universal appeal: I've often speculated that if the Beatles somehow rose from the half-dead and put on a free concert with unlimited seating, only a thin fraction of the population would go. But it's neat that there's a way for me to stay in daily contact with my modest group of Beyond supporters. It gives me constant incentive to deliver a level of quality as I craft this trilogy that will be worthy of their encouragement and support. -Mark
(P.S. There actually is a Beatles Reunion concert that plays a significant role in The Just Beyond. There, I managed a pitiful tie-in to the book. lol - mt)