Friday, May 22, 2020

A Decade of Quivering



Ten years ago this month, I found myself closing in on the end of the first draft of my first published novel. [cue montage of furrowed brow, fingers tapping keys, pencil gripped between teeth]

At the same time, I was feeling full of book chatter, bursting at the seams like I’d just overeaten at Heavy-Meats Burger Shack, but had no one with whom to converse. I was lonely for a book community. [cue montage of staring out the window, heavy sighs, the silvery track of a single tear caught in mid-afternoon light]

So, I birthed this blog.

It arrived on May 2, 2010, 8 pounds, 6 ounces and full of self-doubt, wallowing in “dreams of Mailer, Updike, and Dickens.” In that first blog post, titled “And So It Begins...,” I began by saying: “I am standing on the threshold of the first draft of my second novel (the first, an oddly funny story about a midget stuntman, remains unpublished—and perhaps unpublishable). I am days away from typing the final period of Fobbit: A Novel.”

Fourteen days, to be precise.

And, in another two years, the messy manuscript became a reality between covers.

Random, idle, self-serving chatter about Fobbit soon faded to the background and more outward-focused book chatter commenced. And has been commencing and re-commencing, in fits and starts, over the decade.

When I started The Quivering Pen in 2010, I didn’t know how long I could sustain it. Would it last a year? Would it flash in the pan and then join the other fads of my life: stamp collecting, flip-phone games, that time I reigned as mayor of Foursquare, etc.?

Well, I’m here, and you’re here, so something must have gone right....

Damn the self-doubt and full steam ahead! Until...

Two weeks ago, a friend of mine blurted out in mid-conversation to me: “Blogs—does anybody really read them anymore?”

I hid my wince with a laugh and an “I know, right?!

All I can say is, blogs may be as useless as the appendix, but at least we carry those around for a while before they’re taken out.

I like this blog because it carves me a space, a tiny little scrape of the penknife against the Internet, where I can talk about the books I love and all the ones I think I will love in my future. It is a place where I can share bits and pieces of my own writing, hesitantly and nervously. It is a big overstuffed chair where I can settle in at the end of the day and open up my mail and show you the new books that came. And this blog has also been a microphone to which I’ve invited other writers to step up and share the stories of their “first time” or perhaps to take us on a guided tour of their home library. This blog has been all this—plus recipes and music—for ten years.

And yet, sometimes I fret that this blog is obsolete, that I’m trying to drive a dinosaur-drawn carriage with a whip. Does anyone read this blog anymore? (cups ear, waits for echo)

Well, even if I’m back to being alone, even if everyone else has moved on to other platforms (high, towering platforms from which to dive into new ways of communicating that are cleaner and simpler), even if I’m typing into the void, I think I’ll keep on doing it—maybe not for another ten years, but at least for another ten months. Somehow, it feels like a good time to be talking about books. We need them now more than ever.

[cue montage of dinosaur-rider wheeling his mount around, clicking between his teeth, “Giddyup, T-Rex,” and riding toward the sunset.]


2 comments:

  1. I not only read your every word, I forward this to other well deserving wordies! Videos are ephemeral, but words are all that remain.

    ReplyDelete