These words are overdue & I'll attempt to speak as plainly as possible:
- I stopped blogging about books because everything began to feel like one big self-congratulatory circle of those in the know slapping backs and those not in the know trying desperately to elbow in. I did not want to play the who could link faster game any longer. I lost interest in adding to the noise simply to do so. I decided I'd only post if I had something new to contribute to the larger bookish conversation.
- This desire to only contribute new insight or new informatio instead of re-reporting what has been reported elsewhere, quickly became a fire that touched everything else I'd normally touch. My not-yet-launched wine blog seemed instantly stale and blogging at LAist confused me further. Despite how insanely busy these past few months have been at work, I still wanted to blog every day. I found that not blogging was just as challenging as blogging. Each time I opened a post, I had to ask myself: will you be adding to the conversation with this post? Or will you instead be summarizing a reporter's hard work? Or linking and citing and sourcing still others' work? Or, in my time-honored habit, will I be whining (as it could be argued I'm doing here) about something that is specific to me and may be of little interest to anyone other than me? It is amazing how little I had to say when I couldn't fall back on my usual tricks!
- Then DFW left us and I was gutted (yes, Mark, gutted) for a spell so long it surprised me. There were many things I wanted to say about DFW and how his writing affected and inspired me in a way that few writers have and that I did not even fully realize until he was gone. Yet, before I could assemble my thoughts cogently and attempt to get them on the page, the coverage of him became so insane that to even express the depth of his work and its influence on me would have seemed tawdry & cheap. Like I was glomming on.
- I sunk further into frustration when I saw that many others, who had not read his work and seemed only to know of a few factoids and his celebrity, used his death as an opportunity to cast the spotlight in their own direction. I loved, however, the tributes of those who cared a great deal and I'm ashamed to say I'm getting teary-eyed now just thinking about them.
- I have missed interviewing authors, but I have not missed reading every new book that comes out on insane deadlines so that I have no time to read any books except the new, new, new books. I have taken great pleasure these past few months in reading books that were published long ago.
- I am saddened about the state of publishing, of the plight of independent bookstores, of the LA Times Book Review, of the LAT in general, of so many, many things that are central to ensuring that talented, undiscovered writers find readers.
- This is where I come full-circle. Despite all my uneasiness about the state of blogging and my deeply felt quest to only contribute something new to the conversation, I've come to see that books and the writers who write them (hah!) need all the attention they can get. I suspect that will be the case in 2009 even more so.
- I can't tell you exactly what this means for Counterbalance, but I can tell you I'm back. I spend most of my daily hours working with clients on digital marketing, social media and other online programs to ensure their ideas, products and brands are known, clearly understood, and sought after by the right audience. I spend the remaining daily hours reading novels (and attempting to write them) and worrying that other writers and their books aren't getting the attention they deserve. Seems to me this confluence of forces should produce something new to add to the conversation in 2009...I do hope you'll join me.