Essaying No Essays

In the course of the two weeks I’ve just devoted to the design, creation and publishing of this blog, I have written several thousand words for it, posted just a few hundred of them, then un-posted and re-posted the whole shebang so many times and so quickly that ghost images of some phrases still linger on my screen.

Less than fifteen minutes ago, I reached 1,100 words in a brilliant  treatise on internet publishing when I suddenly remembered that no one would ever read it. Not here anyway. So I stopped. The loss of wisdom to mankind is inestimable, but it can’t be helped. At least not until I can figure out how to condense all that brilliance by about half, and to firmly make up my mind on precisely what the hell I want to talk about.

The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging (2008), which aside from an idiot’s guide to WordPress has been my bible during the creation of this website, assures me that we live in an ADD stricken world and if I post an entry of more than eight hundred words I will be sorry.

If I am foolishly loquacious enough to pen that much, I need to break it up into smaller and more digestible bits. Or better yet just “Write Short” in the first place, which is one of HuffPo’s eight Rules for Successful Blogging and the advice of HuffPo blogger and Yale professor of English David Bromwich:

“A good post is a single thought or observation or anecdote, clearly expressed and directly conveyed. An essay may cover several topics; a post grows tiresome if it aims for more than one.”

Irritating is an appellation I am used to, but tiresome is a tag any writer should strenuously avoid.  I am forced to admit now that I have never written a blog before and will leap on the advice of anybody already blogging, which means every human between the ages of six and nineteen or in possession of a cat or grandchildren. This goes a long way toward explaining why I have fallen under the charms of Arianna Huffington and her outfit of tame feuilletonistes.

While not allowed to be an essay, Professor Bromwich’s suggested composition does suspiciously resemble those dreaded two hundred and fifty word assignments I used to foist on my middle school students at least once a week. But as Professor Bromwich teaches at Yale, and I presently teach nowhere at all, I bow to his ringing authority and will no longer essay any essays in this blog. All that fol-de-rol involving more than one thought or observation I will instead pass off on The Atlantic or Le Monde, who remain not only ignorant that their patrons abruptly cease reading at seven hundred and ninety nine words, but still waste money paying their writers for verbiage gone unused.

So there will be none of that damned complex thinking in this blog. If I feel any multiple observations or anecdotes coming on, I will promptly parse them up like a single pizza at a birthday party, thus rendering them not only easier on the stomach but democratically available to all.

Meanwhile my task until the next blog is to find some way of butchering my over-grown unpublished posts into salable cuts. I spot a few tenderloins in the bunch but fear that the majority will end up as kebab. However I have exceeded just over half my allotted words  already and veer dangerously toward an additional topic.

That said, welcome to my website, where, in keeping with the times, I will do my best to avoid dropping you in the middle of anything particularly challenging.


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