Last week, you may have seen a little post of mine called, “Turning Writers Into Motherfucking Rock Stars.” The notion behind the post was, hey, you know what will save publishing? If writers start acting like petulant rock stars, replete with destroyed motel rooms, phatty cribs, and kitten-eating.
The post went viral. The blog mentions Neil Gaiman and was in turn retweeted by Neil Gaiman, which was awesome in all senses of the word. I watched my page count spike like the heart rate of a guy who just chewed up a bag of meth crystals like they were Cheerios. I was waiting for the fabled #neilwebfail, wherein he turns his gaze toward your website and followers pour out of the woodwork and the website tries to lurch forward but instead collapses from a deep vein thrombosis and needs to take an hour-long dirt-nap just to cool off. Thankfully, this old gal held steady and stayed on course despite the battering of many Internet waves, and came out stronger for it (and, of course, I appreciate the retweet by Mister Gaiman and all others who shared the love). The post seemed to get a lot of good attention and lots of folks thought it was fun.
Because it was a joke.
Of course it was a joke.
When I said:
Rock stars get the ‘concept album.’ We should be able to have the ‘concept novel.’ “This novel’s not just a bunch of words, man. All the chapters form together into a single story. Yeah. It’s pretty revolutionary.”
…I was not actually suggesting the creation of a concept novel where the chapters form a single story. That’s what a novel already is. It’s not revolutionary. That’s the joke. Maybe not a funny joke. That’s between you and your own personal flavor of Jesus. But I would’ve thought that its status as tongue-in-cheekiness, as satire, as me-just-making-shit-up-to-attempt-to-be-funny was as clear as the pealing of a bell if the bell were ringing inside the bone cavern of your own skull.
But then I saw a whole lot of folks taking my post seriously. And arguing against it. As if I had attempted to make a serious point, as if I were really saying, “You know what we need, we don’t need good books, we need more Snooki.” *rad guitar lick*
On Metafilter, on Twitter, on Fark, I saw a surprising handful of comments that actually took my bullshit seriously. For a moment, I wondered: did humor die? Assassinated by a lone gunman? Was irony shot in the face on a hunting trip, left to bleed out in a ditch? Was I not obvious enough? Did I need to pepper my post with a dozen smiley faces? Should I have drawn a bunch of hastily-scrawled dicks across my post, the dicks jizzing little pee-pee bullets from the ink-smeared tips?
The thing is, this is not the first time this has happened. I write at least five blog posts a week, which even I consider to be marginally insane, and once in a while one of those posts really catches fire and draws attention. Inevitably, whenever this happens, I get a round of people — commenters, e-mailers, Redditors, what-have-you — that end up taking the post way too seriously.
So, it seems high-time for a disclaimer.
I am full of shit.
I’m usually just fucking around.
I just make stuff up.
I do it to be funny. I do it to yell at my 18-year-old self. I do it to yell at dilettante writers. I do it because I’m happy, sad, cranky, churlish, cantankerous, or drunk.
I often say things, then change my mind.
I contradict things I said a year ago, a month ago, ten minutes ago.
I curse like a motherfucker. My father cursed. My mother cursed. It is in me.
I often adopt the tone of a coked-up penmonkey drill sergeant.
Am I really like this? Ehhh, sometimes.
I’m certainly blowhardy and buffoonish, but here at the site I definitely crank the volume. Most people who meet me find that I’m ultimately more serious when traversing the physical plane of reality.
What I’m trying to say is —
Do not take me too seriously.
If you find value in the things I say, whether it’s as a laugh or as a snidbit of writing advice you feel like you can adopt and take to the bank, then I am aglow with pleasure, the cilia and spore-pods that comprise my beard twitching and writhing in blog-addled bliss. If you find no value in what I say, then I’m not mad at that. Don’t like that I curse? Don’t like my dubious writing advice? Can’t see past the self-deprecating tongue-in-cheek ‘tude? Feel like I’m insulting you? Then be on your merry way. And I don’t say that with anger. I don’t say that like, “Then get the fuck off my lawn, you damn dissenters! Take your disagreeable turd-cutters elsewhere!” I mean to suggest that it’s okay. Don’t hang around here if what I say bothers you. Life’s too short to let me bludgeon you over the head with my blog-hammer, my word-cudgel.
Do I sometimes try to be serious? Sure. Do I take writing seriously? You betcher sweet swirly nipples I do. I take writing and storytelling — art, craft, and business — quite seriously. And I do like serious discussion and I do enjoy real communication and conversation. But nine times out of ten, my posts shouldn’t be enough to get you riled up. I don’t want to get you riled up. It’s not worth your time or mine.
So, that’s it. That’s my disclaimer. I’m just over here squawking into the void. I’ve said this in the past but my goal here is first to enlighten. When that fails, it is to entertain. And when that fails, it’s to dazzle you with creative profanity so you at least feel like you got something out of the whole experience.
(“Cock-waffle.” “Vag-badger.” “Fucksluice.”)
I want you to enjoy your time here and maybe learn something. I know I learn something every time I post about writing because it’s me sorting out the sticks and pebbles of my own brain.
If you’re not enjoying it, if you’re not learning it, then don’t sweat it. Relax. Take a deep breathe. Pulverize some Lorazepam in a mortar and pestle and stir it around your Tang then take a big ol’ hefty drink.
Because, really, I’m probably not as serious as you think I am.
End of disclaimer.
Have a nice day.
*insert smiley face and marker-drawn dick-and-balls*