Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Shamed Into Blogging!

Welcome to the early days of Longenblog. Before we get too far into this, here are a few thoughts about what I’m trying to do here.

Eventually, I’d like this to be a semi-regular look at Seattle’s theatre scene, with occasional “think pieces” about theater and its role in society, the give-and-take between artists and critics, and the importance of playwrights in the middle of this whole mish-mash of art, commerce and opinion. I’m hopeful that as someone with over twenty years of experience in theatre in different forms (director, playwright, former critic, semi-retired arts journalist, current PR professional), I can explore these issues from some complementary and unusual angles.

But right now what I’m doing is working through my ambivalence about blogging.

Consider: my last blog, an interview with the tremendously personable and talented Montana von Fliss, was completed over two months ago, but I only posted it when I realized with a shock that von Fliss had just opened “Cancer: the Musical!,” a project that was but a gleam in her eye when we’d last spoken. The prospect of avoiding Montana for the rest of our lives so that she didn't ask me, quite reasonably, whatever happened to that lengthy phone interview she gave me finally forced me to action, and with a grimace I went ahead and posted the piece.

Yes, that’s right: I was shamed into blogging.

Why? What’s the big deal about posting some thoughts on the Internet?

There are three things that really bug me about blogs.

1) No editor. Editors catch small and stupid mistakes that I’m prone to, like misspelled names and the occasional ungrammatical construction. What’s more, once you've experienced a good editor, unedited writing feels flabby and half-baked. (For example, a good editor might have told me that this entire post was a bad idea.)

2) No deadlines. Usually provided by editors, these largely arbitrary dates have the magical ability to put actual writing on an empty page when nothing else will.

3) No pay. Since the mechanics of actually making money from blogging are esoteric and involve such loathsome apparatus as selling ads and self-promotion (I kid—somewhat), the whole effort feels like a hobby. I moved from writing as a hobby to a profession about 15 years ago, and it’s strange and a little annoying to take this step back.

So there you go! Add these to all of the other reasons for not writing—and like any writers I have an impressive list—and you can see that keeping this regularly updated is going to be a struggle.

A little encouragement goes a long way though. If you've come across this blog and want to give me some feedback, please comment below or drop me a note. It’s always grand for a writer to know that one’s work isn't a proverbial tree in the silent forest, and that someone, somewhere, has taken a look.

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