Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Is This Thing On?

I don’t know who reads this blog.
A month ago, I installed a counter that ticks upward every time visitors view the blog, but I have no way of actually gauging who reads my writings or even how my words affect them, if they do at all. Seldom does anyone post any feedback and it seems that the whole blogging venture is just a useless exercise in emoting and rending thoughts from my head and spilling them onto a published format.
That’s neither tit-for-tat, since most of what I write are my own opinions on politics and life. If I wanted, I could set up an absurd celebrity blog where I post embarrassing paparazzi photos of starlets in compromising positions. Have you seen the photos of Hilary Duff blowing her boyfriend after he proposed to her? I couldn’t believe it when I saw it. Totally hilarious! She’s on her knees, ass up, blowing Mike Comrie! God bless sleazy paparazzi and the Internet!
But I digress.
A blog’s purpose is to record and present the author’s thoughts. With newspaper subscriptions taking a nosedive and journalists now universally hated more than serial rapists and baby eaters, it’s time for me to question my career.
I’ve dedicated most of my adult life to journalism. Besides the cadre of corrupt elected officials, the whining ninnies in most municipalities and the billions of trees killed to inform the public on the daily activities of their community shuffleboard teams, the job has been overall good to me.
My first editor, Julie McWilliams, gave me really good advice when I started out as a copy editor in 1994. I worked in a cramped office above a fudge shop in a weekly newspaper in Cape May, New Jersey. I went on to cover county, state and federal politics and eventually won several awards for my reporting through the years.
I can do this job and do it well, but I feel my writing has suffered somewhat. My greatest dream, to write novels and have them published, has eluded me. I know it’s a cliché for writers to carry around a manuscript they started in college, one chained to their arm and weighing them down like a millstone crammed with navel-gazing goodness (or badness as in most cases). Maybe they work on this mammoth tome at a coffee shop where a lot of skinny girls from Belarus in turtleneck sweaters argue with the barista over the price of a mocha latte. Perhaps said writer attends a writing conference filled with published writers who treat the unpublished like medieval lepers, ostracizing them or worse, patronizing them for their wide-eyed attempts at breaking into publishing.
If you’re still hanging on my words and reading, know this: I love writing and I’m not quitting.
My father dispenses advice like cigarette machines dispense Marlboros and the one thing he said that will always resonate with me are three obstinate but tough words: “Never give up.”
That applies to my writing, whether a newspaper article to making an editor notice a short story or novel I’ve written. If I live to be as old as Methuselah, I’m not abandoning my dream of becoming a professional writer.
Never give up.
Lately, I’ve become mired in despair over love. I haven’t made any real attempt to connect with women for a long time. This is because I’m about as popular with women as painful menstrual cramps. Because I’m not driving a Porsche, wearing Armani suits or possessing a royal title in front of my name, women are not interested in anything I do or say. I’ve seen men who look like the back end of an evolutionary chart, with sloping foreheads, dragging knuckles and the personality of a besotted warthog in happy relationships and I wonder why.
Then I realized the same three words: Never give up.
Instead of sulking in their bachelor pads every night, they circulate and socialize. They’re not afraid to be themselves, no matter how repulsive or awkward.
They have not abandoned the essential strengths of love.
Love is one of the most rewarding, most frightening, most exhilarating things in life. Human existence is drawn toward love, and nothing we ever encounter in our brief lives can match it. Love is the all-encapsulating emotion, the state of bliss and perfection we strive for.
Without love we are empty hollow husks, deprived zombies shambling through life unfulfilled and incomplete. With love, are at our most generous, most caring and the most graceful we’ve ever been. We’ve found that connection, that bond with another human being, that familiarity of the kindred spirit. That, my friends, will banish loneliness, cynicism and wrath. That will make us better human beings. In the end, isn’t that what we long to become? Isn’t that our lifelong quest, to understand our humanity and broaden our existence through contact with others?
Earth can be a desolate, empty hellhole and life a mundane, unrewarding gulag of tormented suffering. Yet when we dare ourselves and reach out to others, when we make ourselves vulnerable and lower our defenses and let love in, this planet and life can be a great, rewarding adventure.
And the people, with their multitude of ideas, emotions and gifts, can enrich our experiences in ways we’ve never dreamed.
The carping, volatile masses sowing discontent and gloom need only that push into awareness and self-actualization to understand that all humans, when you get right down to it, share the same drives, desires and wants.
I used to think that the ideal woman for me doesn’t exist, that she was a figment of my imagination or that she was aborted as a fetus. Yet part of me has faith that this perfect woman, my beautiful and intelligent soulmate is out there waiting, and that she’s just as miserable as I am.
Thanks to the far-reaching, global power of the Interwebs, I can tell her to never give up.

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