Sounding like the man in the above photo, I was pissing and moaning recently to a friend about not having more of a readership for my blog. “There is so much competition for people’s attention nowadays it’s really impossible.” I went on to say, “I imagine those that follow my blog don’t even read what I write.” I have to confess, I really like my writing and if I were to come across it, I would read it.
This feeling is not a great place to be for a writer who loves writing. Fortunately, it didn’t last long. in fact, it was cut shorter from another friend of mine’s series of texts. Like a bullet leaving the chamber what she said propelled me out of that dark, poor me place and into … well let me explain.
It all started with a series of texts beginning with, “I am getting caught up on your blog before going to bed.” My reply, “Enjoy.” The next morning I awoke to a cryptic quip, “Allen L. you are a piece of work.” I laughed the moment I read that and replied, “So I’ve been told.”
Being curious by nature, I followed up with, “Just out of curiosity what compelled you to say that?” Another quip, “The tone.” I knew she was referring to the tone of my writing. Delving further, “What kind of tone is that you hear in my writing?”
Before I follow up with her reply, I have self-characterized my tone as Garrison Keillor with a hint of Seinfeld and a dash of Hunter as in Thompson. This may seem grandiose and even egotistical, but these were my guys I grew up with listening to, reading and watching on TV. I couldn’t help but be influenced.
Back to her characterization of my tone, she replied, “Imagine Lenny Bruce with a dash of Jon Stewart and Alan Watts.” I re-read the text just to make sure. Halfway through the re-reading I had the biggest smile while letting out the loudest hoot you’d ever heard! If this weren’t Japan I am sure the cops would have been called.
Remember I was in a funk about my lack of readership. It’s not that I really try to build my readership. I love to write. “Write and they may come,” I tell myself. But I could not have characterized my tone any better than that. These are my guys too. I read Watts in my 20s, went through an obsession phase with Lenny Bruce, and was loyal to Jon Stewart for the duration of the Daily Show.
I followed up with a big “Arigato” and a promise to take her out for the best sushi meal she will ever have had when she’s back in Japan. Being a man of my word, I will.
It just goes to show how powerful words can be. I am grateful to love writing while not usually getting caught up in readership numbers. Writing comes from within, and in those moments of weakness that I look outside for validation is when trouble begins.
Now validation without looking for it, that’s a different thing altogether.