The Great American Blog

Continuing my theme of the potential pitfalls of blogging, I wanted to point out this interesting article by Sarah Hepola which recently appeared in Slate. Like many, she envisioned blogging as a means of ramping up to “The Great American Novel,” an avenue down which she could stroll as book and movie agents stopped and turned their heads, marveling at the passing of her literary glory. In her reverie, she would soon be besieged with admirers, most of them toting contracts for six figure, two book deals, and of course, the inevitable DreamWorks movie.

To hear Ms. Hepola tell it (in fact, you can hear her here. Notice the alluring alliteration, all you lurking literary lions?), blogging actually got in the way of her novelistic aspirations. Yeah, I’ll admit the thought has crossed my mind too. Sometimes the “which is better one or two” line and all the blepharitis gets old and I catch myself dreaming of book deals, signing parties at Barnes and Noble, movie premieres and a house in the Bahamas. But in all likelihood, I’ll simply continue to churn out (ahem) my mundane musings to the delight, horror and apathy of those who stroll the blogosphere and trip over Ocular Fusion on their way to more worthwhile information and entertainment.

But that’s cool. The Great American Novel is probably overrated anyway. Give me Mom, baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and my Great American Blog and I’m a happy man…at least for now.

  1. scott

    Didn’t we all have dreams of grandeur when we began our blogs–Copean hit counts and comments?
    Reality is a harsh mistress. But what would I do without the ole blog? It makes me stop and think about what’s really rattling around in my head.

  2. mike the eyeguy

    “But what would I do without the ole blog? It makes me stop and think about what’s really rattling around in my head.”

    I agree. Reflection is a rare exercise these days and practicing the discipline of writing even rarer. I like to think of blogging as the mental equivalent of going for a 4 mile run–“love handles” are bad enough without a flabby brain to boot.

    As for delusions of literary grandeur, a favorite quote of mine seems apropos:

    “I long to perform a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.”

    –Helen Keller

  3. DJG

    That is my definition too. I figure out what is in my head. Sometimes I can blog it and sometimes I can’t. I used to think I would have the time and discpline to write a book….now I am content to just “blog”.

  4. mike the eyeguy


    I figure that if I ever do write a book I’ll probably have to self-publish it anyway, so blogging is good practice for the future. 🙂

  5. Jason Bybee

    I was never very consistent in my jounaling efforts — until I started blogging. With the grind of work, parenting & grad school, I’m lucky to bang out a couple posts a week. But at least I’ve been articulating my thoughts on a semi-regular basis for over a year now, longer than any of my other journaling efforts to date. Seems like I always have 6 or 7 blog-worthy ideas that I’m working on in my head. But since I only get around to posting every other day or so, the stuff I post is usually a couple weeks old by the time it goes public. Oh well….

  6. mike the eyeguy


    Yes, I’ve found it habit-forming (mostly in a good way), and frankly I’m surprised that I’m still at it, going on 7 months now. The whole process seems to stimulate the flow of ideas, and often I have so many that some die on the vine before they’re ever posted. They just keep coming, like a might river rushing through a narrow canyon…(oh, for pete’s sake, Mike, give it up, wouldya?).

    The picture of you and Joshua at the New Busch Stadium, all decked out in Cardinal Red, is one of those MasterCard “priceless” moments. Tell me you’ve already blown that up and framed it. You have, haven’t you?

  7. mike the eyeguy


    Yes!!! Finally some good news out of Durham!

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