Seriously trying to be funny?
I saw this question yesterday at Miss Snark's website: "Do literary agents ever prowl around blogs searching for gifted writers?"
Miss Snark's answer was "no." In the comments, author P.N. Elrod chimed in with this quote from Rachel Caine: "Posting your novel (or blog) on the 'Net in the hopes that a big-time editor (or agent) will see it is like writing the perfect résumé and then tacking it to the front door of your house, hoping your future boss will walk by."
Which was a buzzkill on a couple of levels: It may also explain why I can't get a real job. I was so depressed, I almost didn't put out fresh résumés out on the front door, even though it rained here yesterday.
It occurs to me, however, that the Blogosphere may be the current incarnation of Vaudeville: It is the place where we try stuff out, find our voices, and learn what "works." Vaudeville had various 'circuits,' some more prestigious (and lucrative) than others. An ambitious performer would work his way up through the ranks until he "played the Palace" (in New York). We have Sitemeter. And Technorati. And Blogs of Note. And comments. And all sorts of stuff I haven't figured out yet.
In Vaudeville, people voted with their feet: They wouldn't come to the show. Or they'd come -- and then walk out. Or throw produce. And the next thing you know, the manager is handing you your pictures and you're looking for another booking.
In the Blogosphere, they click "Next Blog." And they don't come back.
George Burns wrote that when he and Gracie Allen started in Vaudeville, he was the comedian, and Gracie fed him the straight lines. And Gracie got all the laughs anyway. At first, this aggravated George: He was writing the jokes and he wanted the laughs.
But eventually eating triumphed over ego, and George took on the role of straight man... and George and Gracie became stars.
Jack Benny wasn't really cheap, either: But the 'miser' jokes worked for him. People accepted him as a miser. Benny sometimes chafed at this and did what he could to overcome the public perception. But it wasn't easy: Once he gave a very generous tip to a cab driver -- who immediately returned it. "Please, Mr. Benny," he said, "let me have my illusion."
This doesn't mean that all the "characters" you meet here in the Blogosphere are complete fabrications. At least I'm not: I really am a self-employed Chicago lawyer with five rapidly aging children and a long-time Long Suffering Spouse. I couldn't pass myself off as a doctor for 30 seconds, for example. Nor could I work "blue"; it would make me uncomfortable. I have decades worth of real material to work with. But I continue to look for ways and means to shape and present these experiences in a way that keeps you coming back... and eventually clicking on the fabulous advertising that this site will someday attract... and then publishers and agents will leave anxious solicitations in my comments, bidding for my services... (*maniacal, hysterical laughter follows*).
Dish it out, The Curmudgeon can take it
This is a shameless plea for comments. If you read the first part of today's essay, you know that I'm trying to hone my craft here and comments will help me do that.
Of course, comments that are uniformly favorable may not be all that helpful. I'm thrilled, obviously, when someone leaves me a nice complimentary comment -- but what about all the people who click away without saying anything?
What about the constructive criticism they might provide?
In my mind's eye, I can imagine just how that would work --
The Curmudgeon opens his browser and finds three emails in the account where his blog comments are routed. He opens the first:
really wasn't your best work.
today's post. Really. But I just didn't get it.
He rolls up again in a ball.
But, eventually, The Curmudgeon steels himself, and clicks to open the third email:
Loved, loved, loved it.
He brightens considerably. But he notices that the message continues:
traffic to explode, click here!
Before collapsing into a ball again, The Curmudgeon makes a mental note to email Google about whether blog comments can be edited....
Wait a minute, that's not the way I thought it would turn out when I first started imagining this....
But that's OK: Leave comments here or on any other post that catches your attention. I can take it.
(And if I can't there's always comment moderation....)