A few years ago, I was introduced to a publication called World Magazine. The best way I know to describe what it’s like is to say it’s Newsweek written from a Christian perspective. If you enjoy reading news magazines but you don’t like all the bias and general mean-spiritedness contained in them, I’d highly recommend World, although, unfortunately, I am receiving nothing from the magazine for offering this generous endorsement. As Donald Miller remarked in his book Blue Like Jazz, “Writers don’t make any money at all. But, then again, we don’t work either.”
The folks at World are all avid readers, and every year they publish an issue devoted almost entirely to what they consider to be the best books of the past year. Sadly, my years as an English major and an addiction to reading articles on the Internet which seems to have totally sapped my attention span have lessened my enthusiasm for reading actual books over the years. Still, I enjoy World‘s book issue each year, even if I haven’t read practically any of the books they’re mentioning.
Even though comedians have been writing and publishing books for years (A copy of Bill Cosby’s Fatherhood sits proudly on my bookshelf at home.), there were enough significant entries from funny men (and women) this year to warrant a special section in this year’s issue. Of course, the article began by focusing on Tina Fey’s Bossypants, because, as we all know, every comedic mentioning these days must begin by pointing out how Tina Fey is a woman and became the first female to ever become head writer on Saturday Night Live and now writes, stars in, and is hilarious in 30 Rock and is a woman and has children and is also a woman. (Seriously, Fey can be funny, but can we all please stop acting like she’s the only woman who’s ever been funny and managed to make a living from it?)
The article then went on to mention books by
Goat Boy Jim Breuer (which actually sounded kind of interesting), Michael Showalter, and Demetri Martin, pointing out the positives and negatives about each one. What really caught my eye, though, was a pull-out quote from The Bible of Unspeakable Truths, a book authored by Greg Gutfeld, who hosts Fox News Channel’s Red Eye program. It seems Mr. Gutfeld is not a fan of blogs.
“Blogs used to be called Diaries,” he wrote, “and they were written by twelve-year-old girls.”
At the particular point and time I read this statement, I was working on two different entries for this very blog site. I haven’t revisited them since, because, as much as I would like to convince myself otherwise, what Gutfeld wrote is essentially correct. Granted, there are blogs out there dealing with news, entertainment, health, and all sorts of useful, “real world” information that can be of particular use to their readers. Then there are blogs like this one, which are basically set up to help a writer keep in practice and allow him or her to sound off on whatever they happen to be thinking about or feeling that day.
Or, in other words, it’s like diary.
I have definitely written some things here that I would never take back for the world. The post about my dad helped me to deal with a lot of feelings I had following his death. My aunt actually made copies of the post about my grandfather and passed them out at the funeral home. I’ve had several nice, encouraging comments about other posts. Sometimes, though, I’ve just totally missed the mark, mainly because I didn’t have any real direction. I was feeling down about our recent radio station fundraiser, so I wrote the last post about “sucking.” I watched a basketball game, so I wrote about that. Movies, books, politics … whatever happened to float through my little corner of the universe that day.
A lot like a diary. A lot like something a twelve-year-old would do.
I’m still trying to figure out what to do with this revelation. I have more of a passion to write right now than I have in a long, long time, but I don’t want to just keep flinging stuff at the wall to see if it sticks. It’s easy to carp about the stuff I’m thinking about, but that won’t ever amount to much more than letting my friends take a peek at my “diary.” And I’m a little too old and gray to keep thinking like a twelve-year-old.
So, while that doesn’t mean I plan on shutting down the whole blog and retreating to write the great American novel, it might mean changes. What changes those might be, I don’t know. I’m open to suggestions at this point.
Oh, and I apologize if I offended any twelve-year-old or fellow bloggers with this post. You can address your complaints to Mr. Gutfeld.