“Is anybody there? Does anybody care?”
It’s a line from the musical “1776,” a particular favorite of mine. The idea of creating a website and a blog was not an impulsive one for me. The moment I got my book deal, I knew that this was one of the prime communication tools of the new century. I’d have to get one.
But it’s a job, right? A writing assignment. That’s also what I do for a living — I get writing assignments and I write. So while a million other things swirled around in my life, I would spend a few seconds here and there thinking about this blog thing. What would I say? What would I write? Who the hell would ever read it?
That’s when I thought of the Sherman Edwards’ line (I think Edwards attributed it, verbatum, to George Washington).
But I’m the cautious type. I decided to Google and Ask and all those other new verbs it. What do I find? Every schmuck on planet earth has used the same idea in their own blog — usually on their first posting.
Was this an omen? Have all the good ideas been taken? Or am I just a hack? These are the insecurities of a person who does for a living what everyone else in the world does in the normal course of living. Back when I was at Berklee College of Music, the old line went, “There are only 88 keys on a piano and only 12 of them are different.” How original, then, can one be? I get paid to write words. Everyone writes words. Why do I get paid for it? It’s not like I’m a linguist and make up new ones on a regular basis. I mean, sometimes I do, but then my agent or editor corrects them, thinking it’s a typo.
On the other hand, with a blog, no one edits you. For that matter, the inspiration for the opening line is that I fear that no one reads you, either.
And so I’ve found one bright spot to my first ever blog entry. A few sentences ago, I used “verbs” as a verb. It may be the first time in the history of the written word that this has been done without punishment, torture, or humiliation.
Not the original idea I had hoped for, though, but original nonetheless.