(it’s those sorts of titles that make me question my policy of capitalising the start of each word every time)
There are some new readers to this blog, as I’ve mentioned about seventeen times in the last four posts. And a lot of them have told me that they find this blog funny, which is a very nice thing to say and I’m appreciative of such comments. But this has led to a problem, that I will now attempt to address (largely by using the impersonal pronoun ‘them’ instead of ‘you’ to refer to those new readers who are the most likely people to actually be reading this post, that concerns them but doesn’t address them, so that if I offend them I can pretend like I wasn’t talking to them; I’m not a very good person, okay?).
The first concern is that I don’t want this blog to be purely funny; obviously humour is a big part of it, and I can’t really write in a self-loathing, aggressively cynical style without getting, and aiming to get, a few laughs in the process. But I write about other things; some of my most popular posts have been in response to rape allegations, I used to write about Dante’s Inferno, and my Pro Tips! series, while written in a jovial style, often tries to give halfway reasonable advice, which is why I write about interviews in those series.
And if these styles aren’t getting the attention – good or bad, I must stress – from my real-life friends, it either means they’re not being read, or they are being red but are themselves so tedious and poorly-written that they don’t make my friends feel anything by way of a response to them; even saying ‘that post was funny’ is more of a reaction than saying nothing at all. It’s not that casual compliments about my writing is the only thing that’s kept this blog going for the past year, or that I’m now going to be unappreciative of people who mention my comedic posts, but this is a discrepancy I’ve noticed over the past few weeks.
But anything creative, from novels to music, has to have some form of mass-appeal, and while I don’t make any money off this two-bit blog, it is genuinely rewarding to see that I’ve hit upwards of twenty or thirty viewers in a day, and that five of them came from Facebook, so they must be my real friends taking an interest in this all-consuming hobby I’ve got, which makes the whole thing a bit more personal than getting a random viewer from Qatar. As a result, I find myself asking ‘what do these new readers want?’ and, without actually printing off a questionnaire and giving it to my friends, the answer appears to be ‘funny posts’.
Right, I then decide, I’ll write a funny post today! But what exactly is a ‘funny post’? You see, I’ve been too awed by the fact that people actually read this thing to ask what they find funny about my posts: it is the things I write about, the style I use to express them, the occasionally structured approach of my Jokes and Pro Tips! sections? I have no idea, and I’ve fallen back on the second of those options – the style. Recently I’ve been writing, and not necessarily publishing, overly cynical and aggressively posts, attacking everything from (I kid you not) the concept of a seven-day week, the song London Calling by The Clash, and hipster glasses (I think that one snuck into a post somewhere, but their stupidity was going to be a whole piece by itself).
And I don’t want to do that.
Cynicism is fun, but I don’t want to be that guy who just gets angry at things; I am capable of other emotions too, and just because I don’t blog about things I’m afraid of, things I secretly love, and things I want to do with my life, doesn’t mean I don’t have those things. Equally, too much cynicism results in distance: I have friends who like The Clash, and who wear hipster glasses, sometimes single friends who cover both options, and I don’t want to start tearing into things that people enjoy, and are proud of enjoying, just because I think (I don’t even know for sure) that my little blue bar of views on the ‘stats’ graph will be a few centimetres taller.
I’ve always maintained that this blog is for whatever the Hell I want it to be, and if you don’t like it you don’t have to read it or, better yet, you can start a discussion with me about it. But I don’t know what I want: do I genuinely want to improve my writing, and give my opinions in a more developed style than a status update, or do I just want to hit arbitrary numerical targets, because if you can’t get satisfaction from an intelligent discourse on your blog, you can always get satisfaction from loads of followers, right? RIGHT?
Also, I don’t want to fall back on apathy as my answer to everything, dismissing other people and other ideas just so that I can remain safe in my black backgrounded-bubble here on this URL. Creating something is a two-way process, where both the creators and audience benefit; and this blog may be pathetically small-scale, but it’s as important that you get something out of reading this as I do out of writing it.
So welcome to the James Patrick Casey blog, where I make the rules and the posts, and most of the time you can get stuffed if you don’t like them. But I think I’ll play with those rules, and stop being such an authoritarian prick.