Every now and then I pop over to Technorati to get a read on the pulse of my web presence. It’s a vanity thing. Like Googling my name. I tell myself I do this to see how my books are doing. But in truth I want to know if anyone really knows who I am. It can be a humbling experience. Or enlightening one. I don’t do it very often.
Anyway, there is a a quote from Matt Nolastname on the Technorati homepage that always makes me smile. It also kept me from creating my own blog for many, many moons. “71 million blogs . . . Some of them have to be good.” Perhaps you can see why I smile. And cringe. When I went live with Edgewise last week, the blogosphere went from 71,000,000 blogs to 71,000,001. There’s a touch of the absurdly funny there.
The world truly does not need another blog. This was my mantra all those months (okay, more like a couple years) while I read friends’ blogs and posted on friends’ blogs. The world does not need another new blog and I don’t need to have another child. What can I say that hasn’t been said before? Or will be said tomorrow?
Okay, stop right there. If I really believed that, I wouldn’t be writing books. Certainly not fiction. There are no new stories, only new ways of telling old tales. Every story has been told before. The remarkable task of the novelist is to discover new words to describe old plots. What can I say that hasn’t been said before is the wrong question to ask. The right question begins with the word how. How can I say what has already been said before? How can I reinvent Cinderella or Moby Dick or Tale of Two Cities? How can I tell a tale of redemption or quest or sacrifice using old words in new ways?
If there’s no way to to do this, then the world doesn’t need another new book, either. May it never be.
So. The truth is I finally realized I can live with knowing I am a just a voice among a million voices. How did I realize that? Because I am already doing it. With books.
And my other fear? That other thing that kept me from creating my own blog all those months? The fear that I would actually say something brilliant and no one would read it or, dare I say it, pay for it?
Let’s just say delusions of grandeur keep my world an interesting place and provide fodder for the muse. They remind me who I am. Eventually.