Friday, April 25, 2014

The Problem with the First Post

So a blog—
For the record, this is the first blog, journal, or anything that I’ve used to share my thoughts with the world since I studied music as a college undergrad.  Twitter and Facebook don’t really count.  Honest posts are rarely deep and can only give glimpses of personality.  I never graduated with a degree in music, but rather with a BA in English.  It’s been nearly ten years since I studied music, and while I can see the person I would become in those posts, I am definitely not the same person.
Since that was at the forefront of my thoughts, I wanted to give you examples of what I’m talking about.  But I won’t. Feel the sigh of relief from the masses.  Why won’t I?  Perhaps the reason is because I can’t find those posts.  Maybe I know where to find them, but am too embarrassed to share.  Or maybe I couldn't write about it in a way that wouldn't drive me insane with boredom.  And if I get bored writing it, I can imagine what your interest level will be.
And that brings up the problem with the first post of any blog, series of articles, or the first chapter in a novel.  How do I introduce myself, the heroes and villains, or anything else adequately and entertainingly enough to spark your interest?  Let’s be honest, there is a sense of utter arrogance whenever anyone writes— don’t argue, it’s true —since the written word is intended for posterity by design.  Why else record everything from Oedipus Rex to Aristotle to quantum physics?  I have to prove that my opinions are worth your time and effort. 
That’s not easy.
So how do I describe myself (a man with a desert-dry sense of humor), my interests (comics, writing, and woodworking), and my intent (to create conversations based on opinions, writing excerpts, and observations) in such a manner that is interesting?  By far and large, this is one of the hardest posts I’ll ever write.  Proverbial chest pounding doesn't come easy to me.  It makes me uncomfortable, and I blush like a tomato— kind of ruins the impression I’m trying to give.  At least that’s what happens verbally.  But I’m a writer, and you can’t see how red my face will get.  Instead, I have style.  And style means all.  Which begs the question of how.  How should I write it?  I could always do what we all did in first grade— except maybe Shakespeare.
Hi.  My name is Nick.  My house is white.  I like cake.  I like comics.
Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera—
God, that is dull.  It’s boring, dry, and as informative as that textbook you slept on in high school biology.  The one that I used as a pillow was, at least, that tedious.  I could always add adverbs, adjectives, and other bits of grammar which liven up the English language.  Of course, it would help if I could actually identify all those fiddly bits.  I hear that four out of five dentists can’t identify teeth either.  Maybe I just made that up. 
I could state that cake is nothing but a delivery method for frosting (props to Alton Brown for that one). It’s just as informative, but much more entertaining.  And isn’t that part of what I’m going for here?  Entertainment.  But stealing that line lacks originality— that distinct whatchamacallit which makes everyone’s writing unique.
Am I unique?  Is my writing unique?  Is anything we write original?  I already know what some people think, but that’s a metaphysical debate for another day.  Not to mention one that could very well create headaches for everyone involved.  Cake isn't original, and rarely unique, but people still love it.  How to tell you about my emotional connection to cake is a conundrum.  But we’re not talking about writing.  I have plenty to say on writing styles, critiquing, and each little writing niche— every writer does.  Let’s stop lying to ourselves here; we are discussing cake.  And damn it, now I want some.

Excuse me while I go put on some pants.