Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Bar Keeps Rising

A long time ago I was an undergraduate creative writing major. I kept a journal. I wrote poems. I wrote short dense pieces in a manner that I ambitiously called writing in negative space. Some people liked my work. Many more did not. The majority of folks in both camps had no idea what I was trying to accomplish. The most frustrating thing about that fact was that I had no idea if I was a misunderstood genius or a pretentious hack. To this day I don't really know where on that continuum I actually fell.

Eventually, my introspection led to a drastic change in my academic focus. What I was attempting to do artistically involved sculpting complex meaning out of words that I hadn't actually put on the page. My question became whether or not there was any realistic basis for assuming that such a thing was even possible. By the time I was a few years into graduate school I was using EEG and Near-InfraRed Spectroscopy to examine how words are represented in the cognitive system, and to what extent these representations could be activated without being explicitly presented.

I don't do that anymore, either. What I hope that this story illustrates is that I'm a big fan of empircal evidence, and that taking my own writing too seriously is a source of apprehension for me.


A lot of blogs are exactly what critics dismiss all blogs as being. Aspiring to be better than that gets you pretty far. As I said in the title, however, the bar keeps rising. People like Jeff Coryell and Jill Zimon and Jerid Kurtz, etc., etc. are not just doing original reporting, the scoops they're getting are making news. In recent weeks I've started actually having conversations (or their virtual equivalents)with politicians, journalists, political pros, and the like. I know what it would take to start the process of moving Blue Bexley up a notch in quality. I also know that I don't really have the spare resources to do it.

So it's midnight, the wife and daughter are asleep, and I'm looking at settling for mediocrity. Don't mind me. Maudlin self-absorption is just my way of celebrating the dramatic strides the left-side Ohio blogs continue to make.

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