Administrivia: Eating the Elephant

[Administrivia posts exist to tell you what I think about what I write. Writing about writing, I guess. Not necessarily boring, but not necessarily essential reading, either — unless you care about things like how and why I run lastgreypoet.com, in which case you should click on the administrivia content label and make sure you’re all caught up.]

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If you aren’t familiar, the old saw goes: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”

That isn’t a metaphor, and this isn’t a political post. (Not today, anyway. Later.)

This is a list, for me and you. A list of objectives and things that are on my mind as I emerge from a long funk and get back to work. A list of obstacles and my plans to overcome them.

1. It’s lastgreypoet, not lastgreypundit. While I certainly reserve the right to write in any fashion on any topic, I need to remember that my forte is less analysis/longform/serious and more musing/essayish/whimsical. The motto “wit, whimsy, and ruminations” will remain.

2. You’ve probably heard “the perfect is the enemy of the good” or maybe “don’t make it perfect, make deadline.” It doesn’t have to be perfect. (Huh. I should have put this one at the top of the list, now I think of it. Look at me, not revising!) I have always struggled with this. I will continue to struggle with this. I will cringe when I realize how much better something might have been … but I will let that go and move on to the next set of words.

3. I struggle with depression/anxiety. Maybe I’ll talk about that some time. Just keep it in mind if I disappear unexpectedly for a time.

4. Quotations. I used to always use them atop my newspaper columns, even though an editor friend called ’em a crutch and distraction from my words. Eh. Blame Joel Rosenberg. I learned the technique reading his fantasy novels. Or blame Robert Aspirin, for the same reason, only he did it earlier. (He also had a habit of making quotations up for comedic effect. And he punned like a villain.) I’d gotten out of the habit when I started lastgreypoet.com, but I dusted off the technique the other day for “My Dog Died” because it felt right. Going forward, I’ll let those feelings be my guide.

5. On a similar note: Fuck form. It may not have shown, but I spent an awful lot of time worrying over uniformity of length/appearance/pattern/tone across pieces. Even when I “loosened up” it came in the form of structural patterning (Wordless Wednesday/Caturday/Sports Sunday). I’m done with all that. I’ll write each piece the way it needs to be written, then I’ll be off to the next one.

6. Which brings me to movement. Like a shark, not a clam. Actually, no. Squid. My totem. Swift movers, but also capable of lying around if needed. Adaptable. Comfortable in the depths. Ready to fuck you up with ink when the situation calls for it.

7. You don’t have to be a liberal to like it here, but I’m not going to go out of my way running after some false sense of balance to try to please everyone who comes in the door. Related to that, it’s not exactly coincidental that I went back to the keyboard in the wee hours of the morning America voted to go back to “being great again.” In absolute candor, just between us, if you’d asked me Monday how I’d have reacted to that election outcome, I’d have told you to expect to find me in my cave, with writing the last thing on my mind. Life’s funny, though. Turns out, my anxiety is kind of a pushover, so long as I’m pushing with adequate rage. As noted above, that doesn’t mean it’s all going to be political. If you need an example, look no further than my November 11 post, “Remember, Remember …” Those are words I’ve wanted, needed, to get on a page for a very long time. This was the year.

Administrivia: Don’t Read The Comments

[Administrivia posts exist to tell you what I think about what I write. Writing about writing, I guess. Not necessarily boring, but not necessarily essential reading, either — unless you care about things like how and why I run lastgreypoet.com, in which case you should click on the administrivia content label and make sure you’re all caught up.]

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I’m not Jim Wright, demi-god of the sea, who petrifies his enemies then carves their heads into beautiful bowls, all without spilling a drop of his whisky.

Nor am I John Scalzi, who wields the Mallet of Loving Correction with judicious glee before turning back to more important pursuits like cat photography.

My comment policy, while sharing something in spirit with theirs, is a bit different.

Comment moderation is ON, and anonymous commenting is OFF.

Does that makes sense? How about a Q&A? I bet that would help.

I HAVE TO REGISTER TO POST? WHAT IS THIS?

It’s easy, is what it is. You have to either be signed into a Google account or an account from one of several other online services. (I honestly can’t keep up. They’re listed for you on the comment box, though.)

I figure if you have an internet connection and the web savvy to get here, you probably have access to one of those services. If not, email me.

MODERATION? WHAT IS THIS, A DRINKING SUPPORT GROUP?

No, but we might talk about alcoholism some other time.

Moderation means your comment goes to me for approval before it hits the site.

EVEN AFT-

Yes, even after you went to all the trouble of remembering your AIM password to log in.

In practical terms, this means there will be a delay before your comment shows up. How long depends on what I’m up to.

If it’s a typical day, I’ll get the email ping, and if time allows I’ll read and approve a reasonable comment in short order. Then again, your comment might hit at a bad time (such as a time when I haven’t been writing much and you’re hitting up an older post and wanting to start a discussion but it turns out I’m wallowing in a cave).

YOU HAVE A CAVE?

I have a fondness for metaphor.

LET ME BACK UP TO THAT BIT ABOUT “APPROVE A REASONABLE COMMENT.” WHAT?

If your comment meets my standards of decency, I’ll allow it.

(Trolls, professional devil’s advocates, and assholes I went to high school with may find themselves disappointed with said standards.)

FREE SPEECH!

That isn’t a question, but you are welcome to speak freely in whatever public space you find yourself. This isn’t a public space. I realize it may be confusing, given that it’s publicly accessible, but that’s not the same thing.

Think of like this: No shoes, no shirt, no minimum IQ or sense of decency, no service.

Actually, scratch that. I don’t care what you’re wearing (or not wearing). If you’re a decent human who isn’t so dumb as to get on my last nerve, I’ll probably let you in.

WAIT A MINUTE, YOU MENTIONED SENDING YOU AN EMAIL, BUT I CAN’T FIND AN EMAIL ADDRESS ANYWHERE ON YOUR SITE!

Well spotted. You might just clear the aforementioned minimum IQ requirement.

WHAT ABOUT FACEBOOK? TWITTER? CAN I COMMENT THERE?

If you know me there, be welcome.

DID YOU REALLY HAVE TO WRITE THIS Q&A LIKE A CONVERSATION BETWEEN YOURSELF AND AN IMAGINARY YELLING INTERNET DENIZEN!?

No, but it was more fun that way. Nice use of “denizen,” btw. I dig that word.

STOP COMPLIMENTING YOURSELF IN THE THIRD PERSON AND GET BACK TO WORK