webandrank the blog.thumbnail The BLOGAnd so it is that after a successful foray into a one-hour-a-morning series of articles, I’m bereft. An issue has inserted itself into my writing life, the blog, that pragmatic approach to content which goes against my esoteric grain. Once again I’m out of the norm. The blog is the modern version of the older print magazine Popular series, the ones with names like Popular Mechanics and Popular Electronics. Those how-to approaches: how to write better, how to market articles, how to make money from writing, how to be inspired to write. Today we have dozens of niche markets, everything from scrap booking to sports cars, travel deals to healthy living. Where in all this does what I write about fit?

Social commentary has no place in this scheme. The area is so alien that I spent a week trying to convince a webmaster that such a category has any merit at all. The difficulty was distinguishing it, in her mind, from politics. So it is these days. We are box-bound. A finite universe in which there is no edge to travel beyond. The edge loops back to our everyday doing, one big trip around the cardboard and back to physical fitness or sports cars or how to get the most from fresh vegetables.

There should be questions about such topics as well as the simple exploration of the topics themselves. For example, what seems self-evident, the importance of healthy living, might do with a dose of what’s left after the fact. What does healthy, itself, signify? Does it make us any happier or just relieve ailments which bring grief in the form of physical debilitation and lassitude? In other words, where does the mind fit into this improvement scheme? Or, is it assumed that a healthy body leads naturally to a healthy mind?

It is quite easy to walk along the sunny path of hobbies and interests, to become engrossed with classic car restoration, or quilting. I’m in no way critical of these activities. I enjoy gardening, collecting movies, and reading. But these are inside our practical experience box. Is there a place for thinking about such activities, for asking ourselves the how’s and why’s of them. Isn’t there merit in writing about the way gardening becomes an affirmation of life itself, a lesson in growth, a daily metaphor displaying the success of struggle against all odds? Could no one benefit from a few paragraphs of self-reflection? Or are we so bound to things and contentment and our known world that the lessons from our hobbies becomes rarefied, silly philosophy?

In blog world, the only entrance to this approach is called “creative writing,” a description so broad that it is meaningless, as all writing is creative. The only alternative is plagiarism. But, as used, this writing includes poetry short stories, and practically guidance on ways to enable publication of such efforts. Obviously, the present article has no place there.

With blogging, practicality is the touchstone of publication. Maybe what I’m describing above is the journey, the looking out of the window, the slit in the cardboard. The view of where we are in all this practice. And, maybe I’ve stumbled into a niche here. Travel writing. That comes as close as anything to social commentary.

Michael Carter lives in Florida as a retired high school English teacher. He devotes most of his time working with his websites and freelance writing. This becomes a marriage of productivity and convenience because Florida summers tend to keep people inside away from the heat. His writing output tends toward social criticism. Mike’s hero is Jack Kerouac.
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