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Jennifer

Nice post, Lancie-pants. Why do I feel like someone opened the window?

Ken Houghton

Speaking strictly for me, I have no interest at all in "politics" per se; I'm all about (1) process and (2) results.

It's a minor degree of difference, at most, from "they're all crooks." I assume people are going to steal "work in their own best interest," the question is are they going to represent their voters well, or are they just stealing for themselves. (Strom Thurmond did a poor job representing the people of his state, but a good job stealing and making himself known. Donald Payne does a good job representing his [my] district—though he could do better—so if he ends up helping his friends as well, it won't mean we're poorly served.)

It's why most people are saying that the current investigations are good: they know they've had things stolen—money, lives, maybe jobs—and they want to see the crooks punished.

Where political bloggers go wrong is when they have the Naderian Vision; the "there's no difference, but Bush might make things worse enough that the people will want them to get better" schpiel that was so popular in 2000. If you break the process, you don't get better results.

By the way, who doesn't talk to their keyboard? It's the ones who believe it talks back to then that you have to worry about...

Matt T.

First off (and I apologize in advance for both the length and deeply wankish tone of this comment, so feel free to skip right on)...exactly. I have a deep love for the blogosphere in all its varied forms, political or otherwise, but it does tend to take itself too seriously from time to time. But, as you said, writers...artists and thinkers in general need to be pull aside and told "Look, calm down. It's only rock & roll" from time to time.

I used to write, but I don't anymore. When I was 13, I decided I wanted to be Lewis Grizzard when I grew up so I got into newspapers. I did that - sports at first, but later more "gonzo" stuff with an emphasis on music journalism - until about two years ago. I had a job that required me to go listen to bands, get CDs for free, and hang out with a wide variety of somebodies, usta-bes, never-weres and hey-ya-never-knows. And write about, saying whatever I wanted. I actually made an admittedly meager living doing that.

I tried my hand at fiction but decided I don't have the knack for good plotting, and frankly, I wouldn't write something I wouldn't read. So, I wrote essays and faux columns in my journals, and later wrote articles for now-defunct webzines and paper 'zines. I also kept a blog, were I wrote about soul music, my redneck upbringing, consciousness expansion through heavy drug use, the extreme coolness of science, Doctor Who and, yes, politics.

I quit writing for newspapers two-and-a-half years ago, because I got to where I hated having to write anything. I decided I was burnt out with that grind, so it was time to get started on The Book everyone I knew since the age of 13 told me I should be writing. After about six months, I quit pretending to do research on whatever the hell I thought I was researching (had something to do with poor rural Southerners in the internet age). About six months after that, I quit making myself blog at least once a week and decided to just write whenever it moved me.

About a year ago, I decided to hell with it and haven't written anything but comments and emails since, with one exception. I don't feel the urge. I don't have anymore stories to tell or wisdom to impart. I don't know if I ever even really liked it or if it was just a desperate grab at the one thing that I felt made me special and not just some misfit. Nothing else has changed, not my reading habits or the way I try to deal with the world. I don't miss it at all. I don't care, right now, if I ever publish another word in any format.

Sometimes, though, I wonder if that's the right decision. Regardless, I can't do what I used to do, either the mindset wherein my opinion MATTERS, DAMMIT!!!, or even the mechanical process of writing. I've tried and tried. It makes me...uncomfortable in a way I can't really explain. It's not pleasant, that's all I know.

To tell the truth, I was never comfortable calling myself a "writer". I always felt like a fraud and I still get incredibly uncomfortable with the thankfully diminishing amount of praise I get from time to time on my past laughable efforts from people who are being far too polite. My family thinks I'm wasting my degree, my talent (their words, not mine) and my life, and most folks don't understand that it's just not there, it may never come back, and either way there's nothing I can do about it.

It's that occasional bubble that can't be denied that bothers me. When I have to write and it has to be read by as many people as possible. I could do without that.

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