Friday, February 08, 2008

The Curse of Reach

So I pretty much started this blog in order to keep the writing muscle in shape. I could keep a journal but I'm way too insecure for that. What's the use of writing if no one's reading it? Who's going to give you the approval you so desperately crave? I figure a few friends would read it as well as the occasional stranger stumbling across the transom or someone who knew my work, somehow wanted to see more of it, and googled me. But then more friends started reading it. Then my family. Then my extended family. Latest horrific discovery: lots of people at my old college are reading it too.

That's where I am now. Back at the college. Whitman College of Walla Walla, Washington (they use the buildings vacated when the Wishy Washy Washing Machine Company shut down). I gave a talk here yesterday to loads of students who showed up for some reason (McSweeney's? Boredom?) and a few professors I had when I was here. Many seem to have read the blog.

I've always kind of avoided the relentless self promotion that some of my contemporaries practice on their blogs because I guess I've been sustaining this idea of this being a more personal side away from the book and the radio. But then again, the book was really mostly about me and loads of stuff on the radio is about me.

I'm sitting in the big Campus Center building. "Dancing in the Dark" is playing. "Man, I ain't nothing but tired / I'm just tired and bored with myself". Screw you, Springsteen. I don't need your ham-fisted soundtrack. Why does he appear so chipper in that video anyway? And when will Ben Gibbard cover this song? Tomorrow please?

Anyway, I had a lovely visit to Whitman College, something I would have said even if I didn't know people from there may be reading this. Among the advice nuggets I gave to students (often without provocation):
- Don't go directly to grad school.
- Don't ever go to journalism school.
- Attend a lecture on something you're not interested in.
- Everything you do in college will be on the final. Except the final is life. And it's not a test. But everything will be on the final.
- It doesn't matter what you major in.

College boys look like they're from the 1970s these days.
I'm all, "where's your dune buggy?"
I'm all, "when does Frampton next come alive?"
I'm all, "where is the innocence as to the eventual brutal cost of your excesses?"
Oh, there it is.


Heather said...

Oh also people you used to work with more than ten years ago and have barely seen since, who still like you whether or not you ever make time to see each other are also reading this blog.

I would be all "Where's your airplane with the name of your band on the side of it, and where's the roll of pennies in your hip-huggers?" if I saw those fake seventies dudes.

Led Zeppelin, I'm on to you.

God, I really did really a lot of this. I feel a little sick, now, but I really like your kids.

Anonymous said...

And also possibly people you did a show with when you were 15 and listen to you now on the radio and really liked your book and then googled you. You never know who might look you up. The internet is a little scary that way, isn't it?

Scott Chicken said...

I'm just jealous you got to stay at Baker Faculty Center. At least, I think I was the bed?

Anonymous said...

Also people that you don't really know, but who met you while swimming in the deep waters of 14/48. I was the one rocking and muttering in the corner, "Six pages equals ten minutes. Ten minutes equals four actors. Four actors equals six pages. Six pages equals..."

Hope you're well!!

Anonymous said...

And people whose brother you went to Whitman College with, who herself graduated from Whitman just before you got there, who now lives on the same street as you, a few blocks north. (Well, for a while, at least.)

Ju said...

And people who worked with you and "Half" a little less than 10 years ago to launch a free product on an e-commerce site, said product having changed very little since you left (except for a software migration. But the content is the essentially the same.)

john said...

Yeah, this post is starting to freak me out quite a bit.