Catching Up 2 – The Journals

10 06 2007

Of the folks still working at the old stand, some have improved, some have deteriorated, and some are, well, exactly what they’ve always been.

In the first category is Jen Balderama of Nonsense Verse (original review is here). Although she doesn’t post often, when she does she rarely misses. Her writing has deepened significantly in the past couple of years it seems to me. This is from a post about writing.

[F]or those who have fallen in love with an art, walking away, or being forced away, creates an irreparable wound, not unlike that of the amputee haunted by phantom pain. The limb is gone, and the amputee, no matter the prosthetics applied, will never be what she once was: whole. The artist severed from her art may not suffer in the same physical sense, the pain may not be located in a specific place, but the ghostly ache is there and always will be.

This all may sound overly dramatic, and yet, the comparison is apt if one is to comprehend the difficulty with which the artist, having lost one art, can even begin to consider picking up and moving on to the next. The artist is haunted by pain.

Indeed. I don’t have her chops but I’ve been writing since I learned how, and there was a period when I quit for 20 years. I couldn’t sell anything, nobody but me seemed to like to read what I was writing, and my relationships were all endangered by the time I gave to it. What’s the point? I asked myself, and answer came there none, so I just…stopped. For the next two decades I felt just the way she described – as if a part of my body was missing. It took me years to figure out why I was so miserable, and at that point I frankly didn’t care if I never sold a damn thing. I just wanted the pain to stop.

And it did. For a real writer (as opposed to an “author”), no matter how hard it is to write, not writing is harder and more painful. Her post catches beautifully the cast of mind, the shifts of allegiance, the doubts and the devils. It’s all there, it’s all true, and she manages to describe it without whining or complaint. Now that’s talent.

Read the rest of this entry »





Catching Up – The Comics

5 06 2007

As has become our habit when we re-animate LitBlogs yet again (monotonous, isn’t it?), we will begin our newest round of documenting literary blogs by returning to the sites we’ve already reviewed and marking any changes. And believe me, have there been changes. Some are wonderful, even inspiring. Others are downright depressing.

Like the number of brilliant bloggers we’ve lost in this past year. The comic blogosphere has been particularly hard-hit. Two of the three funniest net-exclusive bloggers have vanished without a trace.

Chris, who was responsible for the satiric genius and laff-out-loud gut-busting of the Fafblog!, hasn’t written a post since July of ’06. That doesn’t mean he and his crew of space-light alien-cookies won’t be back at some point – after all, if Shakespeare can return (more later), there’s hope for everybody – but it’s not looking good. One longs to hear Giblets defend Libby while Fafnir taste-tests various PopTart frostings and then goes into paroxysms of delight over the comparatively high food-value of the cardboard container they came in. Brad Delong called Fafblog! a “national treasure” and somebody has clearly looted it. (Now, who could that be?)

Admittedly a poor second but amusing in its own right for totally different reasons is an homage blog – no, I’m not kidding – called I Miss fafblog, Spot! by a group of otherwise-bloggers who have appropriated fafblog‘s template in toto and attempted to foist upon it their own version of wit. Sometimes it works…and sometimes it doesn’t. From a post of “awards” for – well, I’m not exactly sure what they’re for.

Read the rest of this entry »