Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Dream and The Daily Life


Last night I wrote about how I want to increase the readership of these essays and I asked my friends who read to mention it to their friends. I've been very gratified by the response and hope to continue building a larger audience. To that end, I have decided to do nothing but product placements from now on. I mean, why not? I've long been writing on Google made tablet called a Chromebook, I just finished watching The Good Wife, a CBS show, and I enjoyed a few Lindt chocolate truffles while I watched. Boy, are they delicious! You should all get your own Chromebook and a bag of Lindt balls to savor while you tune into a CBS television show!

Or not.

There are limits to the ways in which things should be done. I suppose I take it as a point of honor not to monetize this thing. I tried that years ago, putting Google ads on my site and seeing who would click on them. The whole thing seemed crass and, much worse, it didn't make me any money. I suppose the market for prose poetry just wasn't as large as I had hoped.

Years ago, when I was in graduate school on a fellowship, I took temporary jobs during the summer. A guy I was going to school with suggested that instead I should go on foodstamps and collect unemployment. "You're technically out of work," he said. I told him I couldn't. "What are you," he asked, "too proud?" I told him that, for better or worse, I was too proud. That and it didn't seem in the spirit of the rule.

As a reward I got to work in a Crayola factory in Radford, Virginia (a good old Right to Work state!) at which every employee but a few managers had been fired and an all-temp workforce had been brought in. I've never been to a worse place to work and, God willing, that factory burned to the ground taking most of the Crayola company executives and Virginia legislators with it.

Still, I'm okay. I didn't want to take food stamps then and I don't want to do product placements now. In fact, I'm not really very concerned with making a lot of money. I know, that sounds like I'm telling stories, but the truth of the matter is that my wife and I make enough money. In fact, if I stopped buying so many coffees and we went out to eat a tenth of as many times as we do now, we would have more than enough money. As things are, we have enough money now. We're okay.

So why do I want to expand the audience of this blog?

It's a good question and one I'm not entirely sure I have the answer for. I have a working answer that begins with narcissism and, I hope, goes to a better place. I would love to have more people reading what I write and taking it seriously (yes, even when I suggest product placements in my essays). I just want that kind of attention. There's my narcissism coming out.

Beyond that, I like the challenge of trying to get more people to read. It's one that I don't have many good ideas about. I don't know how to do it. So it's a good and somewhat crazy challenge for me. I like crazy challenges.

And beyond that, I want to see if there is more for me in writing than I'm doing right now. I don't need to leave teaching -- I love being in my classroom this year and will miss it in a couple weeks when I'm still out for my surgery recovery -- but I want to investigate what there is in this writing stuff that I might dig into. I've got two other irons in that stove and that excites me. I think that I can do more in my life. I think I've got more to give.

I've asked before if others have dreams that they are trying to follow. This time, I'm curious, how do you balance the paying the bills job with the dreams you have? What are you doing to move yourself forward and be happier, more fulfilled, more than you thought you could be? And if you want to just leave a note on Google+, Facebook, or Twitter about what your dream is, that would be fine too.

I know that mine has little to do with product placement or making money. It has everything to do with what I do here each day: I write on.