Sunday, August 25, 2013

Of Artistic Integrity, Dignity, Zombies, and Paris Hilton’s Sex Videos


I recently heard another writer talk about how many more hits he gets on his blog every time his subject of conversation is zombies. This got me to thinking about what would attract people to my blog. Is it as simple as mentioning Vampires, Hobbits, Werewolves or Aliens? Or could I get a million eyes upon my blog simply by referencing a famous movie such as Harry Potter, Twilight, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings or the Godfather? Not that I would do such a thing, of course, and if I did, it would only be as an experiment.

After all, it would invariably be a disappointment to whomever stumbled upon my blog to find their favorite movie or television show, such as Fringe, Buffy The Vampire Slayer or Lost was mentioned merely as a way to get someone to click onto my blog.

It would be a cynical ploy to make mention of the Kardashians, Honey Boo Boo, Selina Gomez, Angelina Jolie, Hunter S. Thompson, Brad Pitt, Jennifer Anniston, Jennifer Garner, Jennifer Hudson, Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Lawrence, Jennifer Jones, or Johnny Depp. The truth is, I’d be more likely to garner negative attention by doing such a thing. Still, I have to admit to a certain amount of curiosity, whether or not I could direct traffic to my blog through such means. I guess another way of going about it would be by checking out what is trending now, like baby pandas, Ben Affleck as Batman, Anthony Weiner, Martin Luther’s I Have A Dream Speech, etc. But the truth is, I’ve never attempted to be a trendy person, and really don’t see much to be gained by associating my novel, The Amazing Morse, with the ephemera that flits past our consciousness briefly and then is never thought of again.

I’d like to think that my name might better stand with the giants of fiction, people such as Jack London, Victor Hugo, William Shakespeare, Joseph Conrad, George Bernard Shaw, or Oscar Wilde, that my work might someday sit on a shelf next to the likes of Brave New World, Pygmalion, The Picture of Dorian Gray, or The Scarlet Letter. But this is an extreme burst of vanity on my part. Truth be told, I’d be content to have my books sitting next to the likes of James Patterson, John Grisham, George Martin, Dan Brown, or Terry Brooks.

I sometimes wonder what kind of person would want to read my book in the first place. My ego says it would be people who have read Plato, Socrates, Erich Fromm or Lao Tzu. Only slightly less egotistical would be to think that those who have the same influences as myself might enjoy my writing. Perhaps those who have read Alan Moore or Steven R. Donaldson might see a little of them in what I do.

In truth, music seems to have been an even bigger influence on my life than books. I can’t help wondering if the works of The Beatles, The Kinks, The Animals, Pink Floyd, Genesis, Yes, and King Crimson have somehow shaped me as an author. Again, I am not name-dropping. If I were, it would be silly to waste space by naming such obscure influences on me as Stackridge, echolyn and Änglagård.

I know that ultimately a writer will be judged by the work he creates and not by the company he keeps. And I know that getting people to my blog is far different than getting anyone to actually read it. Still, the life of an unknown author can make a person feel like a voice in the wilderness. It would be nice to think that there might be easier ways of connecting to an audience. And self-promotion, no matter how unsavory a thing it is, is part of any artist’s job.

And who is Matt Kenseth, anyway, and why is he trending?

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