the snake eats itself


The Meta-Blog About the Blog Talking About Itself, Chapter 18

Sometimes, like tonight, I wonder if I should go to a more random schedule with the blog (you know, like EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD DOES) since it would relieve me of the burden of being witty. However, doing so would relieve me of the burden of being witty.

When I started this thing, I wrote every single day without comments, and that included holidays like Christmas and New Year’s. I told myself I’d do it for a year, and there are so many entries back then I’m proud of, but you’ll never read them. My delightful friend Quinn occasionally reposts entries from the times when she had no page hits, but I feel like if I do that, you will all find it an unbelievably cheap transgression.

As it is, I take off all weekends and even the lesser holidays, but the main problem with keeping you all interested is this: my love life is accounted for. If you look at all the livejournal and blogspot blogs with 1.8 billion hits, it’s mostly people in their early 20s who may or may not reveal who they’ve been fucking (and all the sturm and drang therewith).

I look at my diary entries from those months of my life (the early 1990s), and fully 94% of it concerns my efforts to bed the other gender. Now, I was a well-known cad of the highest order, and thus those pages will not be unsealed until they repeal the Freedom of Information Act in the late 29th century, but at this point you are stuck with me already having proposed, gotten married, and having a child. All documented on this site.

I’m also a guy. Not a striking chick like Dooce, nor am I always one step away from showing my tits, like that podcast woman who gets drunk and usually winds up in the bathroom with her digital camera. This, as you might expect, puts a ceiling on the amount of damage I’ll ever do on the internet.

In essence, I feel like a throwback. I began this thing before blogging was cool, and now there are so many pictures of me (and Tessa and Lucy and everyone else we know) on here that I’ve had to go back and take out names, delete actual places, and try to obfuscate certain opinions that I was silly enough to entertain in the era of eternal Googling.

Already, there have been entries I’ve been ashamed of. One was about my old job at the Woolworth Building that I completely deleted because it was no longer how I felt, and unbelievably rude and inaccurate to boot. Lately, I’ve come to think my musings on Islam were not befitting someone who actually possessed a liberal arts education. And there was this one entry that was about my own grandfather – misread by some of Tessa’s family – that pretty much made me persona non grata in Houston for a couple of years.

So here’s the question: why do I do it? Is it the same desire for notoriety that fueled the best Wednesday’s Child entries in college? Do I lack community enough that my only solace are the comments section, where I rarely say anything? Do I have some sort of magical thinking, wherein my order falls apart if I don’t blog every weekday? Or is it just the same reason cavemen bothered to etch buffalo on the sides of caves?

Maybe I do this because I love to hear everyone talk. Perhaps these are all letters to my daughter, so she can know her dad like few do. Maybe it’s an ongoing love letter to my wife, so see if I can get her to laugh (which is actually quite hard). Or maybe these entries are just notes to my future self, reminding me to avoid complacency and remember there was a time when there was honor in endurance.

0 thoughts on “the snake eats itself

  1. Laurie from Manly Dorm

    I don’t know why you blog either, but I am glad that you do. I am keeping a blog for my daughter, but I censor it and I post entries infrequently. I don’t know how you write so much and on such a personal level. There are days when the comments section is off the hook, and I just KNOW that you are saying to yourself, “F*&K these people! I am SO over this blog!”, but sure enough, you post a fresh new entry the next day!
    If you need to cut back, we understand! We can read the old stuff. Have a good weekend!

  2. Chris M

    Maybe xtcian is a little like a height chart written on a door frame that let’s us measure how much you, and we, have grown.**
    **By the time I got 10% of the way through writing the above I realized that if *I* had a blog, it would read like Doogie friggin’ Howser’s journal. Not even my sidekick with the Brooklyn accent would read the damn thing. Your persistence despite all the abuse from the likes of me is admirable.

  3. cullen

    Making your wife genuinely laugh may be the highest bar one can set. Mine is notoriously stingy when it comes to giggling at my shenanigans and it doesn’t seem to help if we’re in mixed company and everyone else (kids and/or adults)happens to think I’m funny; she just thinks I’m a little more warped than she once thought. If you’re like me, the extremes to which you’ll go in the privacy of your own home to solicit laughter make blogging (even caustic rants) seem tame.
    Blog on though; we need thee. BTW, what time zones can claim you today?

  4. flaco

    Self-medicated therapy, plain and simple. I commend your public rants and ire, I’m too paranoid to set in googlestone all the personal information you do! I audio journal privately and considered the audioblog thing, as its not text searchable.
    In the nadir of depression in summer of ’03, I started taking and posting a photo each day. For almost 2 years I didn’t miss a day. The small little group of synapses dedicated to finding a striking or artsy photo-op each day help pull me out of the bout. Once I was a (mostly) happy primate, the need to photo a day lessened.
    Once our child was born, about 98% of photos are of her goo-gooing and gaa-gaaing, and now running jumping and talking. Regardless, the daily “requirement” kept me from going into an even darker place a few years back and for that I am ever grateful.
    I found your blog sometime in ’02 actually and have been reading it almost every day since. Its hit or miss, but enjoyable on the whole. I enjoy the parallels to my experiences: going from a profound whiney cynic to smitten lovestruck newlywed, to elated proud daddy of a beautiful daughter.
    Never took any pharms for my bouts, but can relate to your experiences and “funks.”
    I never stole any of your CDs either, even when partying in a stupor in the Lodge basement. I do remember the ferret, mainly from smell.
    So, I hope you blog as long as you need to, and no longer, maybe reduce your posts to just Wednesday :)
    blog on, friend
    p.s. “Mummer” was my fave xtc album

  5. kevin from NC

    Such as life, I think you must let it out as it is part of who you are. Some people paint, some people go to work everyday, some people have to write.
    Write when you need. k

  6. CL

    The whole question of whom a blog, or a diary, was ultimately for, is something worth writing about…wish I had more time today – but I love it that you DO write, and I like this community. You really add something to the world by doing this. So no matter what benefit you derive or don’t derive from it, it’s a good thing.

  7. Mom

    Look at it this way, Ian. Your blog means never having to hear me complain, “You never write, you never call!”
    That should be worth something. . .

  8. Quinn

    I dithered over re-runs for quite a while, and have used it very rarely, no more than four times. But the reality was that, even though it wouldn’t be a no-less-than-750-word snapshot of that day (my self-imposed requirement), I still felt a slightly-outdated blog was better than an unfunny and uninteresting blog, which was what I knew I had in me that night.
    You don’t seem to suffer from that. I am attributing this to greater talent and better pharmaceuticals.

  9. emma

    I think you do it for all of the above reasons.
    No pressure, but I was in a funk all day on Monday when I figured out it was President’s Day and I wouldn’t get my daily dose of xtcian and the comments that follow. But I absolutely could learn to live with not knowing whether there is going to be an entry to check into until I get there, like I do with the one or two other blogs that I look at.

  10. Josie

    If I could find the time to be sincerely intospective, I’d blog too; But a FT job, 2 kids and keeping up with maintaining a household is really pushing me to my limits. I am impressed that you still do it. Have we become another job to you? Are you compelled to blog, or do you feel obligated to keep it up?
    Whereas before I could mix business and pleasure, I find the two are completely and utterly separate at this time. I can no longer take a few moments out while on a family trip (or any given weekend) to “make a few business calls.” My gears no longer shift like that. As of this last trip, I have officially given up trying to make it work.
    I hope your commenting community gives you some satisfaction. We try. If you need to know, I think you have touched many people with your writing. A number of times, it’s provoked me to ponder a topic for days. Isn’t that powerful?
    Amazingly, about two weeks ago, while speaking on the phone with a gal pal from college, she asked me if I knew two people with whom we attended school. I did not, BUT they happened to be two people who comment here on your blog, and well, I had to respond with a awe-struck “kinda-sorta.” That’s pretty powerful too! What a small “big world” it is.
    I think it equally interesting that I found your blog, and that I have this connection with an aquaintaince of so long ago. Who would have ever conceived of this type of community in 1985? I was barely 16 at the time; my biggest concern that summer was hitting the beach before noon. I have dug up a few specific memories of scooping ice cream with you, Hampy and Steve. The other memories need to be prodded out of me.
    For what it’s worth, thanks.

  11. CP

    lest we forget, should you, fingers crossed, get a series order, one assumes the issue of the blog schedule will essentially resolve itself.
    until then, you have our gratitude.
    (now take him to detroit!)

  12. Laurie from Manly Dorm

    Hey Ian, this morning, I got a(nother) speeding ticket on my way into the Insurance Job. Damn it all to hell. And this is my week without my meds!
    How do you keep from getting tickets, with all of your cross country trips? Can anyone recommend a particular radar detector or the like?
    Any suggestion would be appreciated. Just don’t tell me to drive slower. I already heard that one.

  13. Andrew

    I doubt that you continue the blog due to a lack of community in your personal life or a need for noteriety. You continue the blog for a simple reason: you are a writer. Sure, you play some basketball now and then and sometimes squeeze in a round of golf, but there is probably no skill that you have that is better than your writing. Writing has provided you with a living in the past and it seems to be what will provide a living in the future.
    When you started Wednesday’s Child, it was probably not to gain noteriety. You just wanted to be a part of the newspaper because you liked writing. Because your are an entertaining writer, you gained a level of noteriety at school.
    So what do writers do? They write. All the time. If it was not the blog, you would write in some fashion, it would just be a different medium. The blog, unlike other mediums, gives you the outlet to do it almost everyday and to get instant feedback from your audience. What fun would it be to feel instinctively compelled to write all the time and never have feedback?
    If the question is why do you continue to do this day in and day out when the time commitment is too great, then you should think about changing the schedule. But if the question is why are you compelled to write in some form or fashion on a regular basis, then the answer is pretty simple: it is part of who you are and you are better at it than most. It is like Roy questioning why he coaches or Tiger questioning why he plays. You could stop the blog, but you would not stop writing.

  14. Bill

    I have kept a blog for about a year, and I’m still struggling to figure out its purpose or value. I say to myself, “Write when you are inspired to do so,” and then a week goes by with no posts. Does this mean my life is not blog-worthy or inspiring, or does this mean I’m not paying attention to what’s around me and to what moves my internal meter? And I also wonder why what I wrote in the past few days feels forced, while the ramblings of last year seemed so free and easy. Too much navel gazing, perhaps.
    Anyway, that’s about me. As far as this blog goes, I’m appreciative of what you do — the thought that goes into most posts, your turn of a phrase, the steady output even (which is the hardest part, really). There’s relevance for me too, as we have young ones around the same age (Lindsay turned 1 today!). Ever since I was on the DTH staff and you diagrammed a sentence and sub-referenced a Zagnut bar in Wednesday’s Child, I’ve been interested in what you have to say. No obligation there to keep it up — just wanted to let you know your efforts are noted and appreciated.

  15. TDSUNC92

    it’s so funny: i began today, as i do pretty much each day excluding weekends and holidays by checking my favorite blogs (i do this at home and not at work, of course!); yours is one of them. as is the case very often, yours was the only one with new material . you’re so reliable and entertaining, (except for the christian-bashing); keep it up!

  16. cullen

    I wasn’t aware of any christian bashing going on at this blog. Christians, unfortunately, have been painted and painted themselves into a four star generalized corner which reeks of sleazy politics and the big pig at the helm. Guess them’s the breaks, but don’t think the more Carteresque Christians (like me) stand up enuff as a group and speak up about church and state. Maybe I’m all alone here, but I also haven’t felt the need to poll how many other blog-denizens at xtcian are “Christian”. BTW, don’t let my tee-totalin’ aunt(s) find this rebuttal, they’d have my arse.


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