Today is the seventh anniversary of this blog, which is not about hats at all, but is plenty about words. I created this online presence, back in February of 2009, because I had completed a novel and was just beginning to shop it around to literary agents. Literary agents, I had discovered, expect an author to have an online presence. Preferably, an author will have a blog, a Facebook page, a twitter account, an Instagram account, a Pinterest page, a MySpace account, and a million-and-five loyal followers foaming at the mouth to buy the author's novel as soon as it hits the stands (or, better yet, to pre-order the novel on Amazon as soon as it's available). So I got a free blog on this thing called blogger, which is apparently owned by Google or something, because I wanted to get a literary agent to represent my novel. I do not have a million-and-five online followers, loyal or otherwise. But I did get this blog.
Time flew, as it does, and I got an agent and blogged about it, and I wrote more books and blogged about that, and then I parted ways with that first agent and got a new agent and I blogged about that, and I blogged about books I was writing and gave a lot of bad and simplistic advice about writing novels to nice folks I'd never met and then my second agent shopped two of my novels around to a couple of dozen publishers who admired the writing but not, alas, the novels themselves and then my second literary agent wished me well and we parted company. Eventually that original novel was published, and then republished, and has so far sold a few thousand copies (and like every other novel these days, there are scads of pirate digital editions all over the internets and who knows if anyone even looks at those). You can read all about this on the blog. It is not a particularly interesting or useful tale, so you'd be better served looking at other people's Instagram accounts. I do not, I pause to reveal in dramatic fashion, have accounts with Facebook, twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or MySpace. I may be lying about Pinterest, but I'll be darned if I know how to access it if I have that account. I digress.
Time continued to flew, as it sometimes ungrammatically does, and here I am. I have learned to stop giving advice to aspiring novelists, especially as my own standing as a knowledgeable writer is sketchy at best, and for the last several years I've been mostly blogging about the books I've been reading. This harmless change in the direction of the blog resulted in the loss of most of my regular readers. I miss them, whoever they were. Now I only blog about the books I write when I am weak or overly excited about something, which is still far too often. I rarely look at blogs written by other writers (though there are a couple of exceptions). I do look at a number of blogs written by some very perceptive and interesting readers, and I attempt to model my online work on theirs, because they seem to know what they are doing, and I don't know what I'm doing. To those perceptive and interesting bloggers: thanks.
What I do at six words for a hat is, I tell myself, write about the experience of reading a book; I don't write reviews, and usually by the time I've finished reading a novel I have lost all enthusiasm for writing about it, because most of the book's mysteries have gone away and I am attracted to--excited by--the mystery of the experience, not by the sum of the work, the conclusions drawn by the author, etc*. I don't care how novels end; I am a huge fan of middles, however, and I tend to start blogging about a book when I've reached the end of the first act. That's where the good stuff is usually found. S/he's going to do what? I expect to be amazed, and I frequently am. A good middle is a good book, and vice versa. Despite my abnormal enthusiasm for mostly middles, I think I've done some okay work here, especially that weird and pointless series on Chernyshevsky and the posts I've written about D.H. Lawrence. If I keep writing this blog, I might come up with a few other posts that are worth reading. That would be good, I think. To anyone who's ever left a comment here: thanks.
Today is also the feast of Blessed John of Fiesole, whom you might know as Fra Angelico. I add this note for no particular reason except that I like Fra Angelico's paintings.
* Also, usually, I'm too busy being excited by whatever new novel I'm just started to read.