Monday, July 12, 2010
This is going to ramble a bit as I work out what's meant...
Thinking of crass materialism circa 1810, Wordsworth wrote: "The World is too much with us; late and soon,/ Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers."
I'm worn down; I've spent over a week now trying to reclaim, relocate, and intelligently re-organize thousands of CDs and records--a decade's worth of excessive acquisition--that had overwhelmed the allotted space and recognized alphabet. With the bulk of all music now relegated to new shelves in our storage area, the library suddenly is resembling a book room once more rather than a warehouse in the midst of a desperation move.
No blog writing attempted or even contemplated during those days, aside from the usual time-consuming remarks left as comments at other good, readable sites. But I did ponder the fate of this odd duck called I Witness.
I live on Vashon Island in Washington State's Puget Sound, a sort of free-spirited suburb of Seattle reachable only by ferry boat--where millionaires and bigtime lawyers rub elbows (hell, live cheek-by-jowl) with artists, retired folks, and ex-hippies grown Green. I'm semi-retired but I do maintain a sales presence on the Internet for collectable books and LP records. Business is slow these days (of course), but I can't give up on trying to find and list some object somebody somewhere wants even now.
At the same time I write this mixed bag of a blog, trying to keep things interesting and not too single-subject. Finding a topic is usually easy since I am hooked as a listener on Modern Jazz, Reggae, Southern Soul, New Orleans R&B, Deep Blues (more Country than City Electric), English and Celtic Folk, Old Timey and Bluegrass, certain aspects of Classical, lots of Alt.Country and Americana, Movie Soundtracks, Progressive Talk Radio... well, there are probably more sub-genres I could point to, but you get the idea. My ears take a major pounding every day.
Yeah, my taste in music is pretty eclectic, and that's actually a bit of a double-edged sword. Does eclecticism really just prevent my blog from building an identity? Every week I wonder, Just what do I write about next? Brand new live album by Richard Thompson, or some great tracks arranged and played by Lennie Niehaus 50 years ago? Forgotten works of composer Joaquin Rodrigo, or comeback CD, say, by that-was-no-Lady Madonna? (Forget Lady Gag-Gag; entirely too risible.) The classic Reggae I play eagerly every day, or the rigid Classics I feel obligated to sample? In my scrambled, non-commercial life there are no sponsors and damn few regular readers. That doesn't stop me from blogging, but there really is no pressure to perform.
I study with some envy the varied stories and burgeoning readership of top, changing-almost-daily sites like Rifftides and JazzWax and the amazing, multi-varied, piecemeal autobiography currently being posted by producer/photographer Hank O'Neal. I find myself torn between wanting to compete with those top blogs and feeling the doubts I first experienced back around 1975 when I gave up writing Rock criticism, convinced that I really had nothing worth saying and not wanting to inflict my trivial opinions on the readers of Rolling Stone and Ramparts and other publications of that time.
Anyway, I'm not quite ready to call it quits yet, but I am perched on the fence hoping for a sign. Should I post less, cut back on the attempts to range so far and wide? Would it be wise to solicit ads and focus the writing on a single broad subject? Or am I just kidding myself... time to hang up my rock 'n' roll shoes.
I'd love to hear from anyone who cares or has an opinion to offer.