When I commissioned Thmazing Theric Jepson to write a guest post, I had no idea that he would work to undermine AMV’s very existence. Or that he would be tossing out words like coitus-interruptus, masturbation, icky and lucre. But since I am a man of my word, I’m going to go ahead and post this. Those sensitive to Old Testament references should probably shield their eyes. Those who can handle it, are welcome to rise up and defend AMV’s honor in the comments. ~Wm Morris
In our lovely Bible, canonized though it may be, we find any number of icky stories filled with stuff that isn’t good fodder for Sunday School. Gang rape and corpse mutilation, horny old men, drunken incest — I could go on. But I’m squeamish.
So let’s move on to Onan, who spilled his seed upon the ground. Now, most times I’ve heard this called masturbation; I hold more with the coitus-interruptus interpretation myself, but either way, the point is this: He didn’t put his seed where it belonged. He totally failed to make babies.
Which is why I pronounce Onan the patron saint of bloggers.
Since becoming a blogger in August 2008, I, Theric, novelist, have finished precisely zero (0) novels.
Now granted, part of the blame can be hung on my efforts to sell my first novel (to date, four “acceptances” followed by three quoteless rejections; I’m not holding my breath on “acceptance” #4) — but not all of it, not by a long stretch.
The biggest portion of the blame belongs to the >250,000 words I’ve pored into Thmusings — words that are now online rather than climbing any, you know, bestseller charts.
Which begs the question I’d better dispense with first: Is blogging intrinsically of less worth than novel-writing?
For me, personally, the answer is yes. I find blogging an excellent lark, but I’m a fellow with artistic ambitions and Thmusings just isn’t providing me with that. I may be a mere 31 years old, but I’m pretty old-fashioned in terms of what I deem Artistic Worth.
I think the real issue is that I want to create something that will last, and nothing is more ephemeral than a blog post. Printed on nothing, floating in the ether (with a thousand million competitors), forgotten tomorrow, never revisited. Depressing.
250,000 words. Over a thousand pages in the Word document I just pasted them into.
250,000 words that have shown little return in terms of either artistic satisfaction or lucre.
. . . and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled it on the ground . . . .
Here’s my argument: For all the alleged good of blogging (building audience, building art communities, etc), in the end, it’s thrown-away flotsam preventing the creation of important work.
The whole thing reminds me of Dallin H. Oaks’s 2007 talk “.” I’m sure he won’t mind if I swap in some new nouns:
In choosing how we spend time as a writer, we should be careful not to exhaust our available time on things that are merely good and leave little time for that which is better or best.
To our hundreds of thousands of talented writers, I suggest that it is good to keep a blog; it is better to publish the occasional short story; and it is best of all to write a book that will stand the test of time and totally change the world.
Lamoni’s father was willing to give up his blog that he might write the Great Lamanite Novel, but I’m not sure I’m willing to make the same sacrifice.
Of course, blogging isn’t the only way talented writers spill their artistic seed, but it’s my greatest continuing stumbling block.
I’m a school teacher and so I’m not working now. My goal is to write at least one book before I have to punch the clock on August 21. But first there was the obligatory trip to my parents. Then the water heater broke down while we were gone. Then the car died while we were at Home Depot. Next week I’m taking AP training eight hours a day. Also, there’s that wife-and-kids thing. And the anthology I’m editing. And the six dozen books I’m reading. And the play I need to finish rewriting.
There are plenty of pulls on my time. But odds are even that if I don’t meet my goal this summer the blame will be found online in spilled seed scattered across the internet.
(Thank you, St Onan.)