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Thursday, July 29, 2004

‘David’s Room’

Starting Sunday, you will be treated (or subjected, depending on your point-of- view) to a week or two of ‘The Best of Treppenwitz’.

Truth be told, I could have simply put up a sign on the door saying “Gone Fishing”… or even sneakier; “Back in 15 minutes” (which would result in certain readers clicking the refresh button like crack rats in some perverse Pavlovian experiment). But I realize that this little vacation I’m going to take is actually a pretty neat opportunity to resolve a conundrum that has faced pretty much every person to ever start a blog or journal:

I’ve given a name to this conundrum: “David’s Room Full Of Wasted Words.” For the purposes of brevity, we’ll just call it ‘David’s Room’.

In a nutshell, the most frustrating aspect of a journal’s early life is that you can’t save your ‘good stuff’ for when you have a bigger readership… because, guess what? That readership is never going to show up unless you have the good stuff out there for them to read.

‘David’s Room’ posits that the first few months of a blog/journal’s life can be compared to someone reading their most intimate prose into an intercom… all the while hoping that someone – anyone - will eventually walk into the room on the other end and start listening (and maybe even talk back).

I’ll use my own experience to further illustrate:

You may find this hard to believe… but Treppenwitz didn’t always command the impressive audience of 23 regular readers (OK… 22, since Eunice’s cat got sick on her keyboard) that it does today! It took months of flushing, um, I mean publishing my best stuff to the sound of deafening silence before I had myself what you might call ‘a going concern’.

When I first started treppenwitz, I was writing to an audience of, um… well, my wife. I wrote with the zeal of the recent convert (yes Virginia, journaling is addictive), creating elaborate metaphors… witty anecdotes… epic imagery… all to describe events and people that my one-woman audience (Zahava) had already witnessed with her own eyes.

According to the conundrum of ‘David’s Room’, anyone thinking about starting a blog or journal should keep in mind that:

a) the room at the other end of the intercom may remain empty (except for your wasted words, of course) indefinitely.
b) if you withhold your best words for the day when you start to hear people moving around in the other room, that day will almost certainly never arrive.
c) the words that you read into the intercom early on may as well have been your laundry list, or the phone book, for all of the attention they will garner.

So how do you overcome ‘David’s Room’ and get people to notice the words coming out of the other end of the intercom?

And once they do show up, how do you get them to notice all those ‘wasted words’ languishing in the early archives?

To answer the first question, I should point out that Treppenwitz owes most of its early readership to a group of people I have come to think of as ‘Keanu Reeves Bloggers (or, KRBs for short):

These are bloggers whose pages are always littered with linked statements such as: “DUDE!, check THIS out!: [LINK]”… “SWEET!, this is totally awesome!: [LINK]”… “Whooah, you totally HAVE to read this!: [LINK].”

Obviously I’m exaggerating for effect (and shamelessly merging Keanu Reeves’ persona from ‘Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure’ with those of the two guys from ‘Dude, where’s my car?’)… But my point is that there are a lot of adventurous, thoughtful people out there who are constantly on the lookout for new and interesting things to read... and they are not shy about sharing these ‘discoveries’ with their friends and readers when they find them.

These ‘KRBs’ also serve an additional role within the delicate ecosystem known as the blogosphere: They are like bees, cross-pollinating the web and making connections where logic, distance, and ideology would dictate that none should exist.

In short, every fledgling journaler hopes and prays that a popular ‘KRB’ will stumble into his/her room full of wasted words and yell to the crowd waiting outside:

“Dudes, this treppenwitz thing I surfed today, like, totally doesn’t suck!”

To everyone who has ever linked to me, or said a kind word about my writing on his or her site, this is my way of telling you I noticed, and deeply appreciate the gift of readership that you gave me.

That leaves us with the issue of how to ensure that those early words that were sent into that empty room don’t really go to waste.

To anyone who is considering taking a break from writing because of a vacation, real-life commitment, or a well-deserved mental health break from the creative process, I would make the following suggestion:

Go through your archives… especially the really early stuff that very few people got to see… and pick out some of the posts that felt as though they almost wrote themselves. You know, the ones I mean... where the ideas came spilling off your brain in a feverish torrent, faster than your fingers could channel them onto the page!

It doesn’t matter that the writing was erratic or immature… or that you hadn’t yet ‘found your voice’. By republishing those early posts, you will finally be able to provide an audience for those ‘wasted words’ … the passionate words you read into the intercom so long ago… the words you heard echoing off the walls in that empty place now known as ‘David’s Room’.

I’ll be checking messages so feel free to share.

Posted by David Bogner on July 29, 2004 | Permalink

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference ‘David’s Room’:

» Good Linkage from Redsugar Muse
“Dudes, this treppenwitz thing I surfed today, like, totally doesn’t suck!” I've been meaning to pick thru David's archives and link to some of his best entries (in my opinion, of course), so you'd be hopelessly addicted too. But he's... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 29, 2004 7:30:43 PM

» Good Linkage from Redsugar Muse
“Dudes, this treppenwitz thing I surfed today, like, totally doesn’t suck!” I've been meaning to pick thru David's archives and link to some of his best entries (in my opinion, of course), so you'd be hopelessly addicted too. But he's... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 29, 2004 7:34:18 PM

» Good Linkage from Redsugar Muse
"Dudes, this treppenwitz thing I surfed today, like, totally doesn't suck!" I've been meaning to pick thru David's archives and link to some of his best entries (in my opinion, of course), so you'd be hopelessly addicted too. But he's... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 29, 2004 7:43:53 PM

» A Nifty Idea from my so-called blog
My other favorite David (that makes three now!) has a superlative post about high-lighting older contentfrom one's archives that few read when your blog was shiny and new: According to the conundrum of ‘David’s Room’, anyone th... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 31, 2004 7:21:11 PM

Comments

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David, you have at least 23 readers -- I've been following you for a few weeks now, and really enjoying your insights. I really appreciate your thoughts about free-blogging -- just getting the thoughts out there. I am a professional writer who doesn't yet have a blog. (Yes, such things are still possible.) Bloggers like you inspire me to take the leap.

Posted by: Susan | Jul 29, 2004 5:58:16 PM

AM I IN THE 23? I READ ALMOST EVERY DAY.

Posted by: SHIMMY | Jul 29, 2004 6:53:37 PM

Well, I'm glad I didn't have time to start reading your archives yet, then. ;o)

Posted by: Tanya | Jul 29, 2004 7:11:42 PM

Sorry for the 9000 pings. MT almost never does that anymore. The last one's legible, anyway.

Posted by: Tanya | Jul 29, 2004 7:45:14 PM

David,
You have been officially recommended on the infamous "Ra'anana list".

To Ra'anana List:
Re: recommending an Israeli blog

I have a few blogs I read regularly, usually written by immigrants to Israel. One I have been reading for a few months, that I thought might be of interest to readers of the Ra'anana list, is "Treppenwitz", written by David, a reasonably new immigrant living in Bet Shemesh. His entries are often insiteful, sometimes informative, usually entertaining, but inveriably well thought out. The best part is, while sometimes I agree with him, many times I don't, and yet, I still enjoy reading him.

Anyway, the link is : http://bogieworks.blogs.com/

Shabbat Shalom,
Carol Feldman

Posted by: Carol | Jul 29, 2004 8:44:55 PM

Whoops, I just caught my mistake on line and corrected it on the Ra'anana list. I'm sorry. My heart was in the right place.

To Ra'anana List
Re: recommending a good Israeli blog:CORRECTION

Sorry, I should have typed Efrat instead of Bet Shemish. My brain was wandering. Carol

Posted by: Carol | Jul 29, 2004 8:54:17 PM

Susan... Glad to know you stop by. If you really have the urge to blog/journal, feel free to contact me off-line (the e-mail address is on my 'about page'). I made a few mistakes that I can share with you, and I have looked at most of the free and pay blogging apps, so I can offer a fairly objective break down of the plusses and minuses.

Tanya... Don't thank me... I'm a giver. :-)

Carol... now you've done it! When they thought I was from a nice safe place like Beit Shemesh, I had a hope of attracting readers from Ranaana. But now that they know that I'm a religious, right wing, gun-toting settler... well, that changes everything!

Posted by: David | Jul 29, 2004 9:29:07 PM

Shimmy... That was actually a lame bit of shtick that statistics-obsessed bloggers tend to throw in to their posts to make themselves sound modest. There are actually a few hundred people that wander through here every day... and clearly you are one of them. :-)

Posted by: David | Jul 29, 2004 9:32:24 PM

Sure, Just when I start to follow your blog off you go on vacation!!

Posted by: Marjorie | Jul 29, 2004 10:27:11 PM

Marjorie... Don't think of it as me going on vacation. Think of it as an opportunity to catch up on all the stuff you didn't see while you WEREN"T following my blog! :-)

Posted by: David | Jul 29, 2004 10:36:40 PM

"...the stuff you didn't see while you weren't following my blog." I'm getting some very strange mental images on that one, David. :)

Enjoy your time off and we'll enjoy "the best of..."

Posted by: jennifer | Jul 29, 2004 10:50:39 PM

Dude, you don't like Keanu Reeves? I'm hoping it refers to, like, the *early* Keanu. The later Keanu caught up on character [especially as the geek or the evil Shakespearean Crown Prince] ;)

But you know what's far worse? The zillion OM*'s and *LOL*s. Basically, that is the same you where having in mind, I guess. Just that in my example, I keep hearing a squeekish female voice [oh, you got me here], one of that always-excited. I prefer a million "dude" over the rest. I blame that on my absolute pitch, like, sorta.

And then there are those who'd even link out the supermarket they've been to, their favourite pizza place, as well as possibly their favourite toilet paper. But this is diversity, and diversity is good. So I simply don't read these people's sites, even when they read mine.

So, applause for a special intermezzo - best of best chez treppenwitz.

Posted by: mademoiselle a. | Jul 29, 2004 11:17:30 PM

Jennifer... not really sure what you are referring to... but in my experience, the imgages were already there to be conjured. :-)

Mademoiselle A... Exactly which part of the magnificent body of Keanu Reeve's work are you swooning over. Maybe I haven't seen enough of his oeuvre to really appreciate his 'talent' [desperately trying to keep a straight face here].

Then again, maybe it's because I'm a middle aged man. :-)

Posted by: David | Jul 30, 2004 12:56:57 PM

Bwaaha. :|
Have you seen Branagh's 'Much Ado About Nothing'? No, I don't mean the massage scene, but overall, he makes a good evil separatist. Oh, body parts...you did see I did not list Matrix, right? ;)
On another thought, motorcycle accident scars have something tempting. But nah...not for me. I really mean to stick to the first point.

Posted by: mademoiselle a. | Jul 30, 2004 3:47:59 PM

Have a great vacation. Unfortunately while wasting time at my job I have already read your archives (there, I've outed myself as a total loser). I'm sure I;ll find something else to do to occupy my owrking hours though. Yahoo Pool anyone?

Posted by: Noa | Jul 30, 2004 5:11:28 PM

Noa... You're not a loser [holds right hand against forehead, palm facing out, with index finger extended up and thumb extended perpendicular across eyebrow]... you just seem to have a little too much time on your hands!

:-)

Thanks for taking the time to read my stuff, and thanks for the good wishes. BTW, Very cool about your parents making Aliyah!!! Kol HaKavod!!!

Shabbat Shalom

Posted by: David | Jul 30, 2004 5:32:23 PM

Well David, Red Sugar likes your writing and that can't be all bad. Nice imagery in your post. 23 1/2 readers.

Posted by: AMac | Jul 30, 2004 6:06:54 PM

Nice post and I really like your ideas on recycling.

Posted by: the Shaigetz | Jul 30, 2004 6:10:23 PM

AMac... Welcome, any friend of Tanya's is a friend of mine. I wish I could take credit for the fab banner, but alas, my better half is the artist in the family. If you are interested ini the various elements in the banner and where they came from... go over to my favorite posts and read 'Everything looks better by candlelight'.

Stop back anytime.

Shaigetz... Thank you. I've been a fan of your blog for quite some time. I wasn't aware that you made your way over to my neck of the woods... I'm honored!

Shabbat Shalom

Posted by: David | Jul 30, 2004 7:29:25 PM

i am thinking that i am going to create a section in my sidebar that summarizes some of the most important posts because people would be more likely to surf these than just randomly selecting archive dates. it would be like an archive with descriptions. but the effort seems so large that i am already bending under the weight...sigh. i shoulda thought of this sooner.

you're doing well in your blog. keep it up.

Posted by: no milk | Jul 30, 2004 9:01:41 PM

Have a good break.
I know it to be richly deserved.
I think everyone should just hit a month in their personal archives once a week. Scroll. Stop. Read it.
What you choose to do with it...well that is where some new imagination begins.

Q

Thank you, by the way.

Posted by: Queenie | Jul 30, 2004 9:35:49 PM

What great suggestion for those new to blogging, David. I think that we all have some early works that show different sides of us, and would be entertaining for others.

Enjoy the downtime!!

Posted by: Lachlan | Jul 31, 2004 7:14:33 PM

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