This is a script for a piece I read on CBC Radio (Ontario Morning) way back in 2006, when some people still didn’t know what a blog was.
Feeding the Beast
by Mark A. Rayner
Hi, my name is Mark, and I am a writer with a problem. There is a monster eating my novel.
It is an insatiable beast. A slobbery demon that greets me every day with an obscene wink, and asks:
“What are you going to feed me this morning, Mark?”
It’s my weblog. Or blog for short.
Blogs are the latest version of the personal web page. (You know, the kind of website that has lots of cat pictures on it.) But blogs are used for a wider variety of things than that. There are blogs about technology, history, books, politics, bat-grooming. You name it and there’s probably a blog about it.
Some people treat their blogs like a diary, except instead of writing in a book with a lock on it, they’re posted online for everyone in the world to read. Many of these blog-writers — or bloggers — get fired from their jobs for revealing wildly inappropriate things about their workplace. I’d say that happens to about half of them. The other half thinks its cool.
But the one thing all of them have in common is that to be successful, blogs must be updated on a pretty regular basis. The more often, the better.
They must be fed.
“Skwib requires sustenance Mark. Must have copy.”
My Beast is called The Skwib. I feed it short fiction, satire and the occasional bit of humorous commentary.
It likes the short fiction and the satire the best, which figures… That also takes the most time to write.
And so, part of my morning writing time — time I should be devoting to my new novel — is taken up by the Beast.
This would be fine if I was some kind of genius, a prolific scribbler. But I’m in the Thomas Mann school of writing. He’s the German dude who wrote The Magic Mountain, and said:
“A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” Though I imagine he said it in German.
So why start and feed a blog? I don’t know. It’s kind of like asking me why I used to wear a leather tie, or rugby pants. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Now, I’m not so sure, but the act of feeding it does keep me writing, no matter what.
Okay, gotta go, I think it’s started snacking on my short stories now.
Update, 2017: I’ve been starving the beast of late, which I why I have a new book coming in November, called The Fatness:
A satire about concentration camps for fat people and bureaucracy gone mad. (A love story.)
You can check out an excerpt here.
Originally published August 2006. Photo by Danielle Blumenthal, via Flickr.