I described this blog in Ireland as “somewhat mildly successful.” This was mostly joking, but not altogether false. I haven’t seen a dime from this blog, and until last week, it didn’t seem to be making any larger inroads.* I don’t think anybody would say this blog has been a smashing success. But a failure? Not by a long shot. I pull in a few thousand readers a week from what sure seems to be, by the analytics, a pretty diverse audience. I get to write about whatever interests me every day (or as often as I want, anyway). It’s a nice little outlet. For a blog with no expectations or goals,** it’s hard to complain about that three years later.
*I’m still debating about the Answers.com opportunity.
I had a couple other fits and starts with blogs before, but they never really got off the ground. They all died just a few posts in. When I started this one, I had a foggy notion that if I wrote something every day, it would have a better chance at surviving than trying to keep to a collegiate schedule.* It took me a little while to find a groove, as I’m sure the archives will show. Sure, there were some pretty big, solid pieces early on, but of course the ideas were untapped at that point. You could see the dip fairly quickly. But I pressed on, and eventually I’ve found a good rhythm between recap posts and more thoughtful pieces. The idea when I launched this really was to be somewhere around 90% baseball posts, either by talking about what was currently going on or by digging through the game’s rich history. Clearly, that didn’t really pan out. But, I don’t feel like the blog suffers for it. If anything, it’s all the stronger for it, as readers don’t necessarily know what they’re in for day-to-day. Hell, I don’t know what I’m in for day-to-day.
*That would be either MWF or TT.
It’s been a nice run so far. From what started as an idle diversion to make the work day go faster has turned into something slightly more than that, and I think produced some pretty decent writing, all things considered. Here’s to another three years!
To me, for whatever reason, whenever I read that Vonnegut quote, my mind immediately goes to Letterman. If I had to guess, I would say he was probably the first celebrity that I really and truly understood hailed from Indiana. I still feel confident in saying that Michael Jackson is still the most famous Hoosier ever, but Letterman just might be the most famous living Hoosier now.
Most tributes to Letterman really hit hard on his NBC show following Carson and how groundbreaking it was. I have no doubt that’s true, but I’m simply too young to really remember that. My memories of Letterman do start pretty young, though. I remember working all the angles I knew how to work as a first or second grader to get my parents* to let me stay up to watch him. A lot of the jokes were a bit over my head at that age, but even at that age, there were things to learn from Dave. If I were really pressed, I would probably Letterman as my biggest comedic influence. Oh, sure, there are other big ones. Monty Python in particular was an enormous influence throughout middle and high school. But as far as crafting a very dry, very ironic sense of framing and timing, that came from Dave. I definitely catch myself using the same sort of smug demeanor in writing or conversation. I have no doubt that came from Dave.
*My dad, mostly, on this one.
There are tons of words to be written on David Letterman, and you’re probably better off reading those words from people who are much more knowledgeable with Dave’s full career arc from channel 13 weatherman to TV royalty than you are from me. But I will say this, and it goes back to that Vonnegut quote. Sure, it seems there are Hoosiers doing big, important and impressive things everywhere. Except for, you know, in Indiana. It really is a shame, but it seems like if anybody wants to gain the audience they need, the first step is to get the hell out. The Jacksons didn’t stick around Gary any longer than they had to. Letterman mostly made his name in New York. Vonnegut’s literary circles were centered in New York, and he wrote somewhat extensively about why he had to leave Indiana in Palm Sunday.* There was a time Guns N’ Roses was arguably the biggest rock band in the world, and Blind Melon was a big draw in their own right. None of that was going to happen in Lafayette, they both had to flee to L.A. for that to happen.
*And, really, for all his great fiction writing, Palm Sunday is my favorite Vonnegut work and the one I find myself coming back to the most often.
It’s just too bad. I am a big fan of this state and of Indianapolis, but there just doesn’t seem to be any way to truly catch fire and reach the deserved levels by staying around here. I wish that weren’t so. I wish I knew what it would take to fix it. It sure seems like in this digital age there should be some way to stop the brain drain, or at least slow it. But, well, no luck so far. Would Letterman or Vonnegut or any famous Hoosier so far have been able to find success today without leaving home? Could they find the right audience or make the right connections in the heartland? I don’t know, but we need some people smarter than I am to start working on it. Whether it’s a cultural thing or a logistical thing, it’s just a damn shame that Indiana produces these sorts of people who can’t seem to get anywhere at home.