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After a while, crocodile
Thanks to all the readers
I'm very tired and don't sleep well lately, and I suppose part of it is the obsession with current events. I suppose many people feel that way, too.
I used to think that all a writer needed to do was write and publish, and, one way or another his readers would find him. Of course, some writers would find a larger audience and some a smaller one, but in the end it would work out, somehow. “If you build it, they will come".
But I realize now that perhaps that was just an excuse for my laziness for self-promotion. If you build it, and don't sell it, they won't necessarily come. Especially now, in the age of self-publishing and the Internet, when literally anyone can become a published writer if he so wishes, it has become much harder to find a public, unless you become also a rabid self-promoter. An “influencer", as they say. Decades ago, the promotional aspect of it could be given to somebody else — an agent, an editor, a publishing company, and the author could remain just doing what he does best, that is, simply to write.
But alas, that is no longer the case, except for a few famous writers. And even they, in many cases, are constantly on social media to promote themselves, less the public forgets they exist if they do not appear too often on social media scrolls.
Well, I guess except writers like Don De Lillo, Cormac McCarthy or Thomas Pynchon, who get their press from not being in the press or social media at all, or even refusing to be photographed. Or Elena Ferrante, who never revealed her true identity despite having become a global editorial phenomenon with the My Brilliant Friend series of books. (She is rumored to be Anita Raja, an Italian translator, some also say her husband, Domenico Starnone, or maybe both together, but no one knows for sure and she never admitted it.)
Then again, those are very rare cases, and most writers are not famous at all.
Some time ago I got hold of a book that someone had given away. It was an old book, published in 1914, called “Bachelors’ Buttons: The Candid Confessions of a Shy Bachelor”, written by a certain Edward Burke. I wondered if it was a cousin of Edmund Burke. The book was, I thought, pretty funny, but I suppose a bit dated for this day and age. Most of the humor comes from the innocence of the main narrator about women, love and relationships, and there's hardly any sex, or even any reference to it, except very indirectly.
I found out later on that Edward Burke was just a pseudonym. The author appears to be a woman called Winifred Boggs. Which may be a pseudonym as well, as it was hard to find any biographic details about her. Not exactly a classic author — but she had a book republished by the British Library in 2021, “Sally on the Rocks". Other of her past successes are “Indignant Spinsters” and “The Sale of Lady Daventry". In “Bachelors’ Buttons”, since the main character and narrator is a man, she chose a male pseudonym. I think it was a good call. I'm not sure if I'd have read the book if I knew it had been written by a woman specialized in sugary romances.
Most of her books appear to be humorous romantic novels, and it seems she was a big best-seller author at the time. But even for best-seller authors, time passes fast, and they are soon forgotten. Like I will too. Ars longa, vita brevis. But, some times, Ars brevis too.
Anyway — I think my ramblings about politics are not really that insightful, and my interests — obscure books and movies — are hardly popular. Of course, I'm not really looking for popularity. I suppose I write mostly to make sense of things to myself, and because sometimes it's interesting to share one's experiences or thoughts.
But writing about politics is more about being part of a team. If you're on team A, you must support, say, state assistance for the poor, abortion, refugees, vaccines, Big Pharma, climate change legislation, Palestine. If you're on team B, you must support lower taxes for the rich, prohibition of abortion, Big Oil, Israel. If you start mixing things, the audience gets confused. They are not there to learn new things, but to be convinced that what they already think is right.
That's why I think I will try abandoning political topics at least for a while, and focusing more on travel, history and culture. Also, I will mostly publish shorter texts just on my website, while on this Substack I will publish only exceptionally longer or more insightful articles, perhaps once a month or so. (I fear I bother people with too many emails they don't read.)
To be honest, I started writing on Substack only because I thought I might gather a slightly larger audience due to its platform, but since that's not the case, my own website contrarium.org, allows for more customization, and I have a YouTube channel too, which focuses more on current events, although perhaps this will change now, too. I'm a bit tired of current events, as you can see.
Thank you for reading.