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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Thanks for visiting. I am no longer updating Notes to Self. I hope you'll join me on my current website,

Hello? Is this thing on?

My husband played guitar in an Irish folk/country/punk band for the first several years we were married. If your town has a drinking establishment that uses Olde or Ye or Slainte anywhere on its menu, or brass fixtures and red telephone boxes in its decor, then I'm sure your town has a version of this band. They played Thin Lizzie and Waterboys and Ramones covers, along with electrified versions of Danny Boy and the Rocky Road to Dublin, and a sprinkling of bluegrass for local color. They were huge on St. Patrick's Day, and had a pretty good run in the college bars. One time, whilst being introduced to a couple at a party, the wife thought they might have attended a gig once. The husband was having a hard time digging it up. "Remember, honey? We were dancing and then you threw up."

"Yes!" Patrick and I exclaimed in unison. That was the band.

When Patrick started out with them, they were mostly Irishmen, and there's no denying they did tend to run to stereotype as far as the drink goes. (It's funny, when I was in Ireland--and I spent nearly all my time there in bars-- I never saw anyone getting really drunk. It was all quite civilized and genteel. Perhaps they export all the troublemakers.) You could say the band had a tendency to get ahead of the crowd.

The frontsman and bass player was a charming fellow from the North whose accent was utterly unintelligible. This was a blessing because once he'd had a few, he'd start cursing at the audience. "Dance, you bastards! Motherfuckers dance!" Since he was smiling when he said it, and since it sounded to them like, "Brawbrawbraw!", the audience would simply smile and give him a thumbs up sign, if they paid attention at all.

One night some of us wives tagged along to a gig in Memphis. The place was a bit of a dive and it was a slow night. The lads were drinking to make up for the folks who couldn't be there, I guess. Once they took the stage, things went rapidly off the rails. I forget the number they were trying to play, but it got louder and loopier and more discordant by the second. The bass player was screaming something, while the rest of them were sweating and looking back and forth at each other in confusion. It was a train wreck. Somehow they brought the song to a screeching halt.

"What the fuck was that?," shouted the bass player, throwing off his guitar strap.

"You kept saying play faster, play faster," someone charged accusingly.


What recently reminded me of this occasion was a wonderful article in the New Yorker last month about stage fright, where it was revealed that Laurence Olivier used to manage his by pacing back and forth behind the curtain prior to a performance, muttering, "You bastards," at the audience. The article went on to delve into the peculiar love-hate bond between a performer and his public, rife as it is with need, narcissism, power struggles, manipulation, idolatry and all the other hallmarks of a totally codependent relationship. For the person in the spotlight, it's the old "can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em" paradox.

Recently I have found myself pacing back and forth in front of my site meter (the doohickey at the bottom of the page that tells how many hits a day this page gets), muttering similar curses. I tell myself its not about the numbers. This blog was never intended to be anything other than a place where I could write purely to please myself; check my expectations at the door. But then I got to looking around the blogosphere, and I notice what kind of traffic other blogs are getting, what kind of feedback, what loyal readership. Whole social clubs have been founded on the comments pages of other blogs. Advertising agencies are falling over themselves to get space on them. I don't think this in itself would bother me, but there's a little petulant part of me that says, yeah but dammit, I write better than most of them. Where is my loyal fanbase? Where are my bouquets of roses?

It occurs to me, perhaps:

1) I actually suck and don't know from good writing.


2) People who read blogs suck and don't know from good writing.

But neither of these theories take me to my happy place, so I might go with:

3) The world is not ready for the magnitude of my gifts.

which is a variation of the time-honored, "When I die, then they'll feel bad."


I know, I am breaking the rule of never let them see you sweat. The fact is, I'm up here in the spotlight squinting into the dark theatre. I know a lot of the seats are empty, but I know some of you are out there. I'd love to hear more often, from more of you. Send me a note backstage sometime, introduce yourself. Toss me a rose, throw a tomato. Clear your throat once in a while.

Or just email me a smiley and a thumbs up, because, honestly, you can't understand a word I am saying.


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Anonymous Tracy said...

Just wanted to send a quick "hi" from a lurker/reader. I was really interested in your Ativan trial results. We tried it for my son to help him overcome extreme anxiety for lab procedures. It ended up causing a psychotic episode. (Apparently that's a rare side-effect.)

11:25 AM  
Anonymous Karina said...

Well, my duck, I'm part of your loyal fanbase. I hear you.

1:36 PM  
Blogger K. said...

yay! I wish I could have the equivalent of a maharachi band and streamers whenever someone comments/delurks.

pass the margaritas.

1:43 PM  
Blogger becca said...

I tried to comment this morning, but it wouldn't let me! I am always here, almost every day, following what's up with you and yours. I love your blog and most anything you write!

1:48 PM  
Blogger Tina Chaulk said...

I follow you on the NL blogroll so when I see that you have updated, I am there. You have loyal readers, you just don't know them all. So yo, we are out here indeed.

2:47 PM  
Blogger Jen K-C said...

If you write it I will read!:) Because I knew you a life time ago I feel awkward leaving a message but you are one of my daily blog visits. Keep it up!

4:51 PM  
Blogger m said...

It has to be number 3.

6:47 PM  
Blogger K. said...

you are all my new best friends. even the old ones.

8:16 PM  
Blogger littlepurplecow said...

(insert clapping and a quick rebel yell here) Thrilled to have found you... a very talented writer. And, yes, a rarity in the blogosphere.

10:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi K,

I'm an old friend from your homeland and wanted to pass along a big congrats to you for doing such a wonderful job in keeping us informed of what's going on in your world. Love your blog!!!! Your clever insight intrigues me... I'm always anxiously awaiting your next posting.

I actually heard about your blog a few months ago through a mutual, and yes, another old friend from cb and I've been reading it religiously ever since.

Email me and so we can chat - Love to hear from you!!!

10:56 PM  
Blogger K. said...

now that we are all friends, I assume it goes without saying that I can show up unannounced on your doorstops and stay for five weeks at a time?

i am amazed how many of you are from way back when. it's true, the past does have a way of catching up to you.

I expect some of you will be wanting bribes in exchange for silence....

7:06 AM  
Blogger K. said...

I notice nobody used this post as an opening to call for "Freebird".

That just goes to show, my readers are a cut above.

7:18 AM  
Anonymous jen zug said...

You are brilliant, and I actually say that to myself whenever I read one of your posts. "Brilliant!" I say. "Why can't *I* write that brilliantly?"

I'm working on an essay about online community, because I've heard it said that online communities are not REAL communities. Which CAN be true, but shouldn't be assumed across the board.

One thing we can do is, when we get into a groove with other bloggers, link to each other - and not just from our sidebar, but in posts. We all have readers who may be unaware of the other talent out there. So maybe we should start a little online show and tell?

p.s. I also obsess over my site meter stats.

5:04 PM  
Anonymous jen lemen said...

oh if we're going to be drinking margaritas on this blog everytime someone comments, i will be improving my comment behavior for sure!

(this post made me laugh out loud, btw)

6:46 AM  
Blogger JeSais said...

Can't let that post float out there without commenting! great stuff. Keep writing/blogging.

11:57 AM  

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