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Wayne Gallant

Wayne Gallant
Morriston, Florida,
April 09
Grand Vizier
I am six feet two inches of rippling muscle, wavy blond hair, sparkling wit and two-fisted defense of Family Values and the American way of life. (I did say that I write fantasy fiction, didn't I?) Addendum for the benefit of the humorless and/or brain-dead - The above was meant to be satirical. The parenthetical (that's the part between the curved vertical lines) should have alerted you to that intent.


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JULY 22, 2009 10:49PM

Marshall McLuhan killed OS...

Rate: 10 Flag


... at least for me.
... at least partially.

His famous dictum, "The medium is the message", finally sunk in, and is the reason why I have decided not to post much on OS in future. At least I won't be posting any more works of fiction, or any more poetry.

Despite many protestations to the contrary, OS is NOT a writer's community. Rather, it is a community of people who write. What's the difference?, I hear you asking.

The difference may lie only in my preconceived notion of what a "writer" is. When I use the word, I mean it to describe those who strive to produce works with at least a modicum of literary value. That would leave out those who post movie and TV reviews, reviews of restaurants, vacation destinations, etc. It would also leave out most of the political commentary (although some of those have redeeming literary value, such as those by Saturn Smith.) Anything you might expect to find in the op-ed section of your local newspaper also fails to meet the standard.

I realize that there have been, and are, some essayists, critics, and social commentators who display great literary talent - Dorothy Parker, Heywood Broun, and others come to mind. But when has any of them been nominated for a Nobel Prize in Literature?

Please do not think that I denigrate the efforts of OSers who post along those lines. I know that many, if not most of those whose words appear on these pages invest a large part of themselves in composing their posts. I am in the habit of reading, commenting, and sometimes rating a great many of them. I expect to continue enjoying them.

The proof of the pudding, to me, lies in the fact that my poetry and fiction have been least read, commented on, or rated by the membership. That and the fact that many choose to put caveats like"Poetry warning" or "- fiction" in the title line. If this were REALLY a writer's community, such warnings would not be needed.

Meanwhile, I'll continue searching for a website where literary quality is prized. I've tried many, but have yet to find any which offer critique and encouragement to folks like me.

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This is my first post without any graphics. Am I getting too serious?
Can't say I disagree with you.
'Literary' is a subset of 'writing.'

Have you looked at absolutewrite?
I understand your feelings but I think you're expecting too much of any online community, or any open community at all for that matter. And I wonder where you ever got the idea that OS was for "writers"? I don't remember that it sold itself that way, and tho I've been on almost as long as you. I don't remember having any reason for such expectations.

There's also the problem of fiction on the net - which people still aren't used to, let alone fiction blogging - which people read but then pass on from, usually without commenting except to say "Cool" or otherwise throw a prop your way. I had a fiction blog on bloghorn 5 years ago which I maintained for almost a year. I never got a comment until, three months after I'd quit, I went back to discover dozens of recent comments, all asking why I'd quit writing the thing. Fiction is something people react to privately, usually, at least online, so I'm not sure lack of comments is a good indicator.

IAC, I hope you find the kind of community you're looking for but I don't think it at present exists.
Take this with a grain of salt, as this isn't personal, you just made me start thinking about a few things.

You might be getting too serious, actually. There's something that I always felt stung about the "literary" community - a certain nose in the air attitude, the same one that people who only watch foreign "art" films have about any movie that's not. Plenty of people who write have literary talent, whether they're writing brilliant fiction, tear jerking poetry, or dick jokes.

I think it's entirely possible that the blogging medium developed in such a way that lighter forms of writing in the same way it developed as a reaction to mainstream media's gatekeepers. The literary world has plenty of tweed jacket garbed bespectacled gatekeepers of its own. Both MSM and literary gatekeepers are what kept me making zines ("chapbooks" in the literary world) and ended up shoving me into the blogosphere. It's the same reason why thousands of kids who have access to video cameras post videos on Youtube and people start punk bands - they want to create as much as the blazer wearing wine drinker does.

All that said, it would be nice if more people were interested in fiction and poetry (admittedly, I've never had an interest in poetry) in the blog world. This is where the MM analogy becomes most apt. Because the internet is so immediate and so many people are hooked on instant gratification (possibly because the entry points in other forms of media are so few), they don't always invest the time needed to develop fiction or fleshy stories. Then again, if you're into fan fiction, you only need to do the laziest Google search to find thousands of words of it.

I think Mick makes a salient point by saying "Fiction is something people react to privately." There's no real good way to tell how many people have actually read your work here, so it's pretty easy to think that no one's listening. People are though.

As for writers, I think this is a writers community and a community of people who write. But I just may have lower standards. :)
I share your frustration.
Remember "Marshall McLuhan--what are you doin' "? That will date me, for sure. I know what you mean . . . I'm inclined to be more bloggy than I have been in the past.
Good luck. I can understand your frustration although I'm one who you most likely would catergorize as having less than a modicum of literary value.

Keep in mind that during the 18th & 19th centuries, Literature was considered anything that was well-written.
Sandra, Dave, Padraig. ironman, Hellsbells - thanks for your comments.
Mick, several posts, including some by Kerry have proclaimed OS to be a "writer's site."
aaron and JT, did you miss the part where I wrote "I realize that there have been, and are, some essayists, critics, and social commentators who display great literary talent..." and "...Please do not think that I denigrate the efforts of OSers who post along those lines. I know that many, if not most of those whose words appear on these pages invest a large part of themselves in composing their posts.", or do you conclude that I was being insincere?
Trudge, I do ascribe more than a modicum of literary talent to your writings.
I think Wayne is saying most of that type of writing is done to serve some other purpose, not writing for its own sake. It's not bad writing per se, but it isn't meant primarily as art for the most part.
Thanks ironman. I am only expressing what I'm looking for.
Thanks Padraig, you expressed my frustrations with OS far better than I did.
Very interesting discussion. I came across it at random, which is, I think, part of the OS appeal. The site is a weird mix of middle- and low-brow, and occasional real quality in some personal essays. But I see it as mainly a venue for op-eds.

As for fiction and poetry blogs--as well as book-blogging sites--I think more and more of these are coming online everyday. You might check out Agni's online supplement to the print magazine. American Short Fiction also has a blog. I'm now running a blog for the Women's Review of Books, called WOMEN = BOOKS, as well as Talking Writing, another venue for discussing literary topics.

But how to share fiction online and to create a community around it? That's a very good question. I'd like to know, too.

I just discovered you! Give me chance...even though I must say I am on very seldom because of a certain joblessness that stalks me and then my scattered brain cannot take in more than what I do. .

I must confess that sometimes I am surprised by what gets on the cover. I get my politics from Huffpo so why am I here? But then I realize that any organization is about money, participation and popularity. If that is what the management thinks is their way to popularity who am I to judge? It is not my blog.... they are actually doing me the courtesy of giving me a ready-made readership.

Now if I was a famous person sure they would put me on the cover more often but that would only be a way of popularizing their blog site. But can you blame them? Huffpo only allows posts from invited bloggers!

So I thank the few friends I have cultivated over the past few months and welcome the new readership every time.

It is rather heartbreaking to see that what you write about with such passion and creativity... no one really cares about. But isnt that what all creativity is? How does an actor or director know that their movie will be a success or not? They simply create the best they know. If it takes off and catches the imagination then it is a hit. The immediacy of popularity is what is exciting I believe.

In science too it is the same. One toils for 3 years on a project and finally publishes may be 1-3 papers and if you look at the number of times they are cited it would crush you. Unless you have done something that is really exciting , immediate and catches on stays there. But who is to say that someday it will not be re-found and re-searched and give the momentum behind the next new discovery. Look up the the "alleged Lamarckian fraud of Paul Kammerer's midwife toad" who is now considered to be the father of epigenetic inheritance and you will see how frustrating creativity can be.

I urge you to do what you feel is right of course.
But dont pull out the plug.
Think of all the artists who lived and created at the edge of being destitute and became famous only one looked at their work for years.........

hold on I say...and keep it up!

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