The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

#ISWG: When I'm Dead and Gone




   
        Welcome to another monthly meeting of the  Insecure Writer's Support Group.   More than likely you know why you're here, but in the event you are unaware of what I'm referring to you can visit the blog of Alex J. Cavanaugh for more information and the list of bloggers who are members of the group.   All are invited just so you contribute your own #IWSG post on each first Wednesday of the month.   And now for my thoughts of this month:    


When I'm Dead and Gone

          My title might infer that this post will be about the legacy we leave behind as authors or whatever it is that we would like to be known for, but this is not the case.   For those who haven't been following my most recent posts, the "When I'm Dead and Gone" title refers to a series I've been doing about the topics of death and zombies.  It's a seasonal theme related to Halloween and Day of the Dead (November 1st) that revolves around my current Battle of the Bands post that uses the song of the same title.   I'm tabulating votes until tomorrow (Thursday November 6th) and announcing the winner on my Friday post.  If you haven't voted yet I hope you will by clicking on this link.

       Over the past year I've seen a number of posts suggesting that blogging is dead or dying with various reasons mentioned.  Likewise, there have been the doomsayers portending the eventual demise of Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media. 

        Historically though haven't we heard much the same dire predictions made for other things?   Vaudeville would be killed by motion pictures, movies by television, books by electronic data delivery, and on and on.  Some things did die for the reasons cited or for other reasons.  Trends run in cycles and often lose adherents.  Things come and go as new generations become interested and then eventually move on to the next new big thing.

         Same goes for literature genres.  Westerns, science fiction, detective stories, and other genres have seen peaks and lows of popularity over the years.  None have gone away entirely and a reading audience will probably remain ensconced for years to come as long as the writing is worthwhile and sometimes even if it isn't.   Boy wizards and romantic vampires may be with us for a very long time though perhaps their popularity will wane as the next novelty enters the limelight.

          If blogging dies then those of us who blog will have to find something else to do.   If the genre in which we write no longer sells books then we need to find another topic to write about.   It's not a good idea to just roll over and stop creating.  The fact is that if we believe that something that we do, something for which we had a passion, has died then perhaps we helped to kill it.   

           Nothing completely dies, it merely changes.  You might have learned something akin to that in physics or some other science course.  The Law of Conservation of Mass is what it's called.   My body may cease to function in the way that we know it, but I continue to exist in some form.   There are memories.  There is whatever I left behind of what I accrued in my life.  There is what I created.   

          Come to think of it a lot of this does have to do with legacy, but that's not really the main aspect I'm thinking about for the moment.   My thoughts of dying are more in the metaphorical sense.  Sometimes we can die but still be living and breathing, functioning in some sense of what is considered normal.  Almost zombie-like, but not in the gory flesh-eating sense.   Zombie brained and blinded by disappointment, disillusionment, and other dis and dats.

          That's dying in living.  That's watching whatever it is that you once enjoyed and wanted to share with others fade from your grasp.  Just because something is no longer popular doesn't mean we have to stop doing it and consider it dead.

           There was a time when skinny neckties were in fashion.  Then guys started wearing wide ties and skinny ties looked out of place.   Once when I was traveling I came upon an old department store in a small town that was going out of business.   They had a lot of old out-dated merchandise at extremely cheap prices.   Skinny ties were ten cents each so a coworker and I bought several along with white dress shirts that were at a clearance price of fifty cents each.   We started wearing these as a sort of uniform while we loaded and unloaded our equipment truck as we traveled from town to town.   It made for a cheap uniform that didn't look half bad and it didn't matter if we messed the clothes up.   Then I noticed that a lot of the punk bands that were gaining popularity were dressed similarly in the promo shots of them I'd see in the magazines.  My friend and I were almost fashionable with our makeshift cheap uniforms.

          So what's the point of that story.  Heck if I know.   You can make of it what you will.   I guess I meant it to be an example of what I was trying to say in this post.   And if someday my blog grows out of fashion I can think of it as a skinny tie.   Maybe that interpretation works.

           Do you keep up with trends and fashions?   Are you doing NANO this year?   Have the comments and visits to your blog dropped since NANO began this past Saturday? 

       



33 comments:

  1. My comments have dropped off...I'm not getting a lot of reciprocal visits which is somewhat distressing.

    I never keep up with trends or fashions. Never have. Not interested in it at all.

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  2. Great post! Everyday people still read blogs and books with spines. I think you're right.

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  3. Trends are just that - they come and go and then come around again. Technology might do some things in (think eight tracks) but with most other things, it's just a cycle.
    I'm still blogging and I'm still writing space opera, trendy or not.

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  4. Some wise words here, Lee. I like where your head is at at this point in your life, pondering these kinds of things. You might consider a book of essays on this subject.

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  5. I don't think of myself as a trend follower. I haven't joined Facebook or sent my first Twitter, but then again, I did start blogging because it seemed to be the 'thing' to do for an aspiring writer to start building a potential audience. Then I realized how much time and effort it took to get comments and followers and I eventually gave it up, at least, on a regular basis. But judging from all the folks signing up for blogfests and what not, there are still plenty of bloggers, all going strong.

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  6. NO on trends. I am a hesitant adopter, and then stay loyal to stuff that works for me. Blogging sometimes falls into the slow lane because it requires a constant effort in addition to just throwing blogs up there, but I am IN with FB, NOT with Twitter. I've been invited to a dozen FB alternatives, none of which suit me as well, so Google+ is really just there to make it easy to say... comment on YouTube videos (which I only do on the videos of Song of Ice and Fire theories *shifty*... thing is, I DO adopt but fewer things and at a much deeper level than most. I pick and choose. But YES on NaNo (one of the things I DID adopt) and YES on ABNA... I like writer events that become part of a cycle for me--like Insecure Writer Support Group...

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  7. Agree; I think a lot of what burns out then becomes subculture. It never really goes away. Kind of like finding out a band you used to love has still been touring all these years, but playing small venues instead of big tours.

    And to stay relevant, mediums should change. Chick lit was declared dead, but now you see it labeled different ways with different covers. It's now New Adult or Contemporary Romance. Funny.

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  8. JoJo--I'm with you--we are part of the anti-trend trenders.

    Shelly -- If things do fade out of favor it typically takes a very long time to go away completely and maybe never totally.

    Alex-- And who knows even about technology. I agree for the most part about that, but then look at the phonograph--seems to be a resurgence. 8 tracks could come back in a nostalgic sense--I hope not, but who knows.

    Karen Walker-- Thank you! I consider that a big compliment and you and I are thinking on a similar plane--again!

    Tamara-- We're mostly just looking at the community that we're in and I agree that the activity is still strong, but perhaps shifting a bit. When bloggers go, others come to take their places.

    Hart-- We probably benefit by taking advantage of what's out there that we can use for our own purposes, but when those things become a hindrance then it becomes time to reevaluate what we are doing.

    Lee

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  9. I've had a drop-off of visits and comments (though I've been too busy to reciprocate properly, and that may add to it. I'm learning). What an interesting chain of thought... The death of what we love or prize, or whatever, and whether we helped kill it. And whether it is really dead. Does the media decide when something is dead? How many times do we hear, "That is so passe'!" trumpeted about something we all enjoy (for me, for example, some of Louis Lamour's books, which are reread on a regular basis - under the covers, with a flashlight behind locked doors). Hm. A lot to think about.

    Meanwhile, thank you for the thought-provoking comments. I am going to brew a pot of tea, pour a cup, sip and muse.

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  10. I've always been über out of the loop when it comes to modern things. I honestly amn't familiar with the majority of current celebrities, be they actors or singers, and I barely even watch TV anymore. I prefer the films of the silent and early sound era, the music of the Sixties and Seventies, and the literature of the 19th and early 20th century to anything modern.

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  11. People always lament with something is 'dying'. But sometimes, something better takes its place. Or it makes a comeback. In all honesty, it needs to happen. Otherwise, we'll become stagnant and boring. Change is good. Scary, but good.

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  12. Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm sixty four? Sgt Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club band has so many strange songs, but this one tells me that trends will be up and down, but the one that is truly loved will remain.
    Blogging is an outlet for writers, whether they publish or not. Some leave just as someone new steps in. The most important action to do is to reply and encourage. When they establish a readers' list, a new growth opens up for them.

    Really good questions, Lee.

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  13. The At&T lady said: "Oh, now I understand, you want your cell phone to be just like your landline?" This after I tried to explain I didn't want any internet or apps on my cell. And our TVs have proudly displayed their backs until the other week when one conked out, just in time for the World Series, and we became owners of a flat screen TV. I guess I'm trending old-fashioned, though I am not. Not really. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

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  14. Steph-- I think you're correct. The band analogy is a pretty good one. If something once had fans then the potential is still there. Someone still or will someday like what was once popular. We see culture revivals happening all the time.

    Diana -- Media drives a lot of what we hear, but there are still a lot of us who like what we like despite what the media is trying to push on us.

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  15. While many bloggers may not blog, I don't think blogging is really dying, because look at all of us who still blog. And you're right...if it does die, we'll just have to find something else to do. Maybe we'll have more time to write our books. It'll be a sad say when/if blogging does die, though.

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  16. Carrie-Anne--I'm like you in this respect. I wouldn't know most celebrities if I met them in person and they said "Guess who I am".

    Patricia-- So true. Change keeps things interesting.

    Susan Kane-- Maybe some of us have expected too much from blogging.

    Inger -- Change sometimes doesn't seem necessary in all cases and it can get expensive.

    Lee

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  17. Chrys-- If blogging is not there for us then those who use it for promoting things will have lost an important outlet.

    Lee

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  18. I'm just going to sum it up by saying "adapt and evolve."

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  19. I dislike trends and never followed that. When I was a kid I made it known I loved Classical music and musicals and old film stars which is why there was a bull's eye on my forehead but I will never give up what I love. People say the actual book is dying but I see book stores crowded and I love the actual book. I create cards and send them through the mail-talk about an ancient thing to do but I love it. We must always do what we love and wear what we enjoy even if it is not in fashion. I often think the actual zombies are the ones who do only what is trendy, wear what is "the latest" and they might as well jump off a cliff with the rest of the lemmings

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  20. Thanks for the post, Lee! Very inspiring. I'm not participating in NaNoWriMo, more like NaNoWriDe (National Writing Decade). And actually, thanks to ISWG, my blog visits are going up! Speaking of which, I need to get over there and vote for my favorite version of When I'm Dead and Gone... Heading over there now! *clicks link*

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  21. I am another who doesn't follow trends. I don't follow the IWSG posts so much as they are mostly for authors.

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  22. Andrew-- That's the best advice unless you're really lazy and just want to wait until the cycle goes full circle. Probably never really get anywhere though.

    Birgit -- Good zombie observation. Stay tuned for my Friday post which will be along this line of thinking.

    Jonathan-- Thanks for the vote!

    Jo-- I have a difficult time keeping up with a lot of blog posts these days.

    Lee

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  23. A little spooky how you and I had similar posts today. I hope blogging is here for a long time but there are lots of other things out there. Some will grow, some won't and others will evolve. Don't throw those skinny ties away.

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  24. I'm sure that, God willing, I'll be blogging long after the views stop coming. It may be a bitter, pissy blog at that point, but it will go on.

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  25. Funny how many IWSG posts about the sure death of blogging there have been this month. I doubt it will be extinct any time soon.

    NaNo's not for me. But I hope to be doing some writing this month anyway.

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  26. Peer pressure factors in to what most of us liked or did as adolescents. Now, we chase trends to get a leg up in business or whatever else we're into.
    I chase trends... if I like them. If not, I don't. Some people think eschewing popular culture is edgy but all it boils down to is just another herd in the same meadow.

    With writing, by the time you pen a novel that follows a hot topic, it has probably fizzled. You must be passionate about something you put so much time into and (most followers) aren't. It's a hard lesson.

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  27. Hi Lee - I never follow trends ... and as long as what I'm doing tows the line - then I'm happy, and I'm happier with some comments and feedback ...

    I can't see blogging dying - but it could be we are becoming somewhat more professional at it ... and that comes from the establishment we find ourselves in ... the A-Z was a great deed, well done: thanks!!

    Cheers Hilary

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  28. Of course I'm doing Nano. I think all this talk about blogging dying is what's perpetuating this issue. If everyone keeps fearing that it will seem even more real. Blogging seems to be just fine to me. It is sad when a blogger you like stops but times change and things evolve. Look to the future and do what you love.

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  29. Love the skinny tie uniform example! I've never been a trend follower and have always been slow to adopt things because I don't like change. I am changing my ways as when new things emerge, there are many features that outperform or make like easier. Fascinating how you connected your subject to zombies and being metaphorically dead. Let's all try our best to be "alive"!

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  30. Susan GK-- I bought those skinny ties over 30 years ago and they looked like they'd been sitting in the store stock for years prior. Actually I do still have them somewhere. My wife hasn't thrown them out yet.

    CW-- Bitter and pissy might increase your readership manyfold.

    Dolorah-- Blog posts about blogging seem to generate interest among bloggers. Funny how that works.

    Jennifer -- I think the best thing to do is to write what burns in our hearts and minds. When we start trying to please the public we often fall flat or they've moved on to something else.

    Hilary -- Let's hope A to Z remains a touchstone for years to come for all of those who love blogging as a socially interactive form of communicating.

    Sheena-kay--"Do what you love" is a great mantra so long as what you love to do is productive and not hurting others.

    Buck-- I've been interconnecting a lot of blog posts lately to my BOTB posts and using the BOTB posts to reflect things that are on my mind or topics of current interest. It's an ongoing experiment that I've been playing with for years now, but not necessarily finding any useful results. That's part of blogging I guess.

    Lee

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  31. Skinny neckties are totally making a comeback!

    Like you say trends come and go, and maybe blogging isn't the hot spot it used to be but I think it'll be nice to see it settle down with just the people who are here because we really enjoy the blogging environment.

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  32. Interesting topic. Maybe "being dead" is really "the new black."

    As for fashion...

    I love wearing fun clothes, but I don't try to be "in fashion." The way I see it, if you're never really in fashion, then you never suddenly go out of fashion, either.

    I've been wearing berets for years, but every now and then they come into fashion, or even worse - along comes Monica Lewinsky in a beret, and you get to hear the same joke all day long.

    But will I ever quit wearing berets? No way! (Although since moving to Texas, beret season is only a couple months of the year.)

    Um, so do I have a point. Uh... I'm not sure! But this is the response your blog post evoked. :)

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  33. Nicki-- Skinny ties? Again? I'm ready except I try to avoid wearing ties as much as I can.

    Tui-- I think if we make our own style it becomes part of our brand. I'd rather set the fashion trend for myself than try to keep up with the trends that others set.

    Lee

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Go ahead and say something. Don't be afraid to speak your mind.
I normally try to respond to all comments in the comment section so please remember to check the "Email follow-up comments" box if you want to participate in the comment conversation.

For Battle of the Bands voting the "Anonymous" commenting option has been made available though this version is the least preferred. If voting using "anonymous" please include in your comment your name (first only is okay) and city you are voting from and the reason you chose the artist you did.

If you know me and want to comment but don't want to do it here, then you can send me an email @ jacksonlee51 at aol dot com.

Lee