Spam–or, Very nice stuff here hopefully I learned from it

I miss the days when Spam was a good thing. Not that it ever really was good FOR you, but I thought it was pretty tasty stuff as a kid. Spam sandwiches, fried spam, diced spam in salads, you know the drill.

Now there’s Spam 2.0–virtual Spam. Totally tasteless stuff, literally AND figuratively. I log on to WordPress and find 14 new comments, all of the spam variety, and groan. A platoon of messages from hair removal product peddlers and work-at-home opportunity pushers that tell me how wonderful my blog is, how interesting, how useful…all couched in such generic terms, I feel like I’m reading my horoscope. The perverse side of me imagines that someone’s blog about satanism and how to perform human sacrifices for maximum magical effect is receiving the same crap, and I wonder what the author thinks. “Very nice stuff here,” the spam reads, “hopefully I learned from it.”

But the worst part of it? The cheerfully atrocious spelling, grammar, and punctuation of these missives make me cringe. Imagine someone beating you over the head with a baseball bat and screaming, “So you wonderful! You wonderful! I not know what you saying but you write I like!” then being amazed that you don’t seem to like them very much, because they’ve been so dreadfully clever. Ugh.

I don’t mean to complain (okay, well, maybe I do) but it seems to me that spam accomplishes nothing more useful than pissing off people you’ve never met. Under the right circumstances I can get behind that, you understand, but haven’t we had enough junk cluttering up our lives already? My fragile, overworked synapses just can’t take any more.

Perhaps I’m being too cynical–maybe (any similarity to actual email addresses is unintentional and coincidental) really did learn something from my blog post about creating an emotional connection to her characters. I’ll wish her well as I delete her message and indulge in a fresh Spam sandwich to celebrate my contribution to her intellectual advancement.

Bloggity blog blog blog

I’m sitting here, staring at the blank space where I should be writing  fascinating things but mostly stuck on how to get my website to look less like someone wrote the XHTML code with their feet and more like an actual professional designed it. I’m wondering if I should have swallowed my pride and used one of those prepackaged websites instead, like someone watching smoke billow out of their kitchen as the Chicken Kiev burns to a cinder and thinking too late that a bag of Bertolli’s might have been a good idea.

But the thing is, learning something new takes time. No matter how bright or skilled you are, the harsh truth is that you’ll most likely fail and, very probably, make a horrible mangled mess of what you’re attempting to do before you get better at it. Have I blogged much? Nope. Am I making a mess of it? Maybe. Who knows?

I went to my first writer’s workshop a few weekends ago at Ball State University, ironically enough where I did my internship for my doctorate, and listened to published writers discuss how to get serious about writing. Kelsey Timmerman, one of the speakers, said something that seems incredibly simple, but makes a lot of sense–the more you write, the less you suck. What’s the takeaway lesson? Keep going. You, gracious reader, may also be a writer or follow a different career path, but I imagine you’ve had brushes with burnt lasagna or birdhouses that should be condemned or speeches that left you wishing for a portable black hole to escape into, and can sympathize. So I’m going to keep going, and I hope you stick around as this little site and I evolve over time. Maybe you’ll find things here to keep you going, too.

Thanks for coming to visit, and for being patient.