28 July, 2005

Worthy of Attention: Taking Stock of Reality: The Meta-article

Note: Worthy of Attention was a column that I used to write in the online blog Panangelium.

I may be just enough of a masochist to try it out on the side as well.
I may be just enough of a masochist
to try it out on the side as well.
If ever there were a more morose, pitiably pedantic, and terribly trite joke of a job than writing weekly articles for no pay, then please let me know about it. I may be just enough of a masochist to try it out on the side as well.

Yet somehow this weekly column bit is teaching me a lot about what is and is not acceptable in writing to a general audience. In the two and a half months that Panangelium.tk has been online, I feel that I have progressed toward making my writing more accessible, interesting, and perhaps fun for the general reader. Though most who read my articles do not leave comments on the site (a situation I heartily regret), I do get e-mails occasionaly from some readers who perhaps feel obligated to read my stuff (i.e., friends and family), and from their incomparably comstructive criticism (which by the way outweighs praise by a factor of three to one), I think I have finally found how to adapt to an audience much more diverse than I've catered to in the past (as can easily be seen from a cursory glance at my LiveJournal). Now all I need is to learn to be more responsible with my deadlines and to (for the love of god) condense my writing (whilst getting rid of unnecessary paranthetical statements) to make it more palatable to the random viewer (of which, by the way, there are literally hundreds -- three hundred unique visitors since the site's conception in June 2005 -- though it may not look it due to the sparse traffic in the commentspace, literally dozens of random visitors in nine different countries [including Singapore, UK, Taiwan, New Zealand, Dominican Republic, and others] in twelve different time zones arrive each week to read one or another of our columnist's weekly articles, and about half of these readers are repeat visitors; admittedly, thats not too impressive when compared to most webzines out there today, but for a two-and-a-half month old site that has only content as its selling point, I'd like to think that it's particularly impressive).

As a weekly columnist, I am often given suggestions for future topic to write on in those letters that friends and family sometimes send me. Strangely, though, all of the subjects recommended to me seem nearly the same: Iraq, animal cruelty, Bush, Wal-Mart, Rove, etc. And though each of them does indeed deserve an article of their own, especially in a column such as this one, I simply cannot do justice to such lofty topics while I am still coming to terms with what it means to write in a weekly column to a very generalized (and multicultural) audience.

I'm telling you all thee things because this week, I have chosen a different topic: the topic of writing this column. Today's article is a metaarticle, where I am writing of the very fact of writing the article itself. I feel that such a topic is indeed worth of attention, not because I am full of myself, nor even of my job (having readers in nine countries isn't quite so impressive when you realize most of them come once, and never return to read another article again), but because I feel that all individuals are worth of attention; and quite frankly, I feel much more qualifed to write on what it's like to write than to take on the topics suggested to me by friends and family.

Writing [Panangelium.tk] articles has been especially hard for me....
Writing [Panangelium.tk] articles
has been especially hard for me....
Writing these articles has been especially hard for me, because I have had to learn to adapt to a general audience, whereas before my targeted audience was a very small chunk of what I write to now. Add to this that the last two and a half months have been some of the most turbulent in my life (see my LiveJournal for details), and one can easily see how keeping up with the demands of a non-paying job such as this one has taken quite a toll on me.

But, of course, I do not expect you to feel sorry for me. I just want you to know what it's like to write these articles. And man, let me tell you: it's fucking depressing.

I just want you to know what it's like to write these articles....  [I]t's fucking depressing.
I just want you to know what it's like
to write these articles....
[I]t's fucking depressing.
Not only do I have to research the terrible atrocities that I write about, but I also have to look for new topics as well, and when one is physically trying to get more information about the sad state of the world, one finds out some very disturbing things. I have read more essays and reports on how horrible things are going in this world in the past two and a half months than I have in the preceding twenty-four years. Life, I have come to find out, sucks.

But I deal with it. I mean, what else is there to do, really? I have a big heart, larger than most people realize, and I truly feel the plight of others whenever they are in trouble. Reading Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky and Peter Singer and William Blum, among others, serves to sadden me a great deal -- but it also gives me the chance to feel alive. It seems like before I spent so much time researching these things, I lived in a fake world, devoid of the concept of good and evil. Yet now, I feel like there is a purpose to life. Not just for me, but for all people.

And that's why writing these weekly articles is so enjoyable to me, even after all that I've said above. As morose, pedantic, and trite as this job is, I feel that it is a worthwhile experience, just because I may be able to share what I've learned to a broader audience, one by one. Starting on September first, Panangelium.tk will be enjoying an advertising campaign aimed at recruiting an order of magnitude more readers. In preparation for this, expect Panangelium.tk to undergo a few changes in how the site looks, as well as the introduction of a guest column, where each week, we'll begin to present articles from you, our loyal readers. If you think you might be interested in writing an article to be posted on Panangelium.tk, please e-mail me directly at Garacan@gmail.com.

Until next week when I bring up something significantly more depressing, be well.

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