Friday, November 8, 2013

Mr. Cope’s Cave

Posted By on Fri, Nov 8, 2013 at 2:00 PM

When I first started contributing to Boise Weekly (1995), the newspaper was not online. In those days, there was a question from week to week as to whether it would even show up on paper. I’m relatively sure there was an Internet back then, and I imagine there was a sprinkling of newspapers, magazines and books that had made the move to digital, but I’m not sufficiently interested in the history of online publishing to get off my fanny and look it up. If you care about such things, you look it up.

The whole truth of the matter is that I have managed to stay sufficiently un-interested in not only the history of online publishing, but in anything that has to do with online publishing. As long as there are newspapers and magazines and books being produced on paper, I will prefer them over their digital doppelgangers. I will, when I absolutely have to, go world-wide-webbing through my Macwormhole, chasing down articles and news stories it’s unlikely I’ll find on the rack at my neighborhood Jackson’s emporium. But I won’t like it.

It’s not that I am a print snob but, after all, good old paper can trace its roots back to papyrus. It has proven its worth as a conveyor of information and entertainment for at least 4,000 years. And to what does digital publishing owe its ancestry? A pocket calculator? An electronic reader-board in front of some cracker-barrel church squatting along side a freeway in Tennessee?

Pshaw! Mark my words, when the big apocalypse hits—be it from causes Biblical, meteor-ical, flesh-eating monkey pox-ical zombie-ical, whatever—desperate writers will be slaughtering one another over scraps of Post-it notes and No. 2 pencil stubs, and they will be doing it by flinging their useless laptops and iPhones at one another.

But I get ahead of myself. As far as what the fresh young faces call “social media” goes, I find that phenomenon even more boring than I find the fresh young faces who can’t stop talking about it. I have never read the Facebook postings of anyone I cared enough about to care what they are up to. If I want to know what they are up to, I will call them on my telephone—which, incidentally, is not nor ever will be a “smart” phone—or I will arrange a meeting, face to face. If that non-virtual encounter turns out to be as tedious and pointless and empty as a typical Facebook entry, I will claim to have a headache—diarrhea, if I need a stronger excuse—and make my escape.

You will never read a tweet from me, nor will I ever read a tweet from you, no matter who you are. If you are somebody I respect and admire, and then I find out you are tweeting, I will seriously re-examine what I ever saw in you.

If what I’m telling you makes you think I am old and crabby, you are mostly right. My years are stacking up, yes, though I am not universally crabby. There is a lot of this world I feel very tender toward. There is still much left to make me feel joy when I come across it. There are still many, many things that can move me to tears and make me thankful to be alive and sentient.

On-line publishing, however, does not make that list.

•••

So what am I doing here, online, publishing this material before you in a ... God, I hate this word! ... blog? (Sounds like something one would do in a public toilet, doesn't it?... after wolfing down a chorizo and drinking a quart of cooking sherry, perhaps.)

And the answer is, I’m not sure yet. The immediate explanation is that, after years of trying, my publisher (the tireless Sally Freeman) has finally persuaded me to take up... (gack!)... blogging  under the Boise Weekly umbrella. So I've agreed to move in and set up a blog shop. But I’m not yet sure what I’m going to peddle there. Er, here.

I’ve not even settled on a name for it. My first thought was “Bill’s Blog.” Simple. Direct. Tells one all he needs to know about it right away. Then I thought to myself, “But that’s not the way I like to do things, is it, Bill? If I wanted to be simple, direct, and tell people all they needed to know right off the bat, I’d be writing ads for the Thrifty Nickel.”

I played with the words some. “Bill” + “blog” = “Billog.” Or “Coplog.” Or “B-Clog.” Or maybe “BlillCo,” each new idea sucking more than the last.

Finally, I realized there was no law saying I had to use the word “blog” in the title of my blog, just as there is no requirement that a band’s name has to include the word “band.” I could use any words in any combination I wanted. I had to be careful, though, as so many random word combinations have already been taken—e.g., “Mott the Hoople,” “Three Dog Night,” Toys ‘R’ Us,” Outback Steakhouse,” etc.

I’m still working on it. “Mr. Cope’s Cave” is just a temporary expedient, something to fill the name hole until something better pops up. But I’d better stop now. My editor suggested I should hold my blogging to 300-600 words per episode—or “post” as the kiddies call it. I believe I’ve already passed that limit and then some. I shall have to put off further introduction to this blog to the next time. So until then, goodbye. Fare thee well. Adios amigos. Have a nice day. Live long and prosper.

(I now see that I need to go world-wide-webbing and find out how other bloggers indicate they are finished for the day.)


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