The Literary Life

This Summer has been a little odd, and has gotten a bit away from me (which is less odd. I always feel as if Summer flows through my fingers like so much Lake water). Odd in that we’ve had long spates of weather either unseasonably cool or unseasonably rainy. Which has meant a bit more time inside, when normally there would have been trips to parks and splash pads and even an occasional beach visit, provided we could find one not overcrowded.

While minding the girls, I have spent more than a little time at home re-reading the Anne of Green Gables books. All eight. Plus “Jane of Lantern Hill.” I have not yet got ’round to “Emily of New Moon,” but there is still a snippet of Summer left. It’s made a nice break from reading or listening to all sorts of advice on how to build an audience. A topic I have an interest in for both this blog and the podcast. Though of late I have found the two pastimes somewhat at odds with each other.

Why, you ask, gentle reader? I shall elucidate. According to those “in the know,” posts should be written at the 6th grade level. There is, they say, no need for large words. Keep things simple so that people understand you. Indeed, the “Readability” indicator that comes with my SEO plug-in incessantly complains about my writing. The sad face is my constant companion.

Worse, I eschew the Suzzerainity of Zuckerberg entirely. I find the noise level entirely too high, and prefer the quietude of the blog-o-sphere, with occasional strolls through the forest of Instagram. Much to the pearl-clutching horror of the Social Media Mavens of all flavors.

At the same time, these self-styled “experts” (a designation about which I sometimes have Thoughts(TM) ) insist that to build a loyal audience one must constantly niche down. “Don’t be afraid not to speak to everyone. If you try to speak to everyone, you are speaking to no one in particular,” states one, with earnest conviction and no apparent recognition of the contradiction.

What, then, if my audience is made up of those gentle souls who can read large words? Should I muzzle prose and hobble poetic license in order not to make uncomfortable those who are not “of the race that knows Joseph?” (Before you lob Molotov cocktails in the comments, do either read Anne’s House of Dreams, or at least the Wiki page for same).

I believe, even if the hard-chargers bent on “building a business in the online space” do not, that there still exist those who can while away a gray afternoon with a good book – one written a hundred years ago or more – and enjoy it for it’s own sake. That kindred spirits are also longing to slow down from the digital race from outrage to outrage. For whom the simple pleasures of home-keeping and care-taking carry with them a deep sense of satisfaction. Who experience a nostalgic pang for gentler times and closer ties.

Have I found you, Diana Barry? The path by the Lake of Shining Waters is overgrown. But we can take a leaf from modern life – grab my RSS feed, or add this blog to your Feedly or BlogLovin’ feed. (Those are unfamiliar to you? I invite you to explore them as options to follow your favorite blogs – this one, mayhap? – without having to do it via social media. You can simply check your own personal feed each day for new posts of interest).

Do leave me a comment. Shall we be bosom friends?

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