The Issues of Today: “The Idea”

by Nathan on July 25, 2019 (ComicsWritingIssues of Today)

Whenever I’m thinking of new blog ideas or concepts for potential series—which, if you’ll take a gander at my family’s website, our humble webpages are certainly devoid of—I try to think of angles which I either haven’t tried before or can use to offer an experience different from that of other websites. This probably explains why I don’t often write or publish what I do write on here: my ideas don’t feel creative enough, unique enough, to warrant attention.

Naturally, there’s the other problem to consider: whenever I do come up with a notion that I find interesting—like, say, examining the world of comics through the analytical lens of Russian folklore expert Vladmir Propp—I eventually find myself too constrained by the idea. The notion of subjecting a series of stories, repeatedly, to the same systematic process soon goes from a potentially interesting idea to a dull one…and thus my interest fades.

So it was with great pleasure that, when recently dwelling upon this predicament and debating how best to move forward, a small voice leaped into the forefront of my wandering mind and whispered:

“Just write.”

No grandiose concept hammered away at me; no stunning realization of how to craft the most perfect blog in the virtual annals of man gestated inside my brain. Conversely, the idea seemed almost too simplistic, but them I remembered a recent review of “Avengers: Endgame” I posted on here. I recalled that I wasn’t writing about the movie with a certain angle in mind, other than I highly enjoyed it and wanted to espouse the best moments; I wasn’t looking at the movie through a particular lens, politically or culturally or anything like that. All I did was talk about what I liked and what I didn’t. Sure, it was segmented and structured so it didn’t feel like a total ramble, but when I look at that blog, all I see are my words.

“Just write,” the voice whispered again. I’m trying to listen.

I want to write about comics. It’s why I’ve been, rather voraciously, buying them and reading through them at a rapid, rabid pace as of late. Yet most attempts to put pen to paper (or, more accurately, fingers to keyboard) have been thwarted by my own ambition. Until now, I hope. What I intend to do is just write about comics. No thematic element needs weave it way through my posts, save this: I’m going to post something every day. I’m going to post a blog about comics every single evening from now until some distant endpoint and just discuss my thoughts on whatever I’ve read that day. It could be a Spider-Man story arc I’ve loved for years and want to dive into again; it could be a three-part Batman story I’ve yet to read until that particular day; it could even be the first four issues of a twelve-issue series that I managed to read through while on my lunch break at work. The point is that I’m going to be writing, creating a string of words and sentences and thoughts to encapsulate my opinions and feelings towards a genre of fiction I thoroughly enjoy and sincerely appreciate.

I can’t claim this as the most ingenious or inventive concept ever devised by bloggerkind. Plenty of other sites are populated by writers who talk on the circumstances of their days, post about a particular cultural event that occurred earlier that morning, or critique the movie that came out in cinemas the previous evening. Even sites dedicated to comic book news are on top of comics that come out that week, reviewing issues as they hit the shelves. In emulating these sites, I just want to become part of the online community that shares their thoughts daily, whether it’s on something personal like how peaceful or crappy their morning was or something as goofy as “Man, that last issue of ‘Superior Spider-Man’ was terrible, even for Dan Slott.”

In the past, my blogs have always possessed a sporadic existence: I’ve posted whenever I felt like it, about whatever subject struck me as interesting enough to put some thought into. Movies, music, games, etc. But with this concept, I want to go deep and spend a good deal of time exploring a singular subject—comics—in its varied forms. Not beholden to any other theme, I just want to talk about what I’ve read that day, while it’s fresh in my mind and easy to discuss on paper.

Right off the bat, however, I will be cheating a little. I initially intended this to be a blog about the story I read today—Marvel’s 1991 crossover epic “The Infinity Gauntlet”—but while writing the above paragraphs, I realized it would be slightly ridiculous to introduce the concept and then dive into a entirely new subject and take up even more space than I have already. So I will save that for tomorrow and pick up with whatever I read Friday and Saturday (spoiler: it’s gonna be the original Secret Wars!). Starting Sunday, then, I will be doing my best to craft blog posts about what I read on those particular days. So what does it mean if I don’t post something on a certain day? Hopefully, it just means I didn’t read anything that day or got sidetracked by the ever-present, bizarre circumstances of life. And then, I also hope, there will then be the unspoken promise that I will be back soon.

I also realized another reason for confining this post solely to an introduction. I want this particular post to keep me accountable. In ages past, I’ve often written complete blog posts that I never published, or even started series of blogs that went nowhere. They’re just sitting on my computer because I never got around to posting them, didn’t feel like I had enough material under my belt for a decent series, or lost interest and quit a series partway through writing it and didn’t want to post something that wasn’t complete. This intro, however, is going to be a first step, a way to motivate myself to keep writing.

Like with other projects, I know I run the risk of becoming bored with this or coming to view a daily blog as a chore I have to do every evening when I get home from work. For the first weeks or months or whatever amount of time is needed to get beyond that initial stage…yeah, it may be dull. It may even make more sense to do it once every other day. I’ll be flexible with it. But just like multiplication tables helped me get better at math, or just like knotting those laces again and again helped me get better at tying my shoes, or just like setting up a routine helps turn mundane decisions into a lifestyle, I want to practice this. “Practice makes perfect” is what they say, and while I cannot offer you, fair reader, anything amounting to perfection, I should be able to give you, in time, the fruits of practice.

(Granted, I don’t use multiplication tables anymore and would prefer to not tie my shoes, so perhaps those metaphors don’t exactly align with what I’m trying to do here. The core concept, however, remains.)

With all that swirling around the page, let me bring it back to basics: I want these next several blogs to be my own little forum, where I share my thoughts on stories as I encounter them. I do have a slight idea of the direction this is going to take—right now, I’ll basically be writing about the comics I have yet to read as I dive into them—but I want to keep it a little open-ended, not as confined as previous attempts at blogging have been. I do have other ideas in the pipeline, in various stages of production, but I’m gonna run with this for now and work through those concepts as they develop further. For the moment, “The Issues of Today” feels like the most naturally generated series I can think of working on. It’s not just “writing for the sake of generating cool content with a snazzy hook” (though that is by no means a bad thing); to me, this is “writing for the sake of writing,” and though it may seem simplistic and a little scattered, it’s what I need right now to get started blogging regularly again.

Or, heck, blogging regularly for the first time.

Tags: ComicsWritingIssues of Today

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