22 July 2005

Buick City Complex

"They’re tearing the Buick City Complex down,
I think we’re the only people left in town.
Where you gonna move, where you gonna move?
Do you wanna mess around?"
Old 97s

(Short Version: Our livelihood is being demolished and we don’t care where we live. There's nothing left to do but fuck)

No, this is not a notice to quit! The inspiration for my blog name came from the song of the same name by the Old 97s. Inspiration for the song came from the demolition of a GM automobile plant.

A new blog emerges for a variety of personal reasons. A testing ground for literary skills, a confessional to unburden a heavy heart, a soapbox or a journal. A list of regular commentators establishes itself and links are forged. A community of like-minded souls evolves with friendships that would shame the real world.

But the natives are restless, maybe it’s the heat. Bloggers are feeling the humidity and it’s tough to breathe. Notices to quit are going up with alarming frequency. Buick City Complex is seven months old, yet already I have seen several authors with unquestionable credentials fall by the wayside. Understandable perhaps when you consider the punishing schedule followed by many:

Prepare a seven hundred and fifty word piece that will entertain, amaze and delight readers
Respond to comments left on your previous piece
Click through a blogroll of twenty or more
Leave insightful, witty and thought-provoking comments on each new post
Take digital photos, sort and store them for future blog use
Monitor your site traffic
Do all this several times a week
Find time for the real world, family and friends

I know why the seams are creaking everywhere you turn. The effort required to crank out readable material is immense. You daily posters have my complete respect, how you manage it I can hardly guess. To those struggling I say, “don’t give up, cut down!” I always read even if I don’t comment. Now you know why my posts have reduced to once or twice a week thank you for bearing with me.

This thought surfaced earlier in the week – ‘the life expectancy of a blog may be short. Some fizzle out when their purpose is served. Others continue to burn brightly. Whatever the lifespan, friendships can be made which may last a lifetime.’



Very well said.

Perfect Virgo said...

Thank you JJ.

transience said...

that pretty much summed up every joy and doubt i have had about blogging. with all the wonderful writers out there, sometimes it really is difficult to churn up new material when all you want to do is read read read. but i agree that the friendships are the most precious i've gotten through this medium. nice to know you, pv.

Jen said...

The friendships are indeed the best part. I remember when I was a daily poster, putting so much energy into my blog when I had so little to do during the day. I kind of miss it. But I guess, like you said, everything serves its purpose.

Perfect Virgo said...

Transience - nice to know you too. When you set yourself high standards the only way to satisfy them is to cut back and put out fewer pieces but perhaps more concentrated. The effort still retains regular visitors because as you say, it's about friendship.

Jen - if it helped you through a tough time then it worked. No one can keep that pace forever, ultimately the merrrygoround flings you off. It always comes back to friendships doeasn't it.


Your blog is your own personal journey not journal. Write when you feel like writing. Post when you feel like posting. Again, it was very well said, so well said that I came back again to read it another time.
Peace from across that huge body of water,

Perfect Virgo said...

JJ - readers who read twice are worth their weight in gold. I just realised that oceans can connect as well as divide.

finnegan said...

Ah yes Virgo, there is a Buick City Complex of reasons why folks blog; either gaining momentum in the process or else slowing to a trickle, disappearing into the blog ether.

These are the dog-days of blogging, (unless one comes from south of the equator). My thinking is that (come cooler weather) we will be seeing a manifold increase by next year.

There are still millions who have never heard of a blog. We're all early pioneers. Your 25 year old blog? Think of it!

One way or another, we are all writing our own "biographies", which is a humbling thought.

So long as I can open my browser and be moved like I am here, I'll remain inspired to lay down what I experience.

doughgirl said...

For the past 11 months, it has been the glue that has held me together. The ability to have somewhere to come and bare my deepest darkest feelings. Somewhere where yes maybe some are critical, but then its not for them..never has been, only been for me.

The friendships that I have picked up along the way are a gift. Yours especially. You teach me to say things in ways that only like minded will understand and sometimes I know that only you do.

This glue though works in two ways, becasue I must hold onto it for it to hold onto me. I guess thats the will right?

Til my dying days I hope to continue to come here and leave my mark, a piece of my heart, a part of my soul and God willing one day I get to say goodbye before I go...love ya

Perfect Virgo said...

Finnegan - so you mean we're ahead of the game for once! I heard somewhere that there are as few as 12 million indexed blogs worldwide. Maybe more like 50 million including unindexed - but that's only a claim. If it is the lower figure then we represent a mere 0.184% of the global poulation.

Hit that "next blog" button a few times and you stumble across one abandoned project after another. So even the indexed ones aren't active... Three cheers for minorities!

Doughgirl - I might have guessed you'd say something nice after a spell away. Your visits here are an extremely important part of this blog. Yes, the glue is a good metaphor. Keep showing the will to write and read and comment and I will understand.

Sprinkled throughout these pages are life and love in my words and yours - pieces of heart and pieces of soul. Sharing common experiences binds us together on this journey. What a powerful last sentence, but there will be no saying goodbye for many decades yet... Love ya too.

sasfdasfdljkfksdjkfjsd said...

I feel like I know some people online better than people I have actually met. Here's to friendship.

Patry Francis said...

Sometimes I've seriously wondered if blogging was a form of addiction. At the height of my obsession, I fell asleep thinking about it, and the first thing I did in the morning (even before making coffee!) was go to my computer and log on.

In a lot of ways, it's so much more satisfying than "real writing." There's the instant gratification, the fun with graphics, the feedback and exchange of ideas, and of course, the friendship. But I think you are right. It is probably much healthier--and in the end blog-sustaining to limit yourself to one or two posts a week.

Perfect Virgo said...

Ray Ray - I raise a glass of ice cold Diet Coke to you. Chink!

Patry - oh yes, me too. An addictive personality finds his outlet in this game! I agree about instant gratification, for example your comment was 15 minutes ago and already I can respond.

You are right it's the friendship aspect that provides the biggest reward. And yes, self-imposed limits are essential or you may implode with perceived external pressure!

Grace said...

This subject is one I have given much thought to as you know. My posting frequency has dropped to sometimes weeks apart. I always find positive comments when I return and am very grateful that our online community still checks in on me!

Mere Existence said...

We all feel the effects when one quits... when the community loses a member, the hole remains.

Perfect Virgo said...

Grace - I do indeed know. That's the great thing about our little community here, we check in on each other. Days or weeks don't matter as long as you are ok my friend.

Mere Existence - we all know of several Rand. It's like a yawning chasm when they go. Their blogs are still up but lifeless as if no one has the decency to do the clearance. Or maybe they are like shrines maintained in hope of a miraculous return...

Dionysius said...

OK....what will the web look like and the blogging part as it matures into its fiftieth year?
I just spent a week at AAAI-05 (check it out) in Pittsburgh, PA and part of our exploration was just that. I spoke with the vanguard thinkers on the subject. Senior researchers and thinkers from Carnegie-Melon, MIT, etc. in US. Most Universities in Europe, Canada, and Asia also very stringly represented.
I will come back with more but I want you all to check into the following if you want to know the future and it is orders of magnitude beyond where we are now. Here are the directions: The Semantic Web, Web 2.0, Wikis, Blogs, Agents, Web Services, etc. It soon will be almost unheard of to search using keywords as we do today. AI, KR, Ontologies, Inference, very smart web Agents which are machine based, Pub Sub, Discovery, Mediation, etc. These words and notions I have just used will be the common language of five years from now. As a final test what does it mean to you if I say you will see an eBay without the eBay??? Blogs are here to stay. An individual blog can be indexed to a collective blog where a group of like minded folks can subscribe on a 'when you feel like it' basis. This is to get you guys thinking and to help you all stay in the vanguard as you are right now. Here in the US I have already seen a Senior Researcher fired through a movement of rejection initiated using a blog site. I know that politicians now ignore blogs/wikis at their peril. The face of what we call Democracy is being recast. There is a caveat for the people however. It used to be that the filtering and bias spin was done before publication since the latter was so expensive and beyond the range of the individual. Not so anymore but now the filtering has to be done after publication. This is profound. Sorry if this is rushed out.

V said...

It's a tough job sometimes, but it doesn't have to be. Sometimes a line or two or posting about what songs you're listening to is just as valid. People still respond and connect.

RuKsaK said...

I think about quitting almost daily and also think about posting all the time. Without my commenters I would have probably given up by now - the feedback and help I've had with my writing from my readers has been wonderful.

Perfect Virgo said...

Dionysius - I can only guess at the meanings of some of those words. Blogs are powerful forums even in the highly personal way our little group uses them. I take your point about them becoming even more significant in terms of giving the people a loud voice and thereby applying pressure to authority.

Mention the word 'blog' in public and you get mystified looks so I take that as reassurance that we guys are blazing the trail.

V - size is no guarantee of quality, how right you are! Somehow though I get wrapped up in the notion that a slender post barely does justice to its subject.

I should test the theory that 'less is more.'

Ruk - you said it well there, help and encouragement abounds here. Where else would you get immediate responses from folk who really know what you're going through?

Grace said...

Thanks for the redecoration comment, did you notice the new 'tag board' in the left menu?

Perfect Virgo said...

I did indeed Grace, communication seems to come in so many different forms these days!

Trudging said...

Great writing, thank you.

Perfect Virgo said...

Trudging - rather sums us all up I think/hope.

The Flea said...

I know I am late to the party Virgo -- but you couldn't have said this better. Writing in and of itself is a struggle, but the extra-curicular activities associated with blogging definitely increase the time and effort required of it.

Without the comments, I doubt anyone would blog. Us bloggers thrive on them. I know in my case, the first few months of blogging when I had not a single reader were the most despairing. But then, now that I have a fan-base, even a small one, it takes a lot more out of me.

Coupling all this with the fact that I am working on a novel and painting; I don't know how I pull it off sometimes. Fuck, if only we didn't have to work for a living.

Perfect Virgo said...

Flea - better late than never my friend! Oh yes, without those comments where would we be? The feedback is so important in letting us know what we are doing right and where we might be slipping up. A small fan-base is quite big enough for me too. There are insufficient hours to cater for many more!

The big bonus is of course theamazing friendships we strike up with people from all over the world. I am proud to count you as a friend, Flea.

The Flea said...

The feeling is mutual Virgo. It's always comforting to know you're out there checking up on me.

P.S. I hope you haven't given up on good old Jack yet. I'm dying for your next installment. I'm usre others are too.

Perfect Virgo said...

Flea - there's mileage left in Jack. I have notes for his 3 other murders, a speculative glimpse of a 'between-murders' phase and some hypothetical thinking as a conclusion. Watch this space!