Apr 13, 2008

On Writing, Midwestern Backwaters, and the Internet

Newsday columnist John Jeansonne has a thoughtful essay today in which he argues that being an athlete can't hurt presidential chances. I also mention this because Jeansonne and I had a recent virtual conversation about my essay examining Barack Obama and bowling, and some of my followup thoughts wound up in the Newsday piece.

I point this out not to highlight my own brief quotes, but rather to examine the ways in which the Internet helps writers and artists of all varieties transcend geographical limitations. No longer need a person remain isolated in an area not known for its cultural contributions, as access to the web can connect an artist to an unlimited audience.

Now, those who live in and around Toledo know that there is no shortage of talented folks whose creative pursuits can match virtuosos anywhere else in the world. Yet Toledo's international reputation for culture is limited to such oddities as Maxwell Q. Klinger, Tony Packo’s, and the Toledo Mud Hens, while the city's reputation as a center of American obesity makes us likely to be well known for a colective need for prescription weight loss pills.

However, the web allows a Long Island journalist to search for like-minded writers on a given topic, while a Midwestern yokel like me finds a more level playing field upon which his work can be judged. Over the past three years, dozens of major news sites have quoted or linked to my writing, opening up opportunities that even ten years ago would have escaped me.

I am also something of a late-blooming writer, with little in the way of work I would ever wish to see in print. The Internet shortened the period of dues-paying for me, giving me the ability to get my writing in front of a global audience as soon as I hit the "publish" icon. Granted, on many days the results of my creative endeavors are run-of-the-mill, or even trite, but when I really nail an essay, my writing does not wind up buried in a notebook to be forgotten.

Geography no longer serves as a barrier for a creative person who wishes to get exposure, and I think that the world is better for this interconnectivity.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Congrats, Mikey, but I think your thoughts on bowling were overstated, 'cuz it's just a game, bro.