Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Ready to Come Out of My Shell

Ever since I started blogging oh so many years ago (way before I even started this blog) I thought about making it my full-time gig. I was truly inspired by people like Dooce's Heather Armstrong, who, along with her husband's online and graphic design work, is able to make a living by writing in her blog a few days a week. She's, like, my blog idol!

I discussed my desire to "go public" with a couple of friends who said to me: "You sure you want the WHOLE WORLD reading your blog?" And that made me halt my plans. Do I want the whole world reading my blog? Commenting on what a bitch I am, and how I'm what's wrong with the world today? And what a bad mother I am? And calling me all kinds of nasty, whorish names?

Yeah. I think I do.

Today I made a proactive approach towards that end by joining a few web rings that help promote or list one's blogs, hopefully generating more traffic on my page. More traffic means I could potentially attract advertisers. Advertisers mean dinero beyond my wildest dreams, just for sitting at my computer and telling ya'll how shitty my last date was and how my pre-teen is driving me to drink.

I don't know about you, but I think I could MOST DEFINITELY live with that.

Except that I recently had a discussion both with Deborah and my latest fling (The Chef...I haven't mentioned him before, but he exists) about selling out. I fought on the side of preserving one's artistic integrity at all costs.

The Chef said he'd rather pay his bills than maintain artistic integrity. It kind of made his stock plummet a little bit. I used the MC Hammer example. True, he wasn't the best artist to begin with anyway but he was popular and was selling lots of albums and had a certain rep for a certain genre or style of soft rap. When he fell off, and then tried to come back with "Pumps in a Bump" and attempted to pass himself off as a hardcore gangsta rapper, I lost all respect for him. At least in his first corny incarnation he was true to his form of music. As the new and improved "Hammer" he was a sell-out wanksta. The Chef's rebuttal? The man had bills to pay and did what he had to do.

Deborah was nervous that she didn't have integrity because she was willing to put her literary works on hold to publish a load of chic lit novels for the huge pay day. This one hit a little close to home but I put it this way: If you already had a reputation for literary novels and were renowned for them, would you then dare to add your name to a chic lit beach read? Wouldn't that diminish everything you'd worked so hard to build up? And in the end (Deborah!) writers like us couldn't write chic lit if we tried. Our form of prose will always come off as literary because that is who we are.

And that was my initial point anyway.

Look, if gangsta rap and chic lit are who you are then that's cool. You've found your place and your audience and you can sleep at night knowing you've done your best. I applaud you and aspire to be at peace like you. But if you're really a country music artist or a poet, and only posed as a gangsta rapper or chic lit author for the paycheck, then you've lost my respect 100%. In the words of Olivia Newton-John's character Sandy in Grease, "You're a fake, and a phony, and I wish I'd never laid eyes on you!"

Which brings me back to making money off my blogs. Is that selling out? Am I compromising who I am for a few greenbacks?

I'll tell you what: If I ever, EVER start censoring my words for the sake of an advertiser, then YES, absolutely I'm selling out. And you will all have my permission to slap the ever-living-shit out of me. Seriously, just line up outside my door and take turns kicking my ass!

But if I can get ads on here by doing what I'm already doing without changing a thing (except maybe removing pics to protect my family and friends' privacy, asking permission before I use names and photos, etc), then I think my integrity will remain intact.

What do you think?

*smooches...desperately looking for a way out of this 9-5 world*
Always got to try
No matter how long that shit take
...Whatever stops you from dreamin'
Whatever tries to stop you from livin'
Flip it