Number Twenty-Eight: Pumping the Brakes

Phew! It’s been about three months since I started this venture, and I’m going to hit the pause button for the first time. I assure you it’s not for lack of ideas or things to say about them. Rather, we’ve had a *nasty* bug in our house for the past few weeks, one that claimed all but one of us in some capacity, but hit me and my wife the hardest. When it comes to this blog and its Facebook page, it may appear that Much Ado About Nothing hasn’t missed a beat; in truth, much of the content between mid-March and now was either finished, or close to being finished, prior to our illness. I was (un)lucky enough to have a lot of writing time when my daughter had restless nights earlier in the year, so I had a bunch of material in the can. But those essays have come and gone, so it’s time to get back in the saddle and ride, baby, ride.


[Er, wait a second here. {Art by Norman Thelwell}]

Before I get back to our regularly scheduled programming, I thought I’d go over some odds and ends with you. First and foremost, I wanted to thank each and every one of you who have read the content on my sites. Facebook doesn’t offer the greatest stats in the world, but my WordPress site says I’ve had close to 600 unique visitors since early January, a number I wouldn’t have thought possible – both because I figured I wouldn’t be that interesting, but also because this site doesn’t readily fall into a category. I assume it’s easier to find a fan base if someone creates a site that specializes in being a go-to source for a particular slice of information. That’s a little too boring for me, as I have a variety of likes and dislikes, so the idea that I’ve had any traction whatsoever as I bounce from book reviews to asshole drivers to parenting pitfalls gives me hope that, while erratic, I’m just entertaining enough to keep you coming back for more. Time will tell.

I also appreciate the interaction on both sites via comments and messages. While I enjoy writing out my opinions on various topics, I also look forward to your feedback. I’m not talking about praise here (although I appreciate that as well), but rather input that causes me to look at something in a different way. I like to learn. A lot. If I had the time and money, I’d probably take random courses at universities just to become more knowledgeable about topics I know little or nothing about. In lieu of that, I like hearing about other people’s experiences, whether it’s a new-to-me author in a genre I like reading or seeing a word that’s new to me and tracking down a definition for it or hearing about someone who went through a similar trial as me yet found a different solution to the problem. So, by all means, let me hear your thoughts! This month I’ll be trying out a book by Harlan Coben entitled Deal Breaker, which was recommended to me by “nlw33052” on the WordPress site. I’ve heard of Coben plenty, but never come across anyone who had read him before. Without a nudge from one of our members, I never would have tried Coben’s work. THAT’S what I love about this project.

So what do you have to look forward to in the future? Oh, more of the same tomfoolery, just with different flavors. There’ll be more blog posts with honest book and comic reviews, a continuation of the already-started “I Miss My MTV” series, and scathing commentaries on topics such as how we’re failing our young men as they go out into the world (especially in regard to their interaction with young women). That being said, I have some ideas on other directions I want to go as well:

1. As stated above, I like interacting with you, so I may put a post on one of the sites and ask viewers to give me a topic they want to read about in the future. Could be serious, could be something you assume I’ll lose my mind over, could be a topic you think I’d be interested in learning more about. It’ll be like a Choose Your Own Adventure!

2. For those who visit the Facebook page, you’ll already know that my four-year-old son, Gabe, has been peppering me with funny lines that come unprompted from him. I’ve decided to call the snippets “Gabe’s World,” and while up until now I’ve just been typing up his quotes and sharing them with readers, I’m thinking about making it a short video segment in the future. I’ll have to do some research on that – I’m very much a rookie in that department – but it would be something fun for me to try. I’m thinking about something like Dos Equis’ Most Interesting Man in the World, reading snippets from a four year old who doesn’t know how silly/funny/cute he is. Thoughts?

3. When I started the blog, I mentioned doing interviews. I think it’s time to get that rolling. Now, I’m not making grandiose promises here. It’s not like I have the President on my speed-dial (nor would I want to), but as I read books, view art, listen to music, etc. I often have questions that I’d like to ask the creators. Most will likely be short and sweet (3-5 serious questions, with maybe one silly one thrown in for good measure); others may be more in-depth if they’re the focus of the entire entry. We’ll play it by ear.

4. Along those lines, I’m going to try (emphasis on try) to start a flash fiction series. In case you don’t know, flash fiction is a very, very short story. In the case of Much Ado About Nothing, I’m going to aim for 100 words or less. Maybe bump it up to 200. My goal is to contact authors and see what they can come up with for a story. Seems like it should be easy, but coming up with a story in that few words — one that actually tells a tale and is entertaining — is very, very tricky work indeed. Regardless, I think it will be an interesting experiment, and one that I hope you will enjoy with me.

5. My favorite comedian is/was George Carlin. Much of the reason for this is because he makes me laugh, but the other reason is that he analyzes words and phrases, challenging people to critically think about the things we say and hear all the time. You see, I love words. Words are powerful, perhaps the strongest weapons we possess. That old adage “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is the biggest crock of shit humans have ever been subjected to. I get a physical ouchie, and it will heal; but I receive a nasty rant directed at my character and it’s likely to last a lifetime. Think of how powerful the words of people like Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr have been. They’ve lasted for generations, still impacting the people who hear them to this very day! Anyway, I’m losing myself. I’m going to start an ongoing etymology series, probably with less humor and bite than Uncle George, but hopefully just as thought-provoking, entertaining, and informative.

[Take a listen to George Carlin’s rant on the terminology used by airline companies. It’s probably 25 years old, yet still rings true today. I bet I’ve heard this rant 50 times, and I still laugh like a madman each and every time. Watch it, folks. Yes, it’s 16 minutes, but I guarantee you’ll love it.]

Those are the big ones. I have plenty of other ideas that are percolating, and I look forward to seeing where they lead us. Some will succeed, and some will fail. That’s OK. I’m learning on the fly, but regardless of the outcome, I’m having a blast writing for all of you. I hope you feel the same way when you see a new post.

Before I go, I encourage you to swing by and give a like to the Much Ado About Nothing Facebook page. There’s a link to it on all of the pages here on the blog, or you can search it out on your own (@MuchAdoAboutNada). It’s a supplement to this site, and forces me to be more succinct than I am here. We still talk about many of the same things – books, music, observations – but it allows for shorter reviews and comments, and keeps people abreast of my stuff quicker than the blog does.

Thanks again, folks, for coming along on this ride. You all mean the world to me.

Until we meet again…

Andy

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