On Michelle’s page she offered me the following advice:
“Should I give this advice to the Fulcrum Monkey or would it piss him off (again)?
1. Set up your website more like Dooce.com....you get a lot a lot a lot a lot a lot of readers
2. Sell Autographed Fulcrum Monkey T-Shirts
3. Sell Autographed Fulcrum Monkey Zines
4. People pay a ton of money for baby-sitters with high vocabularies during the holiday season, and going to bars seems to make you depressed anyway, you morose bastard.”
Did it piss me off the first time? If so, I apologize. I love well intentioned advice.
Is the implication of suggestion number one that I will get more readers? Right now I am averaging around seventy readers on weekdays. People surf blogs when they are bored at work, so my weekend numbers are low. It’s been a lot higher than my average, but people lost interest when I started to get my act together. I was benefiting from my confessional style and human nature as it relates to rubbernecking at accident scenes.
Right now I have about thirty regulars that I could probably list off the top of my head, and they are primarily immediate friends and family. That’s not really a huge base when you figure that it’s all the same people. I really should link to everyone that I read as that seems like the thing to do. There’s also this domain name thing that I have but haven’t done anything with. It may have expired. I’ll have to check on that.
I could sell Fulcrum-Monkey merchandise, but then I would have to buy the shirts in the first place and then store them in my basement under the stairs, like all self publishers do. I also haven’t really adopted a pose or a persona in line with a fulcrum monkey eidos – something that is young, hip and smart instead of the vaguely dark and occasionally whiny thing I’ve got going on.
I suppose I could do that and thereby brand my ranting in line with a certain milieu of bloggers. That persona would be something along the lines of “not all who wander are lost, but some of us brachiaters do tend to lose momentum from time to time”. I could also be more overtly political if I was really going for typecasting.
It’s pretty much politics or diapers if you want to go trendy. All the career advice in my current field strongly suggests that blogs get people fired, so I could make lots of references to the risks I am taking and heighten the fictive drama of my posts. I guess that is the essence of Dooce – she got done and is riding on the coat tails of her own self fulfilling prophecy (and she’s a good writer). I let my prose wander and graze while she rides hers hard and isn’t afraid to use the stirrups.
I like the Zine idea. I did a zine once in grade school about a character I invented named Herman the Demon. He was half angel and half devil with wings and a halo over demon horns and a genie’s body. He had no mouth and always wore a t-shirt that said I heart teeth. He had a small dog named Flippy the Blurp and another friend named Wubby who looked a lot like a McDonald’s Fry Guy. I made copies at my dad’s church and sold them for 10 cents each. I think I made a buck ten, but my copy costs were subsidized by the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. Originals of the strip are now worth $2.50 on Ebay ($3.75 if the dust jacket is in good condition).
Finally on the issue of bars… going to them makes me happy, but leaving and paying the bill make me sad. Or I am always sad for my lost youth, except I am still sort of young, except more than a quarter of the earth’s population is under twenty, but they are all invested in killing each other for uncertain ideals and the benefit of older people so there’s some relative reasoning on age in-play in the culture, except there’s not much point in going to bars as my cohort has aged out of the drunken wander. We’ve even aged out of the drunken stay-put.
As I round out the halfway point on my medical leave from social lubricants I have to say that sobriety is fine. I still think that there is a certain kind of truth and warmth of conviviality in the shared spirit that is one of the best things in life, but drinking lots of gin to forget about your murdered relative, hit & run killed ex-girlfriend, directionless life, and shitty new-age job may not be the way to go.
Sometimes prohibitionists and well-intentioned reformers tell me, “Look how much your life has changed since you quit drinking.” I don’t know about the cause and effect chain there. I think the change in my life preceded the alteration of my habits. I was already back in school, flirting with my now girlfriend and working on other core changes before this medical hiccup came along. That I didn’t really have any trouble changing lots of my habits, the daily drink included, is indicative to me of a deeper maturation or sea change in how I relate with the world. Beth told me I’ve grown up a lot in the past year. I like that appraisal so I’m going to run with it.
Babysitting is a possibility. That’s actually the sort of work I need. Just a little boost would go a long way. I’ve decided that I don’t get to eat at restaurants anymore and I don’t drink near beer either. These are two expenses that lack a reasonable foundation in that I can’t rationalize the cost/benefit. My dad, as a retired minister, still takes communion to what are called shut-ins. These are people who can’t come to church because of age or infirmity. I am sorry dear friends, but until the monetary manna rains down from heaven I am a shut-in who can’t afford to do X with you (where x is anything). This includes buying merchandise for resale, which I do admit would be fun.
I need to get my motorcycle down from Wisconsin sooner rather than later. The gas costs are really stunning. I can spend fifty bucks to fill up the van or four to fill up the bike and travel the same distance. Also, if I always have helmet head then I won’t need to buy hair jell! If I keep the visor up I can cut food costs on the protein I swallow. I’ll just drive around with my mouth open catching bugs from the air like a whale skimming plankton with his baleen.