Heather and I met some years ago at a coffee shop here in Portland and we've been pretty good friends ever since, perhaps in part because the number of things we have in common is eclipsed only by the number of things we don't. Both of us love to write, for example, though only one of us is disciplined enough to do it regularly and consistently and (horrors) actually commit to doing so publicly. My own blog is in a sad state of lonely disrepair. I need only a Wordpress tumbleweed plugin to complete the desolation. But I've been enjoying following Heather's blog and even a little envious of all this writerly stuff going on over here, so the idea of contributing a bit was pretty appealing to me. At the time I was flattered and intrigued. Flattrigued, even. At the time.
Time passes, as it is wont to do, and then today came of course (the deadline, I mean) and all of that time between "Sure, I'd love to" and now, all of that time I was going to spend thinking up clever and thoughtful things to say here, got sucked up by me watching bad horror movies and playing Space Miner on my phone. And while I could certainly talk for many, many paragraphs about bad horror movies and Space Miner, I have a feeling Heather would be disappointed. (In case you're wondering, by the way, Space Miner is pretty awesome. There's asteroids *and* robots. And Session 9 was actually pretty good, as was The Skeleton Key, now that I think about it.)
But no! I was going to write a Serious Writerly Post. In fact yesterday night I actually wrote a pretty involved bit about poetry and life and meaning. And then I actually read it, and lo, it was bad, like spectacularly bad, and not even a little bit good, so I eated it.
So then earlier this evening I was sitting by the river telling Heather how abysmal my blog post was, and how it gave me a bit of indigestion after I eated it, but not to worry, still plenty of time. (Right around here is when I first tried on a fixed grin. You know, the "What, me worry?" grin. I'll spare you the picture.) "No worries!" I said. "I'll just write about Lost!" Lost is a regular fount of ideas. Ideas were stumbling over themselves in their hurry to present themselves. "Top Ten Loose Ends That I Bet They're Not Going to Get Around To Answering on 'Lost'" seemed really promising for a while. But the more I thought about that, the more I realized - man. Lost is giving me a headache and I'm not even watching it. Besides, Lost was coming on at 9pm and my post would be immediately obsolete unless I watched this episode first. So I waited till 9pm, at which time I promptly fell asleep.
But now I'm up! And now it's 10pm on Deadline Day! "Two hours to go, right?" I texted her. (I added a basic
smily emoticon because I'm not sure how to make a 'fixed and slightly desperate grin' emoticon.)
"Right :) have a topic?" she texted back. It's hard to make out here but I think there was a hint of the fixed grin in Heather's emoticon too. I know she's not really worried though. Heather actually has a stockpile of amazing blog posts all lined up. She's had today's post ready since February at least, and somehow she manages to still make them feel topical. I'm convinced she only posts late in the day to keep the other Blogathon participants on their toes.
So there I was - deadline looming, no topic, fixed grin &c. But then I had that magical realization: what do I need a topic for, anyway? I'm a guest blogger, and I can always fall back on the secret weapon of every blogger: a moderately amusing writer's block anecdote. I mean, sure, it's the blogging equivalent of the 'very special episode' of your favorite 80s sitcom where all the writers were on strike so they basically strung together a bunch of old clips and wrapped them in a 'Hey remember when that one thing happened? Let's remember it together' pretext of a story.
A copout? Sure. Intellectually bankrupt? Maybe a little. Endearingly reminiscient of the end of The Muppet Movie, when the story of the making of the movie becomes the movie itself?
Still, it's the kind of trick a blogger can really only get away with once. More than that, and you've violated a sacred pact with your readers, assuming your blog supports the 'sacred pact' plugin. But see, that's the brilliant thing about being a guest blogger - it only has to work once. Because tomorrow, folks, I'll be back to watching bad horror movies and playing Space Miner, and we'll return you to your regularly scheduled Heather. And I expect that will be a relief to all of us.