Friday, June 16, 2006

Still Depressed: Should I Continue?

I said I wouldn't post for a month.

Therefore this cannot be considered a post.

I have received encouragement from approximately 5% of those who sample this page.

I asked for 10%.

Why? Because I'm depressed. Because I crave validation. Because I want to be loved and think that I am useful. So far the response to this blog has been more validating than my numerous publications of poems, essays and stories by magazines.

Call it my first self-publishing venture.

Still melancholic, anhedonic and terminally insignificant,



From C. E.'s agent:

Keep those cards and letters coming. Either post here or write to Busy volunteers will be counting letters of encouragement as we pursue our budget goal.

Think: Just another ten messages of encouragement could keep CE blogging. And if you act now, you can get a free NPR tote bag autographed by Terry Gross and emblazoned with: "Blog on, CE!"


  1. Anonymous11:15 PM PDT

    One leper went back and said thanks. Is that where you get your 10% threshold? What about the people who love/loathe/have been helped by your blog who are too busy/feel themselves inadequate of expression/don't want to come forth (9/11!)...?

    Everyone has their own dream or nightmare of eternity. Would you rather say, "Lord, I was famous," or "Lord, I helped these few"?

    I vote for keeping it going ... but you have your own thresholds...

  2. Readership of anything depends on skillful promotion. It's a depressing fact, but true. Only one out of every fifty or so readers will bother to comment on my blog - and only then when it's something light.

    Most are there accidentally, having googled something obscure to find my site. Thursday: five visitors looking for "vodka kills sperm," three hunting a different Carl (some guy in TN,) about fifty just browsing the blogger nav bar, and about fifty referred from computing tech sites in which I posted answers to their questions.

    Out of 150 visitors, 1 bookmarked my blog. That's a pretty good ratio for a poetry journal.

    Keep plugging away and posting, CE. It'll grow, albeit slowly. I've added a link to your blog on my journal.

    Consider listing with all of the blog indexes, such as technorati. List your feeds with newsreaders such as bloglines. Many readers of my blog never visit. They get the posts aggregated in a sort of "daily newspaper" of blog posts.

    Go to new and growing search engines such as Sphere and list yourself there. When there's only a few poetry journals listed, you'll automatically be in the top ten.

    You deserve a readership, but you have to work to help those readers find you. It isn't shameless self-promotion - it's what a writer must do. People search for what they want, but you have to make yourself available.

  3. Ha! I was thinking about the leper story last night. As a doctor I've always said to my wife, "Jesus had a much greater response than I've ever known. 10% is damn good!"

    As for eternity, I would ask: "Lord, do you know me?" Everything else is peripheral.

    Maybe I'm just grandstanding. Maybe I want the ether to hug me. One thing for certain, I'm clinicaly depressed now--which warps everything.

    Then there's the break I proclaimed until July. Kathleen says to start blogging again, as when I'm writing I'm not as conscious of my condition. But that would be breaking my promise, you see? As Kathleen says to me, "You are so afflicted with yourself!" Amen.

    Great advice, Carl, and I mean to link to your blog. But I haven't meant to promote my blog, as it was an accident prompted by trials in Mexico, then it got new life with exploration of moods and poetry, and now it is what it is. But I've had a lifelong contempt for keeping a diary, which is what blogs are, essentially: public diaries. I've never kept one in my life. I always thought a diary was evidence that someone thought their lives impotant enought to record it.

    I began the blog with far-ranging humorous essays. Didn't get any response until I described the horrors of Mexico. So the audience changed the blog.

    And then I actually did one thing to promote it; I put some people on a mailing list whom I thought would be interested, and most were. But that's really clunky in Outlook Express as each list is limited to 50. I'm not very techno-savvy, obviously.

    Short answer:

    1)Yes, I have received enough encouragement to continue my blog but I'm feeling insecure, thus greedy for reassurance. The conundrum is that when I'm depressed no amount of praise can convince me that I'm any good anyway, so it begs the question. How sick do I have to be to ask for encouragement that won't encourage me because of my present mood? Go figure.

    2) If I am to take this blog more seriously, I need to do the sorts of things Carl talks about, especially getting some stat program to tell me what is going on on the other side of the two-way mirror in the interrogation room. Playing to the blank ether can upset your comic timing.

    Don't mean to be demanding, quite the contrary. My doubts about continuing were serious. Looks like now I'm likely to. And I do appreciate every encouragement.


  4. I've just found your blog and have enjoyed reading. In fact, I'll insert a link from my blog later today. All the best.

  5. Anonymous10:49 AM PDT

    CE, I see a lot of bloggers tag-teaming other bloggers, i.e. love yer blog, gotta run, here's my blog! Luv ya buh-bye cuz I luv me more.

    I'm telling you, to be discovered, you must embrace the romance of writing for sheer oblivion. That's the Valley of Death. It's called that because most perish in oblivion. Perhaps impossible medicine for the narcist: to be discovered you first must not want to be discovered.

    Disencumber yourself of the hunt for an appreciative face. Your writing will heave a sigh of relief...the badda bings will yield to a tighter, flintier prose.

    When you ask for validation, people, in their perverse sadistic way, invariably bolt in the other direction. It's like screaming to the herd that your wounded when everybody's hooves hurt.

    No one likes a tin cup wagging in his face. But if you never mention the open guitar case beside you, magically the money and accolades will just pile up inside it.

    take care


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