Plus, I've been seriously jonesing on fantasy baseball lately, and writing book reviews. I have four assignments in the next two months, which counts as busy for me.
Etwart says: "Cursive is still important in the digital age!"
But maybe you'd like to hear about Facebook and the Greek heroization of America.
Longtime readers of the blog recognize that I have an unconventional definition of a hero in stories, and a simple one: anyone outstanding. Anyone, that is, who stands out from the crowd and gets talked about.
Heroes in Greek Mythology have many different qualities, but all heroes have in common that they are talked about, and in ancient Greek society, a hero's hallmark is his or her doxa, or reputation. A big part of being a hero is having immortality through retelling of the hero's story.
I'm seeing a similar phenomenon in 21st century America, but with a 21st century twist.
Time was, pretty much all of us where anonymous to the larger world, and it was a big deal to get your picture in the paper.
Then came the Internet and blogs, and many of us-- though not nearly all*-- figured we could get famous publishing our wit and wisdom online.
But now, with the reality show culture, video blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and the rest, potentially all of us are now in a global competition for eyeballs, as we consider the most ordinary details of our everyday lives worthy of being published to at least our larger set of friends and acquaintances.
We are becoming the poets of our own myths, in 140 character plus segments.
We are becoming micromythologists.
In the world of micromythology, there is not 15 minutes or 15 seconds of fame, but rotating bursts of 2 to 3 second fame continually.
And when I say fame, I don't mean like John and Kate Gosselin of "John and Kate Plus Eight" fame. They announced their divorce on prime time TV Monday night after the paparazzi and the tabloids exposed their Jason and Medea behavior to the nation. That's approaching megamyth territory. They are reinforcers of this glut of microburst micromythology.
Here's the bottom line: in America's Facebook/Twitter/reality show culture, where everything, every situation, every tiny activity, now becomes fodder for storytellling, every time more than one person reads about a chapter in someone else's life, a popular and exciting piece of entertainment has happened.
Don't get me wrong. Part of this is an age-old phenomenon. We have always told each other our stories over the back fence or on the telephone or-- yes, Virginia-- through letters.
The difference now is publication, which is a crucial part of myth. The Internet can change our back-fence conversations into glossy, good-looking copy on a screen, and can beam it to billions. A handwritten letter, most of the time, had an audience of one.
Mass consumption of massive levels of individual, raw details creates a kind of global doxa where everyone is continually getting little bursts of Greek hero-like immortality, and, once in a while, 15 seconds or 15 minutes of it.
What does this all mean? I am a big-picture junkie. I will speculate.
First, it means that my high school crush, Gretchen, is now on Facebook. Should I friend her? Do I want to hear her story? Do I want to fill my heart with the adrenaline and catharsis of a satisfying tale, along with a big, endorphin-filled dose of nostalgia? That would be much better than the latest episode of "Desperate Housewives."
Second, it means trouble for those of us who craft careful, fictional stories, especially of the written variety. I just finished reading a novel by an up-and-coming writer who won a prize for his short story collection and was given carte blanche for his first novel. In many ways, it was dreadful. 300 pages of his romp through his fertile imagination. And I used a lot of time reading it.
What's more, I just finished teaching a short course on telling one's story through the five senses (one of my deleted blog posts; boy was it boring!) and I was astonished at the difference in beauty, skill, and authenticity of the writers' voices when they spoke from their experience rather than trying to fictionalize it.
Video's in trouble, too. I have not watched a conventional dramatic one-hour television show such as "CSI" in years and years. Admittedly I do not have HBO. Apparently "The Wire" was amazing. And I did love "The Sopranos" when I saw it on DVD.
Movies? Upping the ante on loud, fast, and strange. I can hardly go now. It's sensory overload for me.
Maybe we will get tired of hearing each other's stories, and loading up on those microbursts of pleasure and satisfaction from hearing about someone's trip to the DMV with Junior ("They grow up so fast!") or that someone else had papaya for breakfast (I read it, Beth. Brava!).
But as long as really mass media continues to expose and destroy lives via reality shows (hello, Susan Boyle), we'll also have an irresistible urge to follow suit, in our small, micro-adventurous fashion.
Like Greek heroes, we all want immortality and are afraid of death. Maybe if we just continue to post, the echo of our voice will go on forever.
*This Sunday I remarked to one of my Facebook friends that her status updates were getting long. "You'll have to start a blog," I said. "I don't think so," she said. "I don't want the responsibility of regular posting." I hear that, sister.