September still feels like the beginning of the year for me, and in any case there are a few points that we here at headquarters would like to put out for discussion.

First, I think she was trying to slip out quietly, but our beloved Pandora Brewer is going on hiatus. She’ll still be around as a reader and commenter, but not writing posts for us, at least for a while. I’m sure I’m not the only one who will miss her pieces.

Second, to make up for the loss of Pandora’s writing, we’re shifting the schedule just a bit. The fabulous Wendy will move to Pandora’s old slot on Fridays. And to alternate with me on Tuesdays, our long-lost Lisa Parrish is coming back. Apparently, every time God closes a door, he opens a skylight or something. (My favorite version of that one is “Every time God closes a door, he locks it.” But not true in this case!)

Third, we need people to sign up for Thursday Playlists. They’re fun! Regular commenters are welcome to apply, as you saw with Miller.

Fourth, congratulations all around for having the most-heavily-read month ever for the site. Here is a monthly summary and a day-by-day look at August.

Year to date site stats

August daily site numbers

Obviously, the Digg link to Annie’s “Ten ironies” post was the big story here, but Wendy’s “Sex talk” and Bryan’s “Crab camp” both got linked by popular blogs and brought us some traffic. Even better, you can see that the week of August 20th, a full week after the Digg bomb, we had more than 1,000 visitors each weekday. It looks to me like some people kept coming back after finding us through Digg or another site. They might still be here. (Looks around spookily.)

Fifth, I’d like to bring up my periodic theme of What Is It Exactly That We’re Trying to Do Here? It seems to me that we have a few things going on.

Partly, we’re a blog, with comments and a reader community like other blogs. Unlike many other blogs, we have a schedule for posting, most of us write under our real names, we usually have just one post per day, and that post is usually sort of substantial.

What distinguishes a lot of our posts from typical blog style is their attempt to be writerly. Most blog posts use a straightforward writing style that is meant to convey immediacy and lack of pretension; they are supposed to sound like (and often function as) diary entries. By contrast, many of our posts are essays, employing more stylized structure and language.

When this works, it’s fantastic. I’m sure no one will hate me if I point to Pandora’s post last week as a great example. But when it doesn’t work, it can be tedious, even annoying. I could point to a few posts of my own if you need examples.

Then there’s the comments section. Unfortunately for the interests of lively discussion, there’s often not a lot you feel like saying after reading a piece like Pandora’s other than, “That was fantastic.” Giving writers positive feedback is a good thing. But I worry that sometimes the comments section sounds more like an über-supportive writing seminar than a discussion. This wouldn’t be a problem except that often the comments actually become a lively discussion, and you can never predict when they’re going to be interesting.

My suggestion for the comments is that we ban “Loved this post”-type comments for a month and see what happens. Of course I won’t enforce this ban, because I don’t believe in editing comments. Maybe a broader point that’s relevant here comes from another blog I read where the standing instruction is to make sure your comment adds value.

Getting back to the daily posts, I think that the site can support both the bloggy, chatty model and the more writerly model; we’ve done it so far, at least. But I wonder if we could think about instituting some kind of system that would keep the more writerly stuff on a high level of quality. If we’re posting more magazine-style content, does it make sense to have a more magazine-style editorial process? I know that I can sometimes produce a good first draft, but my stuff is always much better after a rewrite or two. And I also know that I write my Great Whatsit posts the night before, often pressed for time and not at my best. I do this because I can. Is there some way to force me to write a week ahead?

This also goes to the issue of audience, I think. Someone recently mentioned in an email that we should do more stuff like the lists at the McSweeney’s site, and I agree that would be fun. It would also draw an audience. Lists, as we’ve seen, are the kinds of things that get linked by popular sites. But when we draw a large audience, we can only hold them if we have some sort of consistency. I don’t think we’ve established that, lo a year and a half after we started this thing.

What do you think?

53 responses to “Housekeeping”

  1. trixie says:

    fantastic post!

  2. trixie says:


  3. trixie rocks.

    can i add to dave’s housekeeping agenda that this would be a good time for long-time lurkers to pick a penname and delurk themselves, even for a moment? it would be nice to know who’s reading and why.

    i think it’s also important to note a little institutional history: i often meet readers (people who know me from another realm of life and then eventually reveal that they’ve read TGW at least occasionally) who say they assume this site is primarily by friends for friends. i think it’s fair to say that it started out as a friendly endeavor — a group of people who knew each other well, some of whom were scattered across the country — decided to start a group blog. but i think we always intended to write for a larger audience than ourselves. within a few weeks of starting we realized we had more readers in LA who were part of a different group of friends and within a few months we had a host of regular contributors from that first batch of readers. but it’s worth noting that many of us have still never met in real time and space.

    though i’m proud to maintain my position as the only one who’s met everybody. actually i think dave has too, but he doesn’t have a very clear memory of meeting annie a decade ago.

    take that, farrell!


  4. p.s. pandora — i’m really going to miss reading something from you every other week. if you disappear completely i’m going to hire a hitman to hunt you down and drag you out of hiding.

  5. Beth W says:

    Re: congratulatory comments

    I have a whole mixed bag of feelings on blogs. Mostly I’m embarrassed to be a blogger (it’s hard to even use that word). The reason is I feel at some level bloggers are looking for validation. And the validation is great. I support the ban but it won’t stop me from checking back later to see if someone has responded to my comment.

  6. Rachel says:

    I hope that we can maintain a flexibility of purpose while still upholding standards of quality. “Writerly” posts are some of our best, but so are the ones that are observational, playful, less self-conscious, even spontaneous. I don’t want to lose that.

    Then again, if all you mean by “writerly” is “proofread,” I’m alll for it.

    As for vetting the posts, or submitting them to an in-house editing process…what do other people think? If we’re counting on daily content it could get overwhelming, and might require “staff” as well as “contributors.” (That’s not to discount your amazing technical expertise, Dave, which keeps the site up and running.)

    A couple other ideas:

    More Lisa, yay! Less Pandora, boo.

    I had no idea our numbers were so huge. Had I been aware, I might not have disclosed so much of a NSFW nature. Good or bad?

    McSweeney’s as a model? How far do we go? Open submissions? Great Whatsit merch? A paper counterpart? The mind reels.

  7. Scotty says:

    Yes, the “great post” thing — I agree that this can get a little tedious, but there are some posts that I feel compelled to comment on (like Pandora’s last), but there are few words I can muster.

    The one thing that I think would make the site better is flashing banner ads…I mean the lurkers coming out of the shadows. Lurkers, you are the future of the Whatsit; give a shout-out; would ya?

  8. Dave says:

    “Writerly” posts are some of our best, but so are the ones that are observational, playful, less self-conscious, even spontaneous. I don’t want to lose that.

    I completely agree. It seems that some kinds of posts benefit from a slightly longer gestation process, but others don’t.

  9. 5: That was a lovely comment, Beth.

  10. Jeremy says:

    “But when it doesn’t work, it can be tedious, even annoying.”

    Gasp! Blasphemy!

    As a needy narcissist-type, I like receiving “great post” comments, but alas, I think Dave’s probably right on this one. But, yes, unfogged, for instance, does a much better job of provoking substantive comments on a consistent basis, but the format is also completely different from ours. Each (usually short) post seems meant to be a conversation-starter…

    Personally, I can’t imagine what it might take to institute “a more magazine-style editorial process.” Check that. I can imagine it, but I’m too lazy to actually do what would need to be done. Is it something you’re really considering, Dave? How would that work, exactly?

    Incidentally, we’ve lost Lisa Tremain for a while as well, as she continues with grad school and wedding planning.

    And Trixie does rock.

  11. Missy says:

    I’ve been so impressed with the writerly-ness of posts here at TGW that I’ve almost completely stopped blogging on my blog. I’ve found myself balking at posting quicky update type of posts lately as silly and self-indulgent, I think because of discussions like this about the purpose of blogging. I think it’s an important conversation, and I think TGW has been far less cliquey, and much more engaged with a larger community since the last time you meta-blogged.

    That being said, I, too, like the occasional less-substantial post.

    P.S. My Fridays have been all about Pandora and I will miss her columns hugely.
    P.S. S. Welcome back, LP!!!!!!

  12. Stephanie Wells says:

    There are two separate issues being discussed, here—style and substance. Perhaps a privately circulated set of style guidelines (editorial) made up, perhaps, by DB, BW, and JZ, could help alleviate writing that is tedious or annoying, though it’s apparently pretty difficult to regulate (in yourself or in others). I think we could all use a little more clarity on this point.

    As for the post topics, if you’re thinking of more concrete topics, would it help (or would it be too rigid?) to have a specific subject, or at least category, addressed on different days (which would nec. mean something different about the writer rotation because you wouldn’t want the same person having the same topic each week.)

    For ex: one of the greatest losses to the site in my opinion is Dr Cedric’s Tales from the Office. Of course his profession does lend itself more readily to interesting human ethical questions to ponder than some others might, but I notice I have also read really insightful musings on work from others like Bryan, Farrell, Wendy, Annie, Pandora, and Jeremy (and that’s only a partial list). Perhaps “Tales from the Office” could be more regular, from different fields (though it’s true we are heavy on the docs and academics, I think that’s okay since both professions are so human-centered as well as intellectually challenging—lots to write and think about). Similarly, and in a different direction, I also enjoy reading about people’s personal lives even when I don’t know them because they become “characters” that I like getting to know better. Hence the regular characters who are not even writers but who appear occasionally and flesh out the personae of their “authors”: Adriean, Molly and Anna, Mark, etc.

    Just a thought. It actually is more scripted than I would personally prefer, but if you’re looking for more substantive posts then perhaps we could be more regular about discussing politics, personal life, professional life, etc. Maybe more directed topics would help the writing to be more focused.

  13. Dave says:

    I like receiving “Great post!” comments, too, but I think they make the overall discussion less interesting. And I agree that we’re not at all aiming to be like Unfogged, either in tone or volume of comments. Still, I like it when we have interesting discussions in the comment sections, and I wonder if there’s a way to praise posts while moving the discussion forward.

  14. Dave says:

    if you’re looking for more substantive posts

    This isn’t what I meant to suggest. My concern is that a few of the substantive posts we do have read like first drafts for a creative nonfiction workshop — I know some of mine do, at least. The mix of substantive vs. nonsubstantive is fine, and the less substantive posts are usually fun and lively.

    And this is just my own take on the matter, of course.

  15. cynthia says:

    Hi all, I am fairly new commenter here and I enjoy all the writings here. I do agree that the post can get chatty sometimes. I like the variety here at the GW and look forward to reading everybody’s post. Is their a link i can ofiically join?

    Thank you

  16. Julie the ping pong queen says:

    regarding comment #3…
    I am a lurker who used to go by lilly and now by my real name julie the ppq. I first heard of this place from jeremy who i dated last summer. i met you brian briefly at sara lovs bbq last summer and then briefly again at the cemetary screenings (you were with wendy.). i have enjoyed reading TGW this past year. I have met many of you at the record club where we danced our asses off. Ever since then I have been compelled to post. I finally came out from under my rock after meeting all of you. What a good goofy literate music driven bunch…thanks!

  17. Tim Wager says:

    I think there’s much to say on this topic, but I don’t want to go on very long about it. One of the things that I like best about TGW, that keeps me coming back to the site multiple times a day, reading and re-reading posts and comments, is that I never know what I’m going to get. I really, really like that element of it. I know that I’m peculiar that way, though, and I realize that that sort of inconsistency is something that may turn some lurkers and/or potential regular readers off. I will of course adhere to any sort of editorial guidelines that may be implemented (and happily so) in order to be able to write for such a smart, funny, interesting audience.

    That said, I think that focusing on finding a consistent tone and level of writing (both in posts and comments) will strip TGW of a great deal of what I find so compelling about it. Posts and comments often veer all over the place, yes. Sometimes it’s a little distracting or annoying, but much more often for me it’s invigorating to read a post or string of comments that does something strange or different (or even may be a rough draft).

    Here’s an analogy. Yesterday, KCRW, one of the local NPR stations, ran a 30-year anniversary show to celebrate “Morning Becomes Eclectic,” a morning show that is very popular. The former hosts came in and did 3 hours of programming like they used to do when they ran the shows, when KCRW was a very small station. They were incredibly wonderful! The DJ’s were playing stuff that would NEVER get played on KCRW today. NEVER. Because they were passionate and knowledgeable about the music, even music that at first I may not have liked, I was entranced and thrilled. I suspect, too, that the station became very popular BECAUSE they had interesting and weird DJ’s.

    I even said to Jen, “Wow! If “Morning Becomes Eclectic” were like this I’d listen every day.” And she said, “Well, it used to be like this, but it’s not anymore.” And sure enough, the current host did a 3-hour show to cap off the special programming, and it was just completely uninteresting. All the bands sounded like Coldplay. All the information given was about how the musicians started out playing together and then got really popular (primarily because they started getting played on KCRW). It was homogenized to such a point that I was bored. Sure, the station is much more popular now, but I don’t listen to it consistently, and many of the people I know who have been longtime listeners in the past have become disaffected, too.

    I really wouldn’t want that to happen to TGW in the name of drawing more readers. This may seem like an extreme example, and I realize that the site isn’t about to become beholden to any sponsors or a particular audience, but I really do feel that a move toward bringing the level of posts into alignment with one another will put the site in danger of inching in that direction.

    Okay, so I said I wouldn’t go on for long, but I did. Apologies.

  18. Stephanie Wells says:

    1. I’m with Tim, despite my suggestion, which was made to try to address what I thought (wrongly) Dave was saying; I love the crazy variety.

    2. Julie, I can’t believe you are Lilly!!!

  19. Julie the ping pong queen says:

    okay…after reading tim’s post i realized that i want to say that one of the reason i like tgw is how intimate it feels. when a site gets too big it invites alot of idiots to the floor (myself included). there is a consistency now that insures a certain level. why the sudden need for readership? what is the overall purpose to more exposure? is it ego driven?

  20. cynthia says:

    I agree with the crazy variety. I think it makes the post interesting.

  21. cynthia says:

    ps, Can anybody tell me if their is a offical place to join. Thanks to everyone!!!

  22. Dave says:

    21: No official place to join. Nothing to join, really. Just keep readin’!

  23. cynthia says:

    Thanks Dave I appreciate it.

  24. Jeremy Zitter says:

    i agree with tim, though i feel that dave was referring more to whether we should consider upping the level of polish on our (still-eclectic) posts. i’m still not sure how things would have to change if we did that.

    also, wow, i didn’t know you were writing as lilly either, julie. (i did know that you were the ping pong queen (though i don’t know how you can claim that title quite yet…)).

  25. lane says:

    Not to put a damper on those August numbers but at least a third of that was me. Stuck in tony Palo Alto, with my summer projects accomplished, too bored by all the perfect weather and too intimidated by the perfection of the surrounding culture.

    I just kept checking in, and in, and in. Longing to head home.

    And now we are, tonight!

    West Coast Whatser’s!

    NEW YORK CITY IS COOLER THAN ANYTHING ELSE IN THE WHOLE FU**IN’ WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. LP says:

    Re: 18. This is the big question. Is our goal to increase readership? If so, then yes, there are steps we can take to try and position / angle the blog posts differently. If not, then let’s continue having people post whatever the hell they want, in whatever style comes out. I agree with Tim; there is a refreshingly random quality to it.

    I personally don’t care if we never get a bigger audience than we have now. Yes, TGW feels a bit like a community blog, but it’s my community and so I enjoy reading it every day. Selfish, but true — I’m not sure how we all benefit from bringing in a lot of new commenters. Did the level of our discourse rise when we had that rush of comments from the Digg link? Also, if we try to institute more stringent quality controls to bring in more readers, I fear we will lose some of our writers, several of whom probably aren’t willing to commit more time to the blog than they do already.

    We did have a burst of commentary at one point — as I recall, it was when the West Coasters began posting / commenting regularly. I don’t know if it was a “getting to know each other” thing, or whether we were posting more provocative essays. I wonder whether it’s a natural ebb and flow, and the cycle will come around again. So far it hasn’t, and I do miss the active, interesting commentary we had for a while. But it also seems the kind of thing you really can’t force, so … whattaya gonna do?

    In short, despite this lengthy comment, I’d come down on the side of not messing with TGW too much.

  27. ks says:

    Dear whatsiters,
    This post is great…hold on, I DO have a point…for the clarification is offers! I’m a long-time lurker and an occasional commenter and to be honest, I’ve been unsure of what everyone’s roles are designed to be since I happened upon this site about two years ago and decided to make it part of my daily routine. Perhaps I missed some previous posts that outlined the hopes and visions of those of you who put this all together. Despite generally kind remarks from people in the comments section, I have felt like it wasn’t my forum and that (too many of?) my interjections would be intrusive, so I usually reserve my remarks for the posts that stay with me the longest, for whatever reason. Those few I have written have tended toward lame and flabby compliments and have definitely lacked any depth or critical analysis.

    This is not to say that some things have not been made crystal clear to me. For example, I have certainly gotten the message that you are all very gracious and appreciative of comments, even from complete strangers. And your respect for one another, as evinced in the friendly comment-banter, warms my heart and makes me long for a similar network of support. Still, as an outsider, I have largely withheld my thoughts about even the most thought-provoking of pieces I have read. My assumption was that this was a means for intelligent and creative people *who know each other* to share pieces of themselves across geographic divides. I never really understood it to be a writing workshop. I eagerly anticipate exciting changes in the criticalness of some comments, but I certainly hope the loving, warm and fuzzy sentiments will persist. (For what that may be worth.) Please, don’t go changin’ too much.

  28. cynthia says:

    i agree with #27, and curious, Julie why the cloak and dagger with the posting?

  29. cynthia says:

    sorry julie didnt mean to be intrusive. none of my business.

  30. Tim Wager says:

    i feel that dave was referring more to whether we should consider upping the level of polish on our (still-eclectic) posts

    I did understand that this was part of what Dave was suggesting, though I didn’t address it explicitly in my earlier comment. I still feel the same. I’d say let each author polish to the extent that he or she wants and has time for. I actually feel that the level of writing here is already pretty high, which has made me work more and harder on my posts.

  31. Tim Wager says:

    close tag did it work?

  32. PB says:

    #27 “but I certainly hope the loving, warm and fuzzy sentiments will persist. (For what that may be worth.) Please, don’t go changin’ too much.”

    #26 “In short, despite this lengthy comment, I’d come down on the side of not messing with TGW too much.”

    OK so I know I am in hiatus (no hitman yet, Bryan!!) and should not weigh in very much – but I personally have found the community, ideosyncratic and insiderish as it may be sometimes, very supportive and motivating as a writer. I think the quality of my posts have improved because of wanting to reach and frankly impress my readership. I get not wanting to be just a “great post” site, I love honest dialogue, even an occasional row, but I worry about not feeling free to compliment each other when something really touches us. I glow like a lightbulb when I read that someone I respect enjoyed my work and I love reciprocating. The friendship piece is really important – even with people that I only know through the site. That may be a shallow perspective, but there it is.

    That being said, I like Stephanie’s ideas about some structured topics. And I really appreciate Dave wanting to keep the dialogue going, reinvention is the key to longevity – just ask Madonna (either one).

    Yippee for LP!!

  33. ruben mancillas says:

    “What do you want to do with the rest of your life?”

    I was going to go with a Frankenstein’s monster analogy but I clearly feel more like a slacker teen who just wants to rock.

    Thanks to Dave for casting a more objective view toward TGW.

    I agree with Tim and others that the random nature of the posts is a real strength of the site but I do see Dave’s point about trying to make the comments stretch beyond the rosy glow of an insider love fest.

    I’ll pledge to try and write at least one draft prior to posting from here on out.

  34. farrell fawcett says:

    My two cents:

    1.) the best posts are confessional. more please. godfrey’s church of manlove/metal rock, swells on strip club ambivalence and classroom drama, trixie and cedric on work, wager’s post about the homeless guy/marriage, jeremy about his family/tv addictions, dave about ghosts albuquerque and philosophy, pb about her marriage and family, ww about her longing for the right person/baby hunger, brooke on dealing with relationship racism, bryan about all kinds of things, nathan on love-sickness, lp about childhood and ghost writing, stella about collisions with america, lane and the hardships of being an artist (still unwritten), rachel on her quest for fire, ruben on rats, LT on teaching highschool, AW on the ER, and slade on geographic identity. These are the posts that stick out and stick with me. This is what i wish more of.
    2.) I also don’t want to see those same themes continue to define the writers i just mentioned.
    3.) I like conflict. like when a post i wrote about the heat index started a debate between dave and bacon. good stuff.
    4.) I like the thursday music guest list, but it irritates me when they write about a song i can’t hear or find unless i buy it from itunes. it’s the same way the new yorker irritates me when they write about art and architecture and don’t show any photos of what they’re referring to. fucking pisses me off. don’t write about it, if you can’t find a link to it.
    5.) lurkers should say more. please. i beg you. is there some way to encourage this by granting favored lurker status, a system to identify/reward those who comment regularyl? there are some folks out there who deserve recognition.
    6.) why can’t we figure out more predcitable/strategic ways to get more of our posts linked to other sites. aw’s ER post was great and i’m glad it got some notice, but so are dozens of other posts here. Why can’t this happen more often? It seems unfair.
    7.) I like it/appreciate it when bryan or dave or whoever edits my posts for grammar and readability. Couldn’t someone be in charge of this task a week at a time?
    8.) We shouldn’t mess too much with the way things are.
    9.) Pandora should come back soon. And cedric. And trixie. and new voices.
    10.) Agreed. A moratorium on “this is great” comments. Bring on the “this sucks my nut” comments–and why. Tension and conflict is needed on this site. More tolerance of critical comments.
    11.) Oh, and Dave, this post sucks my nut!

  35. ks says:

    Farrell (or anyone), can you possibly provide a female equivalent of “this sucks my nut” so we can all get on your conflict bandwagon? I just can’t write that, but I can get behind the sentiment…can’t wait to try it out, in fact.

    On a completely unrelated note, when do you next post?

  36. Dave says:

    Does it suck your nut in a good way?

  37. Stephanie Wells says:

    Ah, I love when the comments make me guffaw aloud! (Perhaps one reason I’m not all that anxious to seduce a broader readership–quality not quantity!)

  38. Mark says:

    I honestly got a little disappoonted when I saw this post wasn’t literally about housecleaning. I guess I’m not going to Digg this one.

  39. Beth W says:

    I didn’t get around to saying it this morning in my self-centered confessional comment, but I enjoy GW the way it is. I like not knowing what to expect each day. It is kind of insidery but it has a warm fuzzy feeling too. To confess (again), it’s one of the only blogs I actually read. I usually just look at the pictures. When it’s good (and it very often is), the GreatWhatsit is worth reading every single word.

  40. lisa t. says:

    weighing in, here.

    first of all, love to you all and thanks to Dave for “meta blogging” (as Missy so accurately puts it) and happy hiatus to the awesome PB (who i admire greatly) and welcome back miss lisa p. (who i hope gives us another series like my friend, the spy).

    i love housekeeping in general and today’s post helped me think more critically about GW’s cobwebs and shiny surfaces. i am curious about the collective’s view of the TGW purpose…and, also, there’s something that’s been bothering me a bit. so first:

    TGW is a provocative, sometimes beautiful, and refreshingly thoughtful place to both visit and write and “live,” right? i’m in line with LP’s comment (#26). more stringent controls might bring in more readers– but could limit the writers. what is TGW is looking for? assigned topics? word count? would such controls stifle the writers? would farrell be banned from so much flagrant profanity?

    perhaps a place to start would be to clarify the mission and vision of TGW…how to do that, i’m not sure. right now, as you know, the “about” page provides the basic info: “The Great Whatsit brings you something new each weekday, disseminating enthusiasms both public and private in a convenient digital format.” i don’t doubt that whatever direction TGW heads, it will continue to disseminate enthusiasms, but, for me, in the current GW format, my enthusiasms are allowed their whims. i suppose i’d like a clarification, please: is whimsy something we’re trying to avoid?

    another elephant in the room: are all of the writers “good enough” for GW? and for which audience? if writing is “bad,” how is– or is– this communicated? dave mentions occasional “tedious, even annoying” posts. i would rather have a tedious and annoying post rejected than displayed…and yet the (very few) less enjoyable posts i’ve read make TGW feel like a safe place for me to experiment and think and, well, write, since not every post is perfect.

    finally, here’s what’s been a bit of a secret bother for me: dave brought up the limitations of generalized “fantastic post!” comments. although there’s some excellent evidence in today’s comments for why we should continue to offer accolades to writers, “fantastic post!” is a comment i have tried to avoid. in general, i like to just write an immediate reaction or connection or question if i have one. however, not too long ago, west coast colleagues let me know (in person) that sometimes my tone isn’t clear in my comments– and that I (or my comments) could be perceived as “bitchy.” i tried to get some details on what comments i happened to write and in response to whom, but the topic disolved and i still don’t know if i’ve offended someone.

    so, if i offended YOU, i’m sorry. and i didn’t mean it and i should have said “fantastic post!” but also– i’d like to comment whatever the hell i damn well want to say– and if you don’t like my tone, please argue with me or disagree or give me a sad face emoticon…right?

    as i work on the identity of “writer,” it’s nice to know and interact with y’all on TGW. whatever way this blog goes will be a good way; there’s just too many intelligent and wonderful people here for it to move in a bad direction.

    by the way, julie the ping pong queen is a seriously good dancer.

  41. lisa t. says:

    was my comment bitchy?


  42. Julie the ping pong queen says:

    lisa…well i for one loved your comment especially the last line…and from such a discerning bitch all the better! :) :) :)

  43. Julie the ping pong queen says:

    I have to say this is fun feeling so free to post…
    to cynthia…my cloak and dagger…again i guess i felt similar to ks that this was an inside racket and i wasn’t sure if i would be disturbing the bunch by a comment.(more out of insecurity) so i too only commented when something really resonated with me.
    jeremy i should have told you. but then do you remember when i compared you to glenn ford in the oscar the grouch post? I wasn’t sure how you’d take it although i do think the resemblance is remarkable.
    steph…i thought for a second of confessing at dinner with you and scott and jz that i was lilly! but i thought since i commented maybe 4 times you’d all look at me with pad thai hanging from your mouths thinking “and who is lilly?” so i stayed silent forever to live this dual existence…oh to shake that albatross ! and to be so good at ping pong!
    life is good!

  44. Marleyfan says:

    Here’s to you, and here’s to me.
    greatwhatsit buddies we’ll always be,
    but if we should ever disagree,
    Screw you, and here’s to me.

    TGW, is like listening to new music- Some touches me (and keeps me coming back to look for more), some bores me, and others are just mediocre. I don’t mind telling you if I like it. I’ll tell you if I disagree, and if it bores me, I won’t say much, but I’ll try my luck again tomorrow…

  45. i’ve enjoyed this conversation & have a couple points i’m not sure we’ve touched on yet.

    first, i think part of dave’s motivation behind this post (tell me if i’m wrong) is a series of conversations we’ve had about our own writing. in part because the overall quality is consistently good, and continuing, i think, to get better, it’s hard not to feel — especially if you’re writing every week or even every other week — like it’s tough to turn out material that’s as good as you want it to be. i’ve faced that a little bit this summer, in part because i tend not to have time to give more than 3 hours to a post, including links, formatting, pictures, etc. i feel pretty good about some of the things i’ve turned out quickly — the post you all voted my best last year was written between 5 and 8 a.m. on the morning it went up — but sometimes that kind of last-minuteness leaves me feeling less than satisfied with what i put up. this is something dave and i have talked about and it strikes me it’s behind this housekeeping post.

    of course that’s not the same for everyone. i know some folks do what i do and generate a post the night before. occasional posters might have more time to let something gestate. but i get the impression that even some of the occasional posters compose quickly under deadline. there’s nothing wrong with this; if we’re uneven in quality it’s probably the reason. but i took dave’s point about the difference between the magazine format we tend to favor and a typical blog format to have to do with the amount of time that goes into the average post.

    i’m not sure if it’s possible, but perhaps we could *try* for a buddy system. that is, if i could just produce one extra piece in the next week and give it to a friend for comments, it would be better when it eventually went up. given everything else i (and every one else here) tries to do, though, that may be unrealistic, at least without a schedule change that prevented people from me like posting every week. (for the record, i prefer the weekly deadline; i’ve used it as a way to force myself to write something quickly on a regular enough basis that i don’t let my writerly brain stagnate while working out academic pieces that take months and even years to complete.)

    this is already too long, so i’ll just say that one other thing i heard dave calling for is more comments from more people that contribute to a conversation. i’m glad some of the longtime lurkers have expressed an eagerness to join in — we certainly would want that to happen. welcome, jtppq, ks, and others. (btw, cynthia, i think your question about “joining” has to do with the presence of the phrase “Northeast Corridor Social Club” in the copyright info. NECSC is simply a name a bunch of us have traveled under since 1999, when we started annual gatherings up and down the east coast. By now TGW belongs to a much more bi-coastal — and even transcontinental — group that isn’t a literal club as much as a virtual one. no membership dues. no officers.)

    finally, in response to #25, i can only say: “dave, lane’s home.”

  46. p.s. although i’ve enjoyed the thursday playlists i wish we would have more of the mini reviews we used to do.

  47. in part because the overall quality is consistently good

    I meant the overall quality on the site, not in my own writing. xo — b

  48. Ruben Mancillas says:

    you’d all look at me with pad thai hanging from your mouths…

    Um, I think that’s how they always look when they eat.

    I too liked the mini reviews but might also like to see a long form review from time to time.

    And if you want to move away from touchy feely comments all you have to do is bring up my man Beck…

  49. Bryan Waterman says:

    I meant earlier to respond to Missy’s comment up in #11:

    I’ve been so impressed with the writerly-ness of posts here at TGW that I’ve almost completely stopped blogging on my blog.

    This really makes me sad, in a way, a) because I love reading Margo, Darling — both for your smartness and literariness and because I miss being in closer, more routine contact with you and b) because I would hate to see personal blogs replaced by more “literary” blogs altogether. i love reading updates from several friends and family members on their lives. sometimes they push toward polished essays, sometimes not, but i like the genre and like reading stuff from my friends who do it well. i feel like most of my stuff here is less polished or substantial than a lot of what my friends write on their supposedly non-literary blogs.

  50. Kate The Great says:

    I agree with 19.

    As far as my lurkiness goes: Hi. I’m Kate. I’m Lane and Adriana’s niece. I live in Utah right now, but I’m from Albuquerque, so Dave, I’m your biggest supporter when you relate to us about your ‘Burque background. A tiny bit of that boom of publicity comes from my links to select posts, though I occupy a tiny bit of the Internet world.

  51. Miller says:

    Grrr. I hate that I missed out on the bulk of this conversation, chiming in late and all. I’d just like to say that, as a lurker, I really enjoy the format as is. Perhaps Thursdays could switch off between playlists and short reviews? I’ll shamelessly admit that I enjoyed contributing a the playlist so those should stay, but the short reviews are missed as well.

    34: Please, no lurker awards; my fragile ego won’t be able to handle it! I’ll have devastating flashbacks to junior high when I wasn’t nominated for any of those end of the year awards when Marleyfan wins Most Irresistable.

    I also like Stephanie’s “Tales from the Office” suggestion. Other than that, I have to agree with Tim in #17. Perfectly stated.

  52. Stella says:

    There is some small irony in the idea of trying to direct or limit people’s comments, particularly when one post later Scott so eloquently analyzed web 2.0 as the empowering of the people over the producers.

    And yes, I confess I am entirely driven by the desire for positive feedback.

  53. PB says:

    Stella, you are so pretty and smart and kind and really that hat is the best.