Swallowed by the A-void: March 17 comes and goes

Sometimes we at the ALLDERBLOB wish we’d chosen a less-well-entrenched holiday to try to displace than St Patrick’s. It’s one thing to be “bigger than Jesus” (like the Beatles on Dec. 25 1966), it’s quite another to drive out the Saint who drove the snakes out of Ireland on March 17.

Fact is, after several years at the ol’ blobbing machine [trans: “typewriter” –ed.] we’d be hard-pressed to say we’re any closer to our goal.

Doubt us? Have you seen streets in your city closed for the ALLDERBLOB parade? Have bars in your neighbourhood substituted “Alldergrog” for green beer on March 17? Have the coattail-riding hacks (A.K.A. any writer with a parent already established in the industry, by our definition) been driven out of town, like the snakes they are?

No? Well, then.

Fact is, in the face of such utter failure, it’s been hard to keep it up, here at the ol’ blob.

Yes, you heard correctly: the ALLDERBLOB has trouble keeping it up.

Most of you at this point will be tut-tutting and scratching your head and muttering sympathetically about “medical solutions” and “not giving up” and so forth. And yes, we hear you. Fact is, the message box here at the ol’ blob brims with your offers daily: offers for the purchase of Vagina, of Callous, of Leave-it-to, as well as other, more “natural” solutions to our soft-hardedness (we get other messages, too, of course–invitations to purchase drugs like Prosaic and Scenics for example. No one could say the ALLDERBLOB is not a hub of the “new social media.”). But to all of these offers we have been firm: the answer is “no.”

Fact is, we really don’t care anymore. But what’s worse, we don’t care that we don’t care. It really doesn’t bother us that we can’t keep it up at the ol’ blob. Who can keep it up, for Crissakes? Crazy Biker Chick? ARC? Afterbirth of the Cool? No, no and no. Nobody keeps it up anymore. Not like the old days (except that Cranks guy. He’s still pumping it out. How’s he do that? We don’t know).

Oh, we remember the old days. We remember them well. We remember the sunny mornings at the Only Cafe, the cool breezes, the smell of damp and rotting leaves on the walk through Phinn Park. We remember how the traffic lights all stayed green for us, before. We remember writing our name in fresh concrete and thinking that something, at least, would be forever.

The real world, in real time

The real world, in real time

So what happened?

What changed?

Answer? It’s complicated.

For starters, there’s the void. Yes, people died. Surprised? Not us. People have always died, thank god (“Make way for Ducklings,” and all that (and R.I.P. Robert McCloskey)).

So not death, but some other void: the “A-void.” We call it the a-void so alphabetically, it comes first–but it’s first in other ways too. It’s the first questions we won’t answer. Heck, we won’t even pose these particular questions. That’s the first thing we won’t do. The a-void is first on any list of questions anyone wouldn’t want posed. But not only that, but harder, and stranger still, the a-void yawns before any writing project, here at the ALLDERBLOB these days, swallowing all good intentions, if not good ideas, before they can even be voiced.

It’s because of the a-void we can’t keep it up so great around here. The a-void swallows clarity of purpose, and principled stances, and drive, but it’s worse than that. The a-void eats language. Who can speak with any precision in the face of the a-void? Some might say the “a” stands for apathy, but who cares?

We care. We really do. It sucks to care as much as we do, because it just makes the a-void yawn wider, and with greater sullenness. We may have to change the name of the ol’ blob to THE SULLEN YAWN. And we may just do that, if things don’t come around ’round here.

So. The ALLDERBLOB’s another year older. And another year dumber. Our silence measures the victory of the a-void, but we haven’t given up. Not yet anyway.

How to fight back? The best we can muster for now is a list. The following sets into stone and mortar [pixels, to be precise –ed.] our tasks for the year to come (i.e. ALLDERBLOB 5):

1. DESTROY THE REPUTATION OF J.D. SALINGER (this should not be hard, thankfully)
2. APOLOGIZE TO JACK LAKEY (for chrissakes, the guy doesn’t even own a car. Who are we to judge?)
3. SHARE COFFEE AND A FEW LAUGHS OVER “OLD TIMES” WITH CASE OOTES (20 votes? 20 votes is a lot. When did we ever get 20 votes?)
4. APOLOGIZE PROPERLY TO JACOB RICHLER’S NO.1 FAN, “USAgirl” (she likes him, she really likes him. Who are we to judge?)
5. DETERMINE WHAT REALLY HAPPENED TO JOHN KENNEDY TOOLE. FIND A PUBLISHER FOR OUR MANUSCRIPT, NOTES TOWARD A LAST NOVEL BY JOHN KENNEDY TOOLE AS EDITED BY WALKER PERCY (help settle the question once and for all: was Toole the “tool” of Percy?) (and, find a buyer for our autographed copy of A Confederacy of Dunces)
6. RE-ESTABLISH CONTACT WITH OUR ARCH-NEMESIS (who for the time being must remain nameless) (you know who you are!) (care to drop a line?)
7. GET A TWO-YEAR-OLD TO START TALKING MORE (you know who you are!)
8. GET A 16-YEAR-OLD TO START TALKING MORE (do you know who you are?)
9. TURN 51, FOR CHRISSAKES (with dignity).

Nine’s good. Not perfect, perhaps. Not a dozen, certainly. But good. Thrice three, as they say. Two cubed plus one. Salinger wrote nine stories; we have nine points. It won’t be long before Salinger’s reputation’s destroyed, at this rate. Won’t be long before the a-void’s vanquished. We’re off to a good start.

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