Archives » June 28th, 2003

June 28, 2003

Not an author I

One presumption that the Internet seems to encourage is that anybody can write a book. I mean, just look out there. Cory Doctorow has written one, and he has a few more he’s working on. Jeffrey Zeldman has written a couple, David Weinberger has a couple, Eric Meyer, James Lileks, Doc Searls, the list of Web luminaries who have a title or two under their belts stretches off towards the horizon. It seems like everyone out there manages to knock off a book or two on top of whatever else they’re doing, like it’s just a trip to the supermarket or something. And every now and then I fall for the illusion myself. I’ll say, “Yeah, I’ll get around to writing a book one of these days.” Then I come to my senses and laugh my head off. Writing a book is such a colossal undertaking that the mere thought of it makes me curl up into a ball. The amount of dedication and commitment required would probably reduce me to a quivering mass within the first week. I can barely hold a thought together long enough to dribble out three paragraphs on this weblog. How could I possibly take one thread and weave it coherently through three or four hundred pages? The very sentence, “I’m writing a book,” is one of those phrases that doesn’t make a lick of sense, like saying, “I taught a dog to smoke.” Maybe, in ten or twenty years, if this little experiment of learning by doing that I’m working at pays off, I’ll have developed my writing to a point where it’s conceivable. But now? No. Just no.

Speaking of books (he segued uncomfortably), Jeffrey Zeldman’s new one is out and raining its thunder down on the web world. Brian Alvey has published a twopart interview with the big Z himself, thirteen pages in all. I would put a few quotes here, but if I put one, then I’d had to put another, and another, and another. The whole damn interview is quotable. Just go read it yourself.