Day 17: The Day The Music Died

When I sat down to begin this thou­sand words a day malar­key, I really had no idea about where it would go each day. None at all. I figured I’d come up with an idea each day and write a thou­sand words about it. No thought was given to when in the day I’d do this, nor was any time spent won­der­ing how I would pos­sibly come up with enough ideas to meet the quota I had set myself across the entire time period.

How­ever, once I began (and got over the hump, which was around day six and seven, pos­sibly a little on eight too) it all seemed to become rather easy, except for the day I was ill, but that doesn’t count and I am still work­ing on fix­ing it somehow.

The one thing that I have found it hard to deal with is the sud­den atten­tion I’ve been get­ting from armed mer­cen­ary groups, which is a sub­ject I think deserves a thou­sand words of its own. Pos­sibly a little more than that, but I haven’t got all day, you know; there are things to do, people to meet,  bul­lets to dodge. I’m sure you know how it is.

Any­way, it turns out that once you enter the blo­go­sphere, as the media repeatedly refers to it (or they did a couple of years ago, then they seemed to real­ise it was an awful term and stopped doing so), you have sim­ul­tan­eously entered the world of power­ful, ruth­less pub­lish­ing circles, situ­ated across the globe and will­ing to do prac­tic­ally any­thing to ensure their suprem­acy. Writers are mere pawns in their games, books little more than fun­draisers, designed to pull in more money for their nefar­i­ous schemes and act as a car­rot for any writers they’re after. “Sign with us and you’ll see your book on the shelves,” they say, and so people sign, little real­ising what they have got­ten them­selves into.

That’s a whole other level though. When you get up to phys­ical pub­lic­a­tions you’re talk­ing about the big guns. Heli­copters, battle­ships, secret under­ground satel­lite net­works (I’m not sure how that one works either), all of those are con­sidered every­day in the world of hard­back and paper­back press. With blogs, things are a lot cruder.

Ever won­der why the estab­lished news­pa­pers took so long to cre­ate a decent online pres­ence? Ever won­der why some of them still struggle with it and imple­ment seem­ingly ludicrous pay-to-view plat­forms? The answers simple, and this para­graph isn’t a non-sequitur; it fits in to everything that’s come before it.

The reason is the blo­go­sphere isn’t a serene, pretty place where people come together for a free and frank exchange of ideas. It’s an unreg­u­lated, dog-eat-dog world where people fight to pull in whatever audi­ence they can. As soon as they cap­ture a hill they’ll damn well sit on it and fuck up any­body else who comes near.

You ever seen a blog war? Posts going back and forth slag­ging each other off? Maybe they take it to twit­ter? That’s just the sur­face of it. Whilst you’re read­ing that, watch­ing each side get more and more child­ish, the blog­gers are mov­ing their armed groups into place, kid­nap­ping fam­ily mem­bers, des­troy­ing prop­erty, empty­ing bank accounts, doing whatever they can to cripple the other blogger’s abil­ity to post. There are more blog­gers in New York than in any­where else in the West­ern world. There are also more unsolved murders, more dis­ap­pear­ances and more bru­tal killings than any­where else in the West­ern world. Coin­cid­ence? Don’t be stupid.

None of that’s related to my story though. My story begins with this fuck­ing thou­sand words a day for thirty days thing. When I star­ted I was hope­lessly naive. I’ll use it to warm up for NaNoWriMo, I thought, it’ll be great. Turns out I wasn’t the only one with a sim­ilar idea. Some guy in Texas has been doing it for years. I don’t get a lot of traffic here, but he found out about it and decided I was a threat to his vis­itor num­bers. He’s not got a huge site; he had one big post that got a lot of clicks around the time Sarah Palin became the Vice-Presidential can­did­ate in the 2008 Amer­ican elec­tions and he’s been coast­ing off his earn­ings from that ever since. Had been until now, at least.

When he saw what I was doing, he pulled all his remain­ing funds and took out a fuck­ing hit on me. No warn­ing, no cease and desist, no threats before hand, just straight into a shoot­ing war, because that’s the way the game is played.

I didn’t know about it until the bus I get home from work got ploughed into by an eighteen-wheeler. Luck­ily for me, I’d missed it that day, but nobody on board got out alive. The wreck­age was blaz­ing and the road was closed for three days while they cleared up the mess. I wrote that off as luck, but when I found a gren­ade rigged up in my shower, the pin set to be pulled when the door was opened, para­noia set in and I star­ted watch­ing what was going on.

I only found out about the other blog because if two kills fail, this par­tic­u­lar group lets you know what’s up before the third. It doesn’t mean they back off, just that they’re giv­ing you the option to end it your­self before they have to. I tried nego­ti­at­ing with them, tried email­ing the guy but I’ve had no response. It’s death or noth­ing, whether by their hand or mine.
On the thir­teenth day I heard that they’d taken my fam­ily, and on the four­teenth their heads turned up on my doorstep.

Now I just keep writ­ing every day because if I don’t everything was point­less. If I don’t get to thirty days with a thou­sand words writ­ten for each one, I may as well have just not star­ted, and if that ends up being the case, the four heads lying in the bath­room are noth­ing but a sense­less waste.

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4 thoughts on “Day 17: The Day The Music Died

  1. Pingback: Well, that's a thing | Fingerwords