Do you have any stubborn stains? A sticky carpet perhaps, or permanently grubby children? If so, I can recommend an excellent steam cleaning company in Dubai.
I feel duty bound to promote my good friends at the Dubai Steam Cleaning Company because they comment on my blog.
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Isn’t that nice?
Somewhere in the throbbing heart of the United Arab Emirates, steeped in broiling natural heat and, I imagine, steam, they have taken the sweaty time to read my blog and found the information contained within to be the very best and most interesting.
Perhaps through some cruel administrative trick they are denied access to normal portals of information and rely on me to tell them that Austria isn’t too far away from here.
“Abdul, Abdul! It’s not too far! He went to find a lake and suddenly was at the Austrian border!”
“Excellent! With this, and the news that cows don’t like walking uphill, we have a broader understanding of countries on the northern fringe of the Baltic peninsular. Pass me more steam.”
My blog is also popular with speed readers. I’ve been toying with moving it all over to a Wordpress site and my last post went to both to see what happens. Within two seconds of hitting “publish,” I got an email to say someone liked it. I was very impressed. Two seconds. Superman on methamphetamine would have been slower.
Or, I’m beginning to wonder, is some form of trickery afoot?
Remember the good old days when the son of a Nigerian King would write a last ditch desperate email while under house arrest? With the guards momentarily distracted, beads of sweat would drip down on his computer as he frantically wondered who on earth he could turn to. Me! That’s who. All I had to do was give him my bank account details and he would be saved! And his children. And half the village. In return I’d get millions of dollars and presumably a golden chicken of some kind.
I never believed Mr. Mbaso. Nor did the other twenty thousand people to whom he miraculously found time to write. But was he any different to someone who likes my blog two seconds after I post it? And I’m not too sure that the Dubai steam cleaning company finds my information to be the very best and most interesting. You may have read my posts. They tend not to contain any information at all.
I want to build an audience because if I do, maybe a few will buy my books and then I can justify writing some more. To do that, apparently, I have to engage. Wise and powerful gurus tell me to ‘Read what others have written and comment on it!” Comment comment comment! They will then come find you!
But doesn’t that make me a bit Mr. Mbaso-like? Or a tad steam-cleany? Doesn’t it make the internet a paper-thin mockery of something good?
I began writing this after my morning coffee and then I noticed that Facebook had a little red thing, which means something I’m sure. I clicked, and it said, “You haven’t written anything for ages! Write something or everyone will just wander off and ‘like’ someone else and you’ll die of the plague.” *
*(It didn’t mention dying).
But I wrote something, Facebook. Just the other day. It had mountains in it, with pictures and everything. Is the world so fickle that I must heap random stuff on them constantly?
Rich people complain that people may like them only because they are rich. Similarly, we don’t know if someone likes what we write, or if they just want to steam clean something we own. It’s a great shame that marketeers have taken over the world and I’m not sure I want to join in.
Marketing is important, of course. As you know, it’s rare for me to quote dead circus owners, but P.T. Barnum once said, “Without promotion, something terrible happens. Nothing!”
He also said that every crowd has a silver lining.
So, should I dash around the internet saying “Great Blog!!!” to everything I see? It makes me feel tacky, disingenuous, participating in some kind of fraud. I want people to know that if I comment (which I have never actually done because I don’t know how), then it’s because I wanted to.
My novel The Midlife of Dudley Chalk (available on Amazon, see what I did there Mr. Barnum?) began by asking the question “What is real?” That question was inspired by a friend’s mother who had Alzheimer’s and who genuinely believed that her whole married life was one of bliss and romantic perfection. My friend said it wasn’t. It was crap. So, I wondered, was it crap? If her brain told her that it was perfect, wasn’t that as true for her as the “crap” was for other observers? If she saw it in her head and believed it in her heart, then wasn’t it true? Whatever that means?
The Midlife of Dudley Chalk examines this by putting him in a coma and sending him to another world where everyone in his life is playing a different role. He falls in love with the comatose patient in the next bed, a girl he has never actually met. Post coma, he’s back in the “real world”, trying to find the girl he may have imagined. My friend Ralph read it and couldn’t work out which world was real and I said, “Does it matter? Both were real for him.”
As it was for my friend’s mother.
The shifting sands of reality come very close to home when you write a blog, or do anything with a like and follow button. You don’t need Alzheimer’s or a medically-induced coma to be surrounded by a world that may or may not be true. All you need is a place for people to like it, or comment on it, and you are suddenly transported to a place where steam cleaners in Dubai thank you for information that is the very best, and most interesting (url attached).
Should I join in the game? Because I really don’t want to.
Slovenia, writing, other things