I Am An Elitist, Too

Steven Den Beste has elaborately posted about the meaning of his blogroll. You know, the list of links running down one side of the Web log page, much like that weird, currently-styled-with-checkboxes thing you see to the left. Den Beste describes his philosophy of his blog roll: he links to things he likes, his friends, and some start-up blogs he likes. That is to say, he puts thought into his list of recommended sites and does not just tat-for-tit exchange links to play link farm for people who reciprocate. He reads, vets, and really recommends the sites he lists. In short, he’s an elitist.

Hey, I know the feeling. It reminds me of a time when I was young, back in 1994, when I tried to start a little literary magazine (a little literary magazine is redundant, I know). Yes, the St. Louis Artesian. I’d started magazines in high school (Pen and Palette and in college (The Scream), so when I got out and wanted a handy dream, I seized upon it. So I gave it a go. No advertising? No problem. Labor of love, you see. No content? Uh oh.

I couldn’t get quality content. I said early I would never publish my own short stories or poetry since I wasn’t doing it as a vanity thing, and remember Brian J = quality (and scientists are now working on a new theory to prove that Brian J. >= quality). So I hit the coffeeshouses looking for the slam poets, contacted local universities for creative writing students, posted on the fledgling Internet, and sent press releases to every peer literary magazine, local paper, and media outlet I could imagine. And when the manuscripts started trickling in, they were bad.

I didn’t expect a thick magazine to start, but I had to stretch to find poetry or short fiction I would publish. I found myself writing feature articles and publishing my assistant editor’s sheet music to fill enough pages to call myself a magazine. I mean, I found some real quality material that I was thrilled to publish, but it wasn’t much. (Speaking of which, I googled my old magazine name to see if they had its home page cached, oh-but no, but check it out: one of the poets published in it has the Artesian on his C.V.).

An art editor, who had visions of the Artesian as a photocopied underground Goth zine, brouight in some submissions in his vision, but it wasn’t where I wanted to go, so he went. It was my dime, (or $400 every two months, almost fifty percent of what the real world paid my English-degreed self), my effort, and my name on the masthead, so I was not going to put in mulch just to fill in the flower garden and hope something came up. After a year and a half, I gave it up.

So I understand where Den Beste’s coming from, although I imagine copious numbers of blogger courtiers don’t.

Rest assured, when you click a link over there to the left, I do go to the sites listed as frequently as I say, and I shape my ideas with them. They are Brian-approved, and not just a underground-economy equivalent of a “Ad Space Swap Booked As Revenue” scam.

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