Flotsam: The Barbara Walters Special*

by Alexa on July 19, 2005

*Please do not call ABC for a tape of this program. ABC does not record made-up interviews.

As I freshen my makeup prior to the interview, Barbara (Ms. Walters to you) approaches me, wearing a suit the color of an orange push-up. We chat for a few moments about our Alma Mater, and when Barbara confesses that she probably won’t actually read my blog, I kindly assure her that neither will anyone else. She purses her lips in an attractive, quizzical pout, and asks why, then, she is doing this interview. I remind her that she isn’t, really, that this is merely a gimmick, something to provide me with an inaugural blog entry that introduces Flotsam without all of those toilsome expository paragraphs. We take our seats, a bouquet of hydrangeas between us.

Barbara: Good evening. I am here with Alexa, hostess of Flotsam: an electronic journal of sorts; a soapbox; a forum—in short, a blog. The craze for blogs has received much coverage by the more established media, and many are asking the question: are blogs a laudably egalitarian journalistic venue, or merely a way in which to foist one’s inchoate navel-gazing upon the public? (turning to guest) Alexa, tell us a little about your “blog.” Why “Flotsam”? What does it mean?

Alexa: Well, according to dictionary.com, Flotsam means three things:
1. Wreckage or cargo that remains afloat after a ship has sunk, i.e. floating refuse or debris.
2. Discarded odds and ends.
3. Vagrant, usually destitute people
The second meaning will probably describe the contents of my blog quite accurately. At times, however, I fear the other definitions may be just as apt.

Barbara: (clasps hands) Let’s go back to the beginning. What prompted you to begin “blogging”?

Alexa: Until 6 months ago, I had never visited a single blog, having rashly assumed—as is my wont—that they weren’t worth reading unless you were particularly zealous about some political issue or interested in the mental diarrhea of disaffected teens. But after my last miscarriage, feeling entirely alone and awash in a miasma of despair, I happened across “a little pregnant,” which was smart and funny, and managed to be sincere-but-not-maudlin about things that reduce even excellent writers to incoherent sentimentality. It made an impression on me, and also, I needed a hobby.

And when you’re not “blogging…”

Alexa: Oh, I do other things— I watch television, I read other blogs, I read books or essays by writers who obviously were not as skilled at procrastination as I am. I never tire of visiting doctors so that they might misdiagnose me and suggest that I should “have less stress.” I like to brood. Sometimes I eat something. Sometimes I think about exercising. Sometimes I think about writing or have a panic attack. I like to have a martini—two at the very most.

Barbara: Do you live by yourself?

Alexa: No, I live with The Nearly-Fiance. The Nearly-Fiance is very lovable, though sometimes moody. He is very, very smart, and always saying things like “non-linear history” and “architecture.” He is a poet. He is busy not-finishing his MFA thesis, after which he is considering going on to pursue an even more lucrative degree, such as a PhD in art history. We have 2 girl cats—Irma (shy, crazy) and Willie (in heat)—and 1 boy cat—Lennie (loud, sleepy). When I have cramps, The Nearly-Fiance puts a dishtowel in the microwave and brings it to me to use as a heating pad. I love him very much.

Barbara: “Non-linear history” doesn’t pay the rent, my dear. What do you do for money?

Alexa: I am an editor. I work for a vast legal publishing corporation. I spend most days with 6500 of my closest colleagues at a compound that has two cafeterias; a patio café; a famous-coffee-chain; a dry cleaner; a store that sells flowers, candy, cards, dishes, and assorted tasteless tchotchkes; a large manufacturing/printing plant; and a “university” where one may take classes about law, business, or optimizing one’s leadership potential. For my job, I write on pages with green pen and put little flags on them and give them to someone else. Then they write on them again and give them back to me. Sometimes we do the same thing, only with computers.

Barbara: I see. (leans forward) So, Alexa, tell me, what is the point of you, a would-be writer with three cats and an overeducated Nearly-Fiance, posting post after post about your trivial publishing job and pedestrian neuroses? Who will find inspiration, or solace, as a result?

Alexa: Oh…Inspiration or solace? Well, hopefully I will.

Barbara: (impatiently) Yes, yes. But what issues of import will be discussed? Why should we, The Outside World, read Flotsam?

Alexa: I suppose you mean The Outside World has better things to do.

Barbara: Surely.

Alexa: Oh…well I do hope that someone will read this, sometime…but there won’t be issues of import discussed either, I’m afraid. Maybe I could post some useful recipes? (looks around helplessly)

Barbara: So. Flotsam—“A Woman, Some Free Time, a Blog.” Not exactly A Man, a Plan, a Canal, is it?
(turning to camera)
This is Barbara Walters, saying ‘Good Night.’

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