November 04, 2009

I'm an Entertainer

Driving a long ways this summer, I borrowed a now very overdue CD from the library. It was a collection of Billy Joel's greatest hits, and included The Entertainer. Joel reconciles his job is not as a poet or anything noble. He is an entertainer. While he may be sardonically pointing at the corruption of his industry, the reality remains.

On one hand, I review, and I write. I take both roles seriously. How serious? If you have glimpsed at more than one page of my blogs, or at my website, you know I sing and dance. I don't write dour, thoughtful pieces. I write about humor, romance and childhood crushes. Or I muse about coffee. My goals are not about depth or breadth. They are about love and laughter.

I want traffic to my sites, advertising clicked on, and things purchased through Amazon.com. I love to write, but I also love to eat, pay my bills, and drink very expensive coffee. So when I write, I am mindful of you. All of you? Each of you? I have an image in my mind who my audience is, though I keep finding out I am wrong. And, sometimes people tell me what they think I am like, how they envision me. That's fun too.

Christmas is coming, and I secretly hope the world's customer will first click on a link on my blogs before they buy. To do this, I need to entertain you.

I write to entertain. I love to hear someone smiled or thought wistfully of their own first love. I enjoy knowing I made you giggle, or go to Facebook to look up that sweetie from fifth grade. But  I am not writing in a vacuum. I, like Joel, know an audience is fickle. My reviews once attracted a nice base of interest. Now? The tides of interest have quieted. Some writers nail down the perfect piece for eternity, like Mark Twain or James Thurber. They are still loved. Those guys are a special breed though, and we work-a-day writers respect their great talent with dreams of emulating them. Popularity fades for most us. Magazines and books have quoted me, and yet, tomorrow, it all starts again. It is hard work.

Tomorrow starts today. The obvious paradox requires to imagine what will be interesting next year. This post will still be up. Will anyone read it once it is buried in the caverns of my archive? Ask me in 2010. Better yet, respond to this post.

It is worth it. I do make a few dollars, and, I love doing it despite how few they are. Even if no one reads my work, would I still do it? Probably not. I did this, though, when I made no money... several years, in fact.

The Entertainer (Live Version)



Billy Joel-The Entertainer

I am the entertainer,
And I know just where I stand:
Another serenader,
And another long-haired band.
Today I am your champion.
I may have won your hearts.
But I know the game,
You will forget my name,
And I won't be here
In another year,
If I don't stay on the charts.

I am the entertainer,
And I've had to pay my price.
The things I did not know at first,
I learned by doin' twice.
Ah, but still they come to haunt me,
Still they want their say.
So I've learned to dance
With a hand in my pants,
And they rub my neck,
And I write 'em a check,
And they go their merry way.

I am the entertainer,
Been all around the world.
I've played all kinds of palaces,
And laid all kinds of girls.
I can't remember faces,
I don't remember names.
Ah, but what the hell,
You know it's just as well.
'Cause after a while
And a thousand miles,
It all becomes the same.

I am the entertainer,
I bring to you my songs.
I'd like to spend a day or two.
I can't stay that long.
No, I've got to meet expenses.
I got to stay in line.
Gotta get those fees
To the agencies.
And I'd love to stay,
But there's bills to pay,
So I just don't have the time.

I am the entertainer,
I come to do my show.
You've heard my latest record,
It's been on the radio.
Ah, it took me years to write it,
They were the best years of my life.
It was a beautiful song.
But it ran too long.
If you're gonna have a hit,
You gotta make it fit--
So they cut it down to 3:05.

I am the entertainer,
The idol of my age.
I make all kinds of money,
When I go on the stage.
Ah, you've seen me in the papers,
I've been in the magazines.
But if I go cold,
I won't get sold.
I'll get put in the back
In the discount rack,
Like another can of beans.

I am the entertainer,
And I know just where I stand:
Another serenader,
And another long-haired band.
Today I am your champion.
I may have won your hearts.
But I know the game,
You will forget my name,
And I won't be here
In another year,
If I don't stay on the charts.

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