It’s simple. Certainly, I would hope people come to this blog because they either love it ardently, or even because they hate it intensely. But mostly, I want people to come here because when they do, it means money for me. Every click on “Mr. Cope’s Cave” is another penny coming my way. So obviously, I want a lot of clicks. I’d like to see 100,000 people clicking into my blog every week. Either that, or one person clicking in 100,000 times. It’s all the same to me.
Okay, that’s not entirely true. Anyone acquainted with the work I contributed to Boise Weekly already knows I have an agenda to push. In general terms, that agenda is the same as the Democrat Party’s, but that’s not because I think of myself as a sycophantic party monkey. The agenda has been around much longer than the Democrat Party. It is world-wide and timeless. It is hard to pin down as to what exactly it entails, but it cannot be discussed without words like “justice,” “freedom,” “community,” “compassion”—basically, the whole égalité, liberté, fraternité thing—and those of us who strive for it have been universally identified as liberals. For those new to Bill Cope, that’s what I am. A liberal—and happy to be one.
And I am not ready to stop writing about it. My association with Boise Weekly may have ended, but my inclination to be vocal has not. For over two decades, the Weekly allowed me a platform from which to write whatever I wanted, in any way I wished. There is not another such platform anywhere near my home (Idaho), and where else does a person with an unquenched thirst to mouth off go, if not into the cluttered and inconsistent world of blogging?
Hence, “Mr. Cope’s Cave,” the same title I used on the Boise Weekly website. When the idea to have my own blog came up, I decided I needed to present a fresh face, starting with a fresh name. I intended to call it “Copey-Changey” as a play on something one of my favorite targets, Sarah Palin, snarked when mocking one of my favorite presidents. (“How’s that hopey-changey stuff working out for ya’?”— remember?) But my daughter, who has largely put this blog together, advised that very few members of her generation are hip enough to political trivia for such a reference to mean anything other than some sort of old-person weirdness.
So I return to the familiar: “Mr. Cope’s Cave.” It’s as good a title as any, I think. If you don’t like it, say so in a note to the mail account we have set up for your bitching convenience: firstname.lastname@example.org. Maybe I’ll read it … maybe I won’t.
What To Find Here
Along with my own editorializing, I have assembled a team of contributors, each with a talent for expressing themselves in a unique manner. Long-term readers may or may not run into characters they’ve become acquainted with over the years—Red, Badger Bob, MulletBoy, etc. I have also added a few new faces. Maddie the Marmalade Lady will be introducing you to the art of jellies, jams, preserves, butters, and any other method of spreading fruit and sugar on toast. She is also a gardener par excellence, so expect some timely horticultural tips, presented in a way only Maddie can.
You will meet Sergeant Mike (my resident expert on affairs of a military nature), Jerry my Public Relations guy (who will make all the necessary apologies for me should I write something inappropriate), Professor Philbert the Grammarian, and more. Older readers will suspect it, but newer readers will need to know that none of these individuals are real. They are all figments of my imagination, and if one of them offends you in any way, take it up with Jerry.
I will be posting fresh material three times a week: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. You can count on that. In 21 years at the Weekly—the last 30 months of which I was submitting a column and two blogs per week—I missed only two deadlines, and both were because of deaths in my family.
Mondays and Fridays will be the same sort of topical material as I have been publishing in BW. On Wednesdays, I will be passing on a novel, chapter by chapter, that I finished over 20 years ago—The Secret of Cawley’s Skull. It’s an odd one, no doubt about that, but I’m still proud of it. I began writing it intending it be what they call YAF—young adult fiction—and meant it to appeal to young girls in particular, which my (then) recently-born daughter would eventually be. The book turned into something else. That is typical with me. To think I know where I’m headed, only to have it turn out I’m in for a surprise when I get there.
It may seem unusual that I, or anyone else, would run a serialized novel on a blog site. But quite famous works from scores of famous authors—Charles Dickens, Alexander Dumas and Harriet Beecher Stowe are just a sampling—first appeared in serial form on the pages of periodicals of the day. And what is a blog site if not a periodical of its day?
There will be few, if any, links to other sites embedded within what I write. This may be what irritates me the most about the general state of textual material on the Internet. It’s like an infinity of interconnected, multi-dimensional spider webs, all pulling the reader away from any sense of an individual writer’s style, substance or continuity. I relish the act of writing far too much—and am pleased enough with how I do it—to want to send readers off down innumerable side-roads.
I still haven’t figured out what to do about pictures. I know most of you are now accustomed to have colorful and pertinent photos inserted into everything you read, but my intended audience is adults, not children. If you absolutely need to see another image of … say … Donald Trump while reading something about Donald Trump, then I suggest you keep a picture of the ugly bastard next to whatever device you use to visit the Internet.
This is not to say there will never be pictures in Mr. Cope’s Cave. I am thinking about raiding one of those sites with nothing but generic pictures of everything you can imagine, and borrowing freely there-in. If I do so, the images I pick are likely to be something like this …
… and will almost certainly have nothing to do with the accompanying text. I may have to clear any such pictures I lift and post with my legal team, as soon as I think up a good name for an imaginary law firm.
You may notice the size of print I’m using is larger than you might be accustomed to. Just think of it as a favor I extend to others in my general age range. If it bothers you, remember… it is much easier for a young person with healthy eyes to read big print than it is for older readers with weak eyes to read small print. And as there are no space concerns in a blog, why not?
This will be the first time since I started publishing that I will be responsible for my own editing. There has always been someone down at Boise Weekly examining my copy, thinking What did that dumbie screw up in this one? No more. I’m on my own. If I prove to be too incompetent at it, I may conjure up an editor on whom I can cast all blame for grammatical blunders, spelling mistakes, continuity problems, punctuation missteps, and factual errors. The only thing that has stopped me from doing such a thing right off the bat is that I cannot get the name “Eddie the Editor” out of my head, and I don’t believe I could stomach anyone named “Eddie” telling me what to do.
I would love to promise you that whatever I put in this thing will be reliably entertaining. I strive to be a humorist, but not everything is funny—Donald Trump comes to mind again. Beyond that, what is one man’s humor is another man’s aggravation. Yes, of course, I think I’m funny, but you’ll have to decide for yourself. And I warn you, it may take several visits to this blog before you have made up your mind. Frankly, I don’t believe you can make a fair assessment until you’ve clicked your way here at least … oh, say … 100,000 times.
Warning: There is no guarantee that anything I am telling you now in this Statement of Intent will be the way it is in a month’s time, or a year’s, or whatever. Like I said earlier, I have often begun one thing, only to have it change directions on me and end up something else altogether. To some extent, I suspect it’s true with all of us, and in most of our adventures, that we don’t know exactly where we’re headed until we head out. This blog is an adventure. A brand new experience for a man who had begun to think he was done with brand new experiences. I would be delighted to have you share it with me.
(And while we’re on the subject of sharing, would you mind very much spreading the word—by way of your Facebook or whatever–of where you’ve been for the last five minutes to everyone you know? Every click counts.)