Donko’s dozen

The Conversationalists

Slovaks, along with lots of other cultures, use diminutives for almost every name, especially among friends, the way in English Donny is made from Donald or Don, Peg from Margaret, and so on.  In Slovak, a common way to make a little name is adding -ko to a male name, -ka to a female name. Thus, while living in Slovakia, Donigan became Donko, and that is still how I am called by friends there.

Far as I can determine, there are about a dozen regular readers of this blog, and half that number who comment much at all. This has not changed after I moved from the Typepad blog I maintained for 18 or so months, to this new WordPress blog, which has existed for about a month.

This number suits me fine. I am not selling ads or trying to make a living in such a silly way. I do not maintain this blog — so I discovered when I willy-nilly deleted the previous one —  for the purpose of garnering mobs of fans; I am sure such a thing would leave me dismayed and inclined toward deleting the thing in horror. I am not comfortable in crowds. To me, two people is a nice group, three people is an adequate group, four people is a crowd, five people is a big crowd, and more than this is a mob.

I like conversation, and in an earlier post noted that this blog is for me a conversation, and talk is most interesting and most useful when the group is small enough for everyone to easily express themselves. We could not talk very well here if ten or twenty or a hundred or, can you imagine?, thousands of people tried to jump in. That is noise, that is the white noise roar of the crowd.

I have no idea how we in Donko’s dozen got together in the first place, how we came to this particular bench in this Internet park. Maybe Brad Green did it. I think he was the original conversationalist here.

Three of us have been having pretty good conversations, usually about books and writing, but also about our families, our hopes and wishes, our fears, all the sorts of things people sit on park benches and talk about. I refer again to Brad, and also to Court Merrigan, who has quite a good literary name, don’t you think? Brad and Court are writers, indeed, far as I know, all of Donko’s dozen are writers, so naturally we converse frequently on that subject, but not exclusively.

Both Brad and Court maintain literary blogs and links to them are over there somewhere on the right side. Court’s is more eclectic and wide-ranging in expressing his interests, while Brad’s is essentially a platform where he exhibits his writing experiments and ponders questions of a literary nature. Court’s is more like this one, a conversation; Brad’s is the direct extension of his artistic impulses. (Brad put up a flat-fucking-gorgeous and astonishing piece of writing on his blog yesterday, but don’t let this get out; I am trying to keep a lid on his artistic ego, which is the only way I know that he can damage his craft.)

I like hanging out and talking with these guys. If we keep at it long enough, maybe we’ll be lucky enough to find ourselves on a bench like those two old farts in the fine drawing above.


9 replies »

  1. I am envious of Court’s name, yes. I often wonder how it is I came to be saddled with the two monosyllabic lumps that comprise mine. Alas.

    Maybe I should pull a Cormac and change it.

  2. I’d thank my parents for the good name choice, but, my full name is actually Courtney which, as any 1st grader can tell you, is a girl’s name. This explains my special affinity for that one Johnny Cash song about Sue.

    I’d like to hang out on a park bench, cussing and discussing. In Japan there are no open container laws so a group of us used to hang out on park benches drinking beer out of vending machines (ah, Japan), slowly getting stoned, smoking too much, and generally having conversational times that I’ve not replicated before or since. I imagine, though, that if some of us regulars at this blog got together, we would top it. It would be grand.

    Don, the next time you’re up north, you should consider a jaunt out to Wyoming. We have park benches here. Better, we have jaggedy bluffs to hike to, that can then be sat upon.

    • Well, if Courtney isn’t a girl, it’s at least a snobby rich boy at Choate.

      I love the way Cash spit out that line — My name is Sue, how do you do!

      I will be a couple of thousand miles closer to Wyoming than I am now when we spend a couple of weeks (mostly for business purposes) in DC in late June.

      I have spent so much of my life living very far away from everybody that I can only think in terms of how many thousands of miles is it, or is it closer than 12 flying hours?

      Hope your revisions are going well …

      • It’d take you about 4 hours to fly from DC to Denver, I think. From there you fly another 45 minutes to Scottsbluff, NE, or drive about 3 1/2 hours. In June it probably wouldn’t be snowing although that’s not guaranteed.

        As it happens, I’m driving to Denver airport, in the snow, this very afternoon. My brother, who also inherited the family DNA for being cheap, is flying in from Virginia and wouldn’t pony up for the extra hop in to Scottsbluff. It’s going to be a good drive: the snow is swirling and I’ve got a full tank of gas. I tell you, after living the laidback life for half a decade in Thailand, I relish it when the going gets a little tough.

        • Oh, and the revisions are going swimmingly, thanks. Look for an email on the topic somewhere in the near future. You too, Brad. I appreciate it.

          One way or the other, though, I’m about done with the thing. My list of story ideas is growing damn unwieldy and it’s time I got to some of them.

      • I haven’t either. I shall proceed to Grooveshark it immediately.

        Although I have to say, the more Johnny I listen to, the more I prefer the older stuff, when he was in his prime. Live at San Quentin, stuff like that.