Blogging Back to Life

What do you do when you stop blogging for a significant length of time and no one seemed to notice, when you’ve had a blog for years but have no more than a few hundred followers (literally what would be called a “drop in the bucket” on the internet, even if it seems like a lot to me personally) and no more than a handful of likes per post, and you know this blog will never have a niche, which seems so important in the blogging world?

It’s tempting to let this gasping site die and start up another one, but I renewed the domain name in August or September, so I have a few months left to go in order not to totally waste my money.

I bought this domain name specifically because I wanted this to be my personal author website. It’s definitely not what most people would call an author website, not least because I haven’t actually been published. One could argue that this is mostly my fault. I never really put myself out there, except for a few timid attempts here and there. It’s no wonder I never get anywhere…

The reason I want to let this blog go and start a whole new one is because I would be able to form and shape it with intention from the beginning. But I don’t want this one to disappear. A lot of work has gone into it in the past, even if not recently. A lot me is captured here. Call me clingy, hopeless, or whatever you like, there are ideas and thoughts expressed here that I believe were worth sharing. Instead of cutting this path short and starting an entirely new one, I’m just going to keep building on this one.

Yes, I’m going to start blogging again! And I know that of most of the people who see this post, only a small number will care. That’s not important right now. The important thing is relearning how to express my thoughts. At the beginning of the year, as I try to get myself used to writing again, I will probably do a lot of personal journaling that will be seen by me alone. In other words, don’t get too excited, because I don’t have all that much to say here yet (that’s sort of a lie. I have a lot to say, always, but I need some time to figure out how to say it), and there won’t be any new fiction for some time unless serious inspiration hits, but soon enough this will be a platform for my weird brand of creativity to come out once again.

 

Don’t touch that dial. We’ll be right back.

Sex and the City and the Internet

I’ve watched Sex and the City a lot. More than I should probably admit to if I want anyone to take me seriously… but in doing so, I’ve thought a lot about the characters’ situations and other aspects of the show that I’d expect most people would just dismiss or accept without really thinking too much about it. The other day I was watching an episode and had a certain thought about Carrie’s career.

I have seen comments in various places regarding how ridiculous it is that she can make enough money writing a once-weekly newspaper column to afford a nice apartment and support the lifestyle of constantly eating out and 100 pairs of shoes that cost $500. This is true, and I can respond to this by saying that maybe they should have worked a little harder to explain how this is possible, but the whole show is about people who live a glamorous, fantasy life, so it all fits.

My point is actually quite unrelated to this. I’ve determined that due to the blogging platforms of the internet, Carrie’s job would actually be much less secure these days.

I’m not just talking about the demise of print journalism, but the actual content of her columns. Supposedly, her success with the column and the reason it did well in book form was because she was writing openly and (pretty much) honestly about topics that were otherwise still hard to find elsewhere. She was unique, and maybe opened doors for more honest conversation on the often taboo details of sex and relationships.

These days you can find this everywhere. Granted, you might have to encounter some dumb, poorly written material in order to actually find the good stuff, and you’re more than likely to encounter pornographic sites if you choose to google certain terms, but the internet has made it possible to have access to essentially all information. There are sites like xoJane and Jezebel that frequently feature articles about sexual or personal topics that Carrie Bradshaw might have covered, and Cracked.com that presents its information with a lot of satire, sarcasm, and other approaches to humor. I would have to say, though, that blogging sites like WordPress are one of the main reasons for this explosion of honest personal writing. It allows anyone to publish anything, without having to be accepted by a publisher or a magazine or online journal or any of the more traditional (or perhaps neo-traditional?) channels, and many of them allow writers to remain anonymous. This, I’m sure, prompts more people to upload posts about subjects that embarrass them, or that they don’t want associated with their name for other reasons, and that may be very important to someone who ends up reading them.

This is bad for Carrie Bradshaw (who is fictional, so that’s ok), but good for us in general. It is my personal wish that people would learn the basics of grammar and sentence structure and not flood the internet with such atrocities of illiteracy. Leaving that aside, I think that honest communication is extremely important. In personal writing–autobiographical or opinion-based–it makes pieces better. I’m not sure if it’s harder or easier these days to make a living off this type of writing, but I’m guessing not the type of living that would allow you to spend thousands on shoes and clothes every month. The main reason I have not tried to test this by experience yet is that, anonymous or not, it is so difficult to put your private self out there for strangers or close friends and family to read. I hope I can find the guts for this one day.

Working Through: Foreword

I must have been wandering obliviously for a while to get here, not realizing how far beyond any signposts or streetlights I’d traveled until it was too late. Now, I feel completely stuck and hopelessly adrift at the same time. I’m treading deep water in the dead of night, went up in a hot air balloon alone and the mechanism to get back down is broken. All the things I want in life are crowding for prominence in my mind, but not giving any clues as to how to reach them. And they’re all angry that I haven’t figured it out by now. Meanwhile I’m paralyzed with uncertainty. I don’t know what to try to do first, and there are no indications of what steps to take even when I do pick something. My best solution is to go back in time and take advantage of opportunities I let slip by me (like studying music on a more serious level in college), but that is not a possibility in any of the alternate universes of my life, since all of them are subject to laws of physics.

Are you feeling confused at all, wondering what I’m talking about? I’m with you. If you think I make sense, you’re probably not reading it right. I have lost my ability to really convey my thoughts on the page (or screen). The desire to do so is hiding, on account of feeling incredibly stupid every time I try to open up and share very personal thoughts or feelings.

This simply will not do.

I think that in order to get anywhere, to take any steps toward happiness, contentment, or …I should just stop now… etc., I have to go back and sort through all the thoughts that are holding my back or weighing me down. I need to de-clutter my inner world, so that I can step back and see a real picture, rather than an overwhelming heap of to-dos and wishes. Thus, I have decided to create this series of posts. Some of them will be very serious and possibly depressing. Others might be more fun or even hopeful. We’ll see–once I can distinguish any one picture from another.

This is not a writing project. This is a human project, expressed in writing. But I think it belongs on this blog anyway.

 

Thank you for reading.

Overloading

I had a very strange experience yesterday. I woke up and felt very odd and different than usual. I thought I must have finally reached emotional overload, because I just felt numb. Not good, or bad, or anything at all. Then, partway through my commute, I started feeling again. “There it is,” I thought to myself. (This, of course, only serves as more evidence of how horrible the T is. Even when it’s not.)

 

I have this thought that some of the things in my past – and present – that I haven’t fully processed are part of why I can hardly write anymore. Blocking reality is blocking creativity. Whether any of these things are actually having an effect on my ability to write or not, I still think it might be time I thought more about them. There are some things I will not go into, either because this is not the right forum for them or because I don’t have enough facts to know what really happened (and I don’t write speculative¬†non-fiction).

When I do delve into some of these things, opening myself up for criticism, pity, or any other negative response to my experiences and thoughts, I hope very much that you don’t think less of me or of my blog when you read them. (Especially the blog. It hasn’t done anything wrong!)

Considering how hard it is for me to really open up to anyone, let alone the entire internet, I doubt this will happen often. I’m talking about it now because it is a departure from my original intentions for this blog, which was only meant to be used as a place to share my creative work and thoughts about writing. At this point, though, this seems like it’s going to be part of my writing process, so you get to read it.

 

I almost hope that you don’t.

The February Challenge

Tomorrow begins a month exactly four weeks long. An entire month of 2011 has gone by and I’ve barely written at all. I have goals for this year. I have to set myself deadlines and ignore the fact that they have no significance whatsoever to anyone but me. (That’s my problem with deadlines. I can be very productive if I have a real deadline, but without any concrete reason to finish the project, it doesn’t feel like a real deadline.)

I’m hoping that I can power through that problem, because I’ve set myself a goal I very much hope I can stick to. I plan to devote the month of February to Sleeping Beauty As You’ve Never Known It. My plan involved a daily writing average of 5 pages per day. There will be some days during which I will have to write more than 5 pages, because there are likely to be days when I barely have time to write at all, either due to social plans or work.

Let’s say that the average, at the end of the month, actually did come out to exactly 5 pages a day for 28 days. That makes 140 pages, at which point I’ll probably be close to finishing the story. My somewhat arbitrary deadline for having my first draft finished is Tax Day.

Somewhere during that time, I will probably need to find an unofficial editor. I am quite capable of doing my own line editing, but I would benefit a lot from an extra pair of eyes to point out any plot holes or areas of unclarity, or spots where a little more detail would go a long way. It’s hard to spot such things in your own writing. Of course, I wouldn’t be able to pay anyone until I made some money from publishing the story, so they’d have to be willing to wait a while to receive what’s due to them.

And here’s the preliminary character lineup of the moment. Some do not yet have names.

The Sleeping Beauty

Ric – the main character (Sleeping Beauty’s ‘prince’)

Adra – Ric’s mother. Pronounced with short ‘a’ sounds.

Henry – the town inkeeper.

Elli – a fairy (this is a shortened version of her name)

A Bard

 

The story has not yet been titled, but its final title will not be “Sleeping Beauty”

The Writing Life

Sadly, I don’t have any new work to post at the moment. I still haven’t written more in Helen since my last post, I’m only halfway through my latest short story, and everything else that is fit to see the e-sunlight will not be posted on this blog unless it’s rejected everywhere I submit it. With these unfortunate circumstances in mind, I’m afraid I’ll have to settle for posting writing-related personal news. Such a disappointment… or is it? I hope not.

 

As I was reconnecting with sites to which I had planned to submit writing, but had let fall to the wayside while I attempted to figure out life in Boston, I realized that it’s been a long while since I submitted anything. Luckily, I have now submitted one story to multiple literary sources, and I have plans for continuing submissions. Could this be it? Could this be the true beginning of my self-marketing endeavors? I have submitted writing before, but in a few-and-far-between manner. Never simultaneous submissions before, and never so close together even for different pieces. I’m excited about it. Even if these particular publications don’t opt to include my story in their collections, if I continue this way, something is bound to be published somewhere.

I have to admit that I have never felt so much like I have written stories that are truly good enough to submit to publishers, literary magazines, and/or contests. When I look back at a story I submitted to a contest 4 or more years ago, I shake my head at my naivety in thinking that it had a chance at winning. The writing was good, but the story was grossly incomplete. Now, I read the bios of the authors of pieces in online magazines and grimace to see all their publishing credits. It does make it seem as if you can’t get published until you’ve already been published – but that is just not true – there’s no way it can be true – and I refuse to believe it, or let it stop me.

I finally finished reading The Tale of Murasaki a week or two ago. It was a very good book, and I’ll leave it at that for now. I’ve just started reading Life of Pi, and although I know I’m late to the party (and I’ve only read about ten pages so far), I’m looking forward to finding out why everyone likes it so much. I’m considering writing a review of it when I’m done, just so I can pretend that I can actually spend time doing the things I really like to do. (e.g. Write critically about literature.)

My most recent peeve: I really, really need a workspace. I don’t have a desk, and if I did I would not have a place to put it – there is little enough space in my bedroom without adding more furniture, and no room anywhere else in the house. I could set up in the living room, where there’s an enormous table, but that table is usually covered in things and there is too much to distract me in the living room, like the television and the new feline addition to the house (she’s tiny and might have kitty ADHD). There are a few cafe/restaurants that have wifi and would possibly offer something like desk space, but as I am still very much unemployed, I cannot afford to use Panera as my office. What little money I have left would disappear in no time if I did. Now, it’s not that I absolutely can’t get work done while in a half-sitting, half lying-down position in bed with my laptop resting on my thighs – on the contrary, I’ve proven that I can. However, I would be many times more comfortable and productive with a work area, desk included, that I could depend on. If I had money, I would even consider renting office space. That, of course, would require a much more reliable income than what I’m likely to make outside of a full time job, where I would most likely have an office anyway.

Thanks for reading my ramblings. I suspect that, if you’re anything like me, you would rather read the creative pieces than blog posts about the writer. But then again, we live in a society that tends to be very interested in other people’s personal lives, so who knows. As you’ve born with this post, I will try very hard to have some creative work worth reading ready to post by the end of this week.

In Progress

Here are two short story projects that have been sitting on the shelf (figuratively) for ages now.

1. Cleopatra’s Barge – a story about a young homeless woman. I’m now thinking that it should be split into two stories; one strictly abstract-ish, from the woman’s point of view, and the other in the style of reporting, explaining why she is homeless and written as if by someone observing her. A third-person omniscient. It wouldn’t be specified in the stories that they’re connected, but it would be fairly obvious to anyone who read both.

2. Creme Brulee – relating the narrator’s experiences with the dessert compared to her relationship (or lack of one) to a certain love interest.

One has a completed draft, but needs a lot of work before it can be allowed to see daylight again. The other barely has a page written, and also needs much work before there would be any point sharing it. I very much like the ideas of both of them (a good sign). Sound interesting?

Coming Soon: an author bio page. Look for it under “Pages.”