Back in the Saddle

It’s been weighing on me that I’ve fallen silent here. Most of the stuff I have to say about writing, I’ve been saying at the Moody Muses on Wednesdays. And I haven’t really had much to say otherwise. Life is life, deeply interesting to me but unlikely to be as interesting to anyone else.

But from time to time, I do like to talk about stuff. And I thought I might take a leaf out of my friend Corrina Lawson’s book, and write about stuff other than writing. More

Bitses

Where is time going? Why are the days flying past so quickly? It seems impossible and ridiculous that two and a half weeks should have passed since the last time I posted. And it’s not like I have anything to say–I just felt the need to say whatever. So I’m just going to write a bunch of bits.

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Last night my sister and I watched the 2nd and 3rd episodes of Caprica. So far, so good. As far as I can tell, a lot of stuff is being set into motion, and I’m starting to be very curious to see how it all plays out. And not even interested to see how it plays out in a way that leads to the world of Battlestar Galactica–just interested to see how it plays out on its own terms. That being said, there is something connecting both series that I’m curious about. In BSG, Joseph Adama, Bill’s father, is known as a great jurist. (Or at least that’s my recollection.) In Caprica, he’s Joe Adama and he’s a corrupt mob lawyer. I want to know how one man becomes the other. I hope I’ll see it.

Whatever happens, the ads for this week’s episode make me want to see it now. My sister and I talked about watching two episodes every other week; I’m not sure I can wait that long.

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After finishing Deborah Crombie’s Necessary As Blood a couple of weeks ago, I was absolutely compelled to start the series at the beginning again. I flew through the first seven books–A Share in Death; All Shall Be Well; Leave the Grave Green; Mourn Not Your Dead; Dreaming of the Bones; Kissed a Sad Goodbye; and A Finer End–but now I’m slowing down. I think it’s partly because I remember the more recent books more clearly than the older ones; I’m having a “Oh, yeah, this one…” reaction.

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I’ve also been writing: scribbling the first draft of the mess-in-progress, and averaging over 500 words a day, which is a smoking pace for me; and writing posts for The Moody Muses.

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I’m unlikely to watch the Super Bowl tonight–it’s not how I want to spend that time–but I hope the New Orleans Saints win. They’re underdogs and that city has been through enough. It’s not even that I don’t want the Colts to lose. It’s really all about the Saints.

The Illusion of Intimacy

I’ve actually been thinking for a while about the illusion of intimacy blogs, tweets and Facebook/MySpace pages can create, but it didn’t really come to a head until today as I was thinking about what I was going to write.

Something has come up in my personal life that’s likely to interfere with both my working out and my writing, and I was thinking about writing about how frustrating and disheartening it is on the workout front that I have to start all over with my day count almost as soon as I got started. (My writing count is less likely to get interrupted because my weekly goal is one day of 100 words of narrative or 5 consecutive minutes of thinking on paper.) I have no problem talking about that, but I’m deeply unwilling to give any hint as to what’s going on. So I’m not going to talk about it.

The thing is, not talking about it brings into relief the fact that for all my apparent candor here, there are things I won’t talk about, won’t even refer to. I wonder, though, if if there really is an illusion of intimacy. I feel as if I know some of my favorite bloggers, but at the same time, I know I don’t. I know there are whole parts of people’s lives I’m not privy to, even when it feels as if I’m privy to everything. Is that because my favorite bloggers create online personas that feel whole and complex? Is it because I have a strong sense of a distinct personality on display? Or is it the ongoing nature of the relationship. so much like the relationship I have with the real people in my life? My favorite bloggers have opinions they express, ideas they share, experiences they talk about. All of that plays into the sense of being given secrets; so much is shared that it’s hard to tell that not everything is out there.

The other part of this is that I’m wondering if anyone else who reads a few apparently personal blogs has this dual sense of “I know everything/of course I don’t know everything,” and how they feel about the duality. If you have some thoughts on this, I’d love to hear them.

April 9, 2009: Blogging v. Writing

Well, I managed to write today, but only just. I thought about blogging versus writing and what I would do today if I really only had enough wit and energy for one.

I chose writing. I feel a twinge of guilt writing that, as if I’m dishonoring my commitment to blog every day. Well, I am, but only because I’m honoring a commitment that, in the greater scheme of things, matters more. This book is a magic book, nearly writing itself, and I have to respect a gift like that. Which means other things, including blogging daily, go by the wayside if that’s what I need. It hasn’t happened yet, but it might.

I figure everyone will understand.

April 2, 2009: Why Blog?

I suspect there may be an element of chasing my tail with this post, and I’m both amused by it and resigned to it.

One of my favorite blogs is Miss Conduct’s: it’s informative and thought-provoking and entertaining, everything one might wish for in a blog. Sometimes, she posts an excerpt from an e-mail she’s received from someone looking for advice on the courteous way to handle a particular situation, and with some of those posts she opens up the comments section for readers to weigh in with their thoughts on the situation.

A recent “what do you think, readers?” posting involved a question from someone wondering how to deal with a friend/relative who keeps sending e-mails asking the someone to read the friend/relative’s blog. The someone doesn’t want to read the blog — I don’t remember now whether it was a disinterest in that particular blog or blogs in general — and doesn’t know what to do.

There was a lot of advice given, but also a notable amount of commentary about blogs in general. A surprising amount of commentary came from people who asserted that they aren’t interested in reading blogs, because blogs are inherently narcissistic. (I found the comments surprising because the commenters were responding to a blog. I wasn’t the only one who noticed the irony.) I haven’t been able to get the idea out of my head, mulling it over as a blog writer and as a blog reader, seeing it with a kind of dual vision because I can’t separate it into two distinct things.

I follow at least 20 blogs. The ones I follow make me think, some by giving me information, the rest by offering a perspective I wouldn’t find on my own. A good blog lets me see the world through a different pair of eyes and that lets me look at my own life in a fresh way. In addition, the agent blogs I follow help me get some small sense of the agent’s personality, which gives me a sense of whether or not I would want to work with that person. (Whether or not that person would want to work with me is a completely different story.) That’s what I aim for with this blog: to entertain, and maybe to give someone a bit of a different perspective.

But even so, I sometimes wonder why I’m blogging. Is it narcissistic? Maybe. I know I try to turn my thoughts outward, to make them about more than me and my life, to make them at least a little useful. Or if not useful, then entertaining.

My commitment to posting every day can undercut those goals; there are days when I don’t have anything entertaining or useful to say. In theory, I should probably skip posting on those days. Something inside refuses that; something inside is convinced there’s value in the dailiness of this venture, as if it matters to record to the dull, useless days as well as the entertaining, useful ones.

The one thing that doesn’t cross my mind is quitting. When I think about it, I resist, which tells me I’m getting something out of this, something I don’t want to lose. I’m not sure what it is. I don’t actually need to know; that faint sense of something digging in its heels when I think of stopping is the only thing I need to keep going. But I imagine I’ll keep thinking about this, because I’m curious and because the better grip I have on why I behave the way I do, the better able I am to manage myself. You’re a much better cat-herd if you don’t expect cats to act like sheep.

And if I ever figure it out, I’ll explain it here.

September 23, 2008: The New Project

Last night, when I was sitting up in bed, a letter for the new project came to me. I wrote it down…and then another letter came, followed immediately by an idea for a short correspondence. I wrote it tonight on the bus (writing on the bus is a story for another day), and then I posted it on the new blog, Notes from Fenis.

I said last night that I planned on posting once a week, on the same day of the week. I still like the once a week idea, but I had Sunday in mind. I’m not sure why — it just occurred to me. I may stick with that, the Sunday thing, and put up a second posting at the end of the week.

The unexpected thing is how much I enjoyed writing the correspondence. I think it’s a kind of very short story, and that would be interesting to play with.

Anyway, we’ll see how this latest thing goes…

September 22, 2008: A New Project

At dinner the other night, the subject of blogs came up, and as part of the discussion, one diner said to another, “I love your blog — it’s my favorite.” (The blog is Nineteen Teen: Being a Teenager in the Nineteenth Century.) Something in Marissa’s response made me think writing blog entries from the perspectives of her characters. Well, it wasn’t just what Marissa said — I made that assumption because I’ve seen it quite a bit.

I think blogging as a character is a cool thing to do. In fact, I got to thinking about a blog for my characters, where they write whatever. Almost as soon I considered the idea, I realized it would never happen. My characters would never reveal themselves publicly. Even a diary would be too much for Ilsabet.

But then I thought about a blog that was about the empire of Altus Estania, about Ilsabet’s world. It occurred to me that even if it doesn’t interest anyone else, posting letters, notes, advertisements, schedules of worship at the various shrines, and other kinds of written information would help me live in my world. It could give me a stronger sense of the everyday in my world, which can only make my writing stronger.

So that’s what I’m going to do. I won’t post every day — my thought is once a week, on the same day of the week. As soon as I’m ready to go, I’ll post an announcement here, and there’ll be a link, too.