Thursday, November 04, 2004

Today's New Zealand Pic

It's cheaper than London, and less people live there.

Auckland is a lot like Seattle.

It'll be like an episode of "Lost" - only, with cities.

Anyhow, I'm outta here. Taking tomorrow off to stay home and write, because really, you can only play so many rounds of Xuma.

Why I Blog

"She wanted to be the heroine of her own life." - Carol Emshwiller

While on the phone with my dad last night, discussing my virulent rants here on Brutal Women, he asked me why I started this blog.

There are several reasons for it:

1) I get to meet new and interesting people
2) I get to say what I think without feeling censored
3) It gives me something to do at work, as I haven't had a real job since June.
4) As a sporadicly-published writer, I wanted a place where people could go to learn more about the name behind the story.

The second and fourth are probably the biggest reasons. I used to send out e-mail rants and/or "life updations" to friends while I was traipsing around the globe and fretting over Alaskan life, cockroaches in Durban, and establishing an existence in Chicago with $20 in my pocket. I still post these rants to the private messageboard I keep with a handful of my closest Clarion compatriots, where I can post more honest rants about friends and family. Here, in this more public venue, I get to talk about things like health, fighting, women's rights, fantasy fiction, shit books and better books, and all sorts of general subjects that I don't neccessarily talk about all that much in real life.

I'm not, in fact, much of a talker. I express myself far better on the page. I've got a "regular reader" count here of about 40-50 people, another 10-12 sporadic weekly readers, and 5-10 "random blog" or "random linking" people a day who stumble onto a particular post. Because I've never personally met the great majority of my readers, I'm less likely to censor my thoughts. When you're talking to people you know, you're more likely sit around and stew about issues instead of thinking them through and articulating them. I've always disliked conflict with those I have great affection for.

And then there's reason four. When I finally broke into print mags last year, I realized it would be great if I had a site to point people to if they wanted to learn more about me. As a fan, I love looking up writers who's work I've "discovered" and learning more about them. Looking toward the future, I wanted a place for other people to come if they were interested.

And that's here.

I also began my kickboxing odyssey just before I started this blog, and it's been important to me to get down on paper how difficult it is for a sendentary dork to change their routine and work at accomplishing something they always thought was impossible for somebody like them. We're always seeing these "quick fixes" in magazines and movies, and the media paints a lot of celebrity portraits with the "overnight success brush."

I want to be here to remind everybody that there's no quick fix. That you've got good fighting days and bad fighting days, that sometimes I stay home and watch Titanic and feel miserable for myself, and the next day I'll go out and beat the crap out of something.

And I want would-be writers to see the piles of rejection slips. The good, brillant days and "I'm such a crappy writer I should be shot" days.

I want to document a road that isn't easy, and doesn't happy just because I roll out of bed in the morning. It takes a lot of hard work, a lot of good days, and a lot of bad days.

And most of all, it takes not giving up.

You keep writing. You keep collecting rejection slips, you store up all those agent rejection letters from agents who haven't seen a page of anything you've written but the query letter. You keep going to the MA classes even though some days it feels like you're a complete uncordinated idiot and have no right to be there, and you go even though your entire body hurts and you can't remember ever willfully putting yourself in the position to exist in that much pain.

And I come back here every day, and I say: See. Don't give up.

Whether or not all of this work will pay off - hell, I don't know. But doing what I do, and documenting it, gives me a lot of self-confidence and assists in the clarification of my own thoughts and expression of ideas.

If nothing else, it's a really handy writing exercise.


Today's Goody Bag

It's a lovely rainy November day here in Chi-town, and Al-jazeera has some news about Bush's cabinet reshuffling (Colin Powell has had enough, and it's rumoured that Rumsfeld is leaving), and here's a neat 10 things the Chinese do better than we do from the Globe & Mail, and a boingboing reader sent in a cool purple-haze electoral map that more accurately shows how the mood of the country actually went (very purple) - we should be using this one from now on, and Xeni asks: "Could someone who renounced their US citizenship declare themselves a citizen of the Internet?" (cool), and for those who didn't catch it on CNN, did you ever think you'd see this headline: "Blogs Send Stocks Into Reverse"?

More later....