Open House

I went to the Open House at my son’s high school last night, and I am jealous. They get to debate basic constitutional principles in APUSH (the odd acronym for AP US History) and there is a course called End of the World and Dystopian Literature in English. with a reading list that went from Atwood to HG Wells and films like Blade Runner and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Add to that the beauty of physics and calculus. Every class sounded fascinating (okay, maybe not French grammar) and I wanted to go back to school!

It seems like such a wonderful luxury to read and study, to be challenged to stretch your mind every day. I wonder now, whether I should have become a teacher, but teaching the same class over and over is not the same as being a student. When you get older, you have to specialize. That’s the problem. Maybe that is why I shift from job to job. Even when I was a lawyer, I avoided specializing by acting as Corporate Counsel, where each new problem required gaining enough expertise to monitor and oversee the specialists or handle it myself. Then on to the next challenge

I’ve also avoided specializing by writing, although now that I’m finally acquainting myself with marketing, I see the value of ‘brand’. I’ve gone from short stories, to ‘creative nonfiction’ family history, to novels and each required becoming an expert, and then I moved on. So it’s satisfying, but not with the same variety, or, frankly, the camaraderie of being in an academic environment or even an office environment. For pure intellectual stimulation, there is probably no better moment in life than when you are a student at good high school or university.

Am I being nostalgic for something that never was? Is this all a rosy picture that denies the thorns?

Maybe. But I’m starting on the reading list for that literature class, tomorrow!

A Life of Its Own

I’ve been taking an online class on the subject of blogtours, which means finding blogs to host me as a featured author, introduce me to their audience, and hopefully interest them in my work, thereby generating readers. Most of the work of the class, so far, has been to critically evaluate our own blogs and those of other class members. I’m dizzy from staring at computer screens full of buttons and gadgets and links– instead of working on my novel– all in the name of letting people know about my recently published book. At a certain point I have to ask why.

If you write non-fiction, it makes a lot of sense to do these things, but fiction takes a different set of skills, mind-set, and talent. My audience is probably people like me, people with a similar sensibility and worldview, and the trick is to find where they are and how to reach them. But I suspect it may not be through blogging, because the fact is, I don’t enjoy it.

When my son was very young, he once lamented that none of his friends shared all his interests, and the perfect friend would be a clone. Although a clone-friend might have drawbacks, I need to find my reading clones, the people who nod with understanding when they read my stories, or chuckle at all the right places. The theory of this class is that to find them, I have to present myself to blog hosts who will allow me the space to charm their readers into clicking on my book.

But I still believe that my author-self is someone other than myself. I wanted to use a pen name for that reason, but got no further than S.B. instead of Susan, not much of a leap, but significant in my mind.

The more time I spend thinking about blogging and generating a market, the less time I get into my S.B.’s head and I wonder at the wisdom of it all. The internet holds a vast array of authors, many with interesting writing worthy of being read. Although I believe my work fits that description, if I have to stand on my head and develop a talent for cartwheels in order to be noticed, then I’m no longer a writer, am I? I am a person who can do cartwheels.

I will finish the course and try to find blog hosts, but I fear that this effort will take on a life of its own, and the ‘cure’ for anonymity may destroy the writer in the process.

How to Go Crazy

After carefully proofreading my book and attending to all the details and finally going live, I read the description on Amazon and realized I’d left the ‘n’ out of ‘men’ thereby changing it to ‘me’, which makes no sense in the context.

But when I went to edit it, I couldn’t, because when I inserted the cover image, I’d republished, which means the whole file is in limbo at the moment. Can’t click on it to edit.

So now I have to wait a couple of days before I can correct the description, and all I can think about is the letter ‘n’,