State of the Union

Ages ago, May 25, to be precise, Patty over at Petite Magique nominated me for the Most Influential Blogger award.

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And on June 13, T. K. Morin over at Bite Size Canada nominated me for the Rose of Kindness Award.

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Thank you both for these awards and the tremendous kindness you exhibited by nominating me. Actually, I’m amazed that anyone thinks of my little blog as “influential” (especially when I talk about ice cream) or my commenting as kind. I enjoy connecting with you through my comments. Your trust touches me. I feel like offering each of you a puppy.

When I think of influence, I think of something Franklin D. Roosevelt once wrotein a speech he never delivered: “Great power involves great responsibility.”

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So many bloggers use their influence wisely—another reason to click on the blogs listed above (Petite Magique and Bite Size Canada). If you haven’t visited these wonderful blogs, please take a minute to do so. Patty has wonderful poetry and photos, and T. K. Morin’s incredibly informative posts are all about Canada’s colorful history. You can also find videos and great photos too.

Hopefully someday I’ll get around to meeting all of the requirements to accept these awards. (I understand giving up a pint of blood is one of the newest requirements. But I could be wrong about that.) Anyway, I wanted to at least acknowledge them.

This is probably a good time to talk about why I blog. That’s easy: because it’s fun. It never feels like work. Yes, writing posts and interview questions and also choosing photos and such take effort. But this is “fun” work. Anything that seems like “work” work—well, I won’t do it.

Which brings me to book reviews. I follow many, many blogs with excellent book reviews. Perhaps you’re wondering when I’ll finally get around to including one. If so, I’m sorry to disillusion you. Let me explain why you won’t find those here. Most of it has to do with my desire to be lazy. See this cat? That’s me.

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I’ve posted before about my manuscript reader years. About 2700—3000 manuscripts were mailed to the publisher every year. Multiply that by almost nine years (I’ll wait for you to do that; don’t forget to show your work) and you’ll see how many manuscripts came my way—manuscripts sent by hundreds of people. My job was to critically assess the strengths and weaknesses of these manuscripts, including market research. I also edited books for the publisher.

Wait. There’s more.

I attended a graduate school where everyone was in the midst of writing a book or had written one, including the faculty and the alums. In the program, we were responsible for critically assessing at least ten published books every month. My program was a two-year program, so here’s more multiplication for you to tackle. Add to those the manuscripts I reviewed for another publisher. (I still occasionally review manuscripts freelance.)

So book reviews, at least for me, equal work, especially since practically everyone I know is writing a book. (Well, I know a three-year old who is not writing a book. She’s too busy drinking imaginary tea. But she probably will write a book someday.) To give everyone equal time, that would mean writing hundreds of book reviews. Sorry. I’m too lazy for that.

Please do not misunderstand me. I am not against book reviews, nor am I trying to be insulting. I follow over 50 blogs. (You read that right.) Many of these feature excellent book reviews. I admire these bloggers greatly. I’ve bought many books based on their reviews. But I prefer to do book announcement interviews. Those are fun. I love to feature authors on the blog who talk passionately about their books or their writing process.

So, you get the drift. Whatever = work is a no-no post-wise. Whatever = fun gets the thumb’s up. (Note: I am a beta reader, however. That’s the extent of my reviewing. But you won’t see a review of those books on this blog. :-))

By now, you’re probably wondering, Okay, what will I get from this blog? You will get me waxing eloquent about my crushes on fictional characters, scintillating conversation, posts on DVDs I discover through Netflix, thoughts on videogames, occasional book giveaways, aspects of craft, rants about drivers who irk me, discussions about chocolate and daisies. Y’know, the stuff you find in Faulkner or Steinbeck.

Welcome to my blog!

Cat from LOL Cats. FDR photo from Wikipedia.

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18 thoughts on “State of the Union

  1. ‘With great power comes great responsibily’ is the line given to Spiderman, I think by his Uncle Ben? Not seen that film in a while, but if it also featured in the comics perhaps that is why Roosevelt never used it-warned off by his lawyers.
    I don’t know how old those comics are-whether they preceded the president or not. And yes, I am much too lazy to look it up.
    Now where was I? Oh yes, two imaginary sugars for my imaginary cup of tea. I know, I will end up with imaginary tooth decay.

  2. It must be hard to have such a discipline as a line of work. Soul-destroying even? (Although you seem to have plenty of that left). Apart from the manuscript being written well enough to finish, what criteria do you use to judge a manuscript? How marketable it is? How remarkable it is?

    It makes my heart bleed to think of all those people laying down words, day after day, night after night, to end up in a publisher’s slush pile (if they still have those!). That is why my encouragement to all who want to write is – do it if you REALLY have to.

    If it’s a hobby, then that’s great. Enjoy the whole process. Blog about it. And of course now there’s the whole self-publishing industry that you can be a part of. That’s cool. I’ve even joined in with that one, as it suits my punk sensibilities.

    I wonder what this ‘urge’ really is, to work for hours, weeks, months even years on end, to create something that has a rocking-horse-shit rare chance of being acknowledged by the world at large? I guess it’s just a human need to communicate in some way. But why pick a way that’s so hard?

    The bottom line for me must be that I cannot think of another medium that can so touch the depths of our being like a book can. That must be why we do it? Right?

    We certainly are not doing it to get rich and famous. Are we?

    • Sigh. I guess we do it, because we love doing it. Or we’re masochists. I’m leaning toward the former. And while I was a manuscript reader, I also was a writer sending out manuscripts that were rejected. I read MANY manuscripts that were well written and marketable. But if the publisher already published a similar book, or I was told by the acquisitions team, “No more books about the Civil War,” I had to reject said manuscripts even if they were good.

      Persistence is definitely the key. I’ve posted about rejections I’ve received. I have no idea really how many–well over 60 I know. Just because a manuscript isn’t right for one publisher that doesn’t mean it’s unpublishable. My publisher only published a certain amount of books per year.

      You asked about criteria: unique is the operative word. Has there been anything else like it? Good writing that meets a felt need in the marketplace and shows the writer has done his or her homework (researched the market trends). (Some aspects are subjective anyway.)

  3. Congrats on the nominations. Wow, you had a lot of reading (and critiquing) to do! I have piles of newspapers and magazines and bookshelves filled with books I want to read, but when I carve out time I want to work on my manuscripts. So, the reading that isn’t relevant to what I’m working on waits (for a vacation? for time to stand still?).

    • I totally understand, Naomi. And if your vacations are anything like the ones I take, you wind up running around sightseeing and hanging out so late you fall asleep with the book in your hand. I hope you’ll get to read for fun soon!

  4. Wow, I’ve never read such a award-winning reply like that before; I love your writing and your sense of humour … and your unique way of looking at things, people and events! Keep up the great work! 🙂

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