Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Round for My Friends

Gabriella Herkert

Catnapped and Doggone

We’re flying without a net this week. Given that all of us write books, short stories, screenplays, even greeting cards with little or no guidance (or adult supervision), I’m having a few adjustment issues working on a blog without a panel topic. I know that Shane is going to be wickedly funny. Kelli will be sentimental and deeply personal. Josh, if it’s his week will be irreverent. Michael elegant. Who am I?

It’s different when we have a topic. It’s like we all have a role we play. Without pre-planning or coordination, we tend to round out the weekly topic with everyone taking a different point of view. Or twisted prism in Bill’s case. Strange as it sounds, it is like a real conversation for me. Of course, I write on Sundays, sadly the least read blog day statistically (everyone reads at work, I guess) so, although I frequently write my blog well in advance I’m forever surprised how I would write the same angle even if I read everyone’s blog entries before I sat down to scribe. If it were possible to order a round for everyone in cyberspace, I would, if only to keep the intellectual give and take going.

The panel questions are just the starting place. I don’t think there’s a day when I read someone else’s entry that I don’t think, “I didn’t know that. That tells me something interesting about the writer. That blogger is brave to say that out loud (Jeannie, I’m talking to you). That is a character trait, a point of view or a visceral reaction that one day, soon, will make its way into something I am working on.” I know that when that happens, my work is better. More interesting. Textured.

Now, I haven’t had a book released in two years for a variety of reasons, some mine, some industry. That is a very long time to go without readers and feedback and community. Some days, I think I’ll never get another one published. I worry that I’ll have all these stories and no chance to share them. I’m spoiled, of course. Few writers have had the opportunities we CMers have had to see our babies take their first steps, to get an email from a stranger who took the time to say ‘good job’ or to sit on a panel, virtual or otherwise, where we get to talk about our passion with people who share it. So, despite the publication withdrawal symptoms, I get to come here and talk about something that matters to me with people who care about it.

This blog has 103 (as of today) regular followers. I get some feedback from posting on Facebook, but the vast majority of followers don’t post comments. When I said that the conversation begins with the post, I mean it. If you’ve never read the comments, you’ll see how the conversation takes on a life of its own. It’s like lunch with Dorothy Parker’s vicious circle or one of those great chemistry roundtables in the bar after the last panel of the day during a conference. I know it’s loud and you have to shout to be heard and a few of us might be slurring a little bit but we want to hear what you have to say. I’m going to be bold and speak for my fellow bloggers. There’s no us and you. Publication means nothing. It is not a line that divides us. Whether you’re a writer or a reader, you’re our people. And we’d like to buy you a virtual round and share stories. All kinds of stories. Bring your friends. Use the tools to post any blog topic or entry that speaks to you to your Facebook or Twitter account. If you’re in a book group or at the library, point them in our direction. We don’t exist without you. As someone who is working through publication issues on her recent work, I need company more than ever.

Otherwise, I’ll have to go back to talking to myself. My neighbors are already giving me strange looks.

Thanks for reading. And participating.



Shane Gericke said...

Back from Bouchercon just a few hours ago and ready to hit the sack ... lordy, I'm tired. Too much talk and too many drinks and too much fun and waaaay too much time on airplanes. And, my black eye hurts. But I wanted to see what you had to say first, as you were bravely holding down the fort while most of us CMers were off playing--er, networking and collaborating--at Bouchercon.

What you wrote about "it starts with the post" was lovely, Gabi. Elegant and profound, your essay was more than your usual high standard of grace under pressure.

Which makes me look bad, and as you know, it's always about me and my needs. So, stop it. Stop it now. Post something about Gilligan's Island or Cheez Whiz or sheep shit, not this profound, elegant stuff.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Meredith Cole said...

We missed you at Bouchercon, Gabi! Yes, what Shane said -- thanks for holding down the fort for us. I'm exhausted, too...

Gabi said...

I'm so sorry I couldn't share B'Con with you. Glad you had fun (looking forward to the black eye story) and I missed you.

Gabi said...

107 followers, up from 103 since the CMers went to Bouchercon. Nice.

Joshua Corin said...

Yay: irreverence!