I was interviewed for the series THICK SKIN by Andrew Lipstein. I love this series, he’s basically trying to deconstruct negative feedback from the author’s point of view. I loved reading the convos he did with Shelia Heti, Porochista Khapour, and Emily Gould. For better or worse, I am comfortable with getting negative reviews. I know my books are flawed. There’s no way around that. There are no perfect books. Are there? In the interview Andrew did with Laura van den Berg, she’s like, has any writer every told you they couldn’t continue the interview? Because having mean words about you quoted back to you is very overwhelming.
I saw this draft in my emails last night that I wrote to myself. “Write about why you hate blogging” it said. I want to write a little about why I dislike having a website. Unlike my writing, or rather, in a different way, this website makes me feel very exposed. I’ve never been a blogger who is able to churn their normal day into an entertaining blog post. If I were writing blog posts often about my life I can guarantee you I’d feel incredibly depleted. But what makes me sad/embarrassed is that now my website has turned into just a place where I promote myself. I guess that’s what author websites ARE. I started this website in 2011 and now it’s 2016 and I’ve just never found a rhythm for it. I tried Tumblr and couldn’t do it for whatever reason.
Maybe I should get one of those websites where I don’t have to post stuff on the homepage, like Chelsea Martin’s or Elisa Albert’s. I think I’d like that a lot. They get less ‘traffic’—who cares? What’s held me back about having one of those is that they cost a big chunk of $$$$. But perhaps it’s time. I’m willing to stop drinking wine for a month to get an essay made for me. Maybe.
The other confusing thing is I have no clue who my audience for this website is. At first it was a few fellow writers I know from like, The Rumpus, then there’s my aunts and my mom. But when WordPress chose my post On Picking My Brain as a WordPress Discovery or whatever and received 2400 new followers making my total 2481. Who are you people?
I suppose I could link more often to what I’m reading/other people’s work. I have no clue why I don’t do that. But I wanted you to know that the reason I don’t expose myself here is because I expose myself in my books and I don’t get paid to write on my own blog. So I keep it short and surface-y. I don’t like that people can Google me and see whatever I post on my website, especially when it’s lame and self-promote-y. But I save the things I want to say for my books and essays. I have strange logic about my books, I always feel you can hide the most exposing parts in the middle. Because people don’t actually read that part. Haha. On this website, I always either want to write too much or nothing at all and just post a photo.
In May I will probably pay the $28 or whatever it is to renew this website for another year, though I always secretly want to get rid of it.
What do you think? What do you most like reading about hear? The writing process? Books I recommend? I normally don’t have ‘what is my voice/tone’ problems but I do on this website. In fact, during the writing of this post I’ve convinced myself I want to hire someone to build me a website. Anyone reading this want to discuss? email@example.com.
I just read (thanks to my friend Logan) these two pieces that I enjoyed v much:
I don’t think this piece has a name but it’s by the wonderful Katie Heany and about her first book contradicting where she is at now, IRL.
The Year of Numbered Rooms by Emily St John Mandel about her scarily long book tour.
Another essay that’s so interesting is The Ambition Condition: Women, Writing, and the Problem of Success in BITCH Magazine.
Anyone who’s stepped into a literary community—readings, performances, writing workshops, mfaprograms—will testify to the disclaimers that issue regularly from the mouths of women writers in particular. “This is just something I thought I’d try,” and “I’m not really a poet, but…” are words regularly uttered even by those who made drastic life changes in order to carve out time to write. I prepared for months for a major fiction contest in college, for instance, which I entered five years in a row, claiming to others each time that I just “threw something together.” Later, I applied to a single mfa fiction program, and told no one until I got in. I just didn’t want anyone to know what I wanted most. Perhaps I was preparing for failure: If I said openly that I not only wanted to be a writer but that I worked hard at it, my ambitions could be judged against external rewards—and easily dismissed when I missed out on them.
p.s. Galleys of I’ll Tell You in Person have arrived at the Coffee House offices. Email Amelia Foster if you want one for a review or interview. I should have my own copies, today, hopefully! You can also pre-order the book on Amazon or wait and pre-order from a more independent bookstore, like Powell’s. Regardless, thanks for all of the support, readers.