dueling blogs

Love-Hate Relationships

lovehateOnce upon a time there was a panel. This morning there was a blog. And on my first cup of coffee, I find myself blogging back… really?!

See, the point to the panel was that “the internet is forever“, so you need to be careful what you graffiti on its walls. But another thing that came up was, while some things shouldn’t be posted online because they’re too personal, others shouldn’t be because readers may develop a love-hate relationship. Or worse, hate-hate.

Do you, or perhaps someone you know, have an actor whose work you like, but hate them as a person because of something they said? Sure you do. We all know someone like that. My parents will watch Tom Cruise and Kevin Costner, but ignore anything that falls out of their mouths because they disagree with them religiously or politically. That’s love-hate. Hate-hate would be Jane Fonda, who has said and done things that have turned my parents away from her as a human, let alone actress, for-evah.

It’s the fear of that second part that came up on the panel. Someone in the room, name withheld to protect the innocent, summed it up perfectly. “I can never never blog that I hate cats… because all cat lovers will then hate me.” And it’s true. You know the saying “Don’t hate the playa, hate the game,” but it’s harder said than done for some. And as a writer, as any type of social being with an audience, we must all be careful what we say. We must choose our words diligently, even outside our fiction.

Now I will personally post just about anything in my blog. I feel the more human I admit to being, the more real I am to the two-dimensional world of PC screens and iPhone bookmarks, the better. But there are some things I hold back on. There are certain aspects of our lives I don’t feel should be given to the world. Partially for the love-hate issue, but partially because it’s just none of their damn business (that one was for you A). Wrath’s blog wasn’t a love-hate thing, even though his tweet suggested he thought I would think that. Wrath’s was a human thing. And as human’s we are imperfect by nature. Is the blog Mo’s fault? No. It was the type of blog that makes us real. Unlike the type of blog that makes us stupid *ahem, Mo* and gives reason to have panels such as the one we had at Mo’Con this year. Certain conversations are best saved for the phone calls to your closest friends. Others can be shared with the human collective for humor or insight. There is a difference. That was the point to the panel, and this blog entry. I don’t want to know everything about my favorite writers or actors. Just enough to make them human. And I’ll give you just enough to make me human in return.

And Wrath… because ‘dueling blogs’ come with direct responses:

1.) My ex did that. I hated it, but it wasn’t why I divorced him.
2.) I hope Christie throws things at your head when you’re doing that.
3.) I think all men do that.
4.) I know all men do that.
5.) *gasp* You can’t control things while sleeping? My god, I suppose your snore, too!
6.) You admit it, though. 2 Points
7.) City mouse and country mouse were popular for a reason.
8.) Part of why we love you…
9.) We’re all like that sometimes.
10.) hehe, me too! Why do you say that like it’s a bad thing?
11.) Deals are good.
12.) You do other things around the house though, right?
13.) THERE is your cat hate… but I think the populous will forgive you.

and 14, because I too am human and not perfect: No, men don’t change… Relationships can fail based on that alone. Women hope the men will change, they don’t. Men hope the women won’t, they do.

ps. While reading this to the hippie, his 10-year-old piped in: 15.) I like pie!

Medium Rare

happymealRemember when Happy Meal’s® came in a box? Yeah, this blog has nothing to do with that, or Happy Meals, or even McDonald’s. Just the Big Mac.

Or rather, what the Big Mac signifies.

The Big Mac is the best (while your mileage may vary™  just play along) of the junk food available. I think we can agree that it’s basically the polar opposite of a Filet Mignon. And thus we enter metaphorland!

You see, a certain Hippie I know what going off on a rant when I got home yesterday, regarding the industry and it’s love of everything written horribly. A friend of ours was told to “dummy down” a manuscript because, while it was great, it wouldn’t sell like this. Between that and an article he read, he went on and on about bad paranormal romance doing better than well written fiction, fifth grade reading level writing, talentless schmucks getting book deals, etc. He spoke of selling out to the buyers and tossing art to the side.

I was crushed.

I asked, “Do you write for the story or the money, and don’t lie because I know the answer.” He didn’t lie. He said story, “But what good is the story if it’s never sold to be read?”

Oh yes, this spun us off into a whole rant/debate thing. A part of me giggled. Ahhh the good old days—when we were just friends arguing over industry and other nonsense at cons and such. It was playful banter. It was venting frustrations. It was… it was anything but a serious argument.

Then it turned serious.

Not in that we were actually arguing. Oddly, we don’t do that, or at least haven’t yet. This turned serious in that it wasn’t playful. The glint in his eye became an angry monkey that threatened to throttle the muse and force it to kick out crap just to get published.

Yeah, you read that right. “Just to get published.” Which of course, turned into me having a fit about not giving your stuff away, not self-publishing, and asking how purposely writing crap wasn’t just as bad as those two evils.

If you follow my twitter, you may have seen me post what he said next,. “It’s the difference between Big Macs and Filet Mignon… but the ones writing Big Macs can afford the filet, on an island somewhere.” I tried to come back with something snappy—how you want to be remembered for art and craft and all that silliness. (See, now you know I was hot, because I actually used the word “craft”). His response, also on twitter, was low… because it was true, “We’ve been to Poe’s house… have you seen Dan Brown’s?”

Of course, as our house is not just a family but a tribe, and several of the natives were watching the festivities, I turned to them with hope. One is in 8th grade, the other in 11th. “What was the last book you read?” First they answered with books they had to read for school. “No, no… the last book you read for fun.” I was met with blank stares. Then they finally piped up with titles and the following clarifiers which broke my soul. “In 5th grade.” “In 8th grade.”

Does anyone read anymore?!! My mother does. I’m betting most people reading this blog do. But what happened to the reading public? Not only have they been drastically reduced to the minority over the years, but they’re accepting crappy Big Macs instead of requesting, nay demanding, Filet mignon.

I will not sell out. I will not sell out. I will not sell out. I will not give my stuff away, because my mentors told me not to. I will not self-publish, because my mentors told me not to. And I will not write Big Macs.

I like my Filet mignon. Medium rare please.

So tell me, oh loyal audience of mine. What were the last 3 books you read? Genre only? Nonfiction? Do you read the paper? What do you read and how do you like it served—with a side of fries, or garlic mashed potatoes?

Sure, a beach book has it’s place and time, but all the time? Replacing the fireplace cuddle books? No, I just can’t accept that! And this debate is far from over… throughout the rest of the night it came up, at random, with venom, and is sure to be fueled by a dueling blog and more banter today. So help me, kind audience. Help me help the Hippie remember. Listen to the mentors. Do as they say, not as they do. Don’t give your stuff away. Don’t self-publish. And for the love of all things holy, don’t write garbage on purpose! Write good fiction… and if the editor is willing to pay you money to “dummy it down,” deal with it then.

Down with Big Mac writing! Long live beautiful meat™!

Friends-List Whores

Here you go, Maurice.  Time for another round of dueling blogs!

Long ago, in a land far away, or as some call it June, there was a conversation among several writers and editors.  It went something like this:

“Do you ‘friend’ everyone that requests it?”

“Oh god no… I leave out the bands and hookers.”

*insert laughter… it was late, the laughter may have carried on longer that it should*

“I do.”

“Really? Why?”

“They’re free links, free readers, fans…whatever, and willingly attaching themselves to your PR train.”

“But what if I don’t like them, or know them, or want to be associated with them just because they’re on my friends list?” [death by proximity—to be delved into further with next week’s blog]

And the conversation went from there, with several people of differing opinions.  By the end, several people I know [one in attendance] were tagged ‘friends-list whores’ and the discussion sort of died out [I blame the power of The Sandman who took participates against their will] without any concise resolution or decision or decree of unwritten law.  So, let’s open it up again!

What are the reasons for a friends list? Is it just a marketing tool for you, and conversely, for everyone on it? Is it a way to keep in touch?  Is it for advertisements without the banter? Is it all of these things? Is it more than these things?

And what are the reasons to accept someone’s request?  Because they asked?  Because you know them?  Because you want their spam or think they want yours? Because he who dies with the most friends wins?

Let’s be brutal about this “internet community” thing that we’re all doing—whether it be myspace, livejournal, facebook, twitter, blahblah, lockjaw, etc.  It’s the wave of the future, and eventually going to wash up on shore.  Should we roll up our pants and let the gentle water lap at our ankles, or run for the safety of the parking lot because God only knows what’s in that water?

Over the Rainbow…

Have you been to the message boards lately?  I have.  And you’ll notice, I haven’t said a word on many [ok, most] of them for quite a while.  The state of the genre is “off.”  Message boards that used to be great places to keep up on business and news and guidelines and such, have become playgrounds for the idiots among us.

This isn’t new.  We’ve known this for a while.  But I’ve been thinking, and realized that it isn’t new to us, but to the newbies out there, those just now finding the internet and the genre on a whole, it’s what they’re introduced to as “normal.”  To them I’d like to say, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!!”

Instead, watch what the main cast members say and how they act. Ignore the munchkin picking his nose because he thinks he’s off camera, and absolutely stay clear of the ones that know they’re on camera and do it anyway.  You want to move up the ladder?  Then you need to watch those above you on the ladder—not below you—and only those that are parallel to you if they’re also watching those above.  Follow Dorothy and the Tin Man and get where you need to go.  Leave the flying monkeys alone, and forget about those damn poppies.

This isn’t empty advice or even a rant, just an observation.  What’s happening in the genre is something akin to watching the Wizard of Oz, except instead of following the yellow brick road, all the new residents in Oz are just wandering through the woods trying to figure out why they haven’t been invited to the Emerald City.  The directors [board owners] are not yelling “Cut!” and leading anyone back to the path.  Rather, they’re handing them rotten apples and sending them into the fray to battle grumpy trees.  Of course, then our poor wanderers can’t figure out why everyone’s mad at them… well duh!  Read the script. There is a path to take, obstacles along the way, and a very clear road to follow that eventually leads to a runaway hot air balloon.

Wait, where was I going before this metaphor took over?  Oh yeah.  The genre is not Oz.  It has its up and downs, peaks and valleys, and right now we’re in the dank, scary cave at the bottom of the valley where, if you’re not careful, you can hit your head on the ceiling and end up thinking your house has flown over the rainbow to a new land where there are no rules and the little people with the loud squeaky voices are in charge.  They aren’t, and this isn’t Oz.  I promise.  It’s just a bad dream.  And eventually, everyone will wake up and realize that.  Then they’ll look around and proclaim the insanity of the land they visited and say you were there… and you were there… and you were there.  Do you really want to be one of the poor farmhands that is pointed out as being in la-la land?

To the newbies out there, follow the lead cast members and get your asses to the storm cellar.  It’s the best way to avoid being one of those that is forever smudged with the black mark of “newbie thinking this is normal goes batshit on boards… news at eleven!”  Sure, entertainment can be fun for a moment, but the net is forever, and the people you’re entertaining have memories and screen captures and notebooks.  Your antics will not be forgotten and you’ll have to work hard to even attain the status of forgiven.  To the munchkins picking their noses, well… Kleenex is an option, but I see you’ve already used your shirt sleeve.

This post brought to you by Dueling Blogs, a sick and twisted pastime of Maury’s and mine that involves long phone calls that usually end with “We should blog about that!” 

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