We love having readers (egomania?)

April 10, 2008

I wanted to take some time to consider a couple of comments from our readers since, well, we have them. Both readers and comments, I mean. Truly, we’re delighted to have them.

Our friend Gayle noted, in response to my not-so-subtle hint that I never know what I’m doing:

I really did think you were, like, totally in charge, knew what needed to be done, etc.

Truth told, I only came up with the idea, and that only because I was in a particularly snotty mood. I had been lecturing a friend on his own blog, which I felt he could utilize to much better results. And in telling him about the weblog of one of my favorite authors, and how the writer managed to strengthen his relationship with readers, I strayed into dangerous territory. I told him about being surprised at LA5 when I found out there was no email list for regular updates on speaker selection, workshop development, and general conference news. Of course, what are we, The Young and the Restless? (“Will Michael spurn Wes for Edwin, or will they compromise in time to attend the Friday Night Poetry Slam together?”)

Real cliffhanger, that.

But once the words were out, my friend told me I should get in touch with MSG and propose a blog. So I hemmed and hawed about it until I finally opened a spare email box, used it to register the SCWC weblog, and then … well … I made a joke about Michael Bay, and just sort of waited, as I recall. The thing is that the site was up about a month before SD22, and I managed to get almost nothing done for that conference. I managed exactly one “Know Your Workshop Leader” post, and she ended up missing the conference for … um … unavoidable obligations.

So I talked with MSG and some other people at SD22 about the blog, and I do think—

My suggestion for this blog would be to keep doing what you’re doing. You seem to divide the space into 1) what’s happening with the conference, 2) what’s happening with the workshop leaders/speakers/etc, and 3) what’s happening in the world of writing in general.

—we’ve got a game plan that looks something like Gayle’s suggestion. In the meantime, with all this extra time before the next gig, I find myself sort of stumbling. I still owe a book review promised last year in Irvine, and I figure I should get around to that at some point, since he’s coming back as a speaker for LA6. But the roster isn’t deep yet, so I’ll probably wait until the summer to start writing up the workshop leaders and speakers. For now, though, I’m left picking through the literary news, and from there it might as well be a crap shoot. Come on … how much does anyone care about an alcohol-fueled fantasy convention near Seattle? I’m hoping to develop some sort of discipline about this and not rely on sources so local and convenient to me. So I admit, I feel rather inadequate each time out.

But dear friends, that is where you come in. I need to check on that spare email box and get back to you, but in the meantime, people should feel free to email me directly with links, announcements, articles, press releases … anything you would like to share with us so that we might share it with others.

So while I have a general idea what I’m trying to do, no, I haven’t yet become comfortable with the idea that people aren’t rolling their eyes and wondering who this clown thinks he is.

Am I not just such a sublimated egomaniac?

Oh. Wait. Did I say sublimated?

But that’s the thing. Right now I feel like this is somehow about me. (Look at the number of times the word “I” appears in this post.) And I’m really, really trying to make this about what it should be, which is the conference and all of the people who make it what it is. Organizers, contributers, conferees—everyone.

Or something like that.

Thank you all for hanging in this far.

• • •

SCWC contributor Julie Ann Shapiro mentioned the other day in the comments that she has a blog up these days. It’s now listed in the blogroll and, by way of introduction, it’s called Author Insights.

And for those that missed it, Julie made the pages of USA Today last month, in a story about the elusive Amazon Kindle e-book reader.

See? This is the kind of thing I’m talking about: I missed this entirely until Julie happened to comment on the disaster with the Comments. I thought, “Oh, hey, what’s she been up to”, and clicked on the link to her regular website and found the link to last month’s article.

So, yeah … let us know. Which reminds me ….

• • •

Yo! Gayle!

Sorry, I just remembered. I got so caught up in my egomania and trying to sound smart while purporting to be an idiot that I completely forgot to make this note until … well, anyway:

Currently, I’m just a humor columnist, but my goal is to publish my book and perhaps be a speaker at one of the conferences – because my dream job is to sit in a big comfy chair and give people my opinion.

Rarely do I get to lecture anyone, but … okay, I lecture people an awful lot, about many strange things. So I’ll skip the lecture. I’ll keep it to just a couple of sentences.

You’re just a humor columnist? Just? What’s all this just? If I hadn’t gone and gotten drunk on Friday night in Irvine last year maybe I would remember whatever it was MSG said about being writers, but for some reason what I don’t recall seems to apply.

Just? There’s no just about it. You are a humor columnist. Compared to me, that’s about four big steps (or one professional-sized leap) up. I’m just a two-bit blogger nearly two-thousand miles removed from the scene he’s covering. And I have friends who will remind me that there’s no just about it. The only reason I write for this blog at all is because I thought of it, and as those friends will remind me, that still counts for something. So compared to the me that whined and smirked about SCWC not having an email list or blog, well, it may seem a small step, but it’s something. Instead of a whining prat, I’m now a moron with a blog. And, hey, that’s quite the promotion for me.

You are a humor columnist. I can’t match your quality or discipline enough to call myself just a humor columnist, so leave that egocentric self-effacing deference to me.

So much for a couple of sentences.

Anyway, is your column online? Send me the link, or post it in the comments. I’ll figure out something to do with it. After all, we’re going to carry Edwin’s Sordid Tales of something or other.

Besides, he’s a few updates behind schedule, so we need filler.

(Always say it with a smile ….)


(Note as postscript: Found it. Is there a regular, stable link? Okay, okay, I’ll do some searching. Meanwhile, anyone who wants to read Gayle’s column from last Friday’s Orange County Register need only click here. Just a humor columnist. P’shaw.)

(Note as post-postscript: What does “p’shaw” actually mean, and whence comes it?)



  1. Actually, I knew I was an update behind. I just needed a little prodding like this to get my buttocks in gear. Here it comes now!

  2. You’re behind? You are behind? Ha! Thbpbpbpt!

    Just don’t shoot me if I end up stacking on top of your post. I’ll try to give it some clearance, but with the updated dashboard, I can’t figure out how to delay a post for a few hours. I just got a piece of news that kind of creeps me out. And I’m only nine days late picking that one up.

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