May 6, 2014

Welcome to My Parlor

There are thousands of blogs about writing: Author blogs, agent blogs, book review blogs, blogs about craft, and blogs about getting published. I subscribe to hundreds of them and am often overwhelmed by all of the information.

But, overall, I think that's a good thing! There are a lot of choices out there, and everyone is looking for different things.

In a former life, I taught college writing and rhetoric. My fellow teachers and I would often use the example of a parlor discussion to illustrate delving into a new text or dialogue. Everyone joins at different times with different ideas, but the conversation started before we entered and continues after we leave.

Kenneth Burke calls it the "unending conversation." He says:

"Imagine that you enter a parlor. You come late. When you arrive, others have long preceded you, and they are engaged in a heated discussion, a discussion too heated for them to pause and tell you exactly what it is about. In fact, the discussion had already begun long before any of them got there, so that no one present is qualified to retrace for you all the steps that had gone before. You listen for a while, until you decide that you have caught the tenor of the argument; then you put in your oar. Someone answers; you answer him; another comes to your defense; another aligns himself against you, to either the embarrassment or gratification of your opponent, depending upon the quality of your ally's assistance. However, the discussion is interminable. The hour grows late, you must depart. And you do depart, with the discussion still vigorously in progress." 

I have wanted to be a writer as long as I can remember, but I've always planned pseudonyms or otherwise been in the closet about that unrealistic pipe-dream. But now that I've written four novels--two scrapped and two half-decent--this blog is my way of saying that I'm ready to be part of the conversation. I'm ready to find my way into writerly circles. I want this blog to be my own little corner of the writing world, as well as my attempt to join the bigger discussion.

I feel like the writing community, as I've witnessed it on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and blogs, is mostly a supportive group with a variety of ideas and approaches to publication. It's the ideal parlor community, really. Almost everyone is nice. Everyone is welcome. We never get tired of thinking or talking about books and genres and themes and authors.

Well, I have thoughts. I'm a nice person. I love parlors. And I'd like to join the conversation.
So imagine your favorite Austen novel or a scene from Downton Abbey. Picture that parlor. Picture the vibrant minds and the exciting conversation (okay, maybe not always exciting).
Now that you're inside, have a seat on a slightly uncomfortable settee or an overstuffed club chair. I'll grab the tea, and we'll have a lovely conversation about writing, reading, books, and publishing. I hope you'll stay a while!

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