One of my many ties to geekdom is my #1 Pinterest pet peeve: when people post quotes from famous books or famous authors, Ralph Waldo Emerson being an apparent favorite, when they clearly have never actually read any of their work. I think the quote that infuriates me the most is “You have bewitched me body and soul” from the film adaptation of Pride & Prejudice. I don’t remember reading that line (I would’ve remembered it, because underneath the scales of this dragon hide of mine, I’m still a hopeless romantic), and I doubt that the ‘pinner’ ever physically read it either. Poor Jane Austen, Ralph Waldo Emerson, F. Scott Fitzgerald … Erica Jong. “But there are many people who don’t read books.”
I’ve just read an interview with Erica Jong in Elle, by E. Jean Carroll, to mark Fear of Flying’s fortieth anniversary. Now, I humble myself in admitting that I’ve never read it, but she sounds feisty enough to pique my interest to do so.
She’s not an advocate of blogging, though.
“Blogging? It’s stupid to write for no money…Writing should be a profession. You can’t give it away.” Well, Erica baby, a broke bitch has gotta do what a broke bitch has gotta do. If I didn’t write about this limbo/blue hell of being trapped between trying to be contented with not knowing where my life is going and fighting tooth and nail for what I’ve always envisioned my life being, I’d kill myself in the most morbid way I could think of (I’ll leave that to your imagination). I’m trying to define and achieve my own happiness, and blogging is a way for me to exorcise all my nonsense, my bitterness, and my inappropriate(/sadistic) humor that are counterproductive to my goal. Besides, no traditional publisher or media outlet is going to want to endorse my brand of “brilliance” otherwise, so I do it myself. The self-publish, the self-broadcast … there’s merit there, at least for me. I can curate my content to my own taste, without anyone editing out my un-refinement, and I don’t need anyone’s prior approval to give myself a voice. Joanna Coles, Cosmo’s Editor-in-Chief, seems to agree, as does Emily Bell in her article for the Guardian ‘Journalists are on the move in America – and creating a new vitality‘:
“…in a world where social platforms allow journalists to form their own followings, create their own cultures and cults and be far more in control of their own work, the publishing brand becomes a less significant factor.”
But ‘published author’ is, of course, the ideal. I want to graduate from the digital space into print and allow people the opportunity to physically handle my words, bound in a book, a glossy, or folded in the Sunday Times. Or maybe even a script (I often fantasize about writing a comedy about my family—we don’t just have one or two skeletons in our closet; it’s fucking Arlington Cemetery back there, and each one of them is a great story). All I need is an opportunity and an “aha!” moment. Till then, I’m all about proving myself, about earning my place between book covers; digital offers a compromise for today’s urban audience who neither have the attention span nor the stamina to get through most longform journalism. You have to make the medium relevant to the audience, which is why I perforate my posts with images or gifs to keep you, my reader, interested. Like this one, which I found in my Photos and LOL’ed:
So, obviously, this blog is about more than me marinating in my penniless misery when I should be living the LMFAO Party Rock lifestyle; it’s about my defiant determination to write about anything, even if it is, at one point but hopefully not indefinitely, marketing copy for cat food. If it is, I want it to be for this cat:
But I’m not afraid of flying.
A final note from Miss Jong:
“I blogged for Arianna [Huffington’s The Huffington Post] for three years. I thought she was going to take care of us when she sold out. I must have been insane … Arianna sold out for $300 million, and she didn’t pay anybody. I said to her: ‘How can you not pay writers? You are a writer.’ You know what she said to me? She said: ‘It’s a platform.’
Good thing I just applied for one of HuffPost’s editorial fellowships!