Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Don't be an Individual

Just in case you've been living under a rock for the past week, it is my duty to inform you that the Third Writers Platform Building Campaign is now live and that yours truly has joined in. (Because yours truly doesn't have nearly enough commitments going on.) I've placed my name in a Fantasy group and in an Adult Fiction group, possibly because I hate myself. The other night I spent hours going through all of the Fantasy signups, checking out blogs, following, commenting. (By the way, is anyone else having trouble with the follower widgets not showing up when you go to someone's blog? I had to refresh many of them up to 10 times for it to display. It's a bit frustrating.) I've yet to get through the Adult groups, but I will!

 I have to admit that I'm disappointed that it isn't a crusade anymore. Crusade is a much more interesting and evocative word than campaign. But then again, I suppose it can't be a crusade. It saddens me, but the final one already happened.

Great movie? Or greatest movie?

To go along with the idea of networking, I'd like to host some guest posts and/or interviews of other Fantasy bloggers here during the challenge. So if you'd like to either submit yourself to questioning (without the small room and bright light, I promise) or just write about a preferably fantasy related topic of your choice, please comment below and let me know how to contact you.

I find it's amazing how many awesome blogs were out there that I'd never seen before. I'm very excited to get to know more people. There are several new followers here. (Hi!) And so it seems like a good idea to do a sort of "getting to know you" post for the campaign trail. I'll almost certainly regret this later on.

Who am I?

There are two sorts of people in the world. Those who, when they hear the words "who am I", immediately think "24601" and those who don't. I am part of the former, happy category. (Or maybe it's just me. Who knows.)

Holy crap, I need one of these.
Let's Get Personal

I like to say that I am, first and foremost, a wife and mother. Nothing will ever come before those two things. My wonderful husband and my four crazy, rambunctious, beautiful children are and always will be the most important things in my life. And this leads me to some stuff I don't normally like to talk about, but it's a huge part of who I am.

You see, I didn't have a very happy parental situation when I was a child. I suffered through two divorces before my biological father abandoned me and my mother's third husband took up the slack by adopting me. Apart from making me somewhat messed up, these experiences make me a strong proponent of a stable home environment for children NO MATTER WHAT. Divorce is wrong. It is evil. It tears the hearts of children into little pieces and much of the time it's for no greater reason than a parent's so-called happiness.

I'm not saying that if you've been through a divorce that it's your fault or that you are evil. Far from it. My mother divorced twice and it wasn't her fault. Her first husband was abusive of her and of my brother and myself. Her second husband was dangerously unstable. Fortunately for her, the third time was the charm. But for me it was too late my then. I was, and still am, irrevocably damaged. So I guess what I am saying is that  you'd better have a damn good reason for putting your kids through divorce. Something greater than your personal happiness.

You've Been Warned

That's an understatement.

I am a firm believer in and seeker for Truth. I suppose I believe that truth is the most important thing in the world. Because of this I tend to be very passionate about and strong in my opinions on various subjects. If the subject is something I care about I usually put a lot of thought and research and careful discussion with my husband into it. So when I come to a conclusion about something, when I believe in something, I suppose I can come across as something of an argumentative know-it-all. I'm not one of those people who thinks that everything is relative and everyone is entitled to their own opinions about everything. I mean, you're perfectly free to state your opinions. And I'm perfectly free to disagree with them strongly.

And, alas, I do tend to disagree with a lot of things that other people say. It's something that I observe more and more as I travel around the blogosphere. I don't think like most people. I can't be sure if it's just me, or if there is a subset of people out there who do think like me but are much more quiet about it. (If you're out there, don't be shy!) Some might call my thinking old-fashioned. After all, I like the fantasy genre because, to paraphrase Tolkien in his essay On Fairy Stories, I prefer horses to cars, castles to apartment complexes, bows and arrows to guns, Elves to environmentalists, Kings to presidents, and priests to "spiritual people". I also prefer beauty to starkness, verisimilitude to "realism", the transcendent to the mundane, hope to despair. And I am an enthusiastic supporter of creative and financial freedom for writers rather than the shackles that publishers try to weigh us down with.

I try not to be argumentative or too negative, but I am always compelled to be fully honest in my thinking. I've gotten through life by just keeping my mouth shut when I didn't have anything nice to say, but it works differently around the blogosphere. All I've got here are my words. But in keep with all this, I welcome, even encourage, intelligent and respectful discussion and debate on any subject. I tend to be sarcastic, though my sarcasm often tends toward the self-depreciating. It is never (intentionally) aimed at others.

Don't be an Individual

I have found in recent years that I'm an individual and I'm not entirely sure that I'm happy about it. Being an individual often seems to me like such a lonely position. I find myself sometimes longing for the sense of community that characterized the beliefs of the ancient Egyptians. I guess that's part of why I'm here in the blogosphere. To meet people and make friends and become part of a community. I'm hoping the campaign will help with that.

Now, if I haven't scared you away by now, here's a hilarious video from which I stole the title of this post:


  1. Hi Sarah. I'm not in your campaign group, but I have joined in the campaign. I saw your post from Google+ where we're in each other's circles.

    I love this article introducing yourself to everyone. I too, am very private and don't like sharing too much information, but your post is lovely.

    And the video. Hilarious.

    Very best wishes with your writing and the campaign.

  2. That video is precious! "purple." lol :)

  3. As always, interesting and well-written post.

  4. Thanks, allie! I always worry about getting too personal, but at the same time it feels good.

    J.A., I know. Poor guy. But he's become one of the best (IMO) sketch comedy creators on the internet so being an individual actually did work out. :)

    Thanks, Heidi. I try to be interesting. :)

  5. Hi Sarah! Thanks for dropping by my blog earlier. It's nice to meet so many fellow campaigners. Nice post by the way. :)

  6. Great intro, 24601! Hehehe! I love Les Miserables. I have great respect for parents that put their kids first. I only have one and he will get the great childhood that I never had. I'm happy to meet you and participate in the Campaign with you. :)

  7. Hi Sarah! Thanks for stopping by my blog today, and if you need anyone to answer questions I love talking about myself (I have a blog, after all ;P). Great idea to have an introduction post - I might have to do that too.

    And I totally agree - I loved being a Crusader so much more than a Campaigner ;)

  8. But as an individual, you're still part of this community!
    I'm part of the Campaign as well. Under science fiction writers.
    And I agree - divorce is wrong.

  9. "We're all individuals!"
    "I'm not!"

    I've thought about an intro post, but I don't think I'm going to end up doing it. Too many other things already lined up.

    I would submit to questioning, but I don't think I have a topic ready for a guest post. Just email me throug the blog if you want to do it. Just one question: can I have a pair of sunglasses for the interrogation?

  10. Alynza, thanks, I'm happy to meet you.

    Christine! I am not alone after all.

    Rebecca, I would love to interview you. Perhaps I should actually come up with some questions...

    Alex, the tricky part it seems is balancing the two.

    Andrew, wonderful. But isn't it the interrogator who is supposed to wear the glasses?

  11. Looks like we're traveling in the same Campaign circles! In terms of your question re: the Last Crusade, I must say that it is the greatest movie. Also, I am one of those people who attempts to SING "Who I Am?" whenever those words pop up in a conversation, so...

    Being an individual does tend to get a bit lonely, and I say this as someone who has always drifted on the outside of social circles for most of my life. Still, I think I've gotten used to it, because I would rather be myself than compromise that.

    I wouldn't mind being interviewed at all, but I haven't reached the point where I feel ready to write a guest post. It's one thing for me to write a boring/lame post on my own blog, but the thought of using up someone else's 'real estate' to do the same thing leaves me feeling a little nervous.

  12. Hi Sarah! I'm one of those people who believes everyone is entitled to my opinion ;)

    I don't think there's much you can do about being an individual. I have a theory (I -always- have a theory on everything) that rare personality types are to blame for the loneliness. Since getting involved online, I've actually met other people like me. Unfortunately, they live on three continents in five different countries...but hey, that's what Skype is for!

  13. OMG I had a theatre poster of that Indiana Jones movie when I was in college! (A jealous BF tore it off the wall "by accident" pathetic is that?)

    I've never written fantasy, although I may try some day since it's out of my comfort zone. (But not for the REN3 contest) :-)

  14. Jamila, I knew you had good taste!

    Angela, that's an interesting theory. I would be afraid to learn about my personality type, though.

    li, the jealousy is completely understandable. No one can complete with Indiana Jones.

  15. Hi Sarah. funny post! I'm a fellow Campaigner (new)--we're in the same adult fiction group. Nice to meet you!

  16. I need to pull my finger out and sign up for the platform building. I think that being an individual is the greatest you can be, though it doesn't mean you can't have a sense of community too.
    And yes, Last Crusade was a great, and one of the greatest, movies :D

  17. Oh, I am SO looking forward to what you will write for the Rule of Three! Thank you for signing onto it.
    First, Ms. Valjean, stay as an individual. There are too many sheep out there already and the wolves are at the door. I prefer castles too, but the heating costs!!!

    Just so you know, I clicked on the video in the email, not here, and got Bad Vicar. Very funny, but I was wondering what that had to do with your title. Aha...funny how things work.

    Great blog. I'm hooked.

  18. Nice to meet you as well, Linda.

    Jamie, I still have mixed feelings about being an individual. I don't think it's as great, generally, as modern western society says it is. But that's a topic for a different post.

    BornStoryteller, I'm really looking forward to the Rule of Three challenge. And I hear they can actually heat castles fairly effectively these days.

  19. It was nice to learn so much about you, Sarah. That video was hilarious.

  20. Potentially greatest movie. Also, "And so Javert you see its true, that man bears no more guilt than YOOOUUUUU!!!"

    smiling :)

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

  21. I agree with your point--it is just words here on blogs. It's very different from face-to-face conversations with people, where things are immediate, and words can be considered before being said.

    Yes, I've been having trouble with Follower gadgets as well. Frustrating. And I think my browser hates me for refreshing so much. :P

  22. Hello, another old fashioned soul here from the fantasy campaigner group.

    If it weren't for some of the hygiene and food safety issues giving me the heeby geebies, I think I could have fit right in a few centuries back. Though being a woman, my tendency to run off at the mouth about issues I feel passionately for would have probably landed me in a heap of trouble.

    It's the list of campaigners itself that's been giving me issues. I had to change from my mobile device to the main computer to just get more than one or two people deep into the list.


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