Monthly Archives: September 2011

Tumblr Grrl

http://madelineclairefranklin.tumblr.com

So one of the social networking sites I had some high hopes for just before I was blocked at work is tumblr. I really love this site. I don’t know why, maybe I’m seeing it totally wrong, but it seems like even though I have my full name up there it’s a bit more anonymous, and even though a lot of the interaction I see on there is from strangers, it’s a bit more intimate. When I have the time I like to post images on there that inspire me for my books, and write a short scene to go with them. Of course I post quotes, too, and things that I find funny, maybe a little offensive even (in a fun way! :P). 

Last spring I found myself getting nostalgic, and I thought tumblr was the perfect outlet for that kind of randomness–the posts were too long for regular social media, and too unimportant for my Livejournal, and too intimate for my blog. So I began making “Random Memory” posts, posts that were a lot of fun to write, creatively fulfilling, and seemed to make a lot of people happy (I really had no sense of how tumblr connected people until total strangers found my posts and favorited them, and then I checked them out and loved their tumblrs too). Of course, not having internet access here at work and being busy all summer at home with moving, I stopped posting those. But I was stuck getting my oil changed for an hour the other day and posted another random memory, and immediately people found it and read it and liked it.

I like that–it totally gratified my ego ;) I like that on tumblr I can write things down that are worth sharing with the world, things that people appreciate, and can find relative to whatever they’re in the mood to find searching from their dashboards. I like that, even though I’m posting about my own memories, it feels less narcissistic than just rambling my thoughts out on this blog. I suppose it is still narcissism, but I don’t think anyone can deny that blogging, Facebook, Twitter, etc. are all inherently narcissistic activities to engage in. I guess through tumblr I’ve found it to be more of a creative community, where I’m actually sharing something people might enjoy seeing.

So, what I’m trying to say is, I found a way of being present on the internet that is not only creatively satisfying, but seems to get a response from people. And even though the first pro is the most important, it’s nice to think that maybe, just maybe, I can do a little marketing without actually selling anything–I’m just being myself, and not forcing myself to post deep-thinking thoughts, or cleverly headed posts listing “[number of] things to know/do/be/see/read/think about in order to/before [goal to achieve].” (I’m sorry, but does anyone else find those subject headings transparent yet? Not to mention totally misleading.)

So I will still update here of course, but this is probably going to become more of a web site than a blog. This space is likely going to be used only for news announcements. In the meantime, if you want you can follow me on tumblr for a more creative kind of blogging :)

Con brio

Imagine that the world revolves around music. Some of us play, some of us listen, most of us are critics or fans in one way or another.

We exist in an auditorium with a stage that, over time, has evolved to become almost infinite. Not only infinite, but open to anyone, at any time. The auditorium is cacophonous, a clash of keys and timbres and tempos. Everywhere you look, there are people playing their songs, shouting their music to the world, calling for others to join their band, summoning fans to watch them perform.

There are orchestras, and pop groups, and solo artists. Their fans rage; their critics rage; the artists rage to be heard over each other.

You’ve realized that you are a musician, and you want to play your own instrument. You’ve played for a while, unseen, off stage, while others clamored for their place on the stage. But you don’t want to hide it from the world. You don’t want to hide behind your instrument, either.

And how in the world will you ever be able to play when you can hardly separate the sound of your strings from the others? They twist the melody from your mind, overpowering you with their own syncopation, their theory, their practiced modulations and formulaic refrains.

But you’re not afraid. This is not the way that music has to be. It’s not the way you want your music to be, not the way you want to play, and you will not let them scare you from the stage. So you take your instrument and you climb onto the glossy wooden floor boards, and you turn yourself away, at an angle from the crowds, because you do not play for them. You hope they will like your song, but ultimately that is not why you put your bow to string.

You focus on your breathing, on the music in your head, and as the din around you turns to white noise a melody escapes you, and you play. Your song goes unheard, but you are playing, you are breathing song into the world, and your fingers are dancing across the strings.  The undermining modesty of your sound draws curious attention, but that is not why you play.

And suddenly, you do not know how, or why, or when, but all you can hear is the stream of your own song, notes ringing in the rafters, soaring and ecstatic. And you play and you play, and the music gushes until, all around you, the auditorium transforms. The music bends to weave between your notes, creating an abstract symphony.

And you play until you are exhausted—exhilarated, but exhausted. And suddenly you realize that the noise is still there, the noise is maybe even louder than ever, but you see the random faces in the audience turned towards you, listening. Thinking.

They heard what you did, even if you didn’t mean to.

Even if the noise remains.

It’s better than applause, this silent appreciation. Your sound may not have dominated, may not have pierced through the bedlam, but it reached who it was meant to reach.

And still, you played it only for yourself, for the sheer joy of communion with your muse.

Perfect synchronicity. Perfect unfolding. As you always knew it should, and would be.

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Rumble Strips

So I had an “off” day yesterday where I was cynical and critical and hopeless and sad. Then I remembered who I was, and that is Not A Victim, but rather Someone Who Can Be, Do, or Have Anything I Want. I believe that, I really do. I believe we all can. But sometimes we get in our own way, like I did yesterday, by focusing so strongly on all of those things that are the opposite of what we want.

But it helps. It helps to clarify, sometimes, who you really are and what you really want. Sometimes these “off” days are like those rumble strips at the side of the road: you’re driving down the highway of your life, you’re saying “this is where I wanna go!” and things are going along swimmingly. Then you glance at the other drivers, look at what they’re doing, think, maybe I should do that too, and in looking at the other drivers you begin to veer. First you’re just on top of the solid yellow line. Then you start looking back and forth, at them and at you, and you wonder should I have a fuzzy pink steering wheel cover? Maybe I need more bumperstickers like that car, or no bumper stickers like that car, it’s so classy… and before you know it you’re rumbling along, your entire car shaking you back to yourself.

That’s the universe reminding you to stop looking at what everyone else is doing, and think about what you want to do.

That’s what happened to me yesterday. I was made to face a lot of things about myself that made me feel less than other authors out there finding success through internet self-promotion. I am not a social networking butterfly. Even if I had access to it at work, I’m not good at being appealing to others. I have been an outsider and observer since I was very young, and things like that don’t really ever change. That doesn’t mean I dislike using things like Twitter and Facebook and Tumblr, because I do, I love to keep in touch and share my thoughts. But I feel a bit stifled doing that as Madeline Claire Franklin, Author, instead of just Maddie. See, I LOVE WRITING, but that’s not the whole of who I am. Just like I love being married, but I’m more than a wife. I love my parents, but I am more than a daughter. I am more than the sum of my parts. One of the things that makes me uncomfortable on the internet (and, too often, also in real life) is how so many people confront the world as if they were only the items listed on their Facebook profile, be it religion, sexual orientation, occupation, political party, etc.

Anyway, cynicism aside (because I acknowledge that is a generalization and I know it does not apply to everyone), I know the real Maddie is not someone everyone is going to like, but I am unwilling to be someone I am not. I’m not perky. I am annoyed by ALL CAPS. I’m not everyone’s friend, though I try to be kind and non-judgemental and give everyone the benefit of the doubt. I have strong opinions that are probably different from yours, and might even offend you. This whole entry might offend you, even though that is never my intention. I have a clearer idea of what I am not than what I am, because what I am is mostly fluid. Sometimes, I’m the pinnacle of moderation. Other times, I get extreme. I can be calm, cool, and collected, and I can be a spaz. I can be supportive, and I can be jealous, and I can be confrontational, and I can be shy.

I am not going to pretend that I can be really truly liked by even half of the people following me on Twitter. And really, being liked has never been my goal. My goal has always been the same: to make a living as a writer. People, especially on the internet, have a lot of opinions about how this can be done. Most would say that by not trying to be loved and gathering an audience I will never make it. But I say that’s not true. Plenty of good, successful authors, do not go anywhere near Twitter.

Anyway, I’m done with looking at the other cars on the road. I am peripherally aware enough to avoid collision, but I am focusing on my car now, and where I’m going. I will always write books and publish them, whether that’s by myself or with a publishing house. I will always be true to myself and write the stories that I want to tell–that need to be told–regardless of how large or defined their audience might be. I will always try to accurately represent myself on the internet, and be the person I really am, and am striving to become.

So these are my goals, should I ever need to remind myself:

  • To write, to the best of my ability, the stories that come to me wanting to be told
  • To make a comfortable living from writing those stories
  • To be true to myself and my work

 

Simple. Doable. Because I have faith in the Universe to deliver that life to me, and I have faith in my stories and my words.

So much faith.