Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Current Events

It's the end of the semester this week, so I'm wrapping everything up, calculating my students' final grades and getting all my thesis crap together. I finished my workshop with the famous writer last week and it didn't go as planned, meaning the famous writer wasn't completely blown away by my writing, or in fact, even remotely impressed by it. Every time I'm in one of these workshops with famous authors things, I secretly always hope that I will impress the person so much that they will say things like they've never seen a student write like me or that I am in possession of so awesome a talent that they simply must publish me in their journal immediately and have their agent call me at once. I've been hoping this since I've been in school. I've always wanted to be the star student.

Has. Not. Happened.

I haven't so much as ever even one time had a teacher even say I had talent. So much for the whole cliche of the teacher taking the student under his/ her wing and making something great out of them. I love those stories. These after school special cliches have warped my entire perception of the world I think.

But you know, I'm not complaining just because I had unrealistic expectations. I'm actually kind of making fun of my own idiocy.

I've been in a terrible slump here recently. You remember that episode of "Friends" where Ross was in a slump and he started lashing out at people? Then Monica made him a special sandwich and someone at his job ate it out of the work fridge and he completely lost his shit and had to go on sabbatical. I feel like that. I feel like Ross having anger management issues. I've had a meltdown every single day this week and most of them have been over nothing. One of them was because I wanted to write and couldn't think of anything to write about. Luckily that passed quickly, so don't worry. This isn't going to be one of those posts where I say I have writer's block. I don't. I swear.

I have some stories planned, but I'd like to rest briefly from the hard core writing and give some updates on things going on right here in my present.

1. Faith Hill found ME!!!! On Facebook! I had looked and couldn't find her. Then out of the blue she found me and guess what? She's totally fine. All that stuff about her was rumor apparently. She looks great and seems to be living a normal life. The thing is though, that I've barely communicated with her. She didn't seem open to a gigantic gab fest of catching up, so I just said hi and that she looked great and she said the same to me and that was about it. But it still made me really happy. And it made me realize how ridiculous many of the Millpond rumors are. I recently found out that people were saying that I was a lesbian painter in New York which could not be further from the truth. I could never be that exciting or glamourous.

2. And speaking of Facebook, I've learned a few things and I'd like to pass them on. First off, some of those people who seemed a little eccentric and quirky back in high school have now had enough time for all those little quirks and eccentricities to ripen into full blown psychoses. Secondly, there sure are a lot of people who harbor a lot of unnecessary resentment and animosity towards one another based on stuff that happened twenty years ago. Luckily this hasn't happened to me directly. No one has resentment towards me, but I've observed it in others. So new rule - stuff that people did in high school doesn't count. You'll be happier if you live by this rule. Most kids are mean in high school and middle school. It is the nature of adolescence. Hopefully people have grown and matured since then. Of course there are some who don't, but I've found that most people do change and things they did as kids should never be held against the people they are now. This goes for relationships too. Young adult and adolescent relationships don't count towards your real life. They provide practice and milestones, but the nature of these first loves is that they don't work out. They aren't supposed to. Most of the time kids don't have the maturity needed to maintain any semblance of a real relationship and because of this sometimes (usually) we get hurt. My high school boyfriend dumped me for someone else while I was ON MY WAY TO VISIT HIM. I had to turn around. I was utterly suicidal over this. But you know what, he's a wonderful person and we're still great friends. The boyfriend after that I abused relentlessly because I was a fickle, silly little girl. I broke this poor boy's heart a million times over and you know what, he didn't hold it against me. We talk a few times a week now and are very dear friends. So don't use Facebook as a way to relive your teen angst. Let people change and forgive them. Thank them for teaching you valuable life lessons that helped you get to the relationship you're in now. Add them all as friends.

3. I was considering starting a Wide Lawns Facebook page, but I'm lazy as all get out and I don't know if I would adequately maintain it or if you all would want to be my friend. I don't know what I would put on it. Do you want me to do it? After my American Idol post last week I was thinking how I'm a really bad self promoter and maybe now that I'm done with grad school I should focus some time on promoting my career some more. I'm oddly self conscious about doing this. I think in general we have a societal taboo against self promotion, but then I think, if you don't promote yourself then who the hell will do it for you? You can't sit around and wait for things to happen to you. You have to make them happen. So maybe I need to rethink my prejudices against self promoting. Surely it can be done without being sleazy, right? Ideas? I wish I had a publicist.

4. After June 19th I will be officially out of a job. This concerns me deeply. I'm looking for a new job and leaving no stone unturned, but there is a hiring freeze on teachers down here, so things aren't looking great so far. Still, I'm optimistic. I'm also considering putting ads on my blog. I haven't done it yet because I wanted to keep my site commercial-free and I'm lazy and because I thought readers would think I was selling out or something. I personally don't mind ads on other sites at all. Usually I ignore them or if it's someone I really like I click the ads as a favor to them. I'm going to ask you all. Would you mind if I "monetized"? I need the money but I'd rather not piss off readers. Please let me know your opinions on this before I make my final decision. Would you expect more from me? What would you expect?

5. I'm going to get some housework and grading wrapped up and once I throw the laundry in, I'll sit down and write something real for you all. In the meantime, I'd like to hear your thoughts on some of these ideas.


Claudia said...

Yes, I would be your FB friend if you joined FB. Love your blog. I think you have talent even if the Famous Author can't be bothered to tell you that. Also, slap all the ads you want on your blog. I usually read it via Google Reader so I don't see them anyway. :) But, when I click thru to leave the rare comment, they wouldn't bother me in the slightest.

Anonymous said...

I would just like to post a little comment on how bitter some people can be towards people from high school. I know your high school or school in general life sucked as well, but for a lot of kids, those high school dramas have seriously scarred them. Some just as physically as mentally, I've had friends kill themselves and a few fail to kill themselves in highschool because they just couldn't take it anymore, and I know the exact reason, the exact people that couldn't leave them alone that made them do it.
I will never forgive those people.
I do not trust people at all, I won't let people get close to me anymore because of the amount of times I've made friends and had my heart stomped on by those "Best Friends" spraying hair spray into my eyes and calling me scum, a lesbian and any other name they could think of.
People can be mean, children can be mean, but that does not excuse them of it. Especially since most of them havn't changed at all.

Just want to comment on that part, other than that, don't worry if a writer doesn't crawl all over your work, sometimes good writers are shitty readers, sometimes their editors have combed over their work so much that the really "good" part about their writing isn't even them. And sometimes, just because a writer is popular, doesn't mean they're good at all (I mean look at Twilight)

Wide Lawns said...

I'm sorry those awful things happened to you. They happened to me too and I've encountered people who didn't change as adults too, but most of them have. I guess I've just gotten to a place where I'm able to forgive and forget and where I haven't allowed myself to be scarred by it.

Vic said...

I don't do FB. Otherwise, my answer would be unequivocally yes.
As for ads, as long as you're writing, I couldn't care less what's in the sidebar.
Self promote. Shamelessly. You are that good. You have train cars of talent.
What about the book?
The old HOA stories always screamed series, movie, book.
Also, since you brought it up, how do you feel about what Tara has done over at Hobo Stripper?

Ania said...

Put ads on if it helps you get by. I don't think it's that big of a deal, especially in these economic times. And because you've discussed it with readers, you might even get more clicks because you didn't just do it and act like you could care less. I hope you find a job!

Amblus said...

Yes to FB and yes to blog ads. I'll still read you and I might even throw you a click now and then!

Jocelyn said...

When I first started reading blogs last fall, you were one of the first ones I found. And I lurve your stories and writing.


So thanks! I'm now completely immersed in bloggage, reading and writing. Sometimes my writing is crap but it's crap that had to come out so I can continue this free therapy instead of sitting on a couch paying someone to listen to me whine.

I do FB and I would certainly become a FAN. I'm a fan of a few things but I don't really "get it." The things I'm a fan of don't really reach out to me so I don't really pay attention to them.

It's your space lady, if you can make some money then please do! I don't mind ads and sometimes I do click thru if I see something interesting.

JTN said...

I like your writing. I'm a professor. Here's the deal about classes. Right now, I have 70 tests with 2 essays each on my desk. I also have 70, 2 page papers on my desk. While I generally like students, I literally don't have the time to gush and write warm fuzzies on each paper. Of everything I read, 70% is fine, 15% is utter crap, and 15% makes me really think about what they said. I wind up writing most of my comments on that latter 30% because I'm either trying to explain to the crap pile why its wrong (my current issue is that several students skipped class and thought wiki would suffice as material for an essay and the wiki was wrong on this topic) or writing short comments on the ones that had real insight.

Every semester I have nice students come up to me and ask if they can get more feedback. I tell them the only way to get feedback is to get in my face and show up to office hours. I'm happy to go through the essays and point out what works and what doesn't in every one, but the only students I get to know on a regular basis are the screwups and suckups.

I guess what I'm saying is don't take it too personally if your teacher isn't giving you the feedback you hope for if you aren't getting in their face. In many classes, I'm lucky to just get everything graded and back in a week.

Travis said...

Please, feel free to add ads. As far as I'm concerned, up until this point you've just been inviting all of us into your home to chat and listen to your stories over a bottle of wine. And we haven't even been bringing the bottle of wine.

And go for facebook. Make it a page where we can be fans - then it will start recommending you to our friends, and you could really expand your reading population through simple facebook curiosity.

Wide Lawns said...

I would love to have fans! Can you tell me how to do it?

Nora said...

Monetize. I certainly don't care. I'm just here for the stories and I don't think the ads are obtrusive.

JMM said...

Hi WL,

Who cares if you have ads? It doesn't bother me if people have ads on their blogs. (I rarely click on them though.)

I would be your Facebook fan. My teenage niece signed me up for FB, but I rarely do a thing with it.

I read alot of popular blogs where the bloggers have published books. I have not felt compelled to read any of their books, but I would totally read yours!

Anonymous said...

Here is a link to the Facebook help on creating that type of page: http://www.facebook.com/help.php?page=175

The link to create the page is here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php

If you need more help, you can get to the Facebook help center through the following link. Once there, click on "Facebook Pages": http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php

Looking forward to becoming a "fan"!

MtnMama said...

I can't stand Facebook, but otherwise, knock yourself out.

The ads don't bother me, but I'm not a "clicker" really. I agonized a little over this issue myself, but I'm also not "google-able" and so that kind of defeats the purpose. An issue that we don't share.

I think JTN's advice was very sound. (And being a current college student, I can vouch for the amount of CRAP, but I would have pegged it higher. I am online, and the posts I have to slog through from my fellow students is truly heinous and painful. And for the most part, these are English majors. sheesh.)

Anonymous said...

Go ahead with the ads. People who really don't want to see ads will have them blocked anyway. Or put up a begging box (sorry "donation widget"). How about for every $250 worth of donations you release one of your subservient worker posts? I bet that would get things going.

- lowwall

kerry said...

I'd be your friend on FB!

You're absolutely right about forgiving people from childhood. It's good to know that people can improve, so if they have, let them.

Good luck on the job hunt! I hope you find the perfect job! Self-promote until you get your success! Do it! I love your writing!

Missicat said...

Definetly ad up if you need to - we will understand! I will be a Facebook fan!

Amanda said...

Do a facebook page. I would friend you.

I think I mentioned in a previous comment that you should have ads on your blog. You put so much work in the blog and have so much talent you deserve to get whatever earnings you can get from ads. If I didn't, well then I have been meaning to tell you that.

You should definitely work on self-promoting more (easier said then done, I know I would have trouble doing it)but you are SO SO SO talented. You're way better then other "famous" bloggers.

Good luck with the job situation. I know it is tough.

Amanda said...

Also can you put your old hoa posts back up? Or tell current readers who have heard about the old blog but don't know about it why you decided to delete it? I have read some old posts via the wayback machine and they were great. I wish I knew about your blog then so I could have enjoyed all of them. I am curious as to why you deleted them.

I know, I know. Curiosity killed the cat.

Linda said...

I have been reading and enjoying your blog for a number of years now!! I would totally be your FB friend and if you choose to advertise on your blog....so be it..I won't stop reading because of it. I won't likely click on them but have at it!! Everyone is free to do as they please!!

Wide Lawns said...

You guys are the best! Thank you so much for your support. I really, really appreciate it.

sarah said...

Go for it! Get the adds on and a donation box. Your writing is an absolute treat to read. I would be more than happy to support you in whatever way I can

nandy said...

I don't mind the ads. As you said, they can be ignored.

I'm on facebook. I'm just learning how it all works. It seems to me, you'd get to see all our faces and details, but you'd still stay anonymous. I'm not sure I'd want it to be so one-sided.

I learned several years ago, when working on a high school reunion, that the cliques from then are dead and gone. My classmates were just so glad to see each other, to see people they remembered and who remembered them, that it didn't matter if we were the hoods, or the preppies, or the hippies, or the jocks.

Some of the most successful classmates were people who barely made it to class and graduated by the skin of their teeth. Somewhere along the way to adulthood, they found their niche and are happy.

Donna said...

1. FaceBook - Hell yeah, I'd be a friend/fan!

2. Ads - Please do! I click by here a couple of times a day (afraid I'll miss something!). Every post is a treat to be savored – like one of those ridiculously small Dove chocolate candies. I’ll gladly pay to read your work (when you finally do get published), so I certainly wouldn’t mind occasionally clicking on an ad or two for you.

3. Famous writers – Who says they know crap about good writing? Really, I don’t think being published automatically makes one an expert on writing. Seriously, like ty-ping says, look at Twilight! Besides, I can’t imagine that most writers would really want to encourage someone who would obviously be serious competition!

Premek said...

I'm not sure about the facebook - add them all as friends. When I had my ex girlfriend as a friend on facebook (several years together, bitter breakup, took me really long time to get over), I was checking her periodically and it really wasn't doing me any good. Since I deleted her, I actually feel better. So, this advice isn't without a caveat... Sometimes, it is not better to keep in touch, some relations are simply meant to be ended and not reminded by you by stuff you have or by informations...

Anonymous said...

You could always come out with a cook book of nasty recipes! Just kidding. Don’t give up! I have watched too many writer friends give up on writing just because some editor passed on their book idea. You have amazing stories and are very talented at writing those stories and sharing with us (and in my case laughing almost every time I read your blog.) Just wanted to say thanks for giving me something to read every day at work.

S. said...

I would SO be your fan in facebook. It's a great way to network if you're interested in more readers, so definitely do it.

As for the ads, go for it. Blogger gives you several options to accommodate them on the page, so they don't have to be very flashy or obtrusive. (The only ads that annoy me are pop-ups and things that flash excessively all over the page.) I'd definitely give you a click now and then.

Also, I love Anonymous' (Iowwall at 1:39) suggestion for the donation box thing. I never got to read your subservient posts and I would LOVE to get a chance to see those.

Jeannie said...

The few people who's names I remember from highschool don't seem to be on facebook.

Monetize if you want. I ignore ads anyway.

sarahfgirl said...

I'm a long time reader who would happily friend/fan you on Facebook. Ads are fine just keep the annoying ones that start talking/playing music off please!

Anonymous said...

Put the ads on, I promise I'll even click on them. Your writing and blog are so important to me. Yes, you need to promote yourself and if I have any flashes of brilliance as to how I will post them. I don't think academia is your fanbase - too hidebound and dare I say it. . . jealous?


Jeremypope said...

Monetize away!

Also, if you're looking for publicity experts/tips, I've found Joan Stewart (www publicityhound com) to be -awesome- as well as Steve Harrison (www yourquantumleap com)

You may be interested in these esp. if you're going the possible book route...

Anonymous said...

Yes, put up ads AND a Paypal donate button. Have a look at how Patrick Killelea from patrick.net handles it - I think his approach is best.


OneMeanMFA said...

Sounds like a good ole fashioned rut. I'm pretty sure all will work itself out. I think a facebook page would be awesome, especially since Facebook is the next best thing from sun-dried tomatoes.

The end of the semester is always a bitch...just think of "They Eye of the Tiger" everytime you get close to getting anything done and you'll be like, "dude! I'm awesome.

Finally, as far a professor saying you have talent, I think deep down all of students would love to be nurtured and told we are in fact talented. I know I do more than I should to get the affections of my professors, which are also never returned. Oh how I would love for my professors to tell me the same thing, you are the next Woolfe...yeah right.

You're awesome and you know it! :-D

Toni said...

Monetize - MONETIZE!!!! Seriously as a long-term reader I'm here to tell you I feel the same as you about ads. If you have the traffic to warrant it, sell the space. Anything to help keep the wolf from the door.

Anonymous said...

I have had a number of people from high school contact me through facebook, but I just can't bring myself to 'friend' them. I don't like them.
They made my life hell for 7 + years (I went to a special French program in high school so it was structured differently) I figure if they couldn't find it in them to be nice to me in 7 years I really don't want to have anything to do with them now. I moved to a new city, now in a new country and they are everything I like to think I have left behind.
I don't like to think I am being petty, I just figure I am saving myself more heartache.
I don't know though, your latest entry has given me pause for thought. Maybe I am missing out on knowing some great people now...

As for a facebook group - heck yeah I would be a part of it. And by all means put ads on your site, I would click on them to help you out.

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding me? Make that money anyway you can! Just make them text ads or whatever and then you won't need to find a job. Then you can do eccentric things and write them here! Don't do it for YOU do it for MEE!

Robin in Ohio said...

Hey, WL.
If you need to add some ads, do it. We'll still keep reading!

Yes, if you get a chance...post some of the old HOA stories. Those were great. I still remember ol' Yvonne (I think that's the name) the hillbilly with the big trampoline in her yard. Whatever became of her and the trampoline?

Just curious.

Maria said...

Place the ads. I won't mind. And if there was something I wanted to buy... I would buy through your site.

Mary said...

Yes to facebook, and go for it on the ads, in these times we should all make money where we can!

kjl said...

WL, you are an amazing writer--don't let anyone let you think otherwise! Your blog is so entertaining. I really believe with some ads and self-promotion you could really make a living with this blog. I say go for it!!

Marcie said...

I don't mind ads. Except the ones that blink colors at you. Those are really annoying. Bug do what you gotta do. It's no big deal to me.

What about what people do in college? My boyfriend's other girlfriend called me once to tell me he had been sleeping with her, and of course I flipped out about it. This guy friend of mine told my boyfriend that I was crazy. Turned out he was pissed cause I told his girlfriend he was still a virgin. He's found me on facebook and I don't want to add him because he called me crazy. I haven't talked to him in years and just now found out what his last name is. I really have no need to catch up with him. I'm trying to resist facebook being a list of all the people I've ever known in my entire life.

And I second or third whoever said to bring back your subservient worker posts! I didn't get through all of the old ones before you deleted them! It was such a guilty pleasure.

Modern Philodoxos said...

i think i experienced the same in public education. i would often try to write things to impress my teachers, only to have them act as though i'd handed in the usual mush people hand in for creative writing assignments. the only time i had teachers who really complimented and encouraged me was when i was in private school. perhaps it's just how public school teachers are taught to deal with students, making them all feel equal or some such crap.

go ahead and sell out with ads.

Anonymous said...

Make sure you put up some Amazon ads in your side bar. I buy almost everything in my life from Amazon... And I'll buy it through you and you'll get money!

Anonymous said...

I don't mind ads on blogs. I rarely ever click on them but I can ignore them so they don't bother me.

I wanted to comment on your desire to have famous authors or teachers tell you that you have an amazing talent. I really think this kind of praise is highly over-rated. Some of the most successful authors were told by the college teachers that they were terrible writers. Some that have best selling books are constantly critisized as being hacks. Stephen King, JR Rowling and Stephenie Meyer spring immediately to mind.

Unless your goal is to write books that are to be used specifically as guides to demonstrate perfect writing then don't sweat it. As long as you like what you write and your readers like what you write, then to hell with anyone who doesn't think it's perfect or who questions your talent.

Believe in yourself and to hell with all the rest.

Sauntering Soul said...

Ads on your blog would not bother me at all.

And I'm not on facebook but if I were, I would love to be your friend.

Anonymous said...

I would be your fan on FB, your friend, I click on the stupid ads if it made you happy... reading your blog has made me laugh, cry, think and much more.

You have my utter support.


Serenity said...

Does an opinion count if it's two days late?

I don't see anything wrong with making money from your blog. The only thing that I do despise about it is when people have SO many ads that the page loads extremely slow...in time, I stop visiting the blog.

Other than that, make that money. Are we going to pay your bills? So do what you need to do.

pj said...

I would totally be your friend if you joined FB, I have been following since SW (I was a slave to SW blog and started seeing Shrimp Princes everywhere). Get those adds up girl - the idea of posting a SW for every $250 is wonderful.

Michelle said...

I think most people understand that web site owners do not live on pageviews alone. If anyone ever questions your decision to add ads, simply tell them "Because I have to eat".

I advise you to delete that part of your post where you asked if people would click on the ads; Google would consider that fraud and drop you if they ever saw it. Never say anything online that could be remotely construed as "Please click on my ads".

Everyone, only click on the interesting ads for expensive things. If you click on ads for ringtones or other spammy things, Wide Lawns will only make a few pennies and Google will show those crappy ads more often.

Good luck! Don't expect to make a fortune, but every little bit helps. Contact me if you have any questions or need any help, ok? Least I can do to help keep one of my favorite bloggers afloat. (Because if I could only help JUST ONE PERSON...) ;)

foxymoron said...

Bring on the ads, you're worth it. I'd "friend" you in a heartbeat. Don't worry, everything will be ok :)

Kirby said...

I don't mind the ads, I can click or ignore and believe me I know what it feels like to be worried about job and money...after all live in Michigan and work for an auto supplier. BTW, Detroit area can be very nice, unlike how you once described us... I live in Grosse Pointe and am about 10 mins from downtown Detroit... google Grosse Pointe, Michigan - lots of history and beauty here in GP.

Christi Lee said...

PLEASE POST ADS!!! You deserve the income!!! Your stories brighten my day. =)

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