Friday, February 25, 2011

Personal Post is Personal

Years ago, after floundering without a focus for this blog, I set a couple of ground rules for what this blog would be about and what sort of content I would allow myself to post. This was never written out, but it was what occurred in my head to give the blog a particular shape and flavor.

First: This would be about books and stories and storytellers. Genre didn’t matter, though I have particular interests that I choose to write about more often than others. I just wanted to focus on the cool stuff folks were writing, fiction (and nonfiction) that got me excited.

Second: No contests.

Third: No blatant promotion unless it was something I was already excited about or could self-justify why I should promote a particular book or event. Press releases were few and far between and were only posted when I really wanted to amplify the signal. If you wanted to take the position that any blogging is promotion, I can’t argue the point, but I would say that most blogging is done for personal reasons and I talk up the folks who excite me as a reader. You’ve likely noticed particular writers who get mentioned far more often here than others, sometimes years before there is a hint of a novel on the horizon. There’s a reason for that and it isn’t because any of them asked me to.

Fourth: Nothing personal. This is a book blog. It’s not about my life. It’s about the stuff I like to read. I’ve done personal journaling over the years in other places and that’s fine, but this wasn’t the place for that. Also, I just don't like talking about myself.

So why this?

Seven months ago, back in July, I enlisted in the Air Force Reserve. Since then I’ve been either waiting to find out what jobs were available, waiting to receive a ship date to leave for Basic Training, or waiting to actually leave for BMT. The key word here is “waiting”. Unless I do something really stupid and get hit by a car, in three days the waiting will be over and I’ll leave for BMT and then Tech School where I’ll train to be a Med Tech.

What this means for you is that for two months I will have next to no contact with the outside world and for the five months after that I’ll be studying my butt off trying to wrap myself around the medical stuff, getting my EMT-B certification, and generally being busy. Any reading time I have will be study time. I’m rather excited about the opportunity. Turning 32 while in BMT, I’ll be one of the older recruits there (Active Duty has a 27yr age limit, Reserve is 35) and will have to work just a little bit harder to keep up with the youthful energy I’ve grown out of. That’s fine. Grandpa here can keep up with the kids.

This would normally be about the time I would announce that the blog is going on hiatus and all four of my readers will be lamenting the demise of the blog. That’s what normally happens, right? Blogger says he is taking a break and then never comes back. Well, I’m going Reserve, not Active Duty, so once my training is done I’ll be back home doing the traditional Reserve duty and will have pretty much the same amount of personal time as I do now to haphazardly blog.

But! I have a treat!

While I am going on hiatus, this blog is not. A number of awesome people have graciously agreed to contribute some of their time and guest blog for me while I’m away. There’s no set schedule for this, but considering how infrequently I’ve been posting, I can’t say that I have room to judge. Plus, busy people are busy and I appreciate the assistance.

Here then are you erstwhile bloggers:

Kelly Barnhill: Kelly is the author of the forthcoming YA novel The Mostly True Story of Jack and a bunch of really cool stories, most recently “The Taxidermist's Other Wife”. Oh, and she's super duper awesome.

Jennifer Pelland: Jennifer is the author of some kick ass short fiction, twice nominated for a Nebula Award (“Captive Girl” and “Ghosts of New York”). Her short story collection Unwelcome Bodies was published in 2008 and her debut novel, Machine, is due out in 2011. I am terribly excited to read it.

John Picacio: Artist Extraordinaire. John has been nominated for a number of Hugo Awards and has won a World Fantasy Award. You may have seen some of his work.

Codename V: You don't know her, but she is awesomesauce.

Alison McGhee: Alison writes wonderful books. I cannot recommend Rainlight or All Rivers Flow to the Sea highly enough. She'll break your heart with the turn of a word. Alison is a # 1 New York Times best selling author and her novel Shadow Baby was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

Yes, this blog is now exponentially cooler than it was yesterday.


Unknown said...

There's a reason you are my favorite bookish blogger.

Carl V. Anderson said...

All the very best to you and thank you so very much for your willingness to serve. I am sincerely grateful to folks like you. I hope you enjoy your training, get a chance to read some non-school-related books during your down time, and look forward to you coming back. In the meantime it looks like you've got a great list of guest bloggers to hold down the fort.

I hope you break your "nothing personal" rule when you get back and let us know how everything went.

John D. said...

Exciting! Take care, Joe. See you soon.

Todd R Moody said...

Good luck in training and welcome to the reserves. I've been a reservist for the last 11 years and wish I had known about it the 13 years before that when I was on active duty. =)

I hope you really enjoy it and thanks for serving!

Joe said...

Thanks all, and thank you, Todd.

King Rat: I just assumed it was my general awesomeness. ;)

Carl: We'll see. I still don't like talking about myself much. I suppose I can share something when I'm back.

Neth said...

Best of luck - I've always enjoyed reading your blog. When you return, I'll still be reading.

Chad Hull said...

I hope this new position is everything you want it to be; best wishes.

Aidan Moher said...

Glad to see the blog's in good hands while you're away!



Unknown said...

I'm really sorry to have let this slide for so long, but I'm still picking up the pieces of all the things I let slide as my father was dying. Just let me know when you need me to start in on the guest blogging, and I'll try to dig out the email with the instructions on how to set up an account.