broadsideblog

Who are y’all anyway? Introductions, please!

In behavior, blogging, life on January 18, 2014 at 1:57 am

By Caitlin KellyFINGERS ON KEYBOARD

Occasionally — every few months — I like to get a better sense who’s chosen to follow Broadside because this blog grows daily, now just over 9,000 worldwide, from Toronto to New Zealand to India. That’s 1,000 new readers since Nov. 7.

I’m glad you’re here, but I’m happiest when you comment. If you haven’t, please do!

Regular commenters include Rami, a college student in Ohio, Kathleen, a teacher in Germany, Dara a new father in Australia — his blog is terrific.  3Bones has written about the battle with cancer his wife faces in British Columbia. Ginny is a professional musician, Grace a college student, Ines a recent immigrant to my native Canada and Beth writes, beautifully, about life teaching kindergarten in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Julia is an old friend from summer camp and Cadence, who writes Small Dog Syndrome, has become both friend and paid assistant — even though we have yet to meet!

You’re a wildly diverse group in age, gender, sexual preference, race and religion. Which, from this side of the keyboard, is both exciting and daunting. Little unites us all but a pulse and a sense of curiosity.

A recent comment chastised me for being repetitive, writing too much about my own life as an author and journalist.

So, just to be clear, here’s my reasoning:

– I read every gravatar of people who sign up to follow my blog. While the vast majority never comment, many of you say you are writers, or journalists, or hope to become one, like R. Hans Miller, a frequent commenter here.  So, it seems fairly obvious to me this would be a source of interesting material to them. This may bore the rest of you. Sorry!

– I’ve been writing for a living since I was 19, a college undergraduate. I’ve saved a six-figure retirement sum from my labor, and new(er) or younger writers need to know that making a living (and a life worth having) from non-fiction or journalism writing, while tough as hell, is possible. Our industry is going through violent, daily disruption and many would-be writers think they have to work unpaid or will never find paid work in our field. Not true! Writing about our business, I hope, will both encourage them and offer real-time, everyday insights into how.

– It’s my blog and it reflects my life. After a few decades of adventures and experiences — from sea kayaking off of Ko Phi Phi to flying through the center of an Arctic iceberg — I’ve got plenty to share with you. Read it, or not. But if I’ve got nothing to add personally, I’m not going to wade into some topic or issue just to throw up some links. I have severely limited time available for unpaid labor, so I write here as I wish to.

— If you can find time, there’s lots of good stuff in the archives, about travel, writing, relationships, cross-cultural issues. There are 1,544 posts here. Some of my favorites? This one, from 2009, on why you should read the obituaries, especially of non-famous people. This one, also from 2009, on why being a news journalist means joining a tribe, in a good way. Or try this Canadian pop culture quiz I wrote in 2010.

If you’re new-ish here, and/or haven’t introduced yourself in the past, or have yet to comment, please step up:

Where do you live?

What sort of work do you do?

What are you studying or teaching?

If you could meet one famous person, living or dead, who would it be and why?

Have you lived in a variety of places? Why? Which did you enjoy most?

When you listen to music, whose do you choose?

If you play music or an instrument, which one(s)?

What drew you here, or keeps you coming back?

Thanks for coming to Broadside — and adding your ideas and insights to this community!

Without your active participation, it’s just a bunch of pixels…

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  1. Thanks very much for the shout-out, you’re very kind.

    I personally really enjoy your ‘industry’ posts and love your practical, no-nonsense advice. I also recognise and appreciate your disciplined output and tight, yes, journalistic, writing style.

    And for the critics – isn’t there a big, fat clue in the name of your blog? Love it.

    • Thanks, Dara.

      Well, broadside has several meanings — one of my favorites is this nautical one:

      a nearly simultaneous firing of all the guns from one side of a warship.
      synonyms: salvo, volley, cannonade, barrage, blast, fusillade
      :-)

      Imagine that!

  2. Please keep writing about journalists and journalism, Caitlin. I, too, have made my living as a journalist, achieving a great 34 years in the daily newspaper game following my graduation from J-school at the University of Maryland in 1979.

    In 1983, I ended up at the Syracuse daily. I was sports editor and wrote sports columns, and I was music and entertainment writer, covering news, crafting features and writing deadline concert reviews.

    I got laid off with 100 others, leaving the paper on Jan. 31, 2013. In the year since, I started my blog here on WordPress to write about life, and I’ve picked up regular paid blogging gigs, covering films for syracusenewtimes.com and the Central New York community on waer.org. I also co-wrote a sports book about Syracuse University joining the Atlantic Coast Conference, and am accepting other freelance writing projects.

    It’s not been painless, this reinvention of myself, but journalism is indeed a career that stays in your blood.

    Thanks for asking, and thanks even more for listening.

  3. Bit like an assignment, hm? lol
    I live in Indianapolis. My work is housework. I take whatever freelance writing or editing comes my way, which is very little. I study more topics than anyone would care to read, or that I’d like to list. I am teaching my children how to everything. I prefer “real” people to famous people, so no one comes to mind. I lived in Ft. Stewart, Georgia for seven years because the Army stationed my husband there. I have traveled a great deal, but I love the midwest, and I am always glad to be home. I listen to almost all genres of music, currently on a Pink Floyd kick, but Tori Amos is my favorite. I have been taught the recorder, the piano, the flute and the cello. I play no instruments well, and instead, I sing. I like your blog because you are older/more experienced, which means I have things to learn from you. Also, your voice provides a strong narrative.

    • Thanks!

      I’ve never been to your city..super-impressed with all your musical training. I dream (hah) of learning the cello, but really…?

      I hope I have things to teach, but would never begin to presume so! Thanks for sharing, and being here. It’s great to have some fun new people pull up to the virtual hearth.

      • I’ve come to understand that just because one loves music doesn’t mean one should be a musician! Hah!

        Indianapolis is a delightful place to be. Maybe not quite as much in the winter, because it’s cold, but you’re no stranger to that. I’d recommend June — three festivals in one month; Italian, strawberry, and art.

      • Yum. That sounds like a lot of fun! Also my birthday month…

        I think (?) that’s also the NCAA HQ…

  4. OK lets start with what drew me here, but you already know the answer the tag line, ‘Who are Y’all anyway’? Excellent tag…assured to attract people looking for ‘something’ to catch their eye. So I read your posting and found the way you talk about your life interesting and then I came to the questions. Me no never a writer.. just a retired printing pressman, DVD producer, video editor, Alaskan hunting and fishing guide and lastly home builder…as in helping to build my ‘shack’ and four other houses on a remote property in Northern Alaska. Currently a amateur radio operator, trying to find out what is at the end of this road of life.

    • Wow. What an interesting, cool set of skills you have! I feel hopelessly urban…:-)

      My first book was about women and guns, so I went out at 5am in West Texas to see what a turkey hunt was like. I didn’t shoot, but I sure came away with a much deeper appreciation for tracking skills and patience. One of the most amazing women in the book, and of all my interviews over 30 years, was with Gwynne Lundgren, a gorgeous, smart redhead hunting operator out there. I was very saddened by her early death a few years ago. She was an extraordinary woman.

  5. Hi Caitlin. I’m G.A. Miller. I’m a singer/songwriter. I was trying to do this for a living in Las Vegas, but on the money I made I was stuck drinking cheap beer and smoking even cheaper cigars. So I moved down here to Florida and took a part-time job wrestling alligators. The job pays okay, but recently a friend pointed out that if I get a hand or two bitten off, my guitar playing skills will be somewhat reduced. I’ve been sitting on my couch thinking about this a lot. I guess the person I would like to meet is Marilyn Monroe. I was reading somewhere she really went for us intellectual fellers.

  6. I’m a homeschooling mother, a sports-practice taxi driver, a freelance writer, book reviewer and trying to write my first publishable novel in time I carve out inbetween. I live in Southern Calif. with 3 athletic teens and my hubby. I’m studying the writing craft. I’m not sure there is anyone I’d like to meet. I’m not the type to get starstruck, but I can admire for significant achievements. I listen to all genres of music having an eclectic taste, perhaps country is my least favorite. I play piano and want to learn the guitar. I enjoy your posts, though I have several saved in my inbox that I still have to read. I appreciate your insights into the business and am grateful you share your experience and expertise with us! Thank you for continuing your efforts! I don’t post often, (this is my first here *sorry*) due to time constraints, but I’m still here reading when I can.
    If I may say, write what you love. No one is paying you for your time, but many are reaping the benefits of your tutelage. Those that want to hear your message will stay, and I’ll be one of them! Thanks again!

    • SoCal. Lucky you! I love California and miss it…I had a great-aunt in Santa Barbara and a cousin in Bakersfield and have been to L.A. several times and loved it. I may get a chance to speak at an event in Sacramento in June; if so, I def. want to take a week in L.A, again.

      I have a guitar somewhere in the basement, that I’ve had since I was 16 and haven’t touched in a decade. Time to start again.

      I’ll be blogging lots more along the way about writing. There’s so much to learn, at any stage.

      Best of luck with the novel. Thanks for making time to read — and to introduce yourself!

  7. I’m a portrait photographer in Los Angeles, CA.
    I studied in Santa Barbara, CA and I can’t think of a more perfect spot on the planet.

    Classic rock is playing in my studio at all hours, which is why my neighbors all love me…

    I am a reluctant writer and naturally I’m attracted to writers, so I keep coming back. Unfortunately I’m always short on words…

    • Ohhhh, two of my favorite places! I visited SB when I was in college and was so enamored I considered transferring. Such a gorgeous place.

      My husband is a Times photo editor (former NYT photographer), so I’m in awe of photo talent.

      Thanks for commenting!

  8. My name is Helen… I live in the UK in a sunny little place called Sheffield. (Sense the sarcasm. We are known for steel… smog… etc). I work for a charity called Help for Heroes… they mainly help servicemen and women who have been wounded in active duty. I studied Art History at University and am currently saving to do a Journalism MA. I would meet…. Anne Boleyn. I would love to find out how much was true about her… what kind of woman she was… etc. I should say something cool like Bob Dylan for music (who I do love), but I can’t deny my guilty pleasure… Britney Spears! Love this post!

    • Thanks for commenting! I know of Sheffield steel.

      Your work sounds really satisfying and important — I hope you enjoy it…

      I’m dying to meet Elizabeth I. What a life she had! I read a HUGE biography of her a few years ago and found it fascinating.

      What is it with queens? :-)

      • The charity’s work is of course… Mine not so much!

        It is really fascinating. The author of ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ is one of my favourite authors… Her series is addictive! I don’t know, mystical, fairytale fascination?!

  9. I’d have to say Jane Austen. She’s funny, smart, gets it. This is your blog, Caitlin. Poo poo to those who forget. I’m glad you found me. I’m in North Carolina, writing, raising three children and taking it a day at a time.

  10. I’d have to say Jane Austen. She’s funny, smart, gets it. This is your blog, Caitlin. Poo poo to those who forget. I’m glad you found me. I’m in North Carolina, writing, raising three children and taking it a day at a time.

  11. thanks for the kind mention, caitlin and happy to see you’ve connected with mark b. i thought you two might have a lot in common, with your experiences and war stories from your days at the dailies. )

  12. Hi, Ms. Kelly! I’ve commented before on one of your “Introduce Yourself” posts, so I won’t repeat my introduction. I just wanted to say hello and I still love all of your writings. I am not a professional journalist, although I do aspire to get into more freelance writing. I love when you post blogs about journalism and writing, especially tips on how to improve one’s writing. Please keep them coming!

    Thank you for sharing your life and experiences on your blog! Hope your New Year is off to a good start! :)

  13. Thanks for the shout out. And because of your silly repetitive posts on writing and journalism (hear sarcasm) I will be publishing my first article in March about teaching poetry in a multinational multilingual classroom. My blog was also selected as One of the top blogs in English for Expats living in Germany by The Local (news in English for those living in Germany). http://www.thelocal.de/galleries/lifestyle/10-of-the-best-english-ex-pat-blogs-in-germany-local-list

    Your post on (which I cannot find but I know it was in the last 3 months) working while in college. The hypothesis, as I recall, was that unless you are really hungry, unless you have nothing to fall back on, you will continue to write your novel, essay, article, and “someday” seek a publisher. This got me thinking…really? What is stopping me? I hope it won’t take unemployment to someday make me a writer.

    I began to look at educational journals about my subject matter and looked at their call for articles. What topics? What requirements? etc. And then I started sending out emails with proposals.

    So thank you! Keep writing about writing, keep writing about your life. You never know what successes it will spark in others. And yes, I’m signing up for next month’s webinar…putting that on the “to do” list for the weekend.

    • This is so cool! Congrats to you!!! It’s a huge honor to know I’ve helped tug you along the path to publication, even a bit. People forget, or don’t even realize, how much wisdom and expertise they have to share, so this is fantastic…many people are very interested in what teachers have to say.

  14. Hi, my name is Jessica and I think your blog is very inspiring and helpful for writers, this is why I follow you. I am pursuing the dream of becoming an established, freelance travel journalist and writer. I am located in Chiang Mai (Thailand) at the moment but I have an Italian passport. I have lived in Norway, Peru and Argentina in the past years.
    I love music, especially the English and American bands from the 70s. At the moment I am very into The Cat Empire.
    I liked this initiative and I will continue to read your interesting posts. All the best, Jessica.

    • What adventures! Norway and Argentina are two places I’m very eager to visit — I’ve been to Chiang Mai….you must go to Mae Hong Son. It was fantastic.

      Have you discovered Genesis? They’re a favorite British prog-rock band from the 70s of mine.

      • Well if you need any tips when you decide to visit Norway and/or Argentina I’ll be happy to help! I hope I will go to Mae Hong Son next weekend..

        I love Genesis too!! Have a nice week! Jessica.

      • Thanks…

        I wonder how much MHS has changed since we were there in January 1994…you could walk into town from the airport and there was a Buddhist temple across the road from the airport. It was an amazing place. Have fun!

  15. Hello Caitlin, I already introduced myself awhile back but just wanted to say I like your personal posts and admire very much how you weave your personal stories into current topics. When I read blogs, I’m not looking for a news story stating the facts, there’s plenty of that out there. I’m looking for that voice, that perspective, and yours is always unique and interesting. And if you do repeat here and there? It means I’m getting to know who you are a little better, and that’s a good thing. Anyway, thanks for sharing your blog with us, and being so open with your readers, and wanting to get to know us better too.

    • Thanks for the vote of support…It’s been more than four years (!) blogging at this rate, and there are many days now I think…meh. I’m tired. Maybe I should stop. But I enjoy so much the variety of people who stop by and it’s (oddly perhaps) dimmed the luster of traditional journalism, because there is no useful dialogue there.

      I agree, I don’t read blogs for a pile ‘o links or just some more punditry. The ones that resonate for me blend topical and personal as well.

  16. Thanks for the shout out, Caitlin, it means a lot to me to be followed by you and to know you felt strong enough about my inferior writing skills to mention me here. You already know about me, and the reason I began following you was because I felt that you challenged my writing skills. Your method of always questioning your reader at the end of every post always gives me cause for thought, and yours is one of the blogs that I delight in reading every time it pops join my reader with a new post. I write because I find it therapeutic, and my blog is there for the friends and family who are far and wide to keep in the know with what is going on in the world of my wife and I since her illness. The few WordPress friends that have come along since I began are precious to me, and I hold them in high esteem. Thank you for being one of them …

    • Thanks much…I think often of you and your wife, and hope you are both doing well.

      The only way improve as a writer is to do a LOT of it! :-)

      I’m still trying, after 40 years…

  17. Late to the party, as usual. I’ve been following your blog for about a year now, maybe a bit less. Probably found you through other writer friends who shared advice somewhere, and I definitely liked what I read. Also, one of my best friends in 5th grade was a namesake of yours; irrelevant, certainly, but I don’t run into many Caitlins ;) I like your style–unpreachy but knowledgeable, genuine and open… Makes me feel like it’s a chat over a glass of wine. Who am I? Pfff… Ok, I’m a Mexican writer living in Curaçao (island next to Aruba). I decided life is too short to live for a paycheck, quit the day job, write full-time now. Moderate success, but my soul has never been more fulfilled. Who would I meet? Pablo Picasso. The artist fascinates me. The man scares me. Perhaps “meet” is too strong a word. Could I maybe be a fly on the wall in his studio during the early days of Cubism, when Braque was around and it was all happening? Mmmm :) What else? I rescue dogs. I have seven at home, all strays that no one wanted–except for one, a puppy born at home from a mom we rescued from a garbage dump. Him I fell in love with from day one and never even put him up for adoption. I feel horrible playing favorites; I love all my dogs, would die if something-anything–happened to them. But this one… He looks at me and–no, can’t help it–I melt.

  18. I’ve always found your posts entertaining and interesting. I don’t always have something that would add to a discussion and so usually just leave a ‘like’ to show I’ve been there. Not adding a comment doesn’t mean you’ve bored me, more a case of I don’t wish you bore you.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

  19. I like to write, I try and freelance, I did like 20 articles in 4 hours not too long ago for like 3.50 an article. I wondering if you were looking for an assistant. I am not sure if my new email is working, I used to use Hotmail but then it went to outlook and they wouldn’t accept my email. So I went to gmail email but people were saying they couldn’t send me anything. Anyway, I can look stuff up on google and I work cheap. I am not sure if my gmail works…PS You wrote a book about malls, that is so cool! I love malls!

  20. Hi Caitlin, Thanks for sharing your expertise and encouragement with us. I’m fairly new to your blog (and WordPress in general) and am sure I came across it looking for blogging and writing tips. I teach Literature and Writing to high school students and am enjoying working on my own writing in my *spare* time. ;) I also thoroughly enjoy music, sing in a local choir and play piano “very ill” as Lizzie Bennett would say.
    Currently I reside in the Northwest, but grew up all over the midwest. My dad was a pastor and a scholar so we moved for both church and school eventually ending up in Iowa City where he graduated from the writer’s workshop. I would love to follow in his footsteps, maybe not to Iowa, but at least in completing an MFA.

  21. Thanks for the comment Caitlin. I appreciate it.

  22. Terrific post. I love blogging for the opportunity to write. I didn`t realise, when I`d started, that it was such a sociable enterprise too.

    I`m Irish, and living in Ireland, which is what I generally blog about. I probably followed you because of your Irish name and looks and because I want to read about New York life from time to time. I also follow you because you know so much about the varied genres of blogging, journalism and writing.

    I run, work, rear my kids, all to the backdrop of the Irish history and arts. I love music of all sorts, but excellent instrumental playing in particular. I play piano very badly, which really helps my appreciation of anyone who can do this well.

    As to famous people… well, it has to be someone from Irish history for me: Charles Stewart Parnell, Michael Collins, or Daniel O`Connell would do just fine.

    • Ooooh, Ireland. Sighs.

      I’ve been four times, so far, and loved it each time…I have a good friend whose work you may know from the radio and TV there, Doirrean ni Bhriain (sp!), who I met in Paris in 1982 when we won a journalism fellowship there. We had lunch here in NY about 6 months ago — after probably a 15+ yr absence — and it felt like mere days. My Dad had a house near Athenry for about five years and it was such a great thing to be able to spend time there.

      My paternal great-grandfather was a schoolteacher in Rathmullan, so I do have legit Irish roots and hope to acquire an Irish passport through that.

      Glad you find this blog worthwhile.

      • Ms Ní Bhrian (and I`m not sure I`ve spelt that correctly either…) was a commentator on RTE television some time ago. So obviously the class of `82 went far!

        Living around the Fields of Athenry should indeed qualify you for a passport. Otherwise. apply to gro.ie for your great grandad’s birth cert. The village school master had quite a standing in those days.

      • Thanks! Having an Irish/EU passport would open up many new opportunities for me.

  23. Caitlin- This is so nice to see. I remember when I first found your blog and answered one of these “introduction” posts. being a new blogger, I hadn’t commented much at all at that time but you seemed like a kindred spirit, so I took you at your word and introduced myself.
    From that point, I have been a regular reader, making notes and taking your class a last fall.

    If I can toot your horn a little…I have to say that since that time, after thinking carefully about what we learned and discussed, I have sustained a 644% increase in new readers over the last 3 months- at least many are seeing my work and coming back, according to the data. So for others who may be weighing commenting, this is a great opportunity to make a new acquaintance with some awesome knowledge.

    That’s my answer to your last question! Thanks for continuing to do what you do.

  24. Hi Caitlin, I am quite new here in your blog, i have commented once before (in the post about blogging one’s illnesses, tragedies etc) and this will be my second. I have liked reading your posts so far, your style is very engaging and it is mixed up with the voice of experience it seems. Also knowing you make a living out of your writing is inspiring.

    This is an area i have an interest in together with photography and have an aspiration of perhaps one day being paid for what i write (as well as doing photography commissions). I am doing a course on ‘Freelance journalism and feature writing’ at the London School of Journalism, it’s a distance learning course and it has so far proved useful. I don’t think i am a natural at writing engaging concise stories (despite me thinking i may be, but without trying you don’t know) so writing one piece will take quite a bit of time for me. I am a rather conscientious writer who meanders a lot (and sometimes gets lost). English is not my first language, only my 3rd after Albanian (1st) and French (2nd, i did my studies in France).

    I live in London, married and mother to a little boy and have a daily job in housing, i.e. managing social housing and housing policy.

    The famous person i would like to meet is David Lynch, i like his tortured style.

    Blogging has been useful so far as a self-discipline for writing and exposing my writing and discovering others. I am always looking for advise and at the moment on an assignment for my course which is about writing a column on a news story. I picked the slavery debate generated by ’12 years a slave’ movie as my subject and I have a draft in my blog http://wp.me/p3B8xy-ne
    I check your new entries on the reader and will take the time to read them when i can. Thanks for the opportunity to talk about us :-)

    • I’m amazed you are working in a third language…good for you!

      The only way to make money freelance is: 1) high volume (exhausting, no life); 2) high pay (difficult unless you have corporate clients) 3) the ability to write FAST (see no. 1.) If you only want additional income, then it’s a different game.

      I am teaching a webinar on Feb. 2 about how to run a freelance business — at 2pm EST — so 7pm for you. It might be helpful in understanding not just *how* to write but how to find and produce enough work to make an income from it. Here’s the link to the description…

      http://caitlinkelly.com/classes/

  25. Great post. :) It’s been interesting reading the other responses. I grew up in a bilingual English/French family and live in Alberta. I will soon be a professional pilot – am standing with a foot in two careers right now. I now post for the most part just to keep my writing up but I enjoy the diversity of the blogs I follow. I have done lots of travelling, including to some very off-beat places, and have lived in the U.S. and Germany. I have a degree in English and did harbour some notions of going into journalism but changed my mind. A person I would like to meet? Probably Thomas Hardy – I love his writing.

    • Thanks!

      Ooooooh, separated at birth. Love Thomas Hardy and my favorite scent is jet fuel. What an amazing career switch!!!!!

      On my table as I type this is a book I just treated myself to, all about Amelia Earhart, one of my idols.

      C’est super d’etre bilingue. :-)

      The variety of people showing up here is very interesting. I suspect many of us are traveler/adventurers/expats and multi-lingual.

  26. Well, I always find something interesting and informative in your blog, even though I don’t read it all that regularly. I like that you care about your readers too.

  27. I enjoy reading your posts. As a freelance editor and occasional writer, I enjoy reading material that may give me insight and offer creative suggestions.

    I spent 22 years in the US military, Navy first then switched to the Army where I retired. I live in the very north west corner of the contiguous US near the Canadian border with my wife of 24 years and our two daughters.

    I am currently stuck in retail hell, with occasional editing and writing jobs on the side. I hope to become a full time editor some day.

  28. Hi Caitlin: The clean lines of your site, your confident writing style and the chance to glimpse into your unique life, so different from mine, attracted me to your site. As a newbie to blogging, I appreciate what you do; so keep doing about it! Please…

    Maybe it would have been easier to buy myself a Porsche, as other midlife professionals sometimes do, and keep on doing what is expected of me – career, bigger house, bigger car, bigger debt, greater illusions. But, for whatever reason, I chose to take a different path. Currently, I am taking a break from my profession (engineering), and trying new things (not always very successfully, I might add): learning to cook, learning German, learning to blog, learning to write better, learning to see better, learning to feel better, learning to appreciate people better and, the hardest of all, learning to let go.

    After having lived and worked in multiple cities throughout the U.S., Asia, and Europe, I now call Frankfurt, Germany home (until the next move and adventure, that is). When I’m making a mess in the kitchen trying to cook, I listen to various NPR podcasts, which remind me of home, or select from over 12,000 titles in my iTunes library, depending on my mood. I love all types of music. At the moment, I’m listening to German radio; let’s just say that I took NPR and college radio in the U.S. for granted. Thank goodness for the internet!

    After I thought about one of your questions, ‘one famous person…’ no one person came to mind. All the ones I would like to meet are dead: Simone de Beauvoir, Hermann Hesse, Shakespeare, Rilke, Kafka, Einstein, Kerouac, Gandhi, Thoreau, Colette, etc. They stamped my youth with their influential lifestyle, writings and philosophy. My definition of ‘famous’ probably differs from today’s norm of e-commerce fame and notoriety. Gosh, I feel so old!

    Like many of your avid fans, my ultimate dream is to write something worthy for publication – something you have already accomplished several times to many accolades. Maybe you are that famous people I want to meet and have dinner with. Please do keep sharing your wise views and tips; I find your posts very encouraging and your perspective refreshingly insightful.

    Thank you for asking and encouraging me to venture out of my shell in this intro. I wouldn’t have done it otherwise.

    • Thanks for being bold enough to do so!

      I had decided (wimped out) to try and learn German this year — and took up golf instead. It’s difficult, too.

      I would love to have met Hesse, Colette, Rilke…and Balzac. I came of age in the mid 1970s and that very much stamped my perspective with a hippie/boho outlook I still retain, even while living in a snoozy suburb.

      I admire your adventurous spirit and willingness to question life’s “norms.” It’s not easy and gets more difficult as we get older and more attached our fixed identities and status(es.)

  29. Hi Caitlin. Sorry I’m late to the party. I live in south central Texas where we hibernate during the summer because of the intense heat and humidity. By day I’m a legal assistant but once the 5 o’clock bell rings, I’m a wife, mother and writer. My current WIP is historical fiction set during the Texas Revolution. My next one will be set at the end of the Spanish Reconquista in 1570 Spain.

    I’m not studying anything but send an obscure historical factoid or event my way and I’ll be in heaven.

    I’ve only lived in 4 other places but I’ve visited 45 of the 50 United States via road trip. There is really no place that I prefer over the other because the country is so varied but, as far as greenery is concerned, I’ll say Tennessee and Kentucky are of the most beautiful places I’ve been.

    I love classic rock and instrumental movie soundtracks

    I’m currently studying the clarinet. I used to play many years ago but now I’ve picked it back up again. After so many years the chops are pretty out of shape so before I do any playing for you I’ll really have to practice!

    I look forward to reading your blog because it’s not pretentious and I love that your posts are varied. You’re giving us a glimpse into the life of a journalist and I appreciate that too, so thank you!

    • Thanks for sharing….Of all the states I have been to, Kentucky and Tennessee are two I have not yet seen and am very curious about.

      Your WIP sounds really interesting.
      Love clarinet…my first husband played it well enough to join several amateur orchestras. I miss hearing it.

      Thanks for reading…and your kind words.

  30. Tennessee is very worth visiting! Beautiful state, colorful people, all 3 regions have their own characteristics and the people have distinguishable accents in each region too (!), I grew up there and have family in all 3 sections (East, Middle and West Tennessee).

    I love your blog and the quality of your thinking and writing. I find your work ethic and output inspiring. Thank you.

    You are a “real gigger” as we say in the music business – someone who has worked successfully in the real rough and tumble world of their profession and can deliver when the light comes on.

    • Now we need to plan a trip! Nashville certainly gets a lot of press…

      Thanks!

      Love that expression — deliver when the light comes on.

      • Let me know if you’d like any Tenn. travel tips.

        and thanks for the shout-out in this blog post! I read all the comments and was so excited to see you mention Tenn., I forgot to say thanks which was my original intention.

        Loved your post today too – journalistic ethics, gatekeeping, and experienced judgment are so important.

      • Thanks…looks like my next trip (possibly) is crazy remote and foreign…details if and when it happens.

        Glad you liked this one. I wish there were more forums to discuss this stuff instead of people just spouting opinions. But it is very much on writers’ minds right now.

  31. Thanks for the shout out! Since we went to camp together, that means we know the words to some of the same songs, and can break out the three part harmony at the top of our lungs!! That means something in this crazy mixed up world. You bring up such interesting subjects for discussion that actually I can’t hold back from commenting sometimes. I hope it advances the discussion. Cheers!

  32. Being new to wordpress and the blogging world in general it’s hard to know where to start and spread out in this shiny new enviroment. So let me say thank you for giving newcomers like myself the chance to make a (hopefully) dignified entrance.

    I’m currently an A-level student living in Guildford (about an hour from London) studying History, English and Geography and hoping to study Law at uni next year. I don’t really do any official ‘work’ at the moment, but I do enjoy writing about a variety of topics and try to find opporuntities of writing for an audience.

    The one person I’d most like to meet is Christopher Hitchens, maybe for some of his intelligence to rub off on me, but simply because he could talk at length on anything I fired at him in the unique way that only he can accomplish, especially on our common inerests in history and literature.

    I’m afraid I havn’t lived in a variety of places, but I’ve been to a variety of places if that helps. The best places I’ve had a chance to visit are Dubai at Christmas and Paris in summer – nothing compares to these places when you’ve spent the majority of your life living in the UK and they’re definately on the list of re-visits for the future.

    I don’t play an insturment, but I am a regualar kickboxer at a local academy, most people have ineresting responses when I tell them this which vary from ‘you don’t look like it’ and ‘are you violent then?’ so I don’t bother telling most poeople now.

    What drew me here is the ability to write anything about anything, and that hopefully somebody would read or enjoy it. What keeps me coming back is all the new stuff that goes on here, to see, read and write with other people of similar aims and interests.

    Cheers!

    • Thanks for checking in…

      Many people miss Hitch, indeed.

      I have a friend who just helped create the Dubai fireworks that made the Guinness Book of World Records. He spends a lot of time there — a long flight from NY!

      Kickboxing sounds great. I was a nationally ranked saber fencer here for 4 years and people made similar assumptions. Silly.

  33. My name is Randi Kreger, and for most of my working life I worked in public relations and marketing, working for corporations, ad agencies, non-profit, and health care. I decided to write a book mainly because I had a subject that was ripe for the picking and my husband’s best friend was/is a literary agent who was also interested in that subject. For a few years I worked in marketing and writing, but eventually loved to writing full-time (a move I regret because it’s too isolating for me). What I would love to do is share the marketing techniques I used when writing the book so that others can understand that it’s much more profitable (and a lot less work) to get input from a community upfront, figure out the answers to their problems, and then sell them a book that is exactly what they wanted and needed–and therefore sold/sells well.

  34. First time I posted here! I love knowing who’s who ‘behind’ an online community…lots of stories to be unearthed!

    I live in San Francisco – though I subscribed to your blog while still living in Shanghai, China. I just moved here two months ago, after loving it there for seven years, but it was time to move on in light of pollution and career reasons. Plus, I was very comfortable, and I think that means it’s time for a new challenge. I grew up in Hong Kong, Toronto, Singapore and New York City as an expat kid. I think it’s strange when people ask me what my favorite place is because we have/want/need different things at different times in our lives, so it’s not exactly comparable unless you define specific criterions. Like, er, Singapore has the best clean street food of the lot, while Toronto isn’t even a contender. :)

    Generally, I’m a freelance PR/Comms consultant and (volunteer) China Project Lead for NGO e-Learning For Kids with an editorial and PR agency background…more specifically, I’m job hunting and about to start an intensive night class in digital marketing.

    Instrument: I played the piano for 13 years, like any good Chinese girl, but those skills pretty much only get dusted off a couple times a year nowadays. Makes me wish I learned a portable instrument, you know?

    I keep coming back to your blog because I love learning about writers’ writing process and you have a really lively voice. I enjoy it. And since we’re on this topic, here’s a podcast of a great talk by fiction writer Junot Diaz, where he discusses the writing process and the act of reading at the Shanghai International Literary Festival in 2011. I adore this talk. I was chief editor of the partnering media, so luckily we have this saved! http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/shanghai/articles/blogs-shanghai/shanghai-book-club/2010-silf-podcast-junot-diaz-the-eternal-quest-for-home/

    Thank you, as always, for writing.
    Andrea

    • Thanks! What an adventurous fun life you’re having…

      I look forward to the podcast. Good luck with the class and your new home; SF is a fun city. Explore Marin County….so gorgeous!

  35. Super belated response, but life has beens so crazy lately and I’m finally going through my RSS feed!
    I’m 22-years-old and wrapping up my final year at Carleton College. I’m studying French and Medieval/Renaissance studies, but I was a major in Art History and I am primarily interested in music and writing. I assistant teach French to the intro-level students, which is fun, work part-time in an audio studio, and write freelance for my campus’s alumni magazine and for a local radio station. I’m hoping to get some form of employment next year, whether that’s teaching in France, working for public radio, or working as a barista and pursuing my writing and music on the side. I love music so much. I started playing harp when I was eight and singing when I was 14. I fell in love with all music, I think the only stuff I don’t listen to are top 40 pop hits, mainstream rap/rock, and any metal. Above all I adore roots music, and I’m hoping to start up banjo, guitar or mandolin this summer! I have 2 radio shows just so I can listen to things I love every week (and share the bluegrass love).
    Aside from my love of reading/writing and music, I ADORE travel. I actually started blogging thanks to my trip to Mali in winter 2012, and it grew during my trip to Paris that fall. I currently live in Minnesota and am surprisingly enchanted by it, but I still want to wander before I settle my roots.
    I LOVE this blog! You strike a great balance between telling us about your life and addressing critical/relevant issues. I always find your posts thought provoking and interesting to read. I also used to spend my Saturdays with the women at my local yarn shop, and I miss having older voices/hearing what more mature women think and are experiencing.
    As for a famous person…this is such a tough question for me…perhaps Phillip Pullman? Or Sir Ian McKellan (total fangirl…I’ll watch anything with that man…) so tricky. But I also feel like Frida Kahlo would be crazy cool to meet…so, basically, I have no clue. I’m curious who you’d meet!

    • Fun, eclectic life you’ve got going! Mali is on my short list of places I’d like to visit.

      There are many people I’d love to have met: Amelia Earhart, Queen Elizabeth I, Frida, possibly…Grainne, the pirate queen, Boadicea, da Vinci…I never got to meet either of my grandfathers and that’s a real loss. One of them, I was told, was a journalist for the Guardian but have never done the research on that. The other was a schoolteacher in Rathmullan, Co. Donegal. I visited his one room schoolhouse and even saw his attendance records.

      Glad you’re enjoying the blog. “more mature.” gulp. Maybe. :-)

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