Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Eternal "Why?"

Specifically, in relation to the Readers' Corner of the Webmaze.

"Gazing at 'the books of others' is a less transgressive but often no less transformative method of cultural eavesdropping."

I came upon the above sentence on one of my less and less frequent visits to SBTB, where pimpage, Harlequin, and ever more intellectual analysis/defense of romance fiction now seem to reign. (YAWN.) Anyway, I read the above declaration and thought, What the hell is this person babbling about? "A less transgressive but no less transformative method of cultural eavesdropping"? WTF? Then I read on, in spite of my immediate recoil, and discovered all she's talking about is being nosy. That's it. She's talking about eyeing up somebody else's collection of books.

Why do some people feel a need to obfuscate rather than communicate? And double why do they do it when discussing anything relating to popular fiction? Kids, in case you haven't noticed, James Joyce did not write this stuff. (He only wishes he did. Ha.)

Why can't I make lists that come out at the right blog-acceptable number? Thursday Thirteen. Ten Things I Hate/Love. I always end up with four or seven or thirty-six. Or one.

Why can't I seem to integrate the words trope and meme into my vocabulary? Everybody else who talks about books has done it. I've come to despise these words, and I don't even know why. They've never done anything to me!

are so many people on a lecture jag? Everywhere I turn, somebody's ascending some mount to deliver a lecture. How authors should/shouldn't behave online, react to reviews, react to their contracts, react to each other, set up their websites, run their blogs, write their books, promote their books, and pick their peas. (I just threw in the last one because I needed a final example, that's all--no cryptic meaning.) And then there are the lectures centering on epublishers . . . but I'm already tired.

have some people had their sense of humor surgically removed? A sense of humor, like a mind, is a terrible thing to waste. Thou shalt not excise thy sense of humor, even though it's one letter away from "tumor."

do I instinctively like or dislike certain people I've never met? I can go to one blog and instantly be turned off by that person's persona, go to another and instantly dig her/his persona. This makes no sense, yet I can't seem to control my reactions.

do people who consider themselves denizens of Romanceland (ugh, I'm really starting to hate that word, too, as well as its variations) never tire of Wankfests? There's a big hairball rolling around the 'Net right now that has to do with Quartet Press closing before it opened. Weird, yes, but hardly worthy of 86,376 posts at 59 different blogs. So why did QP fold up their tents? Beats me. I just chalked it up to "shit happens" and went back to my WIP.

Feel free to add your own Eternal Whys while I dream up some more.


Jenre said...

*Deep breath*

because we're all desperately trying to prove that even though we read smut we are still intelligent and can use long words (some of which we don't really understand).

because youe are obviously a rebel and cannot conform to the fascist number supporters who rule blog land.

because meme is a made up word which, to be honest, I don't know the meaning of and trope is a very good word to use when discussing tired or overused plot devices.

because it is in our nature to lecture to others as we have been lectured unto us. It makes us feel superior and knowledgeable.

because people with a sense of humour often get themselves into trouble via the use of sarcasm and inappropriate jokes, especially if one is British and therefore has an entirely different sense of humour to that of people from other parts of the world (except perhaps Australia). Besides it's a well known fact that to suceed in the publishing industry you have to have your sense of humour surgically removed in order that you may develop an overly inflated opinion of yourself.

because we are attracted to those who are similar to us. Even if we have never met a person, volumes of information can be gleaned about them from how they interact in blogworld.

because we all love a trainwreck and rubbernecking is a sport enjoyed by all. As is gossip. Not that I have a clue what you are talking about cos I never do this. Ever. No, not me. ;)

Does that answer your questions m'dear? Feel free to contact me anytime you need help with the complexities of life in the romance blog community :).

Kris said...

What Jen said.

Katrina Strauss said...

Why do I devote half my work day to viewing the RSS feed, when I know I'll not only lose writing time, but suffer a migraine from all the eye rolling?

I do glean a few useful things from blogland. I've narrowed down to the blogs least likely to contribute to an ulcer. Pass the Tums?

Tam said...

Umm. Yeah, what Jen said. LOL

And hey, you can throw Canada on the list Jen. I get it anyway. :-)

Hmmm. Why? Why is my new job so freaking slow I have time to sit here and read the genius that is your blog? (Can you say suck up?)

As for that first quote of your's, I took it to mean reading over someone's shoulder, like on the bus. LOL We have buses with a couple of stairs and sometimes someone is standing on the steps higher than me. I took the bus to work the last two weeks because of parking issues and during my trips I've managed to read James Lear's Secret Tunnel and I'm just about done Chris Owens' 911. 911 is a tad more discrete but some of the Jame Lear stuff is pretty in your face. I sometimes wondered if those around me were getting a thrill from reading my book or looking at the cover. Tam, single-handedly corrupts and entire city of bus riders. Yep. That's my claim to fame. :-)

K. Z. Snow said...

Jen, you have a wisdom beyond your years. I'm eternally grateful. From now on, I'll just come to you with my questions.

Kris, you're lazy.

Katrina, you inadvertently raised another question for me (or three questions): What is a RSS feed, what do those letters stand for, and why does everything related to computers and the Internet come with an acronym? I'd no sooner found out what HTML meant--actually, I don't know what it means, just what words the letters stand for--than CSS came along.

I want my own acronyms. I do. Jen, can you help me with that? Kris is too lazy and Katrina is, thank goodness, busy writing.

Katrina Strauss said...

Well, I should be writing. I promise to start... soon.... ish.

Here's a page that explains RSS in somewhat plain English:

News feeds use the same stuff. (Yes, stuff -- I want embarass myself by trying to use some fancier tech-savvy ter) I keep up with my various blog RSS subscriptions via a software program called GreatNews. One frame lists all the blogs I sub to. Anything that's been updated shows up in boldface. I then simply click the bolded blogs and voila, all I see in the next frame are the latest posts.

Basically, RSS fees are an efficient way to waste more time. :P

Katrina Strauss said...

And yes, let's hope I write stories better than blog comments today. Egads. Caffeine withdrawal and typoes seem to go hand in hand.

K. Z. Snow said...

Tam, you're a brave soul to own up to your wicked ways. I wonder if those book peepers reading over your shoulder found it a less transgressive but no less transformative experience than, say, shoving a mirror under the wall of a restroom stall.

(BTW, is The Secret Tunnel as good as The Back Passage? You're too far away for me to read over your shoulder.)

K. Z. Snow said...

Katrina, try nicotine withdrawal and see how many freakin' letters you drop! I've depopulated the alphabet.

Jeanne said...

Yeah, what Jen said :~D
Here's my very short list, KZ
WHY can't I think of good topics to post on my own blog?
WHY do people write "teh" when they mean "the" -- or does "teh" mean something else entirely and I just don't get it?
WHY do I feel so old when I realize my friend's daughter is 37 and I've known her since before she was born?
WHY aren't people in "Real Life" as friendly as online folks?
WHY can't I write as quickly as other writers do?

Tam said...

Well, I didn't check any crotches to see if my book had a truly transformative effect on male bus riders. I'll keep that in mind for further research although Monday I get my parking space back. Yay. Less book porn in my life but less public transit frustation as well. It's a trade off.

I did not like Secret Tunnel as much for a couple of reason. The whole explanation of the crime at the end had me kind of confused and going "huh?", it was pretty convoluted with political intrigue, blackmail, kidnapping, etc. And I'll be honest, I'm not one of those people who gets all righteous about cheating in books, but Mitch has been living with Vince for two years, he admits he loves him, and the minute he gets on a train without him he's fucking anything that moves. It just kind of annoyed me and even he himself admits he's cheating. He should have had Vincent on the train and they could have group fucked their way to London. THAT would have worked better for me. But there are some funny parts and it's kind of an Agatha Chritie-esque feel (his traveling companion ends up being a small Belgian - thankfully not named Hercule). So it was okay, but I wouldn't rate it as highly as the Back Passage.

Oh and not to one-up a caffeine deprived Katrina but RSS stands for "Really Simple Syndication" which means piss-all to me either. But at least you know the acronym.

KZSR - KZ Snow Rocks. How's that?

K. Z. Snow said...

Jeanne, my friend, I echo all your questions but one: I seem to have no trouble finding nonsense to post on my blog when I'm procrastinating. :-/

K. Z. Snow said...

Tam, thanks for your assessment of TST. I'm undecided about it.

I'm afraid I can't use KZSR. I'm all about humility.

Obsidian Bookshelf said...

Yes, I know what you mean about words like trope. Makes me think of pompous grad students!

And this, "There's a big hairball rolling around the 'Net right now that has to do with Quartet Press closing before it opened. Weird, yes, but hardly worthy of 86,376 posts at 59 different blogs. So why did QP fold up their tents? Beats me. I just chalked it up to "shit happens" and went back to my WIP."

Good for you. I think these big hairballs / wankfests that periodically roll around the www (uh, oh, another acronym!) are a form of writerly procrastination, and you're one of the few not falling into it. You set a good example for the rest of us! OMG, and I love that image of a giant rolling hairball ...

wren said...

Loved this post, KZ!

Here are some acronyms for you to browse through. Feel free to take one as your own -
HQWA - Have question, will answer
SHBTW - Shit happens, back to work
UROVR - Uncontrolled response to obfuscation, verbosity and riding-the-high-horse
IFFSL - It's fucking funny, so laugh!
And now, about the word meme. How is it pronounced? Does it rhyme with cream? Or is it me-me, as in Who wants cream? Me, me!

And...if you've got a google account you can get RSS feeds easily, without ever knowing what that means.

And...internet personalities? It's so hard to know anything for sure, because when we type the words we hear our voice speaking them, with our intended intonations (at least I do, please say I'm not the only one!). Yet when they get out there on a screen, others read them with their own interpretations... Maybe it's that reptilian part of our brain that reacts on instinct - run!run! - without taking time to investigate.

Hmm...I wonder if it is the reptilian brain that makes us procrastinate, too? Feeling very lizardy now.

Tam said...

No Wren you're not alone. I put emphasis on certain words when I read (books, blogs, whatever) that I would if I were speaking. Periodically I'll stop and go "Huh, I wonder if it was supposed to be read with the emphasis on the first word?" It doesn't usually change the whole meaning but can change the gist of somethings and it can make something sound nicer or snarkier depending on what you wanted.

Go bask in the sun on a rock. :-)

K. Z. Snow said...

Hi, Val! Enjoyed your post at Wave's. ;-)

wren, :-D :-D :-D

I'll definitely have to consider some of your acronyms. In fact, you've provided an acronym for just about every post and mood!

Tam, the voices I hear most distinctly are those of my characters, but sometimes bloggers' voices, too, come trickling through. Don't you find this rather frightening?

Kris said...

"Kris, you're lazy."

Really? Or could I have been making a point about saving you from further obfuscation (Aussie translation = dribbling shit)??

K. Z. Snow said...

HEY, watch it! What kind of answer is "What Jen said"? Did your fingers suddenly go numb or something? (Never mind. I'll just ask Sean.)

Kris said...

Why would you think of my fingers and Sean in the same context?

Why would you believe that I would have anything to contribute after Jen's comment?

Why is Pluto a 'normal' dog, but Goofy walks and talks? (Just thought I'd throw that last one in there because it is an eternal why.)

And, no, Tam, that is NOT an excuse to go looking for Goofy and Pluto pron.

Tam said...

Damn, stopped before I could even get going. Great question though. Bestiality is pushing the kinky envelope a bit far even for me so I'll resist.

K. Z. Snow said...

What Tam said.

(Kris, I'll leave the matter of Sean and your fingers between Sean and you.)