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A Semi-Brief Clarification

Categories: This Writer's Life.
Ok, wow. Judging from some of the comments I’ve received on the previous blog entry, I think there’s some confusion as to what the purpose of this blog both generally and as opposed to my column, and I feel the need to clarify.

My column in WD follows my writing life. Usually (and i’ll be the first to admit, sometimes I’ve strayed) that means giving everyone a first person view of how a young(ish) professional writer tries to take his career to the next step be it by publishing a book, getting an MFA, writing for more national magazines or losing his mind and going to Eastern Europe for three months. The idea is that people can see what I’m doing and, as I said in the first column I ever wrote for the magazine, see the big sweeping mistakes I make and try and avoid them in your own writing life.

In it, I try and talk about real things that everyone goes through: getting rejected by agents, going to writer’s conferences, the pros and cons of getting an MFA, how to write a book proposal, how infuriating it can be when you don’t trust your mailman, etc… Unfortunately, I don’t have any tricks or super technical writing tips, as you can read in my first blog entry in the “how in the hell did you of all people get a column” portion, I, like many of you, just wrote and sent out my work and hoped for the best.Luckily for you, we do have more how to and technical advice in WD, it’s just not my thing.

My goal with the column is to a) give you insight into what im doing as I progress in the writing world and b) hopefully entertain you while I’m doing it. I want you to laugh. I want you to realize that despite the sometimes over the top sarcasm, alarming procrastination techniques, obsession with crappy daytime television and aversion to pants, I really just want us as writers to not take ourselves so seriously and, most importantly, just write. Sure, some days it’s going to be crap, some days its going to be good, and every once in a year or so, you’ll get that unique turn of a phrase or spot on bit of dialogue or perfect word, and suddenly you’ll understand that ‘yes, this is why I keep coming back, day after day to this same stupid Starbucks, this is why I’m a writer’.

I think of the phrase that Franz Kafka says about the appeal of Prague, “This mother has claws” and I can’t help but think that the phrase could just as well apply to writing. If you’re a writer, you almost have no choice, writing just sinks into you and won’t let go, no matter how hard you try and shake it off and do something with dental insurance and a 401K. Like my boy says, this mother has claws. Anyway, so that, in a decently sized nutshell, is what the column is (or tries to be, at least) about.

The blog, as many of the people who read my section of the Writer’s Forum already know, is slightly different from the column. A blog, by definition, is a more open, less constrained area to write in, and, as I’m not working under the same limitations as the column, I try to keep an open mind about what to put in. I do try and stick to the general idea of writing, and, again, what’s going on in my life, but, as you can see from the previous entries, that is loosely adhered to. It’s more stream of conscious, more random, has more swears, and generally makes less sense. But I think it can be fun all the same, in a different sort of  looser way than the column. Think of it this way: if the columns like the late 50s, early 60s: more rigid, straight laced, and square, than the blog is like the late 60s, early 70s: more free flowing, random and given to wearing hemp and tie dye.

 But as I said before, I am also here for you, the reader. If you have questions, give them to me, and I will try and help you out. I’m going to change a statement I made earlier, and say that I will post answers to questions on the blog, so that they can benefit everyone. I will have specific entries focused on just answering your questions, if that would be useful. We did just start the blog a few months ago, so we’ll let it adapt and change organically, but I really am happy to help and want to see everyone succeed. Not just so you can blurb me.

But again, I am the first to acknowledge, my blog is not for everyone. And being how this is a free country (well, America is…I’m not 100% sure about the Czech Republic…), and a democracy and a place where anyone and everyone is welcome to lease a car, assuming they have a down payment and good credit, I will never edit or censor the comments or opinions people have about my writing (unless of course they don’t coincide with our standards of decency), even if they really, really don’t like it. But, and again, the beauty of the USA comes into play, no one has to read this. Ramsey doesn’t read it. I don’t think my brother or my sisters read it. My mother doesn’t read it. And I certainly hope my dad doesn’t. So if this isn’t for you, there are no hard feelings. We can still be friends and go to the mall together and split the Tour of Italy at the Olive Garden. Just please, if you do have an issue, try and be constructive, so I can learn from it. Just like in the workshop, if you just say something’s bad, no one learns. But if you say, “this is bad because the protagonist spends all of his time taking IQ tests in coffee shops in Slovakia” then the person getting workshopped can look at that specific criticism and try and change.

Ok. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to turn this into a monster post. I hope that helped clarify both the difference between the column and the blog and what I’m trying to do with both. Now, seeing how it is almost 4AM in Prague, I’m going to eat a granola bar and rationalize not showering before bed. I’ll see you back here in a Czech week:)

I love you all. Never change.

KA

Pictured below: The photographic manifestation of my blog. Notice the guy’s not wearing any pants…coincidence?  Luck? Or yet another John Cusak like Serendipitous moment in my life?

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15 Responses to A Semi-Brief Clarification

  1. Pamela says:

    Thanks for the clarification. My own expectations in reading your postings on your blog got in the way of your (intended) desire to inject humor here. I appreciate the personal note you sent. You’re right: column is different from the blog. My bad! So noted. :)

  2. Dear Fanclub Moderator,
    I’m oblivious to your obvious remark.
    Thanks for reading.
    Peace,
    maria

  3. Keep writing exactly as you are, Kevin! I’m a huge fan and enjoy all of your posts. By the way, I wanted to thank you again for giving me advice on the WD forum. In February, I signed with a wonderful agent for my YA fiction manuscript! :)

  4. Fanclub Moderator says:

    As an extensive Kevin Alexander fan myself I couldn’t help but notice that in his most recent article for Boston Magazine (you can google it- "Fast Times…") he quotes a one Adelaide Walker. Unusual name, I thought to myself.

    Could this be the same “Del” Walker who gallantly defends KA in the comments following the previous post? Do I dare suggest that, gasp, Kevin has friends? And on top of that, friends who (unlike Ramsey) actually read his blog?!

    That being said, I’d like to personally thank you Kevin Alexander, sans pants of course, for all the time we’ve spent together since I became a fan of yours. I love you, never change (and I’m reasonably certain you never, ever will.)

    P.S. Is now an inappropriate time to point out that our good friend Norm first wrote several days ago (notice I’m irreverently quoting, that’s for EMPHASIS!!!!) "I am not reading your blog anymore…" yet later resurfaces to comment that he was "eager" to see if Kevin would respond? Maria “Obvious” Schneider would probably like to point out "Norman- you’re still reading the blog." That Kevin charm finally gotcha, huh?

    P.S.S. I think it’s pretty safe to say del’s harboring some hard feelings. Anyone else agree? :)

    This is all so "ironical", wouldn’t you say Kevfans?

  5. Addendum to Semi-Brief clarification:
    Kevin + Editor = Column
    Kevin – Editor = Blog

  6. That’s exactly why I like reading the blog, because it’s not a column! Can’t wait to read more. :)

  7. Kevin Alexander says:

    Yes. Actually that picture is of me and Maria from last years BEA/WD conference… It was pretty warm that day, and the conference is very casual…

  8. Norman says:

    Kevin, I was eager to read how you would respond, if at all. And, I like the way you responded.

    If, as you stated, "My goal with the column is to a) give you insight into what im doing as I progress in the writing world and b) hopefully entertain you while I’m doing it," is true, perhaps making this clarification more clearly evident in your the tagline for your blog would clarify any more misconceptions.

    Thank you for your clarification. And, if you were not able to obtain any positive feedback from my comment, I would ponder my quote, "What a person says is equally important as what a person does not say." Think on that, and tell me what you think.

    Two questions remain: 1) how may I link to your column, and 2) what inspired you to travel to Prague?

  9. Maria Schneider says:

    Nice picture.
    That’s me on the left.
    Peace,
    Maria Schneider

  10. Barbara says:

    I don’t read all of my emails, but I always take the time to read your blog. You make me laugh. Please keep it up!

  11. Lebbie says:

    Guess I’ll have to start reading the comments… I always thought your blog was supposed to be the entertainment, which it definitely is for me! Didn’t know others might be getting jealous at the attention you’re receiving. Write on, Kevin!

  12. koma says:

    Keep it up. Appreciating your talent! It’s a hoot to read what goes on in your mind and life!

  13. Trina says:

    And so you have officially entered the confused and crazy world of blogging…
    Collum – Blog = differences aside, I get a laugh out of both of them! Have a good week – when are you coming home, BTW?!
    ~Trina

  14. MF Craig says:

    I’m with you. Blog vs. column – very different. I appreciate your humour and enjoy laughing with you. Thanks for continuing to share with us writers!

  15. Kevin-

    How many times did you have to calm yourself down before writing this post? Good thing you weren’t drinking any Coca Cola Blak. Yikes!! My keyboard would have been burning up!

    Your clarification was right on. You handled yourself well. Good job.

    Lisa

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