Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Blogiversary Part 1: Questions and answers

Woohoo! It's Blogiversary #5!

Aren't you so excited?

I know I am.

So, let's start with your questions and my answers.

Genny asks: This may have been covered before, but I'd love to know why you started blogging!

I assume you're asking why I started City Mouse Country. CMC didn't start as a blog. It started as a series of e-mails to my old friends and coworkers in D.C., some of whom had expressed, er, concerns about me, who they'd only known in the city(ish), adapting to country livin'.

Naturally, I adapted gracefully and graciously, but not without a few mishaps that needed documenting. That appears to continue to be true.

CMC is not my first blog, however. Why I started blogging in the very first place was that my boss and close friend went on maternity leave in 2005, and a handful of her friends, ring-led by me, decided we needed a place to share pop-culturey things from the internet, plus stories of our office antics, to entertain her. It had a little resurgence during another friend and colleague's maternity leave in 2007. It's still available online for those who know where to look.

So, pregnancy? I guess. Yes. I started blogging because of pregnancy. But not my own.

Mike asks: Do you ever think (to our detriment) you perhaps shouldn't be giving this material away on a blog, but writing and publishing the old-fashioned way? (Not that they're mutually exclusive... but that some of your stuff is "too good" for this medium?)

I never think that. I don't even think it now that you've put it out there. I do sometimes think the good stuff I write here deserves both more fleshing out and a bigger audience, and I periodically work on doing that, particularly with the queer stuff when it hits a chord with my mostly straight readership. But despite being a professional writer and/or editor for roughly 13 years now (What?! How the hell did that happen?!), I have sort of a block around thinking of my writing as something that can or should or even could make me money.

That is probably something I should discuss with my therapist. Or a career counselor.

Regardless, I love this format, mostly because I love exclusively positive feedback, which is a luxury I have here because so few of you are reading.

Mike asks (elsewhere, but I'm a little bit grasping for content here): "Stromboli" sounds like it should be the plural of something. So is this convenience store hot pocket a strombolus (or, if you prefer, not a strombolus)? 

Apparently, "strombolis" are named for Stromboli, which is named for Stromboli, which, according to Wikipedia, "is a corruption of the Ancient Greek name Strongulē which was given to it because of its round swelling form." Who knew?

Anonymous asks: If you could automatically have any talent at all, like world-class level, what would you like it to be? 

It'd have to be something where talent alone was sufficient for something. Like, I'd hate to be a world-class-level rock singer, because then it'd still be so much work to get recognized, and I might not ever, and I'd know how much better I was than rock stars who were more popular that I was. That would be sad. And even if I was a world-class-level talent at brain surgery, no one would let me practice without a medical degree, and I am too old for that stuff.

Oh! Sales.

I think if I was a world-class-level salesperson, I could do whatever I wanted, kind of, including selling things, which would let me make huge commissions and then do what I want with my free time and money; or fundraising, which would allow me to support things that are important to me; or selling my own secondary talents, which would enable me to make a living writing whatever I wanted... yeah. I pick sales.

That is probably the most boring possible answer to that question. Well, they can't all be stromboli, know what I mean?

Anonymous also asks: What is the difference between gay and queer, and which one is appropriate for those of us who are neither to use?

I know what you want is for me to give an actual answer to this question, and I'm sorry, there isn't one, exactly. I can (and will) give you my answer to this question, but it applies only to me. Sorry.

Gay means, usually, someone who is attracted to or chooses to date only people of the same sex. It's used more for men than for women, but most women who are attracted to or choose to date only women will not object to it.

Queer is an umbrella term. It includes a range of both sexual and gender identities, including certainly gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, pansexuals, trans folks and genderqueer people, but also other people who identify as queer and don't fit entirely into any of those categories. It also sometimes but not necessarily has political connotations. Queer is complicated, because it has been used hurtfully, and continues to be used hurtfully, a lot.

I identify as queer. I like it because if there is another label for what I am, I don't know it. I also like the political connotations. You have permission to describe me as queer. I do not recommend describing other people as queer unless they've told you that they prefer that term and are OK with non-queers using it to describe them.

Really, your best bet if you wonder how people identify is to ask them.

Rebel McLeod asks: Name three passions (or something approximating them). If you followed them with enough zeal, what sort of Muppet would you be?

  • Drumming
  • Violence
  • Shouting

I'd be Animal.

Oh, wait. Three passions of mine?

Funny, Rebel, I believe you and I have discussed that my passions are fleeting. That said, three of my less-fleeting passions seem to be:

  • My niece and nephew
  • Supporting queer youth through my example
  • The letter W

...and I don't think Bert knows my niece and nephew, but everyone who does loves them, so that sounds like Bert. Right?

April asks: What is your favorite post — or one of them — and why?

What a great segue into our next blogiversary spectacular post! I'll get to that there.

Day 19 of my month of gratitude: I am thankful for questions and answers and those who pose them and those who indulge mine. Those of you who know me in real life know I love both asking questions and demanding their answers. Thank you so much for celebrating this milestone with me. Oh, and if this inspires any of you to chime in with questions of your own, ask 'em in the comments. I'll answer any I get by midnight tonight.

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