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Letters from Proxima Thule

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30 Days of Write
People keep saying LJ is dying, one way or the other. Because people who really never wanted to fully blog in the first place are over at Twitter and Facebook now, because LJ is Russian and sucks now, because Dreamwidth is better (ugh), because the sky is blue, because social media moves on.

This hurts me. I've invested almost a decade of my life into the work I've created on this site. I love it here. My friends are here. I met my husband here. I met so many people I love on this site, so much good has come of it. I don't want to be one of the olds that's like IN MY DAY THE INTERNET WAS DOWNHILL BOTH WAYS AND WE ALL GOT FREE ICE CREAM EVERY TIME WE POSTED, but I want Livejournal to survive. I love the community here. It makes me sad when, despite my protestations, I see that skip=100 will show me my entire flist for the last two days, when once it went hundreds of entries deep. That I no longer participate in any communities, really. That so many of my real life friends have just stopped posting entirely. Does LJ screw up as a company? Yes, so do all companies. As MacHeads might say, it's about the people. For everything LJ has done that's dumb, it has given me so much good in my life it beggars the heart to tally up. I don't give a toss about LJ the corporate brand. I care about us, here, our home, our family. I am not too good for my home, like unto a cheeky golf ball.

And I realized the other day that I'm part of the problem. I'm not posting nearly as much as I used to. My shallow observations are over on Twitter, and I'm tired a lot, and I'm just not being a good little blogger. How can I complain that Livejournal isn't what it used to be without, you know, lookin' at the man in the mirror, askin' him to change his ways?

So here's my happyfunstunt. For the next 30 days, I'm going to post a substantive essay-type thing on my LJ. Not a "it's too hot, also knitting" post, but something thoughtful or funny or critical. Substantial. That shouldn't seem as Heruclean as it does right now, but I'm going to do it, as a testament to how much I want to keep on keeping on here, and how much I want you guys to as well. I do think it will be interesting for my own processes as well, and now that I've told you all about it, if I slack, I become a loser. (And yes, the Mac post counts for today.)

Now, that is a lot of essays, so if you have something you specifically want me to post about, personal, professional, or otherwise, let me know in the comments and I'll very likely ramble on about it at leisure.

See you on the flip side. Viva LJ. By which I mean: Viva Us.

I too have been thinking thoughts along these lines...

Sorry, but I prefer DW because the admins there actually deal with bug issues and the like that don't affect solely US or Russian users in good time. On LJ, I haven't been able to make a voice post longer than sixty seconds for the last three years and then some.

That said, I admire your putting effort into trying to keep LJ alive, even if I don't agree with your goal.

Yet DW doesn't have email comment notifications, which pretty much kills the entire point of blogging for me. Not to mention my audience is here, and there is just not a critical mass of bloggers on DW.

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I really started getting into this community. I want it to continue to thrive. But do you think part of the problem is "competition" from other "writer" site:Wordpress, Red Room,etc?

Honestly, I have never been linked to a single Red Room post or heard from a writer who likes it. I think it's an irrelevant site, also one which caters to writers reading each other for career advancement, not writers writing so that their /readers/ can read it.

There's a lot of competition out there, but there always has been. I think the main stick in the works is microblogging. Most people never liked writing long posts anyway. Facebook and Twitter are perfect for them. Notice how no one posts quizzes here anymore? But they're all over FB...

WOOHOO! Applause for the LJ community, and for you and you writing in general. :D

I'd love to hear about a book that touched you. You're such a critical consumer (which is good, to me) that I get really fascinated when you or Nick enjoy something.

Funny, I'm just chatting with Seanan about our 2012 IT party...

Applause! I'm going to try doing something similar when I get back from vacation. You're so awesome, Cat~ :)

I know how you feel. FB isn't as good as LJ, but it is less demanding. Which is why its so popular. Quite frankly I'm disappointed in my LJ friends for going over there in droves. But I like you find myself posting less and being less involved in the communities on here. Quite frankly FB isn't isn't a replacement.

And you know what sometimes the "olds" are right. Somethings were better back in the day. Less crap in our food, less plastic packaging. etc. etc.

I concur wholeheartedly. I love LJ; I hate that it is dying. But to be honest? My friends respond to me on FB. They all kind of stopped posting and reading here. So I'm here less, too.

But I applaud Cat's effort here, I shall read with interest every day! Viva LJ! :)

What a fun idea, Cat! I BOUNCINGLY look forward to reading your essays (which could make for some serious motion sickness), and think you should write one on the weirdest trivia/tangents you've come across while researching Something Else.

I've recently started trying for a daily "this is what happened yesterday" post. It's working well.

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Yeah, I'm not a fan of DW's ENTIRE attitude.

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I've heard a lot of the same, but then, I have a lot of friends on LJ and have 8 years invested in posting around here. That and my permanent account mean I'll be here until it dies. But, I also don't understand the whole - I spend more time on FB thing. FB is a quick 1-1 connection or quick status update. Yes, they have a notes feature which could be used like a blog, but I have more friends on FB than I do on LJ and I think I've seen less than 10 notes total in the two years I've been on there.

Maybe it's blogging on the whole that's losing people's attentions? Why spend a half-hour or hour or more writing a blog when you can randomly blurt out a line or two every few hours in a matter of seconds? *shrugs* I like blogging because it's more than that, and it gets me thinking about everything.

As for DW I think it's neat in a few ways, but it's not replacing LJ for me, or most of my friends-list.

It's the game-apps on Facebook that keep people addicted to the site.

Yeah, I think only a few of us every were really bloggers at heart.

I haven't noticed LJ dying for me, so I always kind of roll my eyes when people say that.

As for post topics: Which mythological creatures do you wish were featured more often in fiction? I've been mulling this over myself after realizing how sick I am of zombies, yet how much I love the tengu. :)

I'd love a post on a subject you know almost nothing about, but have great curiosity to learn: why it interests you, whether you think you'll ever get around to studying it, etc.

Hee, I did that with the accordion, and look what happened! It' a dangerous thing to post about...

I *still* giggle every time I think of your vampire television post ("I AM DONE WITH YOU, FAMPIRE FAILURE" has entered my lexicon for when something fails and I need to yell at it). So I would love to see you ramble more along the lines of television and movie thoughts. Or reviews. Or THESE KIDS TODAY AND THEIR DAMN TV SHOWS. Or, y'know, whatever. :)

Also about your writing and editing process, because that interests me and I've really only ever heard about Seanan's. :)

It's funny, a publisher told me not to tell anyone about my process (because I write so fast) a long time ago so I've been really close-lipped about it.

I love ranting about TV shows! You know, I have no idea what you watch, Vixy! What shows do you like?

Very much agree with all this - I've been on LJ for... eight years, I think? And while I agree that it's not perfect, I see no reason to join the Dreamwidth exodus.

I don't think I can commit to posting a massive essay every day, but I did inadvertently end up posting one today, as it happens. Apologies to most of the people who will see this comment for the fact that it's friends-locked, but it includes a few details on family history at one point that I wasn't sure I wanted to share with the whole Interwebz. Plus, some of it is rather contentious and I figured getting flamed by people I actually know would probably be enough for me without attracting the wrath of the whole world...

Still, you've got me inspired to try and post more substantial stuff, when and as I can, than just cute stories about my son and Cthulhu.

I'd love to hear about how you feel other forms of artistic expression inform your own work. Just recently saw RED (a play about painter Mark Rothko) and was impressed at how he felt that painters needed to read literature, drama, archeology, mythology, history, sociology etc. etc. etc.

I'm glad you're keeping it up. I've been trying to offer more substantive ideas with my political posts. But really, the thing with LJ dissolving the advisory board and posting that absurd reason has me dispirited.

I didn't hear about that?

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I haven't posted on LJ in a long while, but you're one of a handful of people that keep me reading, whether it's via a feedreader or the fact that I just figured out how to set up a friendslist on OpenID. Since LJ meets your needs, I admire your efforts to help make it even more the place you want it to be.

I'm not going anywhere. I can't be arsed to go through a whole other process of setting up and stripping down and comments and sign ins and blah.

That said, I have not been posting ANYTHING of note around here lately, and I too have been feeling pretty bummed and thinking I should try harder.

As for topics--I really enjoy reading essays about places by talented writers. I like to know what people feel about places and what nitty gritty details about places get into their souls.

I feel the exact same way about LJ. I still read it every day, and I post more than almost all of the people on my FL, but even that's only maybe a couple times a week. I'm trying to use it more, because there really is no substitute for the depths of thoughts I can share, and the depth of the conversation that arises from them.

Not leaving and going to try posting more :)

Agreed. I will try to do the same. :)

I may try to do so as well. Though oddly, I find that I am posting more on Diaryland these days than here... I r tortoise-snail, scurrying for the oldest shell. :P

You can't leave, you're the one who got me into all this...

We've raised our own barrier..

I used to just hold forth. Then I got the knack of the several forms I like. Then I started writing with greater care....

Also, people don't bloody comment anymore. I mean, I bump into people in the pub and they'll go, "How's Kurtzhau doing with his latest bedtime story", but not a comment on the blog!

Re: We've raised our own barrier..

I still get comments here, though certainly not as much as I used to, and I've noticed the same on other high-traffic LJs. I hope substantive essays will encourage more comments.

I'd be interested in hearing about your thoughts on yaoi sex in fiction and reader's attitudes about sex in fiction, esp. attitudes towards non-mainstream (kink, LGBTQ, etc.) sex.

I'd also be interested in hearing a bit about the process(es) you use when coming up with story ideas.


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