Saturday, October 22, 2011

Looking back, looking forward

While I have been revamping the look of this project, I have gone back and reread entries from my past blog on livejournal. The intent of my entries on livejournal was to keep friends that lived in other parts of the world updated about my activities. Then I joined facebook and I sacrificed content for silly snippets and sharing videos. I enjoyed reading my posts on livejournal in the way that others say you will enjoy your high school journals. I tossed my high school journals, unread, without a second thought. The petty dramas and emotional insecurities of teen-me are not something I needed to revisit. Not that my livejournal entries are free of drama – they were written during my university years and one is not that much more evolved at that age.

But I could revisit things that I had done and events that I had forgotten about. The everyday interactions with my friends and eventually my work colleagues. I was also able to read the entries in my voice – the one thing my writing has always been called is conversational. While that’s not really appropriate in an essay or in much of fiction, it is something that I like about my writing. It is distinctively Kirsten. I don’t think that these entries are missing that characteristic but I do think they are often more stylized. When I picture the audience for this project it is not just the crowd of friends that were my livejournal audience. Which is a conceited notion since I know that the only people who do read these entries regularly are my friends. (And thank you for that!)

I think that my revised goal for this project will be to keep more of the essence of my voice while refining my techniques. If only because when I read other’s work, such as The Bloggess, I am reminded of the humor and voice that my friend Karlos and I have. I want my writing to improve but I also want my voice and perspective to remain. This means that continuing with the intent of this project is all the more important. Writers must write to improve; soccer players must run faster to become faster. What I have always had a hard time doing is balancing my investments. I either give into lassitude or over commit myself to grand plans. Hence 100 words a day, a modest proposal.

Ongoing titles

A Confederation of Valor Omnibus: Valor's Choice/The Better Part of Valor - Tanya Huff
The Heart of Valor - Tanya Huff
Impossible Things - Connie Willis
Batwoman Elegy - Greg Rucka & J.H. Williams III


When I worked in a book store during high school, I used to love the feel of trade paperback books. The covers had a beautiful matte finish and the paper used for the pages was slick and silky. I loved the paper used in trade paperbacks – it made the price difference between the mass and trade versions worthwhile. You could feel the better quality materials.

Now when I see trade paperbacks on the shelves they use the same pulpy paper as mass paperbacks. The have a larger formtatstill, which is more awkward to carry around than mass paperbacks. Overall, the same quality is just not present any longer. It’s irritating to me because more books are being published as trade paperbacks and fewer as mass paperbacks. So not only are the books more awkward to carry and the same quality binding and materials as mass paperbacks – they’re still more expensive.

Which leads me to my next complaint: why are Canadians still paying a premium on books printed in the US when our dollar has been so strong for the past three years? When the Canadian dollar first stabilized near par, book retailers claimed that they couldn’t sell at the US price because their stocks had been purchased earlier. Six months later some of the major retailers offered US list price on select newer titles. It has been two years since then and Canadians are still paying premiums to get the same titles.

Mass paperbacks are 12% more expensive in Canada than in the US; trade and hardbacks have an equivalent price disparity. In a time when major book retailers are going bankrupt and the industry as a whole is in a tizzy that no one is buying books, one would think that the market would be more flexible. I own an e-reader but I am not willing to forgo the pleasure of handling and reading physical books. I love the smell of books and knowing that I can go back and read books again wherever I take them. I do not have enough faith in the nebulous internet cloud that all the e-books I purchase will be available to me as long as material copies.

Current issues with iTunes and downloaded music only reinforce my concerns that our society has still not balanced artistic rights and the business of selling artists’ work. If you buy mp3s, you should be able to download them again if your computer or music device fails. There should be no restriction on these downloads because if you had the cd and your computer failed, it would be a non-issue. Of course, this is based on the idea of responsible consumers. People have shared music for decades and still the music industry is making money. The same goes for books – sharing books hasn’t hurt authors to my knowledge. I learn about new authors and buy their books; my friends learn about new authors and buy their books. Win-win. I just want to enjoy my books.

Smooth moves

We played our first game of the fall season in August; a friendly scrimmage with another team and someone’s friend who agreed to referee. It’s just about my favorite way to start a season: a no-pressure game against a friendly, talented team that we like. I haven’t played any soccer since early July and I’ve been a slouch about my running. It follows that my fitness is not what would be called great.

We were off and playing when I had a moment. During league games I am a cautious player, preferring to use my tried and true moves over any new tricks used at practice. So when I had the ball coming to me ahead of the opposing team’s player, I figured on trying something new. I gave a bit of a push and tried step over the ball with my left foot and kick it with my right foot. Nothing would do but my left foot stepping directly on top of the ball, its curved surface giving way beneath me as I tumbled ass over tea kettle.

This was a friendly game and so everyone stopped to check that I was alright before awarding a free kick. One of the women on the other team called out, Don’t hurt yourself – it’s just a practice game! I laughed it off and continued playing the rest of the game. We didn’t win that game but it was a great example of why I love my team. We’re a fun bunch of women who love soccer.

Of course, the next day my neck was killing me. I did the responsible thing and waited five days before getting my neck treated and then only on the day before a weekend soccer tournament. The tournament was fun and I didn’t trip over myself.

Posting Tips

Amazing!L with regards to new look: Soo, you could've written a post but instead you made it prettier?
Me: Yes!
Amazing!L: So all your regular readers (I like how she pretends I have a following) will just be like, wtf, it looks different but there's no new content?!
Me: Yep.

You're welcome Amazing!L.