by C.T. D’Alessandro

Okay, I’m going to get make an obvious observation. I don’t know what I’m doing here.

I mean, I know what I’d like to do. When I started this blog, I had this vision of filling it with my interests, all of which would feed into my writing, until which time I actually had a book or story to finally publish. I set out to build that elusive entity called a social media platform, the one that all authors and authors-to-be are supposed to have, where readers interact with me and agents and publishers by the droves discover, served on my electronic-gold platter, the audience for my writings.

My author’s platform!

So I started to think of my brand. The problem is, when I looked at my blog as a sort of thematic endeavor, or an instrument for promoting my writing, my entire mojo for blog writing lifted its virtuous skirts and ran out the proverbial front door. I became stuck. I tried for the whole diversity writing (which I am honestly interested in). Then I tried the Book Challenge thing (which I’m sincerely doing because I love it). But creating a theme that was representative of my writing interests and yet only tangentially related to me resulted in a colossal writer’s block, the likes of which I had never known before.

See, here’s the thing. I’m a fiction writer. Wait, I’m an aspiring fiction writer, because I write and write but I haven’t published anything yet (well besides this and my fanfiction but, you know what I mean). I don’t wait for inspiration – I’m fully capable of completing a writing project under pressure and mostly without the magical assistance of my Muse, who keeps a rather unpredictable schedule anyway.

But there’s too much that provokes my thinking, too much in the wide world to connect to as a writer to say that I will only write about one theme. I could do it for a period, but I would never be able to sustain that overarching type of focus that could be called a brand. I’m not a brand. Like the things I write, I’m a work in progress. I don’t know where I’m going. I’m just here, at this moment, in this place.

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I also read widely and voraciously. I cannot condition my reading to a theme beyond the broadest lines because invariably, a novel will be published or a collection of poems will appear, and without warning, my spirit will follow it and I will engage with that text. It’s a part of my creative life and while I do try to channel the capricious force of inspiration, it is called inspiration because it will arrives and departs at will.

I’m not at a place yet where I can project this creative arc into the future and say, “That’s what this is, that’s where I’m going!” It’s impossible for me because I can’t predict the places my mind will take me or the distances it will travel. I have a blog post prepared regarding my current experience of reading Reading Lolita in Tehran and you can’t even imagine where reading that novel has taken me. I don’t just read my books. I live them. In the end, that’s what I want to write about – what other people’s words do to me and how they feed into my work.

Because eventually, what I put into my head is what’s going to come out. I’m insane about writing but in the measure that I write, fully engaged and completely immersed in what is in front of me, it is also how I read. My books are not just something to pass the time. They are time – time and space and truth that inhabit my mind fully. They arrive, set up shop, and stay for as long as they like, which may continue beyond the last page read.

So when I write for this blog from here on out, readers can count on a few things:

  1. There will be books involved.
  2. There will be writing involved.

Beyond that, we’ll just have to wait and see.

I will continue my Book Challenge because I want to expose myself to diverse literature but it is not the end in itself. I will continue to research my novel, which is set during the 18th century Haitian Slave Revolt. I’m currently taking a course with the Gotham Writer’s Workshop so you’ll definitely see some of my thoughts about all that here. And I will absolutely be engaged in the evolution of representation in contemporary and commercial fiction.

As for everything else, I cannot forecast anything beyond the themes mentioned so far. I can assure you that it will be related to my creative life – how could it not be?  Everything feeds the monster. I’m just trying to keep the door open.

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One thing I do want to commit to is posting bi-week, on Wednesdays and Sundays. Remaining days will feature guest posts and anything I find interesting and relevant to what I’m on about at the moment.

Everything else is in the stars.