The Prodigal Blogger Returns

Hello all, it’s been a minute. How do I work this? How did I get here? Wait. Wrong song, wrong questions. Sort of.

I’ve been writing. And writing and revising and writing and revising. When I first began Mrs Fringe back in 2012, it was for all the lovely esoteric? ridiculous? reasons: a spot to be me, blah blah blah. It was also to see if I could get back to the discipline of writing. Which I did. In addition to the blog, I wrote a novel. I was pleased to have written it, queried it briefly, but I kind of hated it. I liked the very kernel in the center, but it wasn’t me. Not as a person, and not as a person who plays with words. Then I wrote another novel, which I loved. I queried that one, got an unexpected and deliciously exciting number of requests based on the query and opening chapters, but no offers, no hey-your words suck, please stop, no fix this-not that. I was fucking crushed, never going to write another novel, etc. Then I thought about going back to that other one, ideas for how I could rewrite it in a way that was me, but maybe include the potential to be commercially viable.

I started writing down notes on those ideas. Then in November 2016 the unspeakable but unignorable happened in the US, and I was crushed in a different way. At that point I took a break from the blog, feeling like America had voted for me to shut the fuck up, no-one was ever going to want to hear my words; not through Mrs Fringe and not through my fiction. Came back, blogged sporadically when I couldn’t stop the awful from spilling onto the keyboard, started seriously rewriting that manuscript. Too much awful, stopped the fiction, still blogged sporadically, then decided I needed to finish that novel. Talk about ludicrous. I had adult child telling me Mrs Fringe wasn’t fun anymore so obviously my answer was to write 90,000 words of political satire. Proof that no whips or chains are required to fulfill masochistic tendencies. This was also a different process for me. By nature, I’m a linear writer. First chapter, edit, second chapter, edit, and so on, until I reach the end, go back and edit the whole thing. I thought hey, this will be easier, I’ve got the bones from that original manuscript to use as a blueprint. Can’t speak for anyone else’s process, but for me, it was much harder, and I didn’t have enough words left at the end of each session to also blog. I will never do this again. Would I go back and revise an old manuscript, if there was a specific reason (ie: interest from someone in the industry)? Sure. But this? Nope. Seriously, I’d rather face the blank page.

Still tweaking, but it’s been written and revised and edited and edited and sent to beta readers and edited and edited. I even have a query letter. Because I’m Mrs Fringe, and the last manuscript (magical realism) was maybe a little too weird, naturally this one is eight times stranger. What can I say, I’ve got my own way of looking at the world, and my fiction explores that perspective. As always, the response from beta readers was split between positives “yes, send this out! I love your words! but maybe fix this first, and oh god what is it with you and commas?” and “wtf, Mrs F?” I’m having a hard time deciding the genre, I definitely veered left from magical realism, thought new weird might be right, but I’m not sure that’s a thing anymore (unless you’re China MiΓ©ville), so I’m getting used to using the term speculative fiction. It’s absurdist, kind of a fantastical satire set in near-future New York. Just the thing everyone is clamoring for, eh? Now I’m not sure what I’m going to do next. There are a couple of bits I want to add/clarify, and I’m not quite happy with the query, but I’m finding myself dragging my feet on fixing these, because I don’t know if I actually will query. If it’s as finished as I can/know I need to make it, I’ll have to decide. While it isn’t autobiographical, and maybe not the bookofmyheart that the last one was, it’s…Fringey. Much the way Mrs Fringe–eclectic as it is–has focused on what it is to live on the fringe of this city, this story explores the cracks of NY: who lives there, what they’re dreaming of, and how they survive.

I’m back here today because I’ve been thinking about blogging a lot. I broke the rules with Mrs Fringe. I don’t have one specific focus, I’m an expert on nothing yet have been forthcoming with my .02 on everything. I’m anonymous. I’m not consistent with content nor post production. I *gasp* don’t keep it positive. In almost six years of doing this, I haven’t built a huge following, but I do have a following. I think. Are you still there, readers? It’s me, Fringey. (I really did let it lie quiet for months this time.) If I was going to hit it “big” with thousands of followers, I figure it would have happened by now. But on a semi-regular basis–even during periods where I’m on a break and not posted anything–I get notes/messages from readers, maybe asking where I am, or telling me my weird words made sense to them, some have been generous enough to thank me. Every one of those notes has been amazing to receive, felt like both validation (yes! someone likes my words!) and bonus (it’s a blog, I have no expectation for anything to come of it). Can I find the same with my fiction? For all the years I’ve been playing with words, the question hasn’t changed: are my words good enough? Am I enough?

(Currently the working title of the manuscript, I’ve had this song on repeat for months. At this point I think it’s the soundtrack to my nightmares.)

13 comments

  1. So glad to see you posting again. Even more glad to know that you’ve been working on writing while you’ve quiet elsewhere. You have talent, and a quirky style that some folks might not appreciate as much as I do. I’m sorry you haven’t had the success one would hope for. I find it amazing that your books haven’t been snatched up, but books like Fifty Shades have, to great appeal. smh

    Like

    1. Thank you, Kiltfan! (also, hi!) I swing back and forth between being certain my fiction can find a home/would have a following and thinking, well, obviously I don’t know shit and can’t write. My style is quirky, for sure, but there are quirky people out there who want something other than “and they lived happily ever after, even though he stalked and terrified but it must be LOVE! Also, he’s rich.” πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ahhh, Mrs. Fringe. I give you a lot of credit; you know that, right? Now, as for your two questions at the end there, let me respond to each in kind.

    First question: Are your words good enough?

    Take that last word off there and my answer is an emphatic ‘HELL, YES!’ Because your words are good, lady. Really effing good. But that last bit there, that qualifier, that’s the stickler because you’re in a different ballpark now; it’s not about the quality of your writing now, it’s about others’ reactions to it, and some of those others are agents and editors. We know how important their reactions can be.

    If nobody had ever seen Michelangelo’s David, if it had languished all these years in some dusty back room, it would still be a masterpiece. Art is art, Mrs. Fringe. Something is either good, or it ain’t. Audience be damned.

    Your second question now comes into play: Are you enough?

    I will hazard a response, based on what I know about you: HELL, YES. You’ve proved as much, again and again. You have responsibilities and demands that others don’t have. Your life is . . . challenging, to say the least and yet you rise to meet those challenges, go above and beyond while somehow managing to write, and not just write, Mrs. Fringe, but write well; well, meaning houghtfully. Honestly. Your writing is unique. Provocative. Insightful and powerful stuff.

    I’m glad you blogged after this hiatus. Like I told you earlier, maybe this will inspire me to dust off my own blog. Jury’s still out there but this I do know: I look forward to reading your words in whatever form they take. The world more interesting with them and you in it. Thank you for giving us a little of both today.

    ❀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Awww, thank you, K. ❀ I don't know, though. Yes, David is a masterpiece regardless, but I can't imagine anyone looking at that sculpture–any of Michelangelo's work, and not seeing genius (just saw an exhibit a couple of months ago, truly breathtaking). But words…words for me are a two way street. They have to be read. Again, thank you, your thoughts and response mean a lot to me. I'm glad I blogged, too. It's amazing how much I get out of running this little blog, most of all the people who take time to read it. ❀ ❀

      Like

  3. I’m still here too, and still busily violating all those blogging rules you mentioned. Who says we have to focus on one thing, publish regularly, or reveal our real names? It’s a great big world, with a lot of people and a lot going on. Write on, I say! Write on!

    Liked by 1 person

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