commercial breaks and a most unreliable narrator

I’m pleased as punch to announce I’ve published my second e-book, commercial breaks. It is two prose poems I wrote during a high manic phase back in the early ’90s and was originally published online. I’ve had the piece professionally edited and now it’s good to go. You can buy it from amazon or download it (for free) in pdf or mobi format. (Obviously, I would want you to buy it so that I can be even more pleased someone is buying my work!)

I’ve just corrected the proofs for the print copy of The Lisa Chronicles, Vol: 1 and those should be up for sale in a few weeks. Print copies of commercial breaks are soon to follow.

#

From exit, pursued by a bear:

…a few weeks ago I made the grand decision to start spilling my guts over at http://tinyletter.com/amostunreliablenarrator/. The decision was painful but I have to accept people aren’t reading blogs anymore — it’s all newsletters now — and I want to keep writing but I want — no I need — to get my voice out to as many people as possible. Newsletters it is.

I miss you. I hope you’ve been missing me too.

eff rejection

The Lisa Chronicles book

(Hrm. I can’t seem to get the image to straighten. You get the drift.)

Saturday the paper proof for The Lisa Chronicles Vol 1 showed up and having a solid form of my book in my hand feels awesome.(I borrowed the design heavily from an existing traditional publisher as I liked the simplicity of the style.) There are some minor corrections that need to be done.Even the low resolution pictures (times were different back in the late ’90s) were not as grainy as I would have thought. Overall, I am pretty pleased with how the book turned out.

I’ve got a post brewing on freeing the content but the short version is I’m providing .pdf and .mobi versions of my work for free on this website as well as putting the ebook and print copies for sale at fine retailers such as Amazon and Kobo.

Speaking of books, I sent the manuscript for my first chapbook to my editor and the return wasn’t as bad as I thought. While I’m gungho on doing the printing and such myself, I’m wavering on having it professionally published mainly because of the marketing angle. I can boast on freeing the content and getting my work into as many hands as possible,all I want but I do want to get some kind of token payment for my work.

Publications brings me to rejections.

#

Ray Bradbury is credited with the “write one, submit one” methodology. It’s self-explanatory: You write one piece and you submit a piece every week. (I’ve also seen write one submit one daily but that is some crazy shit.) The more you write, the better you get, and even if you make one sale, it’s enough to keep you going as soon you’ll have two sales and so forth and so on.

Mr. Bradbury goes into more detail below.

Right now I’m ahead of the game: I wrote and submitted ten pieces in February, had one acceptance and three rejections. Even if the other six reject me, I’m still coming out a winner.

But the rejection still hurts. The sting was intensified when two of the rejections came in one day. WHY WON’T THEY UNDERSTAND MY PROWESS WITH WORDS??

Mr. Bradbury continues he went through a similar thing, we all go through a similar thing. You look back at your earlier work and see how terrible it is because it is terrible. You’re a beginner at this game and no one is going to excel coming out of the gate. But you don’t know until you submit and get rejected.

I found this sentiment to be particularly true of a piece, Palmistry for Beginners, I wrote a couple of years ago. A speculative piece, I posited the question of what if we could change our life if we changed the major lines on our palms. If you’re not familiar with palmistry, the idea is the lines on your palms represent different aspects of your life (love, health, wealth, life, etc) and they can also predict the future. I’m not sure if I buy into this wholly BUT I once went to a palm reader who predicted a breakup with a major boyfriend which happened two days later; I would have no kids, and I would get married twice. So far she’s at 90% and as Mr. Lisa and I have talked about getting married again, she’d be 100% correct. Coincidence? Sure, but sometimes there could be bigger things at stake.

I’m asiding here. Back to my short story.

I sent the piece to a speculative fiction site and it got rejected. I revised the story a year later and it too got rejected. I still couldn’t understand why. A year after that, I re-read the piece and it was terrible. Tenses were all over the place, the plot dropped and came back and dropped again. I would reject me.

I started revising again and found the original story needed to be double the length to get the plot fully fleshed out and coherent. This is a story I’m going to have to diagram / comment / note take / and whatever implement I need to use to get it into shape.

This will be the hardest story I’ve written at this point.

In this process, I learned a couple of things about myself:

  • I cannot use my bipolar mania, which I am horribly guilty of doing,  to conflate everything I write as a Pulitzer piece
  • I need to figure out a writing style and stick to it. It’s okay to change direction but that direction depends on the type of work. I’m enamoured of Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Bukowski but I write, for now, like some James Joycian and Virginia Woolf bastard step-child. I like clean and succinct writing styles. Getting a sure footing on my voice will make a huge difference instead of changing to ten different voices in the span of a single piece.
  • As some of my work is not a linear introduction, conflict, resolution style, this is not a bad thing. Finding a market for it may be difficult but I need to get into the groove of what makes me feel good as I write. “Write what I want to read” is hammered all over writing blogs.
  • All ideas are good ideas. Even if they seem ridiculous, an idea is better than no idea. Some of my ideas are terrible but that’s okay. I have ideas.
  • Revise. Send it to my editor. Revise again. Rinse, lather, repeat.

A year ago I would have given but rejection gives me hope and forces me to be a better writer and in the end, isn’t what is most important of all?

 

 

giving birth to the world

Dear Internet,
When I gave birth to my first self-published book, The Lisa Chronicles: Vol 1: 1998, in January, I experienced a divine feeling, for that is the only way I can describe it, when I hit “publish.” Here was something many years in the making in which I was able to clean up, organize, and present as my baby.I knew it wasn’t going to be a big seller as the singular goal was to give it life.
Sales have not been spectacular but I want more of that feeling. I want to give birth to writing things and even for just a little while, feel like I am queen of the world.


I want to say the last year has been one for self discovery and I want to believe I’ve learned a thing or two along the way. I want to believe all of this is worth it, all the pain, the smearing of my reputation and name, the rejection from several communities has been worth it. I swore to anyone who would listen that I had to sleep with me at night and as long as my conscious is clear, that’s all that mattered.
But at what price does “doing the right thing” come?
I keep talking about my exhaustion levels. I keep mentioning how this lifestyle I’ve jumbled together from bits and pieces is tiring. I harp on how this is effecting me. Underneath it all, all I feel is I must do something with this life of mine. I must take what has happened and create some kind of purpose or meaning. If this doesn’t happen, I feel, then I beat myself up over and over and over again for being a failure. A loser.


I stare at my screen, that taunting cursor winking at me. A million and a half ideas and nothing is coming forward from my brain to my mouth to my hand. My sketch book is a mockery. I cannot get it out of my head if I cannot make a living at doing this, wha then will I do?  This thing, this writing, chasing that dream that so many have gone before me and so many of them magnificently failing. When editors tell me they love my voice and my writing, I am convinced they tell everyone the exact same thing. How is my voice unique and how can it make matter?
What if everything I’ve been telling myself is a lie? What if this is all there is?
xoxo,
Lisa
P.S. Don’t want near daily emails or can’t make it here everyday but want to keep up with what’s going in my world? Subscribe to A Most Unreliable Narrator, a monthly-ish newsletter roundup of what’s happening. Bonus! Comes with GIFs!

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2014, 2013

introductions, introductions

The cottage from The Holiday.
The cottage from The Holiday.

Dear Internet,
Happy early Svein Forkbeard day. I’m in the wilds of Connecticut prepping for the series of holiday events that will be happening over the course of the next few days. Tonight most of the Connecticut family is heading to the midnight service and I’m thinking of joining them. There is something about theological rituals during the holidays that I still yearn for even though I do not prescribe to any particular religion.
Like previous years, I’m in the throes of making holiday cookies. This year the list is small: macaroons, white chocolate cranberry oatmeal, no bakes, sugar, and finally, gingerbread cookies. I’m shipping cookies to my brother and TSTBEH and of course, leaving some for the Connecticut family. Since the next couple of days is going to be jammed with family activities, I’m stealing time when I can – like waking up at 5:30AM to start the prep work for the cookies and the cornbread stuffing for the big meals that are happening today, tomorrow, and Boxing day.
Nick Frost plays Santa!
Nick Frost plays Santa!

It’s also time for holiday episodes of my favorite British TV and radio shows. So far Stella, the first part of the Zurich episode of Cabin Pressure, and first episodes of Good Omens have played. Then of course come the regulars and new shows that are upcoming like: Doctor Who, Downton Abbey, and Miranda. This is yet another reason why I love the British: the unabashed love for holiday episodes of their favorite shows which Americans give no fucks about.
But I have to reaffirm the bigger news than holiday cookies and TV shows; though in my world, those are very good things.
Skaldic Press Presents
Reminder about the 4x a month newsletter from Skaldic Press (my publishing arm) that includes updates from Exit, Pursued by a Bear, so glad is my heart, and other adventures in addition to Skaldic Press. Includes themed GIFs. You can check out the archives for a better taste of what to expect and then subscribe below.


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The Lisa Chronicles, Vol 1: 1998
Also another reminder that my book is now available for pre-order. Publishing date is January 31, 2015.
From the blurb:

In 1998, having an online diary was a brave new world. Mailing lists, communities, chat rooms, and more all sprung up over people’s favorite diarists. Now we would call them bloggers. But then, THEN was a whole ‘nother beast. Then writing online was intimate. Then it was more personalized and personal. Then writers had less shtick. Not much was expected of these online exhibitionist scribes other than the ability to tell a good tale and regularly update.
I miss those days.
I never expected to get rich or famous, but what I wanted was to be able to connect to others who were like me. The scared, the frightened, the brave, and the bold. (No relation to the terrible soap opera of the same name.) I wanted to eat the world and in 1998, what better way to do that was through the Internet?
What can you expect from the first volume? Love, conflict, obsessions with people, places, and things. Rotating cast of characters and adventures. Sprinkle of song lyrics here and there. Pop culture references galore. Sex. More sex. Profane words and a bipolar girl desperate to connect with a world she did not understand.
While this work has been edited for grammar, clarity, and the obvious typo, it remains largely unchanged from when it first appeared online nearly two decades ago.
And lastly, every word here is true.

So if you’re intrigued by the book description or want to help support me thanks to the saga of #teamharpy, I would be most grateful if you would pre-order the book.

[amazon template=image&asin=B00R2808QE]

<<<<>>>>

Not much else is going on in my world right this very second other than prepping for the holidays and editing my book. Typically I feel some sort of sadness and isolation since my family and I are not very close, but while I feel some semblance of that feeling this year, being around people who care kind of lessens the pain. I still feel awkward and out of place, but when do I usually not feel a disconnect to others’ lives?
The drugs may stabilize my moods, meditation may help me deal better with impulse feelings, but some things about me will just never change.
xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2013, 2011, 2002

look, it stopped snowing

Dear Internet,
I unintentionally woke up this morning at 6AM  but it ended up working out as the early wake-up meant I could take Kristin to work. We walked outside to discover that it had snowed over night; nothing serious but it was the first time this season I’ve seen snow sticking to the ground. It snowed once when I was on the east coast, on Thanksgiving, and it was giant fluffy snow; the kind that melts as fast as it hits the ground.
caravaggio
Since I graduated from undergrad in 2005, I’ve made it my personal mission to see every Caravaggio in existence. I am so enamoured of the idea, a few years ago I made a mini-site (okay, a page really) of his known complete works and started checking them off. I haven’t updated in awhile but as of today, I’ve seen over 40 of the 90 Caravaggios open to the public and I have 18 more pieces to catalog before the page is done with the exception of me checking off new ones I have seen.
I really need to hie thee to Florence and Vienna.
The Lisa Chronicles, Vol 1: 1998
…is now up for pre-order. Delivery date is January 31, 2015.
At long last my project is starting to come to fruition. The goal is to take each year from 1998 and forward, clean it up (grammar, spelling, clarity), bundle it as an eBook and sell it on Amazon. The content has been free for  years on EPbaB, but no one reads archives anymore unless there is a direct link within the piece referencing it. There has been requests to eBookify the back content for easier reading, so I’ve done just that.
From the blurb:

In 1998, having an online diary was a bold new world. Mailing lists, communities, chat rooms, and more all sprung up over people’s favorite diarists. Now we would call them bloggers. But then, THEN was a whole ‘nother beast. Then writing online was intimate. Then it was more personalized and personal. Then writers had less shtick. Not much was expected of these online exhibitionist scribes other than the ability to tell a good tale and regularly update.
I miss those days.
I moved my diary (or journal, which was used interchangeably) around to many domains but kept the same name: The Lisa Chronicles. Who better to tell my life story other than me? I never expected to get rich or famous, but what I wanted was to be able to connect to others who were like me. The scared, the frightened, the brave, and the bold. (No relation to the terrible soap opera of the same name.) I wanted to eat the world and in 1998, what better way to do that was through the Internet?
What can you expect from the first volume? Love, conflict, obsessions with people, places, and things. Rotating cast of characters and adventures. Sprinkle of song lyrics here and there. Pop culture references galore. Sex. More sex. Profane words and a bipolar girl desperate to connect with a world she did not understand.
While this work has been edited for grammar, clarification, and the obvious typo, it remains largely unchanged from when it first appeared online nearly two decades ago.
And lastly, every word here is true.

So if you’re intrigued by the book description or want to help support me thanks to the saga of #teamharpy, I would be most grateful if you would pre-order the book.
[amazon template=image&asin=B00R2808QE]
Skaldic Press Presents
The eBook announcement reminds me of another thing I launched this past week: Skaldic Press Presents. It’s a newsletter of updates of my projects, including Exit, Pursued by a Bear, so glad is my heart, and other adventures in addition to Skaldic Press. Includes GIFs.
tl;dr I tweet and write too much, but you want to keep up with me? This newsletter is how to do it.




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where in the world is lisa going to be now?
The constant changing of addresses and locations are baffling peeps, so let me clear some things up. If you have an east coast address for me, mainly for snail mail, you can send me mail there until early January as I will be on the east coast until January 14. After then, I’m back in Michigan to finish up writing my book, continue with The Lisa Chronicles project, and finalize my divorce. I have given out a PO Box to which mail can be sent to and this PO Box is active now. So yes, technically from now until January 15, when I take possession of my apartment in Michigan, I’m homeless.
adios Throbbing Manor (for real this time)
IMG_0884 (1)
The house closed yesterday and the stress of prepping and selling it is now gone. Finally. I’m not sure who is going to be more thrilled about this decision, me or TSTBEH, but we had a very tearful goodbye in the parking lot of the title company before parting ways. I have no idea when I’m going to see him again since he doesn’t need to be present when the divorce is finalized. He headed south for his move, I headed north to Kristin’s to crash for a few days.
And that, they say, is that. I know right now I’m grieving, again, for the loss of my marriage and I’m okay with that. Even knowing what the pain IS doesn’t make it hurt any less.
xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2013

Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes for August 2, 2014

Johann Georg Hainz's Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Johann Georg Hainz’s Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

During the Renaissance, cabinet of curiosities came into fashion as a collection of objects that would often defy classification. As a precursor to the modern museum, the cabinet referred to room(s), not actual furniture, of things that piqued the owners interest and would be collected and displayed in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes is my 21st century interpretation of that idea.
 
Dear Internet,
You can follow me on Pinterest on what I’m readingwatching, and listening.

Writing

The Lisa Chronicles

Ephemera – Prose Companion to The Lisa Chronicles

Watching

Weekly watching: The Bridge, Project Runway, The Almighty Johnsons, The LeftoversTrue BloodRectifyHalt and Catch Fire, A Place To Call Home, Last Week Tonight with John OliverCosmos: A SpaceTime OdysseyElementary
What have you read/watched/listened to this week?
x0x0,
lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe in: 2013, 2012, 2012, 2012, 2012, 2008, 1998

gilded tongues and pretty words

Dear Internet,
It’s been a hellauva week.
There are two things I cannot discuss just yet, but many of you are aware of at least one of them. So let us trip up instead on good news instead of navel gazing on the bad.
Earlier this week, I posted on various social spheres that a present arrived on my doorstep, courtesy of TheBassist:
thud!
And when I mentioned in the posting the book took 8 years to get to me, questions were raised about why and how. It’s simple: TheBassist and I dated. We broke up. He had gotten the book signed for me at some point. The book had been lost, and then refound. So against his promise to never get in touch with me again, he did reach out because a promise made to me superseded a promise made to himself.
(Yes, the same person I mentioned almost a year ago about finding his coded messages to me on various Internet places and he clarified as to why he did it. The promise he made to himself to never get in touch was because he knew he had hurt me so badly, he didn’t think anything he could ever say would ever help ease the hurt of what he did.)
Complicated? Absolutely. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
After our stilted feeling out dance around each other, we became Facebook friends,  laid down some boundaries, and started to get reaquainted with the other. In a very strange way, it is not like eight years has passed between us as conversation picked as if we had only spoken last week. You have to understand when we were dating, we used to text, talk, and email the other all day long. Literally, from the time we woke up to the time we went to bed.
(TheHusband and I have a similar relationship, which is one of the reasons why I married him.)
Really, what is kind of awesome about this new forged friendship between TheBassist and I is that he’s given me carte blanche on getting the answers about what happened between us, what has happened to him, and what is going to happen to his future. It’s intoxicating and overwhelming at the same time.
It is a heady power, one I will not use for ill will either.
(Plus he states on the reasoning on why we broke up, he says in honesty yet it will come out sounding cliched, it really was him and not me.)
Last year, I said

  1. He splintered my heart the first time that when he came sniffing around the second time,  about six months after our first tussle, I showed him my partially fixed heart which he took a sledgehammer to. Again.
  2. While the connection between us when we were together was insane, he routinely lied to me on just about everything
  3. I could never trust him again, even in a platonic manner

1 is absolutely true. 2, he clarified and filled in the missing details, which were easily verifiable. So a lot of his actions are much clearer now on what happened and why, so it was not so much as lying as things were withheld. 3, perhaps is not wholly true because unlike some people from my past, I don’t feel like he’s creeping on me for the sake of creeping nor do I feel he has ulterior motives. (We’re both happily partnered up and I don’t think I would ever leave TheHusband for even Alexander Skarsgard. Maybeee James McAvoy.)
In my long storied history, TheBassist is one of my top five exes. And I’m really thrilled we were able to get closure on a lot of things that happened in the past, which apparently has freed up some unintentional emotional baggage because TheHusband said I’ve been really happy these last few days. (But I think the happiness has more to do we had really good shawarma for dinner, which precluded to me making happy noises while we ate.)
(When I broke this all down for my therapist last week, Dr. P. said this was not going to end well. When I asked why, Dr. P. seemed to be of the mindset that men and women can’t be friends once they have a romantic relationship because doing so brings up all the old feelings which can only lead to no good. I vehemently disagree with this because I am still in contact with many of my exes, the bad and the good, and some I’m quite close to. Just because we’ve seen each other naked and inserted things into orifices does not eradicate the bond we shared long after the romance was over.)
Time to switch gears and talk about a project I’ve been working on for the last few days as part of my writing schedule for July which is the get Vol 1 of secret Kindle project completed and online. The purpose of this project was to test out the ease and flexibility of selling stories via Amazon’s Kindle publishing platform. I don’t wholly expect to make millions off this, but it’s nice to figure out a new tech and make it work for me.
This project is turning out to be much bigger than I planned. I was originally anticipating that about a years worth of content would roughly translate into 200 pages after being formatted for the Kindle, but I’m four months in and already at 50 pages with the formating. So this may turn out to be one big, glorious mess. Hooray!
As part of the project also coincides with getting more of my old content on the websites, I’ve spent the last two days curating, uploading, mildly editing, and publishing stuff from the mid-late 90s and up to mid-00s. All of the existing prose pieces that used to reside here at EPbaB were moved over to my author site. About 50% of what’s on that page is “new.”
If you follow the weekly round up I do every Saturday, I typically list out these “new” entries that I put up for that week, but I often don’t give them summaries. I was pretty pleased with few of the pieces I found today, and was passing them around various social spheres, so here they are:

  • sassy skirt seeks alliterative ally
    This is my personal ad I put on match.com circa 2006. I’m pretty sure if I were single today and looking for fresh meat, I’d use this same ad with some minor edits.
  • rock*star
    I wrote this piece in my undergrad for a creative writing class and I’m pretty proud of it. I blend together The Afghan Whigs lyrics, the time before a concert begins, and finding my high school love after nearly a decade.
  • popular suicide
    I wrote this in 2004, documenting my 1989 suicide attempt and the advice my mother gave me after it happened.
  • Tripping on Stars
    This was a lit ‘zine project some of my friend and I did in the summer of 1999 that lasted for an entire month! The few pieces I created for the project are not half bad.

Word to the wise: If you do decide to go down the Lisa of yore, be prepared for lots of angst, self-loathing, frank discussions about sex, and more.
xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2013, 2012, 1998

3 More + 16 Years: The Chronicles Of A Girl Online

Dear Internet,
Pre-Tumblr (2007), pre-Twitter (2006), pre-Facebook (2004), pre-WordPress (2003), pre-Blogger (1999), pre-LiveJournal (1999), and even before the word “blog” (1999) became part of our everyday vocabulary, a twenty-something girl with lots of opinions and is an exhibitionist at heart started putting her life online in 1998 (1995).
In those days, we did not style ourselves as “bloggers” but as online journalists, diarists, or memoirists. We banded together on mailing lists like Diary-L and went to JournalCon. We often kept not only our own sites, but also companion sites at LiveJournal and DiaryLand.
Things were different then. Vastly different. You weren’t a brand, you were a person. Some wrote anonymously, some wrote brazenly, others wrote somewhere in between. You wrote to explain, connect, bend, fabricate, conceal, and open. You wrote because if you didn’t, you would explode.
We were fearless. We gave no fucks. We were the voice of a generation who came to the Internets guileless and unafraid, knowing whatever transgressions would ultimately be forgiven. We knew anything and everything was possible and we wrote about it all with no pretense. There was an intimacy and an immediacy to the writing. It was also comforting, knowing, shocking, and absorbing.
It was all life unrestricted.
We were all Samuel Pepys, but with laptops and modems, not quills and parchment.
Jarring shift: Last week I found out that whomever now owns simunye.org now has set robots.txt to NOFOLLOW.
And boom, just like that 10 years of Lisa on the ‘net has been wiped out for good.
This becomes important because simunye.org was the first domain I ever purchased, and the first home of The Lisa Chronicles. Once that robots.txt file was changed, tangible proof of my historical online record are forever gone. Now all that is left, other than the local copies safely tucked away in the cloud, is a mention of my early work in an article in Wired from February 1999.
(The incredibly short version of how I lost access in 2010 to the domain registrar where the domain was registered, the domain expired, and I didn’t grab it in time when it was free to renew. Despite this, I was still able to link to the simunye.org archives that lived on via Wayback Machine, but with the new domain owners setting robots.txt to NOFOLLOW, this also effectively wiped out the entire history of the domain at Wayback Machine.)
(And if that doesn’t get you thinking about the so-called permanency of what the Wayback Machine was meant to be as a social history archive of the Internet, then why does it even exist?)
(And it was perhaps fortuitous of me knowing this day was coming? I’ve been steadily putting up the old archives, which is why everything pre-2010 is in spurts. In 2008 I said it would be done by the end of the summer. So.)
But let us not mourn too much about the past, or what it has become. But let us look at this world I’ve inhibited for nearly two decades and how it is starting to come full circle. I was one of the few writing about their whole lives online then and I’m one of the few doing it now.
Now, everyone has an agenda. A brand. A business. A sale. They have a schtick and job, with goal settings, social media analytics, and use phrases like “bounce rate” and “conversions.” They write to make money and hope their kitschy blog on a niche thing will turn into a book or a movie deal.
However I find for all these sites that tell you how to do something, solve your problem, or make you laugh under the banner of “personal blog,” seem to lack a certain soul. A certain personality. Sure, many include tidbits and trinkets about their life in the piece, but the piece is not about that tidbit or trinket; it’s about selling you something and getting you to keep on buying what they are dealing for every time you click a link or land on a page, they are somehow making money.
So we swing back and here we are on the 16th anniversary of my online diary, my journal, my memoirs.
The anniversary of my online journal has always been fluid. Things were put up on GeoCities as far back as 1995, but apparently it was not until July 16, 1998 that I made an executive decision to do this regularly and The Lisa Chronicles (and subsidies) were born.
After a very prolific period that lasted well into the 2000s, I started to write less sometime in 2006, and then almost never and to the point I  thought I would never come back. Various forms of the site evolved in bursts and in August 2010, after finishing library school and floundering around for a bit, I decided to resurrect the site in its previous glory. I also explained why I kept my world online:

When I started keeping an online journal in 1998, the main reason I started chronicling my entire life online was for me to remember it. I have no memory of my childhood and most of my tween years up until the age of 13 and there are even spots of time in my 20s that are vacant. If personal recollections, photographs, handwritten letters and other realia were so incredibly fragile, were my words digitally constructed that much stronger? Could I not access them at anytime and any point with no fear of deprecation?2 Wasn’t this the whole point of the internets?
I became obsessed with chronicling my life because I wanted my imprint to last forever. And this is why my online journal was called, The Lisa Chronicles.

The 2010 resurrection did not breathe life to the site as I had hoped and I started thinking maybe it was time for a new domain and a new name. I had been The Lisa Chronicles for so long but it didn’t feel quite right anymore. I needed a change.
On a trip to England in 2012, I was at Shakespeare’s Globe browsing the gift shop when I saw a pin that said, “Exit, Pursued by a Bear,” referencing the stage direction from The Winter’s Tale. Almost immediately I googled to see if the name was being used and it was in various forms that seemed to be mostly defunct but definitely not as a blog.
This is where I needed to be.
The tag line, “A Most Unreliable Narrator,” is a spin of the literary term “unreliable narration” which refers mainly to first person narratives, typically in fiction,  as they are often biased and filled with self-interest. You know, like life.
In 1998, I was an unmedicated bipolar living in sin with TheHusband in near dump in Oakland, working for a sleazy ISP in San Francisco, and with a borderline drinking problem. I also smoked like a chimney and got into a lot of trouble. In 2014, I’m still unmedicated bipolar living no longer in sin with TheHusband in a too big for us house in a historic district in Grand Rapids, working freelance life as a writer who can barely have a drink a month, no longer smokes, and finds staying up late on Friday nights to be worrisome.
Who the fuck knows what this site, and me, are going to look like in another twenty years?
But personally, I can’t wait.

Fun Facts

  • Someone once made me The Lisa Chronicles ICQ skin
  • I produced t-shirts for supporting the site (and still have one)
  • Most of my oldest, and dearest, friends were met either via IRC or my online journal
  • I have been signing all of my entries, “xoxo, Lisa” since the very beginning
  • TheHusband figures prominently in the beginning since we were together when I began the journal
  • After nearly a decade of not being in touch, TheHusband tracked me down via my journal and we picked up right up in 2008 where we left off in 1999
  • I’ve had romantic and platonic relationships end and begin because of my journal
  • My preferred disposable pen is still a Pentel RSVP in fine point blue
  • I still love nachos (but I no longer smoke)
  • I finally finished college and went on to grab two masters after just to be safe

Stats

Total Words: Over 1 million
Total Posts: 2000 and growing (Average 125 posts a year for 16 years)
Content managed by: By hand until 2004ish, then Moveable Type, Blogger, WordPress, Joomla, Indexhibit, and back to WordPress.
Domains: simunye.org, trippingonstars.org, pronstar.org, bitchasshoe.org, modgirl.net, shesgotplans.net, biblyotheke.net, and finally, exitpursuedbyabear.net.
Here is how the site  looked in 2001, 2004, 2007, and 2011.
Here is what I looked like in 1998, 2003, 2006, 2012, 2014
2001 About Page 
I’m 6′ tall in stocking feet. I don’t know what my natural hair color is. I was born in Toronto, Ontario Canada; I have a half-brother, my father is dead, I’m eight years older than my fiancé. I have a shoe, handbag and clothes fetish. I style myself as a voracious reader and I have had up to 14 piercings at any given time. I dropped out of highschool – twice. I have yet to finish college. I’ve driven cross-country solo and I chain-smoke like a sailor. I love music, literature, walks on the beach and torturing ants with a magnifying glass.
2001 About page alternate
this isn’t going to be some sort of deep psychological debate with myself. you can form your own opinions about me via reading what i write. but that is just the tip. the basics are as follows:

  • I’m 6′ tall in stocking feet.
  • I’ve driven cross country (san fran to dc) solo
  • I’ve been engaged multiple times (but not all at once)
  • my fiance is eight years younger than me
  • my brother is 7’2
  • i was born in Canada and raised in Michigan
  • i was arts/entertainment editor on the college paper
  • i’m obsessed about harry potter and Anita Blake books
  • the first thing i do when i get up is: feed the dogs, make coffee, pee, smoke a cigarette and check my stocks in that exact order
  • i make more snide comments than i do straight answers
  • i’m obsessive /compulsive
  • i’m a drew carey fanatic.
  • i admit to owning albums by “Aqua” “Color Me Badd” and “Britney Spears”
  • i have a purse/shoe fetish
  • i only write with Pentel’s rsvp pens in fine point blue
  • i also tape (via tivo) beverly hills 90210 every time it’s on
  • i’m a zelda fanatic
  • my favorite comedian is eddie izzard
  • if i would, i would marry christian slater in a heartbeat.
  • same thing for brendan fraser
  • ahh hell, imhotep from “the mummy” would so be my bitch
  • i cannot live without my cellphone or my visor
  • or cigarettes, cawfee (from Barnies) and nachos

2004 About Page
Don’t know. I’m an exhibitionist at heart? Whatever the reason, I’ve been keeping an online journal since 1996, a written one since I was a kid. Yah, I’m an old-timer. Fuck this blog shit!
I decided one day to keep an online account of my life and my feelings. I wanted to see how much I have changed (or not) through the years. It is also much cheaper to write than to see a shrink or take drugs. 😉 It’s become some sort of personal project for me and I hope to continue working on it. I write about anything and everything that strikes my fancy. I’ve had partners break up with me over the journal and others fall in love with me because of it. Chances are, if you know me, you’re in here somewhere. I do not use last names or try to reveal identities too terribly much. I don’t have issues about people knowing who I am, but others do. I try to respect their privacy as much as possible. I don’t believe in being anonymous and I don’t believe in keeping secrets. I try to provide as much detail as possible. I’m very verbose — you’ve been warned.
2007 About Page
I first started keeping my journal on-line in 1996 at the age of 24, before the word “blog” was ever coined. And by that logic, I’ve never “blogged” but journaled. Old-schoolers will back me up on this.
The first incarnation of The Lisa Chronicles started on a now-defunct Freenet in my hometown, moved to GeoCities, and found its first permanent home at simunye.org. Various minor moves to other domains that I procured over the years before its final resting place here at modgirl.net.
And in the last decade plus of journaling my life on-line, I’ve met amazing people from all over the world, fell in and out of love, found employment, ranted about the things I despised and raved about the things I loved. It’s been my cheap therapy, my way of expressing myself, of often much needed ego boost, and I have often been humbled by those I’ve met simply by their sheer amazing selves.
2011 About page
In no discerning order: 30 something. Punk rock librarian and archivist. Sassy. Waffle. Pug owner. World traveler. Pierced. Tattooed. Tall. Music and book lover. Discriminating Guinness taster. Aging, alternative hipster. Eco-conscious. Geek. Equally in love with James Bond and Jane Austen.
2014 About page
I’m Lisa.
I am from the Internet.
You may know me as @pnkrcklibrarian, or from my previous online journal, The Lisa Chronicles. If we’re going to go back even farther to the days of Undernet IRC, as simunye or lisha.
You may also know me to a lesser extent from LiveJournalGoodreads, Tumblr, and Pinterest and  things I have created.
“Fuck” is my favorite word and I also have a lot of opinions.
I used to want to write for Rolling Stone but have worked everywhere from meat packing plant to a newspaper salesperson to a network engineer and then a librarian with multitude of stops along the way. Now I write full time and wave my cane at the kids on my lawn.
x0x0,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2013, 2012, 2010, 1998

the world is created from his body, or a quiet little revolution

Dear Internet,
If you are following Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes, which is posted every Saturday morning, you may have noticed a subsection under the Writing section entitled, The Lisa Chronicles. These are entries that had been offline for years for whatever reason and I was finally incorporating into the grand scheme of  EPbaB.  This weeks CCC will have over 50 entries of old-new content that has gone up. I felt like it was time to explain why.
This is the project I’ve talked about for a very long time, dating back to at least 2006 or so when TheEx and I had gotten together. With him, suddenly, I didn’t feel the need to write so much anymore. Without him, I had a whole lot to stay and I’m still trying to play catch up.
The whole process is basically a jumble of the following:

  • Incorporate entries from LiveJournal
    • Started the import process and it turned into a huge colossal mistake. The import was not cohesive and skipped many months (and years). Will have to import by month or few months, slowly at a time.
    • No decision made on what to do with my LiveJournal account, if any, once this is completed.
  • Import old entries from previous website databases
    • Done for the ones that could be imported. Currently doing a lot of hand entry work for ones that could not be imported.
  • Import from old hand coded entries that were neither in LiveJournal or database driven.
  • Usual admin work: Make sure tags, categories match. Update links, if possible. Replace images, if possible. Spell check, if possible. Things that are obviously missing or broken, like likes, images, and URLs I have fixed. But the rest I have left alone: grammar errors, stylistic choices, all left just as the creator intended.

Getting this project off the ground feels good and to see the content fleshing itself out as the years start to fatten up in the archives is thrilling.
The archives are stored on my main hard drive and backed up to two different cloud services. Since this is all text, despite the sheer amount of files, the weight is tiny. Plus the bonus is I can do this work from anywhere.
This weekend I found a gorgeous plugin that allows me to have true, easy to use and navigate archives page. Better than any widget that collapses or piecemeal summary on the archives page (whether by category, tag, or month), it’s brilliant. Clicking on by month still gives you the monthly entries on a single page in all of their glory, but at least with the landing archives page, it is much more inviting now to read the past. And it’s easier, for me, to see what months and years are not quite filled out.
Also, a discovery! While entries exist back to 1995, it was on July 16, 1998 I decided to buy a domain and turn this into a THING. So now I have an anniversary, of sorts, and it feels incredibly intimate to have shared my life online for 16 years.
In the past, the arguments I’ve made for this project, this getting all of the content together in a reasonable archive (even if I wasn’t working on it at the time) was for curation, preservation, and historical access. I now I’m going to add postmodern literacy to the mix.
For the last couple of years, at least, I’ve noticed the tipping point of the web becoming heavily in favor of multimedia over written content. Twitter has 140 characters. Instagram is about pictures. SnapChat and Vine are about videos. Tumblr and Facebook is about all of those things as long as it is done in a microformat. These are social networks and their brevity is accepted and expected.
On the flip side, in terms of written content supposedly not attached to flash whiz bang, massively popular websites like BuzzFeed, Thought Catalog, Jezebel, and their ilk who should be writing engaging articles or pieces anymore, are not. No, it IS about an image, a GIF, a video, or the hated listicle like  “9 Things To Torture Your Cat With While Standing Naked On A Balancing A Ball.”  These sites are typically peppered with ads in the article, before and after the article, in the header and the footer. All of these articles come with bylines, the text is usually under a 100 words – and that’s a long article in their world. The longform content has now become quickie.
The question to me is: are these really articles? Sure, not all pieces should be Joycean in nature, but at the same time, do they all need to have the brevity and abstraction of cummings? If it contains image macros, preferably of a cute animal, a witty tagline, and a line or two, it is an article and why is that enough?
Best of all: someone got paid to do that work and put their byline on that piece.
MTV Geek has a call out for an editor for their blog requesting, Build and edit approximately 15 blog posts per day of no less than 300 words each. That’s 4,500 words. A day. And their ad requirements are a glimpse into what we get when we read our RSS feeds: dozens of articles a day from various sites around the web that are almost all brainless and thoughtless. Why post 12 articles on upcoming movies when you could have ONE article on upcoming movies. Because then you wouldn’t get the clickbait. Clickbait is what brings in the money, honey.
Not all sites treat content as a commodity to be brokered. LongformMcSweeney’s, PaidContent, and to some extent Salon are several notches ahead of the aforementioned link bait sites, but even they have their own problems. And don’t get me started on Huffington Post and how I do wonder, everyday, we’ve decided that site was fine and acceptable for news retrieval.
My point, as I wander around about shaking angry fists at everything,  is that the days of writing on the web, for the sake of writing, seem to be disappearing quickly. A look through WordPress’ themes  directory is filled with responsive, light, minimal themes. But only if you do video or photos. Dig around looking for a theme to showcase written word and you’re hard pressed to find anything worth using. Or you could hack apart a theme, as I often do, and make it bend to your will but that isn’t the point.
So I decided I’m going to have a quiet little revolution. In addition to rejecting the type of so-called journalism listed above, I will continue to write about my fancy, fill in my archives when I can, and present a pleasing text choked content filled site. I may not get the hits, or the money, or the fame from what I’m doing but when the rest of the world remembers only cat videos and fake Twitter accounts, this will be an always on reminder of the time we text used to exist.
x0x0,
Lisa (Day #25)

This day in Lisa-Universe in: 2003

Happy Anniversary: Downpour on My Soul 17 Years Later

Dear Internet,
In April of 1996, I wrote downpour on my soul in feverish moments that physically lasted days but mentally felt like hours. I still remember my bedroom set-up, the empty bottles of diet Coke around me, and the towering ash trays. When completed, the piece spanned 47 hand written pages, single spaced. downpour on my soul is a stream of consciousness I put together about my internet relationships that had existed up to that point and the one that I was starting with a crazy South African boy named Andrew.
I was 23.
This was the first piece I had written specifically for the internet. This is what started my online confessions.
Nearly two decades later, I’m Facebook friends with Matt, Chad, and Andrew. I still talk to Mark pretty regularly. Summer of 2011, Miguel tracked me down (third time in last six years) and wanted to finally get married over 20 years after we had begun. The fact I was already married had never entered his mind. Bryan and I would meet  the summer of 1996, when Patrick and I road tripped to Toronto. Bryan and I would end up dating, and one night he would fuck me while I slept. The breadth of vocabulary for rape would not exist then, but I remember the  unease of being around him and the eventual breaking off. Bryan would continue maintaining up until 2000 or so I was the woman for him. He later married and had a family.
These are the now capsules of the lives of the men I loved.
In a lot of ways, not a lot has changed.
Through the many server, URL, and CMS moves over the years, most of my archives are no longer alive on my server space but all of them can be accessed via the Wayback Machine. While I’ve been working steadily for the last few months getting the old content back up, it’s slow process. I cannot remember the last time downpour on my soul was freely available online on any of my sites until now.
I left the piece in its original state – grammar, spelling, and other atrocities alike. While I had thought of moving some of this content into book form after the import was complete, for now everything in its chaos remains.
I love 23 year old Lisa.
I’m not saying that just because she was me, but because of her fearlessness, restlessness, strength, intensity, and tenacity. 23 year old Lisa would have done anything to carve out a better life for herself, or at least, carving out a life that made her happy. She was also crazy enough to try anything at least once but not crazy to the point that would have put her in harms way. When I’ve stumbled upon pieces written from that period, I marvel at her ability to land almost always land at her feet no matter what is thrown at her.
A lot of 23 year old Lisa has passed down through the years, even if it’s in milder forms. She would have been pleased as punch to know she went on to finish her bachelors and then two master degrees, get a well paying job, and have a decent life. Her anger at lack of creativity in our world would be tantamount in my current state of well being, but I already know that and that is something I am aiming to fix.
I am honored to have been 23 year old Lisa and the choices she has made that shaped her life. I hope you like her too.
xoxo,
Lisa
 

This day in Lisa-Universe in:  1996