This post marks the beginning of a new project titled “A Blog of Her Own”. I will periodically be interviewing women who blog about why we write, and particularly why we blog. This project is a follow up to my previous post, “Why is your writing so published?”, in which I explored the struggles of women in the writing and publishing world. Blogging is a fairly new sector of writing and publishing that allows writers to publish their work automatically. Many women have been using their blogs to intersect the personal with the political; I am interested in these women and how they use their space to speak out. In particular I will be exploring the work of writers who blog about feminist issues. I first discovered Notes from a Bashful Radical last year, and I was immediately attracted to the author’s creative style and outspoken posts on gender, sexuality, and identity. I hope you enjoy hearing from her as much as I do!
1. We’ll start off with a very simple question, and one that I know is maybe hard to answer: Why do you blog?
I began to blog when I realized that I was writing everyday for myself anyway in a sort of diary of my thoughts on social justice issues and my life. I had been told by a number of friends that I should share my writing with other people, so I decided to make it public. I found it immediately cathartic. I have, however, recently, felt that I disclosed too much of my life because I ended up disclosing information that involved other people (notably, my current and ex lovers) and so I am rethinking how public and honest I will make the blogs. Though I feel strongly that it is important to be honest, especially since my blog is technically anonymous, I’m realizing that because I keep it public through my facebook, people on facebook can definitely tell about whom I am writing.
2. When did you start blogging?
Last year, around—hold on, let me check the blog..September 2009!
3. What is your blog about?
Now I have three blogs, in an attempt to distribute my multiple personalities. The first and sort of ‘home’ blog was initiated to accommodate my writerly reflections on the philosophical/ethical conundrums that dominate my life. I prefer creative nonfiction to journalism, and I wanted the blog to be personal, open, and artistic, even more than ‘activist’ or journalistic. The main blog is more creative and deals with social justice issues almost entirely. The Buddhist blog is a diary for my Buddhist practice and the goals and struggles involved therein. The arbitrary synecdoche blog is what I write when I am feeling extremely bored and/or obnoxious and need to channel my secret misanthropy and OCD.
4. Do you blog under your real name or a pseudonym? Why? How did you choose your blogging name?
I chose a pseudonym that I felt expressed me and the blog—actually, I had been writing a collection of essays for myself, which I called ‘notes from a bashful radical’ because that title embodies my relationship with activism. I am an activist, but I don’t want to degenerate into dogmatism or self-righteousness, and I like the word bashful because it is cute. So I thought I would trick my readers into thinking I’m cute and lure them to learn about different social justice issues.
5. How public is your blog? Do your friends and family know about it? Do you advertise it through social media?
I have links to the three blogs on my facebook, and I occasionally highlight my blog writing in my facebook status to remind people who want to stalk me of the avenues available.
6. How much of your private life do you include in your blog? Do you consider it a personal space?
All of the blogs are highly personal, which is another reason why I am content with my peanut-sized following. When too many people read on the issues that I post about—many of which concern my sexuality—I will have to deal with, what are those people called who lurk the blogs of people they hate and engage the blogger in a war of attrition by constantly posting inflammatory comments? Oh, trolls. I have become involved in a troll dispute once, regarding gay marriage, and I have neither the time nor the energy to glue myself to the computer and reply to a barrage of illogical but persistent insults. So.
7. How does being a woman inform (or not inform) your post writing?
Hm. Probably very self-explanatory if you read the blogs.
8. How do other aspects of your identity (race, nationality, sexuality, age, socio-eonomic class, etc.) inform your writing?
I write about those issues that I have experienced, which include race, sexuality, gender, my own class privilege, my education. Basically, being a lesbian biracial woman of color with a strong financial privilege and extremely elitist education makes me blog about lots of things, but I try not to speak about those issues that I do not have direct experience with, since the blog is not meant as an objective or factual one, but a series of creative essays about my attempt to improve and work towards a peaceful world.
9. What is your level of education?
I am a college graduate with a Masters from the University of Oxford and I will be entering Columbia University to get an MFA in creative writing beginning this fall. Weeeeee higher education!
10. What sort of reactions or comments do you receive from people who read your blog? Describe both positive and negative reactions and how they affect you as a blogger/person.
Well, of the one or two people who read my main blog (bashful radical), the comments are all supportive. I had a couple of other followers, one or two of whom were probably in disagreement with everything I wrote, and I don’t know if they read it anymore. Wordpress doesn’t allow me to stalk my viewers the same way that I can on the tumblr blogs using google analytics.
11. How does your blog relate to other aspects of your life (career, family, friends, romance, etc.) if at all?
I pretty much tell people everything about my life through my blogs, especially if anyone takes the time to read all three.
12. Do you consider yourself a writer?
Since I write when I’m on the subway, the bus, the toilet, the grocery store, in bed at 3:00 a.m., and every day, probably.
13. How formal or informal is the writing on your blog? Do you write in a specific style? Does it differ from your other writing?...Do you proofread?
I have divided the blogs into three based mostly on subject matter, but I also alter the style. For my ‘daimoku’ or Buddhist blog I write in a very bland style—when an issue is relevant to the main blog I will post it there but in a much more creative way. Actually, you can see the difference in my writing in the more recent ‘bashful radical’ entries, as they started to become less creative. I’ve not been too successful in splitting my styles, and it’s something I want to work on. I find that I am most creative when I am most emotional about the issue, and when it is most painful.
14. Anything else you want to say?
Thank you, this has been an interesting reflection!
Visit Bashful Radical’s Blogs Here: