A Plain Old Update

I think that, subconsciously, I’m averse to the idea of posting often. I like to post only when I feel that I do have something really important, insightful, or cohesive to say. This, of course, goes against all the rules about successfully keeping yourself and your blog in the public eye and generating a constant buzz (or perhaps a pleasant hum) about your goings on. I forget where I read it, but I remember one site advising bloggers to update regularly – at least once a week, so that people remember that your blog exists. Especially now, with the constant updates that people are expected to undertake on facebook and via twitter, I think the pressure to constantly have something at least moderately interesting to say has escalated quite a bit in the past few years.

Unfortunately, I am bad at the internet. I don’t like constantly connecting with people. When I am tired, the last thing I want to do, really, is to let people know how tired I am. I also am very bad at processing others’ attempts to constantly connect with me. I’ll read facebook every now and then, but for some reason, my brain still protests when I try to feed it twitter. I have a number of blogs I follow, but I only read them periodically, despite the fancy tools I now possess which enable me to be updated about when they’re updated, or that compile them in an easy-to-read format within my email program.

So this is an update. But it is a no-frills update. I have nothing deep or meaningful to share. But as life has gone on (as life is wont to do), I thought I would at least inform those who are more constantly curious than I have the capacity to be about what is going on.

  • I presented a paper on some short story anthologies from East Kalimantan and how they and the stories they contain ask us to revise our notions about what constitutes ‘regional’ or ‘local’ literature. I think I’m going to try to work this up into a journal article to submit somewhere.
  • I’m growing ever more at peace with being in the process of searching for a publisher for The Oddfits. I’ve been in touch with a Singapore-based literary agency who has expressed interest, but we’ll see how it goes. And I’ve been experiencing a resurgence of creativity: I wrote some poems and a short story, and have submitted them to various literary reviews and journals. It’s been lovely to write creatively again, and to be incapacitated by the delay in getting the novel published (hopefully it is just a delay).
  • An article I had submitted to a journal a few weeks ago was returned to me, along with a rejection and a quite scathing review. It took me a while to get over being so upset, and to impassively weigh whether the reviewer’s comments were unfairly harsh or whether they made sense. I actually decided that they were unfairly harsh, and didn’t quite ‘get’ what I was trying to do. So I’m going to take a few of the comments into consideration and resubmit it somewhere else. I’m worried about how heavily I take such criticism and how much it shakes my confidence in my abilities. It’s a bit disturbing.
  • I’ve starting writing a short story – a speculative fiction piece that (at this stage) will be a sort of dystopian satire of the present-day state of academia.

I would end this post with a promise that I will update more frequently, but I don’t think I can do that. I still there may be something to allowing the physical body and soul moments of rest independent of their representation on the web. In Indonesian, ‘internet’ is translated ‘dunia maya’, which I think is quite fitting. ‘Dunia’ means world, and ‘maya’ is used to mean ‘virtual’, but it also derives from the Sanskrit ‘maya’, which is most commonly translated ‘illusion’. ‘Maya’ in Hindu philosophies, if I understand it correctly, refers to the illusion of the world that we get entangled in and which we must either pierce through or transcend in order to achieve a more true understanding the universe. Apologies if I’ve gotten this wrong, and feel free to correct me in the comments. At moments when I do feel that the world of the internet has an entangling, illusory, but oh-so-real quality to it, I think that this translation expresses it best. There’s something to disengaging with it, and with taking a ‘breather’, as Aaron Bady is doing at the moment as well (albeit prompted by necessity).

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