For part one of this interview please click here . Part two begins now:
Aberjhani: Through your various websites and profiles, such as Writing Junkie, BlogHer, Red Room, and of course now your Examiner column, different audiences know you in different ways. Some read you as a blogger, journalist, poet, fiction writer or all-around fantabulous (I made that word up: fantastic plus fabulous–get it? 🙂 Internet literary presence. Do you have a preference for a particular genre, and if so, why that particular one?
Nordette: My moment of confession. I prefer to write fiction and poetry. Over the years there’s been a tug of war in my heart between fiction, in particular speculative fiction, and poetry. My practical side screams leave poetry alone because poetry doesn’t pay. I always thought I would be a novelist one day, and I address some of my misgivings about the failure to finish a novel in two posts at BlogHer.com. I came on the web with a goal in 2003, to build an author platform and prove I was marketable to publishers, but facing a variety of life challenges I fell off track, became a little discouraged.
Aberjhani: What about now?
Nordette: I look up now and “experts” are [still] telling authors they need to build platforms. *sigh* However, I’m starting to feel the groove again, posting poetry every now and then, such as Reading You Again and “Like a Revelations Day,” plus some others, but I’m trying to not fall into the trap of posting fiction or poetry online for instant reader feedback gratification. I’m working at sticking to a fiction writing schedule. As you know, it’s easier to find work in nonfiction than fiction and so creative writers can get sucked into becoming a non-fiction producer rather than a creative artist.
Aberjhani: What would you describe as the primary differences between those bloggers who are not journalists per se but practice what has been described as “citizen journalism,” and those professional journalists who have taken up blogging?
Nordette: Did you ask this question to get me into trouble? I think the difference is ethics training. Professional journalists, whether they honor it or not, have had courses in how to quote properly and not plagiarize or tamper with intent, how to report in an objective manner, how to do research and verify sources. Citizen journalists don’t have the training, but they can learn and must learn if they want to avoid being sued. What I see with professional journalists, including myself, is the struggle with the use of “I.” We’ve been taught that the reader doesn’t care what we think, but new media journalism shows us that readers want our opinions. The trick is to not go overboard and become a diary writer, to share your opinion but still be fair and inclusive. Also, professional journalists have been taught that the story’s the thing and now wonder why [just writing the story isn’t good enough.] Social media draws us into a world where people don’t read you simply because you’re good. They read you because they feel a connection to you. Being a successful journalist online is about networking almost as much as it is about writing well, linking to others in your own work, and giving shouts out sometimes whenever possible. Not exactly the way of the traditional lone writer.
Aberjhani: I know that in recent years you have had to face some of the same challenges as me in terms of serving as a caregiver for aging parents. How has that affected you as a person and impacted upon you as a writer?
Nordette: I had more help than you did. My father was around to help with my mother and so were my children when my parents moved into my home, and so I was a little less isolated. I haven’t yet fully processed how it’s impacted me as a writer except that I’m aware of a need to have a more authentic voice with staying power, and I’ve been thinking more about self-mythology, the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, how that translates into writing because at the end my mother, a woman of stories, did not know who I was or who she was either. I look at my father, whose memory is rather good, and see that I thought I knew him, but I really I do not. I keep contemplating what we do for love.
Next: Part Three, the Conclusion: on reading excellent authors.