I had fun in the "park" yesterday – the LitPark, where l talked about the first Chinese novel I read as a child, the artwork in my book, and other things. Susan Henderson, a talented and generous writer and editor, is the host of this outstanding literary blog. My book's namesake story, "Men Don't Apologize," was first published in Night Train when Sue was the managing editor there.
LitPark is an exceptional blog in that it has a lively, entertaining, compassionate, yet thoughtful design, and is participated in by a wide audience from the literary and art world. It is always a learning experience when I visit LitPark. If you are even peripherally interested in literary stuff or writing in general, take a look and you'll see what I mean.
I asked Sue a few questions about her blog and here is our conversation:
Xujun Eberlein: Sue, what motivated you to start blogging?
Susan Henderson: I saw too many writers tearing each other down, hording industry secrets as if it gave them an edge, and that was a part of it. The other was that I would regularly talk with writers via email or private rooms at Zoetrope, and the discussions about writing were so interesting to me, at some point it just seemed like a good idea to start having those conversations where others could listen. Not just to share industry secrets, but so others could hear the joys and struggles of writing, editing and trying to get published.
XE: What is the most interesting thing that has happened to your blog?
SH: A lot of really wonderful things happened from blogging, not the least of which is the community of writers, readers and artists that's come together. It's also been a real pleasure watching writers finally find some success, seeing the hard work and luck come together, that's the best. Also, blogging has taught me to be more spontaneous. I think I over-edited my thoughts before. I've definitely shifted from an unrealistic desire to reach some kind of writing perfection to a desire to communicate with others and create a dialogue.
XE: The last bit especially resonates with me. What's the one unusual thing that's come from blogging?
SH: Well, the weirdest thing was that I was contacted a year ago by a talent scout at Warner Brothers, and to make a long story short, ended up doing a (hopefully never to be aired) reality TV show. My "role" in the show was a frustrated, workaholic artist.
XE: I'd love to see that show! How do you envision your blog evolving?
SH: The real joy I have with blogging is that it is all about my whim. Sometimes I'll do a serious interview. Sometimes I just want to gossip with a masseuse to the rock stars or talk about Neil Gaiman's hair. Having a structure but no real agenda within that structure keeps it exciting and spontaneous for me.
"Having a structure but no real agenda within that structure" is indeed the fun of blogging for me as well.