Santa Cruz Good Times

Wednesday
Sep 02nd
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

A Tale Of Two Blogs

Lisa_JensenWoo hoo. A knife fight and pirate sex in the first chapter! Love it!" This was the very first comment posted on my serial novel-in-progress, “Runaways: A Novel of Jonkanoo,” now going up online, one chapter a week (runaways-jonkanoo.blogspot.com/).

This is the gratifying part of the writing life, feedback from happy readers. It's the part that those of us who toil away just under the radar of traditional publishing crave the most. Yes, the act of writing itself has to be its own reward for so many of us who keep plugging away because we just can't stop ourselves; the stories demand to be told, and we are liable to get pretty snippy about it if they're made to fester too long inside some murky cranial passage or other, waiting to be born. But reader response is both invaluable and irresistible.

So while slogging through the process of revising a new novel and searching for an agent, I decided to try an experiment in guerrilla publishing and start posting one of my older, unpublished novels online. “Runaways” is the sequel to my historical swashbuckler “The Witch From The Sea.” When the small publisher of “Witch” switched exclusively to non-fiction, my poor little series was marooned, yet I continue to get emails from readers wanting to know what happens next.

As a thank-you to them, and in the spirit of Charles Dickens, I started to blog “Runaways” online in weekly installments (now that technology has become so idiot-proof, even a hopeless Luddite like me can figure it out—sort of). It's been fun finding images to spiff up the site; there is nothing on earth more snooze-inducing than a screen full of solid, uninterrupted text. I like either period illustrations (West Indies, 1820s), or vintage images from Tarot cards or Commedia dell'Arte that tie into my story thematically. ("Jonkanoo" refers to a holiday parade in the colonial sugar islands when slaves were allowed to go about in fancy-dress disguise, like players, and playact at "freedom" for a few brief days.) When I can't find anything appropriate, I've even been known to draw my own illustrations. Is this how graphic novels are born?

Yes, posting “Runaways” takes some time away from the new novel, but it's interesting how the two projects inform each other. Re-editing each chapter of “Runaways” for posting, I surprise myself with the sheer volume of historical research—when was I smart enough to know all this stuff?—and the way the themes play out. (Love! Freedom! Slavery! Fate!) The easygoing camaraderie of my old series characters—by now, they're writing their own dialogue— helps me to loosen up the characters in the new book.

And, off course, I love getting comments and emails as the story unfolds; "What next?!?!" is a typical response. I even have Followers! (OK, one of them is Art Boy, but still ...) This is what it's all about for me, getting the story out of my head and up on the page—even if (for now) the page is digital.

But now that “Runaways” is racketing toward its grand finale (only about five chapters left, for those of you keeping score at home), you might think I'd be looking forward to some down time. A rational person should be ready to unplug from the all-consuming Borg that is the blogosphere for awhile, kick back, while away a sunny afternoon in the succulent garden, maybe indulge in the old-fashioned pleasure of reading a book, as opposed to the crazed intensity of writing one.

That person would not be me, however, so last week I launched a new online adventure: Lisa Jensen Online—Express (ljo-express.blogspot.com/). The GT uber-site houses my recent work, and my original website, Lisa Jensen Online (the handiwork of my divine webmistress, Jana Marcus), is an eclectic archive of old and new. But now that “Runaways” has taught me the rudiments (extremely rudimentary, in my case) of site layout and blog-posting, ljo-X will be a place for informal postings and random noodlings about interesting stuff that I don't always have the space or time to cover here at GT. This week, for instance, I put on my "fat lady jeans" to weigh in on Eat Pray Love, catch up (at last!) with the dreamstate that is Inception, and suggest some spellbinding books to get lost in on a hot (or foggy) summer's day.

Does the universe need yet another blogger? Oh, God, no. But sharing my enthusiasm about things like books, movies, art (who knows, maybe even Project Runway), by writing about them is as natural to me as breathing, and as necessary. (I still have boxes of old spiral notebooks scribbled over in fledgling movie reviews from my misspent youth, long before it ever occurred to me to do this for a living.) And since the first question any critic is  invariably asked is "Seen any good movies lately?" (or "Read any good books?"), I'm glad to share my answers with any other interested parties.

Understand, I'm not advocating that anyone (especially me) should spend any more time at the computer than they already do. The whole point of ljo-X is to give people more reasons to step away from the keyboard and sample real life right here in Santa Cruz.


Invaluable reader response encouraged at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Send comments on this article to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

The Meaning of ‘LIFE’

With a new documentary film about his work, and huge exhibits on both coasts, acclaimed Santa Cruz nature photographer Frans Lanting is having a landmark year. But his crusade for conservation doesn’t leave much time for looking back

 

Seasons of Opportunity

Everything in our world has a specific time (a season) in which to accomplish a specific work—a “season” that begins (opportunity) and ends (time’s up). I can feel the season is changing. The leaves turning colors, the air cooler, sunbeams casting shadows in different places. It feels like a seasonal change has begun in the northern hemisphere. Christmas is in four months, and 2015 is swiftly speeding by. Soon it will be autumn and time for the many Festivals of Light. Each season offers new opportunities. Then the season ends and new seasons take its place. Humanity, too, is given “seasons” of opportunity. We are in one of those opportunities now, to bring something new (Uranus) into our world, especially in the United States. Times of opportunity can be seen in the astrology chart. In the U.S. chart, Uranus (change) joins Chiron (wound/healing). This symbolizes a need to heal the wounds of humanity. Uranus offers new archetypes, new ways of doing things. The Uranus/Chiron (Aries/Pisces) message is, “The people of the U.S. are suffering. New actions are needed to bring healing and well-being to humanity. So the U.S. can fulfill its spiritual task of standing within the light and leading humanity within and toward the light.” Thursday, Aquarius Moon, Mercury enters Libra. The message, “To bring forth the new order in the world, begin with acts of Goodwill.” Goodwill produces right relations with everyone and everything. The result is a world of progressive well-being and peacefulness (which is neither passive nor the opposite of war). Saturday is the full moon, the solar light of Virgo streaming into the Earth. Our waiting now begins, for the birth of new light at winter solstice. The mother (hiding the light of the soul, the holy child), identifying the feminine principle, says, “I am the mother and the child. I, God (Father), I Matter (Mother), We are One.”

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of August 28

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Land of Plenty

Farm to Fork benefit dinner for UCSC’s Agroecology Center, plus a zippy salsa from Teresa’s Salsa that loves every food it meets

 

If you knew you had one week to live, what would you do?

Make peace with myself, which would allow me to be at peace with others. Diane Fisher, Santa Cruz, Network Engineer

 

Comanche Cellars

Michael Simons, owner and winemaker of Comanche Cellars, once had a trusted steed called Comanche, which was part of his paper route and his rodeo circuit, from the tender age of 10. In memory of this beautiful horse, he named his winery Comanche, and Comanche’s shoes grace the label of each handcrafted bottle.

 

Cantine Winepub

Aptos wine and tapas spot keeps it casual