Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thoughts On the New Year and Educate Emma

Let's face it: I wasn't a very good blogger in 2011.

I was going through a lot, not particularly interested in trying to write things when I wasn't sure of what I wanted my blog to be, and lazy. I am always lazy.

However. I've read enough blogs, been around enough amazing people, and started determining my fiction process long enough to realize what I want my blog should look like.

This is largely because of one thing that happened in the YA universe this year. And that was the Darkness Too Visible post by Wall Street Journal that turned us all into balls of RAGE. It made me talk about all the issues of censorship that have been attacked by people much more eloquent than me.

And then it made me write.

It made me write for an hour. That was it. The writing made me think and realize why this lady had pressed all of my buttons, made me talk until 3 am with a close friend, and still was irritating me. I posted it thinking some of my friends would notice, I might get a little bit of interest from the rest of the YA world. That would be it.

But the response. The comments. Being told that I was a great writer, that I was a smart reader, that I had the capacity and the words to make a difference. It affected me. This was the first time my words earned a large response, and it made me realize that what I wanted my words to do was make people think. I wanted discussion and insight and resonance. I was not interested in becoming a blogger celebrity or getting a lot of ARCs or even making a hoard of author friends. Although these things would be nice, the #YASaves experience made me truly realize that what I wanted was intelligent discourse from the people who were intrigued by my thoughts. That's it.

That's a big realization for someone. It inspired me. Now, of course, there's the process of earning that kind of discourse, becoming a thought provoking blogger, creating a kind of platform that makes it seem like I have something to say. And I'm pretty sure I have an idea that will help me start.

I'm the kind of person who wants to know EVERYTHING. I am so hungry for information that I have a habit of becoming intrusive. Knowledge matters to me that much. And despite being reasonably well read, receiving a quality music education from my parents, owning the capacity to analyze a script, and being aware of my local theatre personalities, I am not as cultured as I would like.

I think the blog could help me with this. What I'm saying is that for this year, Booking Through 365 is going to include Watching and Listening.

I plan on reading a book a week, watching a movie a week, listening to an album a week, seeing a play a month, and watching a TV season a month. The reviews toward this long winded project are going to be a part of a 2012 feature called Educate Emma. This week I'm reading The Gemma Doyle Trilogy again, but after that, I'm devoting myself to this project.

I've wanted to experience other genres and become more educated about the arts for YEARS. I've just never thought to give myself an external motivator. And this is perfect. There are two rules:

1. I'm aiming for 50 books, movies, albums and 12 TV seasons + plays. I'll be writing 3-5 posts a week for these goals and various opinion posts I have planned, but if I don't consume all of these media every week, I'll simply have to make it up some other time. I am refusing to get too far behind, and if I do, I don't know, you can punish me by buying an Edward Cullen action figure or something.

EDIT: I've been ignoring my mother's offerings to go see plays long enough for me to forget about the thriving art scene in my community. I have WAY too many opportunities to see plays. Only viewing 12 in a year is a pathetically realistic goal. I already see a play a month with my local theatre thanks to their school program. I'm raising the play quota from one play a month to two, although depending on how well I organize my time with Fringe, that may still be a goal that's too attainable. No matter, this rise should push me a little harder to see the local theatre scene more, and if not, I can always increase the quota. If the promise of good art makes me do my homework earlier, then all the better.

2. I want to take one comment culture request per month. If I get enough comments for each media sector, I might make it one request per art outlet. I really wanted my friends to finally have an outlet to beg me to read things, so I'm obedient within a short time frame. I figured this would also help me move farther from being an exclusively YA blog and become a more well rounded reader, music enthusiast and audience member. However, this means that I'm NOT accepting requests from places like twitter or Facebook. (Friends, did you hear me? BLOG ONLY.) This will make it easier for me to record and keep track of everything. And because I'm selfish, it hopefully means that I more often experience the little explosion of heart happiness I get whenever I receive a comment.

I am very excited, because this project is going to force me to relax and do things outside of school. It also means that I'll focus on reviews and opinion posts, and memes will be banished altogether. The only thing I'm concerned about is creating a review format for TV, plays, movies and music. I love how breaking down my book reviews keeps me active and focused, but I'm not sure how I should break down all these different creative forms. Do you have any suggestions, or should I begin to review products from these artistic outlets and figure out the best formatting individually? If you can, let me know. I'd really appreciate it.

I'm very excited for this year, and I hope to become more cultured and blog more regularly due to Educate Emma. What are your 2012 blogging goals?


  1. Go EMMA! Make a come back!! :) I'm hoping to maybe reach 300 and hopefully just keep on blogging. :)

  2. I have a long list of things you need to read, Emmadarling. Just you wait. Prepare to be LlamaSpammed.
    Also, GO EMMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! You can do it, Emu soul mate.

  3. I love this idea. Do all of it. *waves hands everywhere* ALL OF IT.

  4. That is a nifty plan. I miss being a student and seeing plays for $3. The art world NEEDS YOU (make a pointer finger like Uncle Sam).
    Seriously, we can't wait to see what you have to say about all the things.

  5. Hi!

    I just stumbled onto this blog through your NY Times Room For Debate post. I'd just like to say that the sudden explosion in the popularity of YA lit has me a little nonplussed. I liked YA back in the '90's, way before it was cool. What took people so long to figure this out?

    There's such a wide world of good stuff out there beyond YA, too. Ooh, must go prepare a list...