Sunday, December 28, 2008

You Know....the Strange Lady With the Blog...

I'm feeling slightly down today. It's not the low after the Christmas high after all the presents have been opened...like the one my kids have been feeling for the last few days. It's because I'm a square peg and my husband lives in a round hole world.

 I don't know if the rest of you deal with this, but I tell you, I get a lot of strange looks from people these days. I started blogging about 2 1/2 years ago and I learned real fast that a lot of people don't really understand the whole blogging thing-- never mind what topic you choose to blog about. To a person who doesn't blog, blogging is weird. But if you, like me, choose to blog about sci-fi and fantasy, you really are strange-- at least if you're married to a stockbroker.

I've brought this up with people online before and what people seem to say is that the reception you get when you talk about blogging has a lot to do with the crowd you associate with. The problem I seem to have is that I am surrounded by people who view the world in a black-and-white kind of way and I'm a shades-of-gray kind of girl. Because it's the holiday season we get a lot of invitations to parties all during the months of November, December and January. I've gone to office parties, preschool parties and soirees at homes belonging to anyone who is slightly prone to partying this time of year. I'm partied out.

Today we had an invitation to a late-Christmas celebration for a friend who lives in Japan and generally doesn't make it into town until after the actual holiday and I just didn't feel like going. I suppose I could blame it on party burn-out, that's a legitimate reason. But truthfully, I just don't have the energy to deal with any more strange looks or patronizing attitudes.

You see, to the professional women I am forced to socialize with, being a blogger who likes to watch and read sci-fi and fantasy is inexplicable. I've had women literally look their noses down at me and say, that's the only genre I don't read... If I get one more quizzical brow with a vague that's nice.. I'm going to scream. And it's not just the world of high finance that doesn't seem to "get" me. I have the same issue with suburban moms.

Let me just say this though. I love the moms I have met who live in my area. The moms at my son's preschool are the nicest people you'd ever want to meet-- so that's not an issue. But none of them blog. Not one. And it was became really clear to me when I went out on my "mom's night out" that I really don't have anything in common with anyone I know. As I was sitting there listening to the other moms talk about shopping, clothes, jewelry and other assorted "girly" things I realized I cannot relate to these people at all. I literally could care less about the things that make up these women's lives and they couldn't be less interested in anything I do. That sucks.

 But what's really got me down today is that my husband doesn't "get" the things I do either. I am so jealous of couples who actually have similar interests. My husband is a great guy but he isn't really the creative type. He doesn't share my taste in books and he'd rather watch "The Godfather" than "The Dark Knight." And he doesn't understand blogging at all. I tried to get him into it, or at least to read what I post, but I couldn't scare up any interest. He likes that I get free books for review-- one less thing he has to pay for-- but no real excitement beyond that. So he went to the Christmas party alone today. He really couldn't get out of it and I wouldn't expect him to try since it's for an old friend. But I'm a little sad that I couldn't feel more at ease around the people he socializes with. I wish just one person wouldn't give me strange looks when I tell them I like sci-fi and fantasy. Goodness knows how they'd react if I said I dressed up like a Borg and spoke Klingon. Okay, I don't. But what if I did? Would that be so bad?

33 comments:

Cynnie said...

my first sci fi story was when i was a little girl called 'all summer in a day " ray bradbury..
I've never forgotten that story
When i try to tell people about that story they act like I'm insane..

One of my favorites is the Amber series by Roger zelazny


I prefer fantasy i think ..
so i've never been really hard core scifi..
but reading anything is good .
i use to sneer at women who read those 'blazing heart' books ..( harlequin ?) but finally i realized fuck it .
let people like what they like ..who the fuck am i to judge ?

SQT said...

Cynnie

I suppose I have been a hypocrite a time or two. I sneered a little at romances until I met a woman who wrote them and I realized how much those books mean to some people. And they're harder to write than I would have imagined. At this point I respect anyone who gets anything published. They're a big step ahead of me.

Mike said...

Let me think here for a moment..

I've in a similiar position, but not the mood. Most of my friends do not read the fantasy genre, or like scifi. I am fortunate that one of my friends will watch scifi movies, but, other than that, I'm on my own.

It's tough at time. I get excited about a book, say, The Malazan Empire books, and I really have no one to tell. Or if I am reading a novel and loving it, I want to tell people. And, alas, being the lone 'geek' in the group makes it tough.

I have no real advice for you how to deal with it. Take some pride that what you like is unique. Perhaps see if you can find 'one' person who might be slightly open minded, and challenge them. Hey, you give me a book you like, and I'll give you one of mine. I did that with a friend. She loved Interview with a Vampire, and at the time, Magician Apprenctice was a fav of mine.

We exchanged books. She loved Apprentice, and went on to read the next 4 books. Never read any other genre after that, but had a better view of the genre. Myself, hated Interview. ;)

-Mike

Mike said...

Never read any other genre, should say..

Never read any other books in that genre.. Read 4, and was fine with it..

Diane said...

I know what you're saying. I like sf and fantasy, but I don't tell people beyond my family. All I can say is thank God the internet exists.

SciFiGuy said...

Well you have done the right thing by blogging and finding those that 'get you' online. LOL maybe you should find a local SF convention and drag the hubby along. He might get into it then.

I suspect that those that you meet that look down on genre fiction aren't regular or passionate readers period. Readers are a separate species. Even when they don't prefer your tastes, they understand what drives people that love books whatever their flavour. Besides parties are over-rated and little more then a social reflex at this time of year.

franki said...

I've read so many genres over the years that it's difficult to thumb my nose at anything.

As for feeling like the odd one out, I've been "the strange one" my whole life, from being what felt like the only Asian half breed in IL in the 70s, to a completely tattooed, going to college in her LATE 30s art fag, buying a house with her best GIRLfriend in a VERY conservative suburban neighborhood. Blogging feels like one of the least weird things I do. And you know what? I like it.

Not being interesting is a huge waste of life.

And being interested is what makes people interesting, whether it be blogging or sci-fi or the stockmarket or horses or sailing. Those last 3 bore me to tears, but it's cool that other people like that stuff. I don't bore people with my blogging unless they seem genuinely interested and I expect them to shut up about their horses. ;)

As for your hubby not understanding you, well, I am incurably single. ;)

SQT said...

Mike

I've tried to do that with my husband, with a little success. I just don't dig biographies though. So I guess I'm the problem too.

Diane

I know! I'd be even more depressed if I didn't have people on the Internet to talk to.

SFGuy

You know, my husband actually said he would let me drag him to a convention. He is a sport. I have to give him that.

Franki

Tattoos? That's weird? You need to go to my gym. I'm the only one who isn't tatted up.

And what if I'm not interested in being interested in shopping or shoes? I just can't dredge up an interest in fashion. Fashion is uncomfortable. I don't like tight things that make me feel fat.

Sheesh. Making friends is more work than I thought.

Cynnie said...

ooooh!..I once went to a sci fi convention !..
a STAR TREK one to be exact !!

I'm the only person i know who EVER did that!

SQT said...

Cynnie

You are officially on my favorite person list now.

daydream said...

I wish I could be at one of those parties so that we could discuss something more normal [new trends in fantasy and sci-fi and on TV] rather than shopping and meaningless social events.

Needless to say I feel weird around my peers too, because 1) I am the only one who reads fevereshly, while all the rest go to clubs and 2) fantasy is a dirty word. Reading fantasy means that you are stuck in the 13th year of your development and hasn't moved since. So we are pretty much in a same situation.

Worst thing in my situation is that I am in a country that has 7 million people, so guess how many people are like me...

But anyways do not mind these freaky literature snobs. They think that if they keep it mainstream and list the titles they flew through, it means they are intelligent.

SQT said...

Daydream

Isn't the Oprah Book Club the worst thing that happened to popular literature ever? To be interesting among the socially advantaged crowd you have to read stuff like "Eat, Pray, Love." I tried. I really did. But gag.

daydream said...

There is an Oprah Book Club? I had no idea that literature would be used in that way. Quite frankly though I bought that book [guilty look]. I have multiple genre preferences. Basically everything with covers do it for me, but I agree that relying on chick lit to elevate your status as an intellectual is a cruel parody.

SQT said...

You didn't know there was an Oprah Book Club? That's amazing. I guess it's like hitting a home run for an author. It's guaranteed to sell millions. The problem I have with Oprah is that all her book choices tend to be books that are supposed to "teach" us something and they can be very tedious. Some of the selections are great, like Ken Follett's "Pillars of the Earth," which is a fabulous book. But mostly I just don't care for what she picks so I generally ignore the whole thing.

daydream said...

Living outside the US creates these gaps in knowledge and if I don't look for something specific I have no way to know it exists. So Oprah's activity was one thing I didn't know.

I think she tries to be a modern Aesop with modern fable to guide us, from what I understand, but literature with moral lessons can sound more like a preaching siren. People rarely like being hinted what they have to life great and even less from a book.

SQT said...

You nailed it in one. Oprah is way too preachy for my taste and she definitely uses her show, and her book club, to try to enlighten the rest of the world on how we should think.

daydream said...

Why thank you! I aim to nail these things, writing career in the making and all. Hah! Anyways before we spam the post: Great post! People can really relate. I certainly didn't become alive and sociable after I found blogging!

SQT said...

Yep. Can't spam the post can we?

S.M.D. said...

You shouldn't let this stuff bother you too much. I mean, I understand why it bugs you, but the reality is that this sort of stuff happens to just about everyone. I don't get financial blogging, for example, or business blogging. I find the whole prospect so utterly boring that even the mention of it actually makes me sleepy. So, I don't really associate with folks who do that sort of things and I imagine some of them think I'm turning my nose up in that "Well, I'm better" way.

If it's any consolation, I wouldn't turn my nose up at you. But then again we have similar interests.

Don't they have any sort of "scifi/fantasy" clubs in your area? There have to be a few or something. Maybe something you should consider doing is perhaps finding groups of folks with similar interests to converse with. Make new friends and maybe get your hubby to go to one of your scifi Xmas parties. Then it's even! Just a thought. Your area (and I don't want to say it here in case you didn't want that public) should have a decent sized sf/f community and there have to be bloggers and sf/f folks there to converse with!

ediFanoB said...

Hi SQT,

after reading your post I cannot do otherwise but answer.

First of all I'm a man, a happily married man, a happily married man with a lovely daughter and two awesome cats AND
I have a passion: reading books especially fantasy books.

To be honest whether at work nor in a circle of friends I can talk or discuss about the books I'm reading.

In this case I understand you very well.
But compared with you I have a big, big advantage: My wife is addicted to books too!!! She prefers urban fantasy.

Even if we don't read the same books, we talk and discuss about what we are reading.

Concerning my passion for reading 2008 was a great year for me because I entered and discovered a new world for me: The world of book related internet communities and blogs. I started in April. Since then I met "virtually" so many nice and interesting people who share my passion. With a lot of them I stay in regularly contact and we talk about a lot more topics than only books.
During summer I had an impressive discussion about racism in United States and the influence on the presidential election. Therefore you must know I'm German and I live in Germany. It's phantastic to talk and discuss with people from the "other" side of the world.

Every time when I mention at work. That I read blogsand that I'm member of some book related communities I get the same strange looks like you get.

In the meantime I talk very seldom about it. Instead I talk with my wife AND I read blogs, write comments like this one and enjoy my worldwide communication.

And to be honest the world is more grey than most people think!!

My conclusion: If people don't like books (I always feel sorry for them) I don't talk with them about books.

The other way round: I'm not interested in cars. People know and so they don't talk with me about cars.

We all have our likes and dislikes. So look for people whoshare your likes.

Ok, for me it'sa bit easier because my wife and I share a lot of things (I'm a man BUT I like shopping!! we are both passionate readers. Our taste concerning movies has a big intersection. This year we watched: THE DARKKNIGHT, HELLBOY II, INDIANA JONES, KUNG FU PANDA,NIM's ISLAND, MUMMY III; We like TV series like HOUSE, CSI, CRIMINAL MINDS, HEROES)
To keep it short: we have a lot in common but we also have our own interests. That makes us unique and our daughter isn't unhappy to have parents who are not "normal" - Hope you understand what I mean.

And by the way: my wife has a blog:
http://legolasperlenuniversum.blogspot.com/

Ok it's in German. Click on Schmuser and you can see our cats.

BUT I don't have a blog. I like to read blogs and to leave comments.

So SQT, please continue with your blog in 2009 as you did in 2008. I like it.

Ooooops, that is also a bit unusual for a man: I'm a kind of chatterbox.

Hope my comment wasn't too boring.

Have a terrific week.

franki said...

sqt ~ no, tats aren't weird anymore, but my amount of coverage is more aggressive than the usual i guess.

and no, i wasn't suggesting you should make yourself interested in shoes or shopping to make friends at ALL. that would be awful. those folk are called acquaintances.

finding people to genuinely connect with is hard. the people you find happen to be far away and online. nuffin wrong that!

T.D. Newton said...

I was actually surprised at how many people were interested in the fact that I had finished a novel when I attended parties this year. Most of my wife's co-workers get a general here-and-there statement about it (she's pursuing her English degree and quite proud of the fact that she can edit my work) but friends and friends-of-friends who have no idea I blog about it [all the time!] were completely blind-sided. It was weird, though, because they basically forced me to talk myself up (I'm an introvert) since this was completely new information... my impression of the "rest of the world" toward meeting "yet another aspiring writer" was more of the reception you get. I guess it really does depend on the crowd you run with, but in some senses I do feel your pain. SF&F people are relegated to some of the worst and most undeserved stereotypes.

Sci-Fi Gene said...

SQT - great post.

Cynnie said...

I had a tattoo in 1977.

In a small southern town..
you can just imagine what people thought of me :(

Asara Dragoness said...

*hugs*
I know it's tough. Part of the problem is the situation. There's bound to be more to the shopping and Oprah set than just that, but it's hard to get past that when you're in an informal environment and don't have the time to really dig into what's behind that. Odds are you've got a few things in common with each and every one of those women who pooh-pooh blogging and sci-fi and all of that, but you don't have the time to find out what those things are, so it's hard to connect.
Take solace in the fact that this sort of party-crazy season only happens once a year. And hey, we're all allowed to be different from our spouses. I can't talk books with mine either, for the most part. He reads John Grisham and Clive Cussler, and Stephen King, and that's about it. He's nowhere near as book-crazy as I am, in fact, there are frequent jibes about the size of my personal library. But there are other things that we have in common, so we just agree to disagree with regard to books, and concentrate on other things that we do love to share, like WoW!
Speaking of which, one of these days I'll count how many "well, I don't know what you're talking about, but if it makes you happy then I'm happy for you" comments I have on my WoW posts. It's just something you have to learn to shrug off. I went through a phase where I thought I might just split off my WoW stuff, because I felt bad that people didn't "get" those posts. But really.. it's all me, and that's what my blog is about! You like sci-fi, and your blog is a window to other like-minded people. If you didn't live on the other side of the country, I'd be glad to have afternoon coffee with you and discuss sci-fi any day of the week. :)

Charles Gramlich said...

I experienced a fair amount of this around my ex-wife and her family, and even around my own family at times. They just aren't interested in anything SF, Fantasy, Horror, poetry, speculative fiction etc.

Fortunately, I also am happy to talk football so that helped me some.

I think the only key is to simple not care what others think about it. They are missing out on so many great stories and so much fun. I know that isn't easy though. I sympathize with you.

SQT said...

I don't mind that other people don't like the same things as I do so much as I mind the disdain. If I felt like other people at least respected our differences I could deal with it. It's the oh you like that attitude that does me in. My husband works with people who are mostly very affluent and they seem more consumed by the whole car and home thing-- which I think is sad. Especially with all the foreclosures going on now-- not all the salaries at Merrill are all that solid anymore and some homes and cars aren't like to be around too much longer. I'm not trying to feel happy about that--I'm not one to feel good about someone else's misfortune. But I think they may learn the hard way that materialism isn't a good long-term set of interests.

Steve Malley said...

SQT, I share your pain.

I live in two worlds and don't really fit in either. And my partner could give a rat's ass about most of my interests. She's great, and we do have a few things in common, but tattoos, comics, SFF novels and movies, crime novels, action movies and paintings with robots in are NOT among them.

And yeah, I don't mix much with her friends, either. I get enough weird looks from *my* friends...

Virginia Lady said...

I know where you're coming from. I get the same vibes from the PTA and Booster groups I deal with. I tend to leave my passions at home when dealing with those types, but that's easier for me since I have a small group of friends that gets my interests even if they all don't share them. Of course, it's taken twenty or so years to build that group of friends and we only see each other once every month or so, but it helps. My husband also has his own oddities, though most are different from mine.

I agree with SciFiGuy, real readers usually accept any genre, casual readers don't. You need to find the hidden readers in those social circles. They are there. I'm one of them. Every once in a while I find another reader and then I let that part out in the open, but I'm naturally shy so I need to be certain I won't get those looks before I say anything.

The internet and blogging has really changed things. Now all of us can find one another no matter where we live.

Anonymous said...

Don't let the boring people get you down! I (and many others, I'm sure) admire what you do and enjoy your reviews. It's just that not everyone allows themselves the luxury of imagination. I'm not sure why, I just think it's a pity.

timpoirier said...

Try telling people that a specific Sci-Fi TV series saved your life and see what kind of reactions you get?

I don't care though, I still tell the story and let people laugh, snicker or think I'm a freak. I'm proud of who I am and Thank JMS frequently. (Not in person, he doesn't even accept emails.)

RD Williams said...

Well, I know the feeling of people looking at you strange when you tell them "Yeah, I'm reading (insert big sci-fi/fantasy novel here)", then suddenly they seem to get that 'what?' look on their face and change the subject.

Now, try telling them that you WRITE sci-fi/fantasy... *sigh*

Unlike you, I am fortunate enough that my wife understands and is into at least some of what I am.

Aaron M. Wilson said...

Hang in there. You have one of the best review blogs!