Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Guest post from Lily Iona MacKenzie "on blogging"

My special guest today is Lily Iona MacKenzie. She's currently doing a virtual book tour for her debut novel, Fling!, and is stopping here today to talk to us a bit about that, as well as "On Blogging."

A little bit about Fling!
When ninety-year-old Bubbles receives a letter from Mexico City asking her to pick up her mother’s ashes, lost there seventy years earlier and only now surfacing, she hatches a plan. A woman with a mission, Bubbles convinces her hippie daughter Feather to accompany her on the quest. Both women have recently shed husbands and have a secondary agenda: they’d like a little action. And they get it. 

Alternating narratives weave together Feather and Bubbles’ odyssey. The two women travel south from Canada to Mexico where Bubbles’ long-dead mother, grandmother, and grandfather turn up, enlivening the narrative with their hilarious antics. 

In Mexico, where reality and magic co-exist, Feather gets a new sense of her mother, and Bubbles’ quest for her mother’s ashes—and a new man—increases her zest for life. Unlike most women her age, fun-loving Bubbles takes risks, believing she’s immortal. She doesn’t hold back in any way, eating heartily and lusting after strangers, exulting in her youthful spirit.

Readers will believe they’ve found the fountain of youth themselves in this character. At ninety, Bubbles comes into her own, coming to age, proving it’s never too late to fulfill one’s dreams.

ON BLOGGING, by Lily Iona MacKenzie

Full disclosure: I started my blog so I would have a "writer's platform" I could show agents and potential publishers. But it doesn't come without a cost, and that is one's privacy.

The idea of public and private has shifted in this century. While some people still keep private diaries/journals, others are blogging their hearts out for everyone to see. Facebook, Myspace, YouTube, chat rooms, etc., have conditioned a new generation to spill it all on the Web, to not hold back. Some even set up webcams in their houses so strangers can follow their daily routine.

Has the isolation we experience in our neighborhoods caused this overreaction on the World-wide Web? When I was a child, I knew everyone on our block. I walked to school, which allowed me to see my neighbors, both coming and going. People sat on porches in the summer time and shared produce from abundant gardens. We formed neighborhoods, not these individual units that make up most communities today where few people know their neighbors or interact with them. Even the words neighbor and neighborhood sound quaint now.

What is the effect on our consciousness of such willingness to turn ourselves inside out for anyone to see? We won't know the answer to this question immediately, but we can speculate. Of course, writers learn early that they can't hold back. They must be willing to expose their private selves, whether in fiction or non-fiction. Even the most objective academic or journalistic writing can't conceal entirely the person behind the prose.

What is the effect of blogging on our consciousness, on our relationships with others and with ourselves? What does it mean not to have a private self any longer? What are the drawbacks to this kind of exposure?

A little bit about the author:
A Canadian by birth, a high school dropout, and a mother at 17, in her early years, Lily Iona MacKenzie supported herself as a stock girl in the Hudson’s Bay Company, as a long distance operator for the former Alberta Government Telephones, and as a secretary (Bechtel Corp sponsored her into the States). She also was a cocktail waitress at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, briefly broke into the male-dominated world of the docks as a longshoreman (and almost got her legs broken), founded and managed a homeless shelter in Marin County, and eventually earned two master’s degrees (one in creative writing and one in the humanities).

She has published reviews, interviews, short fiction, poetry, travel pieces, essays, and a memoir in over 140 American and Canadian venues. Fling, one of her novels, was published in July 2015 by Pen-L Publishing. Bone Songs, another novel, will be published in 2016. Her poetry collection All was published in 2011. She also teaches writing at the University of San Francisco, is vice-president of USF's part-time faculty union, paints, and travels widely with her husband. 

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