Some Renovations at Liegois Media

Hi, everyone.

I decided to let you know about a couple of changes and additions to the Liegois Media site. Most of these involve the menu options at the top of the blog.

First, I revised the About Me page on this blog to reflect how the blog has changed over the past few years and to not make it so link-happy (although there are a few links on there).

For links, there’s my Link In Bio page, where I’ve collected all of my important links. That includes my companion blog, The Writing Life With Jason Liegois, the place to go for you to sign up for that newsletter and my mailing list, my Facebook, Goodreads, and Amazon pages, and a whole bunch of other items.

I still have the My Work page, which includes all the links where you can go to purchase my paid fiction. I’m hoping to add to that page very soon in the near future.

There’s also a contact page, which has the email you should contact me if you have questions or any professional inquiries (writing services, appearances, queries, etc. etc.). Actually, that email address is all over the place here on the blog, but I like it that you can find that and other information in more than one place.

You will also see that I’ve removed any references to my Twitter presence on this blog. Here’s the explanation for why that’s now the case.

That’s it for now; I’ll let you know if there’s any other

While I do appreciate you following this blog, I really would like you to subscribe to my Substack page. By subscribing to that page, you’ll not only be receiving my Substack newsletter, The Writing Life With Jason Liegois (the companion blog to this one), but you’ll also be signing up for my email list. I will eventually be opening some special contests, offers, and first looks at original fiction, poems, and other items. Just click the button below.

Saying Goodbye to Twitter

I didn’t want to use a Twitter logo for this post. So, here’s a cool photo of downtown Des Moines I took instead.

You might have noticed that I don’t write too much about politics here. I’m not sure when or where I mentioned it before on here, but I’ve made a conscientious decision to focus this blog (and my Substack page) on, as I put it, writing and the writing life.

Occasionally I might mention items about politics on my own personal Facebook page, or perhaps other places. I don’t mention them here. It’s my belief that keeping a clear focus for this blog and not letting it be about whatever pops into my head. I had one blog where I wrote it anonymously and that was just about anything that came into my head. That blog wound up just lasting a couple months before I got bored with it. I kept this blog on the specific topic of writing, the writing life, and my writing life in particular. It’s now well into its fifth year of operation and going steady, although it’s not like I’ve been able to use it to make any money. Yet.

As part of this effort to express myself online, I also wound up getting on social media. My time on Facebook, and the page I dedicated to my writing, actually predates this blog. For a while, I also was on Twitter, first with a personal account, and also an account associated with this blog. I just thought it would be a good way to get the word out about what I was doing here.

Until now.

You might have heard that the son of a South African emerald mine owner has purchased Twitter for such an insanely inflated price that he spent the better part of this year trying to get out of the deal until a Delaware court all but forced him to go through with it. This is not the place for me to recount the whole story of what has happened to the service (many others are doing a better job of that online), but it is sufficient to say that to buy the company he wound up cashing in a lot of the stock he had in his existing company and securing far too much financing from the government of Saudi Arabia for comfort. Since then, he has apparently been busy slashing payroll and expenditures to the detriment of the platform’s services, driving away advertisers and users by ignoring proper content moderation, and allowing the site to become a haven for right-wing terrorists and bigots.

This is now the portion of this post where I will briefly become political. Don’t worry – it will only last for a couple of paragraphs.

I refuse to believe that anyone in this world can earn a billion dollars without either inheriting a large portion of that sum or exploiting other people. I fail to see how anyone with any hint of sanity would not see that having $999 million dollars would not be a sufficient fortune and feel compelled to grub for even more money.

Although there are many things that are worthy of debate, human rights and equality is not among them. Bigots of all kinds have no valid contribution to make to society and their “opinions” on what type of people are worthier than others have no value. The proper way to deal with such people is not to coddle or understand them, and certainly not to debate them. They must be shunned and opposed under any and all circumstances.

As a result of this, I don’t feel like I can support being on such a platform anymore. After carefully downloading a data record of both my accounts, I posted a final Twitter thread to them last night. This is the pinned Tweet on my Liegois Media Twitter page as of this moment:

Barring technical difficulties, I’ll be deleting this account in 48 hours (5 p.m. CDT 27 November 2022). Anyone after that trying to claim on Twitter that they’re Jason Allan Liegois who grew up in Muscatine, Iowa, for any reason, personal or otherwise, is fake and/or a bot.

As much of this is a supposedly principled stand that I am making, I also have to admit that there is a slightly mercenary aspect to this as well. I had long hoped that my presence on Twitter would result in some additional engagement with people who might want to read this blog. In all honesty, that hasn’t happened. For example, I decided to leave my Twitter threads up for about two days to give any followers of mine sufficient time to bookmark the links I left posted there. I will be highly surprised if anyone uses those links, much less that even a single Twitter user will respond to those posts. On Twitter it often seemed like I was yelping into the void, in all honesty.

I had toyed with simply deleting all of my tweets and leaving my account open as a zombie account, but it’s much easier to delete the whole thing, and I already have the data if I ever get morbidly curious about all of the items I posted over the years.

It was very therapeutic to unfollow everyone on my Twitter accounts and slowly see my Twitter feeds dwindle to a blank screen. It was even cooler to see how many of the writers I follow on Twitter have Substack pages, so I was taking the time to subscribe to those pages so I could continue to read their work. I would really like you, or anybody really reading this, to subscribe to my Substack page. I am using that to develop an email list of subscribers and an online community that I hope will be much more sustainable and personal than “social media” networks. Most everything on this site (with the exception of perhaps my writing journals) will be posted on the Substack site.

Go ahead and join me there. We’ll talk writing.

Joining the Yanks

It all started because I needed an essay.

The year was 2012. At that point in my life, I was pretty much in between jobs. I had returned to the first school district I have worked for at the start of my career because they had asked me to return and quite soon, I immediately wished I hadn’t accepted. With my wife’s consent, I decided to move on.

At this point in my life, I was considering a few options for what was next. My home was in Muscatine, Iowa, where I had graduated from high school, and I was keen on trying to teach there. I thought it was a good district and my kids were attending school there at the time, so I thought that might be a fun experience.

I also had a high in the sky dream that I might become a full-time professor at another place – Muscatine Community College (MCC). That went to some old fantasies I had of being a professor/writer, like I had first seen on the University of Iowa campus. I could picture myself teaching three or four classes a semester, hanging out on some spacious campus lounge during my off times, and putting together a novel every two years or something like that. I could picture myself teaching kids eager to be the next Hemingway or James Patterson to spread their literary (or genre) wings. Older people still need their fantasies, kids.

To accomplish these goals, I decided to start substitute teaching at the school district and started working as an adjunct instructor at MCC. In the district, I taught everything from pre-school to high school; at MCC, I taught composition and writing. While I was substituting for other teachers in the district and teaching their lessons, the MCC class was totally my own. I designed it with input from mentors who were full-time instructors there, and I did all the evaluating and grading. Both positions, coincidentally, were part-time. That obviously meant no benefits and varying hours, depending on the situation on any given week. I wanted to show that I was interested in working for both organizations and contributing to them.

Due to a multitude of factors, I never did work for either the district or MCC full-time. The exact reasons aren’t important anymore and I’ve long moved on since that time. In fact, about a year later I’d chuck all of that to briefly come out of retirement from journalism and work for my hometown newspaper for about 18 months. However, something happened as part of that teaching that was something of a thought experiment to me.

As part of my work with MCC, I was designing my own course to teach online – a virtual composition course. This was during the early years when online teaching was beginning to unfold – no Zoom, no live chat. However, it was writing, and I’d like to think that I was putting together some good online instruction.

When I was starting to design that course, I had a chance to examine some existing composition courses from some of the other instructors. One of the things that I noticed that at least a couple of those instructors were using sample essays that were written by other students. As I was just starting out as a composition instructor, I didn’t have ready access to some good example essays from students. Because of that, I decided to put together one of my own essays to fill in the gap.

As one of the strategies I was teaching was descriptive writing, I figured I’d put together an essay that would include a strong description of something I had experienced. The idea behind such an essay is to give a dominant impression of whatever subject that you are describing. You want your audience to feel something about your subject, to have a deeper understanding of it. At this point in my life, there was one subject that I wanted to write about more than anything else. That subject was soccer.

For the past couple of years, I had been interested in the Chicago Fire Soccer Club (now the Chicago Fire Football Club). Soccer had been a longtime interest of mine (more on the origins of that subject later), but at that point in my life I had become obsessed with soccer in both domestic and foreign leagues, an obsession that has only grown in the years since. That summer, however, I had my first chance to watch a pro game live, in Chicago, with my son and one of my friends from Muscatine. It was an amazing experience… so I wanted to talk about it.

The result of all of this was “Joining the Men in Red,” a first-person account of that match. Is it a perfect example of a descriptive essay, like what I would find in some of the composition textbooks I used for my classes? Maybe not. Were there one of two things I could have made better? Maybe. But I think it had a lot of heart and passion, and I think it did reflect what I truly felt about the sport and its fandom.

And I was able to use that essay for those classes. I even found that it would up being useful for later classes (back at the high school level) where I used it as a descriptive writing example. Heck, even last year, I ended up using it in a composition class I was teaching at my new high school, and it wound up being a good resource.

However, this year, I had the opportunity to have another soccer experience that was brand-new for me but involved the oldest love of my soccer fandom. After that second experience, I started to wonder if it wasn’t time for a second essay about my soccer fandom, that used that second experience as an opportunity to express how I felt about the sport and one team in particular.

This is the result of that urge.

So, about 10 years after I tried this for the first time, I’m going to do something of a spiritual sequel to that article. Let’s hang out with the Yanks.

Continue reading “Joining the Yanks”

2 October 2022: A quick note

[PHOTO NOTE: This was what Pexels Free Photos produced when I typed in “Ooops.”]

Just a quick note… I’m not sure anyone was expecting me to write anything this weekend considering I posted last weekend, last Wednesday, and last Friday as well. Regardless, I didn’t get to it this weekend.

The reason is that I was busy with some heavy revisions this week on a previous project. I hate being totally vague about this at the moment, but there are a few things up in the air, so I have to be at least a bit vague. As soon as I can announce stuff, I will announce it. Promise.

Anyway, the writing journal for this week will get posted on time. Not too much new material this week, but this was probably my busiest week of revisions, so my goal of making my daily quota at least 70 percent of the time seems pretty secure.

I’ll write more later.

A Quick Discussion/Restatement of The Purpose Behind this Blog

Today, since I just got started posting on Substack, I decided to post what I considered to be a mission statement for what my intentions were for that blog. However, the longer I was writing, the more I realized much of what I was writing for Substack also matched my evolving intentions for this site, my blogging home base, so to speak.

With that in mind, I decided to post a slightly altered version of that post below. Consider it a revised mission statement for Liegois Media.


Essentially, what this will be about is writing – specifically, me talking about the art of writing and occasional bits of advice about writing, some of my own original work that aren’t blog posts, as well as my experiences with the craft and a hint of memoir as I recount my continued growth and progression as a writer in my own right1-2.

Let’s tackle each of those topics in turn, shall we? Just like they taught us in school (and I have been teaching everyone from junior high, high school, and junior college students over the past several years).


The Art of Writing

I think one of the biggest topics of this blog will obviously be about the art of writing. I have worked in professions that have a heavy emphasis on writing skills for more than 25 years. During that time, I have developed a few ideas about writing, how it should be done, what are the important elements of writing and how someone who wants to really improve their writing should concentrate on.

As reflected in this blog, this might, sometimes, involve posts where I discuss what could be called writing advice. More often, it will involve discussing my philosophy of writing, how this is evolved over time, and what it is now.

There are three things that I can comfortably say about myself as a writer. First, I can definitely say, that through a combination of a small innate talent, a strong desire to excel at expressing myself, and more than a few years of experience, that I am a very good writer. I also believe that since one lifetime is nowhere near enough time to learn everything about writing, I also still have a lot to learn and room to grow as a writer. But I have learned a bit, and I’ve grown a bit as well.

So, me discussing that philosophy and the various ways how I put it into practice will be a major part of this blog. I don’t think I would have wanted to become a teacher in the first place, for example, if I didn’t want to share that love of writing. And this place will be another way for me to do that.


My Work

It’s only natural that if this is going to be a blog about writing, that I would actually share some of this writing with you. By writing, I’m talking about stuff that’s not blatantly blogs, but other forms of writing.

Over the years, I’ve shared examples of short stories and essays on various subjects on this blog. About a decade ago, I got convinced to actually try my hand at poetry, with some results that were… satisfying, at least? Take some time and look around the “My Works” category if you want to see them.

I have not contemplated what a paid subscription to this blog might look like, and it will be a while before I think I can make that next step. However, maybe some of that work becomes exclusive content… I’ll have to think about it. Go ahead and check it out, though.


A Writer’s Progress

A good portion of this blog will be me recounting what I have been trying to do as a writer and the progress I have made up to this point. I started doing a little series entitled A Writer’s Biography where I looked back on my life and how I came to be fascinated with writing and fiction. That might wind up being a project in its own right, as I have been reviewing and examining the posts that I have written so far and I’ve now been toying with turning it into its own project. I never anticipated being one of those memoirists, but it appears that I’ve been doing it almost unintentionally. We’ll have to see where that goes.

I’ve also been discussing my efforts to get published in one form or another. Part of my dreams came true when I finally became a published novelist with my book The Holy Fool, but I’m wanting to move forward and write more stuff and put it before an audience. Right now, I am contemplating moving forward with the self-publishing route for several different reasons3. I’ll discuss that journey, as well as some of the things I experience as a writer online.

On this blog, one of the more frequent types of posts are my weekly writing journals, where I recount my weekly word counts and if I am meeting the daily quotas I’ve set for myself. I certainly will keep doing that on the WordPress blog, because I find that being publicly accountable for the writing I do helps me to keep self-motivated. Go ahead and check them out if you want a laugh some days.

As far as when you will see posts here, I think I can guarantee that I can put out new content on at least a bi-weekly basis or weekly basis. I am leaning towards Saturdays being my publishing/posting days, although I will likely start putting those posts together in the proceeding days. Also, there will be some bonus posts I make here that will be “archive” material from my WordPress blog.

I think I have covered most everything regarding what this blog will look like in the weeks and months to come. I would like eventually have monthly discussion threads with readers, and I will plan to do the first one later this month. Keep posted here as to exactly when that will be3.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you in the time to come. Take care, everyone.


Footnotes:

  1. I have to say that’s a pretty nice little thesis statement I whipped up. It would be worth at least an A- in one of my Composition 1 classes.
  2. (Also, after using Substack, I have to say that I really love how it has a really good format to set up footnotes. As some previous readers of this blog might have noticed, I’ve begun to get more addicted to putting footnotes in my posts than David Foster Wallace.)
  3. I was aiming this at my Substack readers, but I might look at how I might set up something like that here on WordPress, as well.

I’m On Substack – Come Check It Out

Well, I promised I was going to do it, so I finally did. I’m at https://jasonliegoisauthor.substack.com. I’d love it if you might want to check me out there.

My first post will be a bit of an introduction, but I plan on cross-posting many items from here to the Substack blog, both current and “classic” posts I think might have some interest.

See you there.

An Announcement Regarding a New Project

Hi, everyone,

Just wanted to let you know (as you might have suspected), I am going to start posting on Substack as well as here on WordPress. I am in the process of writing my initial welcome post on Substack and it will go live on Friday.

I will post a link to that post and my Substack site by Friday evening. Many of the articles that will be or have been posted here will be cross-posted to Substack. I think it’s a great way to reach more readers, especially fellow writers.

I’m really looking forward to it. See you then.

Substack: A Sequel

I usually don’t include short notes like this on the blog, but I did want to share something related to a review of the writing site Substack I shared here a few weeks back.

One of the things that I mentioned in that review was while I found the frequently asked questions pages quite helpful (the company terms them the “Writer’s Resource” pages) to be quite helpful, of course they were never going to have every single answer I was looking for. Also, it’s always tricky to try and use the right keywords to get the exact advice you want. Substack has regular office hours, but those are during the midday and especially with the school year coming up, it’s difficult to me to make those hours.

However, I did manage to make it to one of those “writer’s hours” chat about a week ago, and I got a great response from a writer by the name of Jackie Dana, who runs a page on Substack called Unseen St. Louis and also contributes to another couple of Substack pages as well. She answered a couple of questions I had about the platform, including what would the best options be for cross-posting from WordPress to Substack. (The short answer is, publish in WordPress, copy and paste into Substack, and there shouldn’t be too much of an issue except for maybe a couple of formatting issues.) Also, I got invited to join a Substack Writer’s forum, so I can start wandering around there at odd hours if I need some other advice.

The short story is, I’m going to look at putting together my first official Substack post soon. After that, I will continue to cross-post from her to there, and perhaps add a few older articles occasionally to Substack as well. I’ll let you know here when that goes “live,” so to speak.

I always am trying to take care that I’m doing my research before jumping into a new writing endeavor. However, I think at a certain point, the best policy is for me to plow ahead and see what happens.

So, I guess I’ll see you later here and at Substack (as well as the other places; just check out the sidebar lol).