Five Questions: Never Neutral
1. Why do you blog?
My main blog is Never Neutral but I have several others. It’s a commonplace, but I blog because I have a need to communicate. I have always connected writing and publishing. As a teenager I edited a couple of fanzines, which I sold/swapped mainly by (snail) mail. Me and my brother spent all our money in printing them, packaging them, mailing them. We had readers in Australia, England, Chile, New Zealand. Being Mexicans and living in Mexico City, this was a great deal to us. As computer technology became more available (I did not have my own computer until 2000 or so!) I used to print out my own leaflets which I gave away at book fairs and comic book conventions. Now that I think about it, I became a writer because I was published.
Most of my writing gets published: it is fairly recent that I write without thinking of getting it published (my journals, for instance; some poetry), but I started writing because newspaper editors assigned me articles, brief essays, book and music reviews. Blogging is just another technology that allows me to publish what I write. It’s a very exciting medium and it can get pretty addictive, but for me it’s just another way in which I can express myself. I know some people (like many of my literature students at the university) who started writing only because blogging technology is available. I started handwriting my articles and stories, then typing them, then delivering them personally or faxing them or making my own fanzine. I think it’s great that technology is making writing a more common activity, even among people who would not have normally called themselves “writers”. In a way, blogging is a way of giving writing its social importance back. I don’t understand how people who call themselves “writers” can avoid blogging. If you write, you write because you have to, as a physical, bodily need, blogging is unavoidable. I´d even say that the “writers” who don’t blog don’t do it because they are too concerned with careerism and legalisms. They don’t write because they have to write, they write because they have contracts with book publishers. Writing only for the printed media makes no sense to me. I must say I started blogging when I was in England studying an M.A. I started as a way to remember who I was or who I could become. I started writing in English because I wanted to rediscover Spanish, my mother tongue, but also as a way to get away from it. The responses I get when I write in Spanish are always very different from the ones I get when I write in English. In English I feel more detached, freer; at the same time I feel more “protected”, like wearing an armour, holding a shield, using a mask. In Spanish, I’m always naked. With time, this has changed a bit, and now I am feeling more and more vulnerable writing in English.
2. Which author and/or book has most influenced you?
Difficult question. Charles Baudelaire. Charles M. Schulz. Truman Capote. J.D. Salinger. Walter Benjamin. Laurence Sterne. Jacques Derrida. Sylvia Plath. Virginia Woolf. Alejandra Pizarnik. Michel Focuault. Roland Barthes. Hélène Cixous. Luce Irigaray.
3. Which three blogs do you most visit?
I read several blogs. The ones I visit most often are
Eileen Tabios’s http://chatelaine-poet.blogspot.com/ ,
Jean Vengua’s, Okir; and Mark
Young’s http://mhcyoung.blogspot.com/. I am also a
frequent reader of Ron Silliman’s,
4. Why do you read fiction?
To remember why I still enjoy reading. Working in literature, as an editor, reader, professor, translator, it’s pretty easy to forget how it was to read without having to as an obligation. I read fiction as a way of reminding me I can still enjoy reading and that I can still find time for myself.
5. What makes you laugh?
Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Watching the cats play in the garden.
Ernesto Priego blogs at Never Neutral
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