Where are the alumni blogs? (Don’t these people want me to follow them?)

1 Mar

If I’ve noticed anything about writers in general, it’s that they’re an awkward bunch.  This is probably the result of too much time spent in front of a computer or spiral notebook—some kind of social blindness (like snow-blindness) that comes from staring at blank pages for hours and conversing with fictional characters in one’s head.  J.D. Salinger comes to mind as the poster boy of the reclusive writer, perhaps because of recent buzz around the release of private letters that reminded us all how very little we knew about the author’s personal life.  You know a man is a hermit when the discovery of his certain penchant for BK Whoppers and Tim Henman is front-page news.  Just saying.

                The strange neuroses that plague famous writers unfortunately also afflict non-famous writers as well—unfortunately because if you’ve ever taken an undergraduate creative writing workshop you know what I mean.  [TANGENT: If you haven’t taken a workshop, or you simply aren’t convinced, imagine twelve sets of eyes pinned on you as you read aloud something you wrote last night in a sleep-deluded panic, then imagine you can’t remember what you wrote and are stumbling over your words, and after you finish reading someone asks you to pass the tin of peanuts which has unfortunately settled on your desk (whose IDEA was it to eat food during workshops anyway?  Grease all over the papers, and that one kid in the corner who talks and munches simultaneously, gross.)  Needless to say you knock the peanuts over, two people bump heads trying to clean them up, and the next one.point five hours is spent talking about someone’s fictional rendering of a sex scene when it is very obvious nobody in the room has ever had sex at all.]

                POINT BEING: Writers are a little strange and a lot terrible at small talk, with the exception of George Saunders and David Sedaris, who I imagine are actually quite funny and engaging.  I would think that the whole blogging experience would suit the other three-gajillion less-funny and far-more-awkward writers nicely.  A sort of crutch for the socially dysfunctional, if you will.  It certainly eliminates the need for face-to-face conversation.  But for some reason I can’t find a single blog maintained by an Oberlin writing alumni (except this awesome one).  Perhaps this is simply an indication of my lack of search-engine skills, but I’d rather point it at some larger failing of writer-kind…where are the blogs faithful Obies?  Don’t you want me to follow you?!

❤ Ariel


7 Responses to “Where are the alumni blogs? (Don’t these people want me to follow them?)”

  1. an alum March 7, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

    radosh.net used to be a blog ran by an Alumnus, Dan Radosh. All the recent young alums are on twitter or tumblr, for better or for worse.

    • ocbooklove March 16, 2011 at 1:52 am #

      Thanks for the links! I’m finding with patience and the proper keywords I’ve been able to find more blogs. I know there is a huge community of Oberlin writers out there–the Alumni Magazine has been a useful tool as well.

  2. Nic April 27, 2011 at 6:32 am #

    Hi Ariel, I’m an incoming ’15 student this fall. Guess I chanced across this blog while googling stuff about the college (I think it was that post on the Grape that led me in). You’re spot on about there being a huge community of Obie writers – I think it’s termed the ‘Oberlin Mafia’ – and I’ve come across a few who maintain web presences. Of course I’m happy to share!

    Edan Lepucki, novelist & staff writer at The Millions: http://italicsmine.tumblr.com/, http://www.themillions.com/author/elepucki
    Emma Straub, novelist & writer for the Paris Review’s blog: http://emmainpictures.tumblr.com/, http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/author/estraub/
    Cathy Park Hong, poet: http://cathyparkhong.blogspot.com/
    Joanna Smith Rakoff, novelist (not a blog per se, but she does write rather regularly for litmags/blogs and such): http://www.joannasmithrakoff.com/articles-essays.html
    Jane Pratt, founder of Sassy magazine (it’s not up yet, but I think this is supposed to be her blog with Tavi):

    I was sure someone like Gary Shteyngart would maintain a blog, but apparently he doesn’t. Oh well. Same goes for poet Myung Mi Kim. They do get a fair bit of attention from online publications, though.

    • ocbooklove April 28, 2011 at 3:07 pm #

      Thanks! If only there were enough hours in the day for me to find all these wonderful links!
      What are you planning on studying at Oberlin, just out of curiosity?

      • Nic April 28, 2011 at 4:41 pm #

        Well, I’m trying to go in with as open a mind as possible, but majoring in English is a tentative goal. I would love to pursue comparative lit but neither my French nor my Chinese is up to scratch, I think. I still like the idea of cross-cultural diversity and hyperengagement with global issues in my education, though, so I might work towards that ‘international studies concentration’.

        I take it that you’re a creative writing major? I’m definitely going to take a few of those workshops, but I hear there’s inordinate demand for them (rightfully so, I believe) so it might be pretty hard for a non-major to get into them. Well, I guess that may be reason enough to seriously consider declaring a major in CW. 🙂

        So, essentially, I want to study everything. Just your typical earnest but aimless freshman!

      • ocbooklove April 28, 2011 at 5:31 pm #

        You guessed it! I’m a creative writing major–or as I like to tell people, I get my degree for making stuff up. I came in with the mindset that I would go the double major route in English and Creative Writing, which is very popular here as many of the classes can be applied to both majors. The English dept. here isn’t exactly for me, so I’m minoring in it and in rhetoric and composition. The language programs here are also excellent–I took a German class and loved it!

        As far as workshop applications go, if you’re a reasonably good writer and/or determined, I can’t imagine you won’t get in (awesome, double negative). Students have to be admitted to at least one workshop, the 201 poetry/prose course, before even declaring the major. At any rate, you ought to take a little of everything. I’m not a science person at all and I’ve had some excellent classes outside the humanities.

        Welcome to Oberlin!

      • Nic April 28, 2011 at 5:44 pm #

        Thanks for the warm welcome! 🙂 Guess I’ll run into you on campus sooner or later!

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