Tag Archives: being political

Mojo Rising: In Which I Want To Be A Blogger

307153_272353769461853_100000616957975_876750_1805170655_n (1)Hey, reader.

So I’ve not been blogging on purpose. Didn’t have it in me. For two years. Yeah, I know. You can fake it if you wanna, but I don’t phone it in.

What you don’t know is, the more annoyed or passionate I’ve been of late, say the last six months, the more I’ve been writing, and never doing anything with, new posts.

So it occurs to me that I’m, you know, one read/edit and a click away from having a shiny new blog post. Yeah! Something to ACTUALLY read, for you, the reader-person.

Doesn’t that just blow your fucking mind? A click away, man. A click!

•click•

But that’s the thing that’s been missing — the desire to write for public consumption. Or even write at all.

Lately, though, I’ve actually stopped what I was doing just to write something. Write a thing that doesn’t even pay me money! Lemme tell you, friendly reader: That blows my fucking mind.

You got your writers who’ll tell ya that writer’s block doesn’t exist. I’d agree with that. I can write six ways to Sunday all day long, but it doesn’t mean it’s got anything worth saying. And sometimes the saying of it is just a thing that keeps you hemmed into an already-troubled mindset. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

You wanna yammer on because there’s “no such thing” as writer’s block, or wallow in your you-ness, you knock yourself out. I know when I’m writing crap I wouldn’t even line a birdcage with. Let’s call 2012 and 2013 my “Bird Sanctuary Years,” okay? The Epic Saga of When the Crap-Writing Canary-Cage-Liner Sings.

But I got out and dialed up my creativity for photography and cooking, things a brain can pause for. Pause, a nice thing to use. Lovely. Pause. We should all pause a little but more, but petting zoos should have unicorn rides and shoulds don’t mean shit. Creativity is creativity and a writer doesn’t always need to write, I discovered. But now’s a different thing entirely.

So here’s the deal. I’m back. Not in a blogging-daily type incarnation, but then who knows? Maybe. I used to do the EB White write-500-words-a-day and it mostly wound up on here when it went well. Far be it for me to eliminate anything.

But wait! There’s more!

There’s something in this for me too. I’m writing ebooks. Not just one. I have a very crafty scheme in mind for taking this whole entire blog and giving you a radical reinvention of it in ebook form. This one will remain as it is, but I’ll have my fun. I need to get you all riled up about it. All in due time, reader. The grand tease thing. I’m shameless, friend. I’ll admit it. But I’ll make it worth your while too. Found my mojo, after all.

Thus it’s time for me to resume blogging for public consumption. I had my break. It was groovy. I have several things kicking around I can fire up and finish off. Longform stuff too.

I have mounting anger about the stupid-ass bullshit in the world and a raging hard-on to tell you why. I want to write. I’m twitchy. I’m ranty. I’m occasionally funny. I’m freeing up time in my life to take back writing and to own my voice.

Giving myself permission to just not write was what made me eventually write for the hell of it. It’s like rediscovering your golf-swing. You can’t just order it on Amazon. It’ll find ya when it finds ya.

So… I said Hey, reader.

In case you missed them, I have blogged lately… three times this year in larger posts I wrote and stuck on Medium. There was this about Philip Seymour Hoffman that got widely read and was an Editor’s Choice, and then there All The Fucks I Give, my thoughts on people who self-censor and the act thereof, which also was an Editor’s Choice, and finally this on how Twitter Doesn’t Suck, you make it suck.)

The Fine Art of Schmoozing

I have the rather freaky-ass opportunity to run with a different crowd now.

The people I’m working for are politically connected. It’s an entirely different world. I once fancied the idea of running for politics. I was probably 16 or 17 at the time and was volunteering for the Liberal party as a member of the Young Liberals. I helped campaign for an East Indian guy in a Vancouver suburb. I, I’m sorry to admit, was part of a Burma Shave.

(Kind of marketing done in pieces at roadside. Originally, billboards that would write out one well-developed sentiment over several clusters of signs. In politics, a bunch of yahoos standing roadside, wearing sandwich-board signs for any given politician. Hi, I’m Steff — resident yokel and yahoo.)

It’s fuckin’ ‘zarro, man.

Whew. Deep breath in, strong breath out. Yeah, it’s a real headtrip. I once wanted to run, y’know? Now I’d be the fringe freak candidate, though. I’m in the right fuckin’ city for it. Enter: The Sex Party. Oh, yeah. I want their convention to have the acronym O.R.G.Y. Hey, if it’s a bonus anywhere, this is where redundancy works. “The Sex Party’s convening now. The O.R.G.Y. aspires to take things to an entirely new level, but they say they’ll have to sweat it out this weekend if the right climax is to be found.”

Yeah, okay, you caught me: I also always wanted to be a news copy writer. Ah, well. Chasing ambulances proved to not be my thing. Nothing like showing up on the scene of an accident because it’s your fucking job when some gaping onlooker turns and calls you a “sick bitch” for liking that kinda thing. Nah, dude, it’s the grade for glass, y’know? Report from scene of an accident? What’s yer fucking excuse, bub? Whew. So, yeah, I learned to not like that one in a hurry.

Point is, there was a time when my life could’ve gone a couple other directions. Like, seriously different directions. It fucking STUNS me, BAFFLES me to be this person now, writing about the things I have, considering the type of aspirations I’ve always had. I’m outed, man, my name is OUT there. I can be Googled. I can be found. I can be deciphered — piece by bloody little piece. Like, it’s over for me. There are jobs I will never, ever have. There are positions I will never, ever have. It sort of disappoints me to know I can probably never get it on merit — like I damned well should. I can schmooze, man, but I can’t live that life, I don’t think.

There’s so much carefulness, you know? There’s been about a dozen times now in work-related (including tonight’s party) situations where I’ve said really politically incorrect things, like calling the entire Middle East sexist when I’m surrounded by Iraqis and other folks in that region. (I qualified it quickly by saying it was an easy dismissal by people who didn’t understand the culture so much — which is true, to an extent, as they do adore women, but I think that’s in the same ballpark as saying you love the kid and that’s why you hit them, to teach them… I don’t think it’s meanspirited, but I still think it needs updating).

Anyhow. Schmoozing. The fine art of.

Schmoozing, in essence, is the art of faking sincerity. Now, you can be sincere and schmooze, but it’s just easier to not give a shit, because then it keeps you neutral, all right? Keep it current, keep it simple, and keep it neutral. Don’t get involved, just have an opinion and a well-timed smile.

Eye contact. Need I say more? Fuck, man. Eye contact. All about the eye contact.

You gotta learn to listen with your eyes. You wanna focus on them so intently that they can tell you’re really being drawn in. It forges an intimate bond. You lean in ever so slightly. Tilt your head slightly to one side, and just soak ’em in. Be attentive. Listen, and more importantly, hear.

When you talk, think about what you’re saying. If you’re short on an idea, don’t hem or haw, or um or uh, ‘cos it makes you seem like a bubblehead. Do a simple “I don’t know” hand guesture as you try to find the right word. Focus then. Silence, good. If five seconds passes, it’s “I’ve lost my thought,” and you move the hell on.

If conversation falters, just tell them you’re just going to make the rounds but you’ll check in a bit later. Thank them for the chat, nod, and move off with a toast of the glass and a slow, searching stride.

When you’re speaking, don’t talk politics or religion, if you can help it. Don’t discuss money problems, ever, when you’re schmoozing. It’s about impressions, not bad ones. Ask where they’re from, who they know, and if you think they want to tell you, ask about their job.

You need yourself a 10-second introduction. “Hey, I’m Steff from Vancouver, born and raised. I fancy myself a writer, and when I need to pay the bills, I work in a consulting firm. The rest of the time, I blog, photograph, ride a scooter and a bike, cook, and slack.”

When someone tells you what they do, you have an in for asking for their business card. “Oh, I’d like to hear more about that sometime” or “Hey, I’ve been in the market for one of you” or “Oh, great. Say, can I get your card?” I favour straight-up, but in case you’re feeling pussy… you know.

You can touch if you get the sense they’re into that, but understand that different people have different personal space issues, and to assume that everyone’s cool with being touched is foolish, and in the case of some cultures, flat-out wrong.

Limp handshakes are creepy. Lose it. Be firm. Never more than three seconds for a handshake. Clammy hands? Find a way to dry them. Nerves are for pussies.

So, there’s a good introduction to the world of schmoozing. It works well for picking people up, too. Instead, you lean closer and closer. When you take a sip, always make eye contact over the rim of your glass. It’s sexy. When they can’t hear you, don’t speak up, lean into their ear and speak more clearly and maybe even softer, so they have to also lean in. It’s sexy. If you’re trying to pick them up, then definitely touch them, but just on the back of the hand or forearm, or possibly the elbow. Anything else can feel forward, I find. (Taking the elbow’s a bit more sensual, though.)

And that’s how ya do it. Go off, my minions, and schmooze this weekend. In my part of the world, we call it networking.