Why I Don’t Do Crossposts with This Blog

During my years as a blogger, I’ve written posts for other blogs in addition to this blog, yet I’ve never, ever cross-posted. Sometimes, cross-posting is not an option – for example, my agreement with Hacking Chinese was that anything I wrote which was published there would not be published elsewhere unless the Hacking Chinese website permanently shut down or became paywalled.

But even if I had the option of crossposting my contributions to Hacking Chinese to this blog, I wouldn’t do it (unless it was the only way to make those posts available on the internet).

Most of the contributors to the The Asexual Agenda (TAA) who also have independent blogs crosspost most (or all) of their contributions to TAA to their personal blogs as well. I’m the glaring exception.

Why?
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What Surprised Me about Blogging about Asexuality

This is for the March Carnival of Aces, which is themed as ‘Writing About Asexuality’.

I decided to name this blog ‘the notes which do not fit’ so it could be a place where I could put writing which I want to be public, but which I can’t place somewhere else. At the time I started this blog, asexuality was the topic which I most wanted to write about publicly for which I didn’t have some other forum, but this blog is first a Whatever Sara Wants to Write About Blog, and only an ‘asexuality’ blog in a secondary sense. That is why there is no ‘aseuxality’ or ‘ace’ or any reference to such in the title.

One reason there is such a high concentration of writing about asexuality (and aromanticism) on this blog is that, when I want to write a lot about something else, I tend to find another place to do it. For example, I wrote the ‘It Came from the Sinosphere’ column at Manga Bookshelf, and right now I have my own blog about travelling in South Korea (and if I ever decide to do a significant bit of writing about my travels elsewhere in East Asia I will probably not do it here at ‘the notes which do not fit’).

All of this implies that asexuality/aromanticism is something I care about which is harder to fit in elsewhere.

Now, once I started blogging on a regular basis, I assumed that the ‘notes’ I wrote would only get a few readers, but I still wanted to write it. For example, I expected ‘”Going to College” and the Old Neighborhood’ to get very few readers – a prediction which so far is totally true, by the way. And I assumed that asexuality-themed posts would be likewise not-very-much-read.

Probably my most-read blog post ever “A language learner’s guide to reading comics in Chinese”, and my other guest posts at Hacking Chinese are pretty widely read relative to most things I’ve written. This is partially because Hacking Chinese is an excellent blog which has a large readership, and deserves even more.

My second-most read blog posts on the internet? My asexuality/aromanticism blogging, particularly if I am also talking about fiction, though “Why Are Sex-Indifferent Aces Assumed to be Open to Sex” also seems to have touched a nerve.

I’m surprised by this result. Something which I expected to be read by about, say, three strangers on the internet, is being read by a lot more than three people. And it’s asexuality of all things.

I think it’s because there is a rather large group of people who really really want to read about asexuality and easiest place to find in-depth writing about asexuality is ace blogs. I remember back in late 2009/early 2010 reading and reading and reading ace blogs (and you can probably guess which blogs those were, since there weren’t so many ace blogs back then). Even though only a small fraction of those people on ace-blog reading binges ever find their way here, apparently some of them do.

All of this means I’m doing the right thing by writing about asexuality and aromanticism. We need more of it.


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My New Blog: S.K. in S.K.

I have finished travelling, but I have not finished writing about travelling, and I have a lot to stay after spending almost eleven months travelling.

I decided it’s time to start a new blog. So I have.

*drumroll*

S.K. in S.K. – Sara K. in South Korea

I will put all of my writing and photos about travelling in South Korea there. I kept a paper journal while I was travelling around Japan, but I didn’t do that in South Korea, so I want to write about it first while my memories are fresh. After I’m done writing about South Korea, I’ll think about if and where I would post writing about travelling in Japan.

In any case, if you are interested in South Korea, or in my travels, or if you are just wondering how somebody could spend more than two months in South Korea, check it out!

Mention Asexuality

This is for the September 2014 “Asexuals, Advocacy, and Allies” Carnival of Aces.

***

I have written before how reading blogs helped me finally identify as asexual and how other people mentioning asexuality brought me to the blogs in the first place. Specifically, it was this linkspam and this second linkspam by unusualmusic which brought asexual blogs to my attention. My classmate who casually brought up asexuality in a face-to-face conversation (okay, not specifically my face, a lot of people were there) also was a good ally at that particular moment, though she probably did not think about it that way since she probably was not versed in social justice discourse and rhetoric.

So, how did these allies get it right?

– unusualmusic linked to things written by aseuxals, which a) made sure she did not mess up when talking about asexuality because she let the asexuals do most of the talking and b) highlighted the asexual bloggers rather than herself
– unusualmusic linked in asexual blogs in generalized linkspams which were not specifically about asexuality. This is a great way to spread awareness of asexuality – after all, people who are not aware of asexuality probably are not reading much specifically about asexuality
– likewise, my classmate brought up asexuality casually in a discussion when it happened to fit into the conversation, rather than forcing asexuality into a conversation and Making It a Big Deal (sometimes asexuality is a big deal, but I think it is generally better for allies to casually mention asexuality once in a while and let asexuals themselves take the lead when Asexuality Is a Big Deal).

In other words, I am asking allies to mention asexuality sometimes when it is relevant, and to direct people to what asexuals are actually saying rather than talk about asexuality in place of the asexuals themselves. I have personally been helped by this kind of allyship.

And I base my own advocacy based on what has worked for me – namely, mentioning asexuality in different contexts. This blog is not all about asexuality all the time. I like to talk about different topics, mostly because I like to talk about different topics, but also because I hope I can introduce people who are reading about A that there is also B. For example, I suspect some people who first started reading me because of my blogging about Chinese language and culture at Manga Bookshelf and Hacking Chinese later became interested in my asexuality-themed writing. In the other direction, sometimes people who initially find this blog through the asexual content become interested in things I have written on other topics.

I do not think I will ever be the kind of visibility activist who runs an asexuality-focused organization, or even deliver a formal Asexuality 101 presentation. Bringing up asexuality in different contexts is most of the “visibility-work” I do (here is an example of me doing this in a college classroom), and I think this type of visibility work complements more focused activism quite well.


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One-Year Anniversary

This blog is already a year old … time flies when you’re having fun.

When I started this blog, I was determined to make it a regularly updated blog, so I vowed to have a new post up at least once a week. And, lo and behold, I did manage to have a new post up every single Friday.

One of the things which had delayed me from starting a blog for so many years was my tendency to write very long pieces, which took a lot of time and energy, and thus burned me out quickly. I became acutely aware of this while writing my first round of guest posts at Manga Bookshelf, Why You Should Read Evyione Part 1 and Part 2. It’s one thing to pull out the stops for a one-time guest post, but I knew there is no way I could keep that up over the long haul.

So, when I started this blog, I put a word limit on myself. 500 words per regular post, period. I sometimes let myself go over the word limit for special posts, but I even try to avoid that. If I can’t fit an idea into 500 words, the idea needs to be split into multiple posts.

Without that 500 word limit, this blog would have been a *lot* less regular. In fact, it’s quite possible that without the word limit this blog would have already gone silent.

It’s forced me to make my writing style more concise. I think this has even spilled over into my It Came from the Sinosphere column – though I don’t put a hard word limit on that, if I hadn’t trained myself to make my writing more concise, I think it would be even harder for me to keep that feature updated regularly. And people who follow both that column and this blog must have noticed that this blog, with the hard word limit, has been more regularly updated.

But it’s not just conciseness. When I have only 500 words, instead of expressing a complex idea, I have to break the complex idea into simpler ideas, and present the simpler ideas one by one. This forces me to choose which (simple) ideas to express, and consequently, I think it’s made my writing clearer.

I had hoped that, if I could keep this blog updated regularly for a year, then in the second year I could do something more ambitious. But now that a whole year has passed, I think it’s best to keep things going the way they are. I have found a way to maintain this blog which works well for me, and right now I’d rather stick with what has been working than try something bold and new and have it blow up.

Outside Blogging – Catching Up

First of all, my two guest posts at Hacking Chinese are now live. READ THEM!!!

Approaches to reading Chinese
A language learner’s guide to reading comics in Chinese

And … I somehow forgot to mention that I have a new column at Manga Bookshelf: It Came From the Sinosphere. In each post, I discuss something from Chinese-language pop culture (with a strong focus on Taiwan, though I think the focus on Taiwan will lessen over time). It comes out every week. I am not going to mention it every week … but I will occasionally do a round up. Like now:

Idol Dramas:
The Outsiders 1&2
My Queen

Novels:
The Book and the Sword
Passionate Wastrel, Infatuated Hero, Part 1
Passionate Wastrel, Infatuated Hero, Part 2

Comics:
Divine Melody
Creative Comics Collection

Movies:
Cheerful Wind

I plan to eventually write a personal post about Passionate Wastrel, Infatuated Hero – even though it is not asexy/aromantic, it does touch on one of this blog’s most common themes.

One of the reasons why I am writing this new column is that I think that the way culture is shared between the United States (and other English-speaking countries to some extent) and the Chinese speaking worlds is greatly imbalanced. If something is even somewhat popular in the United States, chances are that it will be made available in Taiwan, in translation if necessary. However, some of the bedrocks of Chinese-language pop-culture are not available in English at all. I hope my column can tilt this situation, even just a teensy bit, to a more balanced state.

Round-up: The Condor Trilogy in Manhua

In case you missed it, here’s a roundup of the complete ‘Condor Trilogy in Manhua’ blog post series I wrote for Manga Bookshelf:

The Condor Trilogy in Manhua: Introduction
The Condor Trilogy in Manhua: Fighting
Tony Wong’s The Eagle Shooting Heroes
The Legendary Couple
The Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre
Return of the Condor Heroes
Lee Chi-Ching’s The Eagle-Shooting Heroes