I’m not sure this is so much a conscious choice as it is the inevitable result of me being me. Technically, I’ve been “blogging” since January 2002, but that was in the days of LiveJournal being a blogging platform, and “blogging” really being “put your diary online for EVERYONE to share!!!” I actually do still keep the LJ active and I do update it regularly, but mostly for the real friends who are also on there. And also for me, I guess. It does help to be able to look back at bad times and see how much better I’ve got it now, or to be able to remember something more clearly with the record stated.
But a blog, or, at least, THIS blog isn’t that. It isn’t another diary. And hopefully it won’t be as whiny as my LJ was, either. This comes from a few different pickles that slid together and accidentally became a sandwich.
–I have this website and I’m not doing anything with it.
–I have OPINIONS and sometimes I just like to rant, and there’s no reason for that to be kept on my private LJ.
–The internet is fun and I want to add to it.
–Apparently blogging isn’t a “requirement” for authors who publish anymore, or maybe it is, eight-million searches in Google later I still don’t know, but whatever — but it seems to help. At least, it gives you a place and a means of talking to people who become interested in you, and of giving context to your otherwise what-the-hell-was-that-ness that happens in your books.
(Ooh, note. There will be swearing. Sometimes lots of it. Probably not Chuck Wendig levels of epicness…unless politics are involved. Then all bets are fucking OFF, yo’. You have been warned.)
And I AM an author even if I haven’t published yet.
I’ve been writing stories since before I could shape all the letters correctly, and I have some saved proofs to that effect. Backwards Ks are awesome. I’ve been finishing novel-length creative works since 2004. As of this date, I have completed 18 works of 40k+ works (the SWFA bar for a novel). But only one of those is an original work; the rest are fanfiction.
That will be relevant later. The point to make first is this one:
Who I am in any of my books isn’t necessarily the me who will be here all the time.
The me who writes books sometimes struggles with times when the gloom will rise and all I’ll have left is the quiet screaming will to live being drowned by a sludge of depression. The me who writes books sometimes hits manic highs that makes ALL THE THINGS STUPIDLY FUNNY EVEN THOUGH THEY’RE REALLY NOT. The me who writes books is sometimes a quiet introvert who can go a full week in a busy office without speaking a word to people.
But nobody wants that for a blog.
So the blog me is mostly going to tend towards the manic side, not the introvert side, but I’ll try to steer clear of the exciting madness part. It’s going to be the me who would chat with you in a supermarket checkout lane, or the me you run into at a choir concert or a convention. The blog me is going to be the me with a degree of separation from my heart, but not my thoughts. A degree of separation from my shyness, but not my enthusiasm.
And sometimes the blog me will be the one with depression or the one too zany to remember not to be so honest, and that’s okay, too. We’re going for truth here, after all.
But it’s a public truth. A truth put through the refinement of not being quite stream-of-consciousness. Manic, depressed, or a day that’s neither. The person who would happily talk to a crowd or the one that would rather not talk to anyone at all. Me, genuinely, neither smoothed out nor filtered, but tweaked just so.
Me for myself by the name I have chosen.
Which brings me to the GREAT DISCREPANCY OF NAMING.
When I publish an original work, if I ever get that chance, I will be publishing under the name of K.M. Clantoren — thus this website. (I also have crazy ideas about collaborating with friends and writing other books under R.M. or B.B. or w.h.a.t.e.v.e.r. but keeping the Clantoren last name as my signature.) The M of K.M. is for Mendeia, which is my handle on Twitter, LJ, and also (and most importantly) my fanfic sites: fanfic.net and AO3.
Now, conventional wisdom is that one doesn’t want to conflate “real” publishing with “just fanfic,” but I am the most cheerful little tiger that ever was at calling bullshit.
I am me. I am inspired and driven by cartoons and movies and anime. I am also inspired and driven by thunderstorms and music and spiritual revelations and really stupid jokes. Sometimes that inspiration leads me to write stories about ninja turtles or Gundam pilots. More recently, it has been leading me to my own stories with my own worlds. But you can’t have one without the other. You can’t have me, SOMEDAY FAMOUS AUTHOR MAYBE without also me, the one who writes about Jim and Blair. I am one and the same.
And I have fought too goddamn long to be myself to give that up now.
So the thing that will probably make or break this entire experiment is this: I’m keeping my identity fused.
Because the ME who wrote 17 novel-length fanfics (plus 5 novellas, 14 novelettes, and 68 short stories to date with another novel probably done in a week) is the same person who wrote that first original novel. It’s the person who is both introvert and outgoing, the person who is both manic and depressed (alternately, never at once, that would be scary), the person who lives in my thoughts no matter what is holding my attention. That’s who I am.
Even if I don’t always manage to be that as a blogger.
So I’m walking in as a contradiction. Duh. That’s how I roll.
I’m K.M. Clantoren.
The K stands for Kelly. My given name and the only one I respond to if you want my attention (although I’ll answer to my wife’s name, too, after so many years of being confused for her).
The M stands for Mendeia. Where I came from. Where I’ll always be going even if I become something else, too. Where I practiced my craft and went from wretched to passable. Where I still retreat when my heart needs its immortal and immaterial blankie. And also my Twitter handle when you want all my wacky times in 140 characters or less.
The Clantoren is who I hope to be here. Who I hope to be as a published author. Who I hope to be in the world. The one who has slightly more of her shit together than Kelly and is slightly less intimidated by perceived faults than Mendeia. The one who gets to be on the books people read and in the stories that touch their hearts.
Nice to meet you, world.