Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

having a tribe... or not

a group of mostly similar people committed to each other and a common cause-- which might be survival but could be political, cultural or creative. I believe tribes can be for a lifetime or a set period.

It is possible that from childhood, I have never really had a tribe of my own. I've been on the edge of one, but in one, not so much. This isn't all because I might not have wanted one. The lack, however, is probably part of my introvert nature. Tribes take maintenance, with members working to keep the tribe healthy and active. Someone like me, who needs a lot of alone time, gets sidetracked, changes direction, and won't wholehearted commit, doesn't help. 

  in Chaco Canyon ruins 1999

Interestingly enough (for anyone interested in reincarnation anyway), when in 1998, I did a summer of meditative regressions, the past life stories I got were almost all of women, who challenged the tribe, and were punished for not following its rules. Those lifetimes were in a mix of Native American, Iberian and Colonial cultures. Now I can't say such regressions mean real reincarnated lives, but it might depict some of my conflict in this one.

Of course, part of my problem in fitting into a tribe might be my personality makeup. In the past, when I took tests, which are supposed to indicate where you fit in the human spectrum, I came up like in only 2% or less of the population. Not easy to come up with a tribe-- even in the Internet age. Currently I have over 900 twitter followers, which might sound like aha, a tribe; but that word follower is a bit deceptive there. I think twitterers, or whatever people there might be called, mostly add people to get them to add them back. No tribe-- at least not that I've seen so far.

The subject is coming to my mind right now because of blogging. Some blogs effectively form tribes. They have loyal followers and leaders where they come together regularly and are committed to the community even when the members are geographically far apart. Me, not so much. I have had limited commitment to other people's blogs (tribe) and hence understand why they'd not have it to mine. I have never been a joiner and maybe my history with blogs is a good example of why today I feel tribeless (which does not mean friendless if you get the difference).

This particular blog has been going since 2005; but since I had a blog like it for a year or so ahead of it (which I deleted), I don't celebrate anniversaries or even remember the exact date I began. I know what I liked about it-- I could write what I pleased. For awhile I posted several times a week or more. Then came my decision in 2011 to publish my books (through for my whole lifetime I have also regularly written books but not to publish). With bringing them out, I wanted a place to write about the fiction writing and felt it should be a new blog.

At that time, I had a belief that those who can do and those who can't talk/write about it; so I wasn't sure how it would work out. Previously, I had rarely talked about my books even with friends. Some knew I wrote, but I didn't share the projects or process. When I began the writing blog, I learned that I actually enjoy writing about writing, process, and even the dread marketing. 

For 3½ years, I more or less felt it was working to have blogs with different purposes. Maybe it did for awhile, but no longer. I am even more involved in the books and dividing myself is leading to neither blog as I'd like. I find myself midway through the week with no idea what to write here because everything I am doing relates to my writing.

pictograph in Chaco Canyon Ruins
So while I try to work out which blog continues (deciding by May 1st), I hope readers understand that when I write about writing, I am not trying to sell books (not that I obviously mind when that happens). I simply want to write about them (sometimes the character development, how a plot comes together, research, or glitches). When I leave out writing, it leaves out a lot of me. When a few commented here and said they didn't mind when I wrote about my writing, it left me trying to figure out which blog to keep.

Regarding the most recent book, after all my angst over bringing out Round the Bend, March 30th, I went to look at reports and got the shock of my life. It was selling and far more than any book I'd ever had. At first I wondered if Amazon had goofed, but the sales continued. It even got into helpful rankings (I copied this one from Monday afternoon, because it was not going to last; and I wanted to remember-- once there was a moment ;).
I'll be honest. I felt teary that it had gotten such a good start. I'd like to explain how I feel about its doing this well, but it's hard to get it across. When one of my books goes out, from then on, it's about the book not me. I believe in my writing. I like what I do, but a book takes on its own identity when it is published. It's no longer about me but about its characters and that plot. If it is rejected, it hurts; but like it hurt when my kids would come home from school and someone had picked on them. This is why writers compare putting out a book to having babies (which irks some critics when they hear the comparison). It's not as though I think with a book that it knows it got rejected or accepted-- but I know for it.

Once it's out, the book now belongs to whoever reads it. The characters of Amy and Matt are no longer just mine. For a long time, they were mine (well, and maybe my muse's).
It is the same as all the books on my shelf, by so many other authors, belong to me now. Those stories are part of my life. It's why I say we should think long and hard about what we take into ourselves. It will be part of us.

Anyway I have a bit of a break before I start the new book and during that time, I am researching Southwest archaeology, turn of the century Arizona, and Cibecue country. Researching is one of those things I enjoy. I've been buying books on the prehistoric cultures, the ruins, archaeologists, and of course, putting together the maps that will help me take these characters where they need to go.

In the meantime, I am on the lookout for a tribe... know one for offbeat, sometimes outspoken, a little weird, sometimes reclusive, creative types?


Tabor said...

Not a member of a tribe here, unless you call a family a tribe. So very happy for the success of your book. You hung in there and it has paid off!

Rain Trueax said...

Thanks, Tabor. I have appreciated your support all along as that of others from the internet world. The book has continued to do well. I have another one, 'Sky Daughter,' on free for Kindle this week-end. For anyone who would like to try a contemporary romance with a supernatural element, it's going to be free through Sunday night. Find it by a search on Amazon for Sky Daughter Rain Trueax.

As to what a tribe is. Maybe a family qualifies if they share a common set of goals. Big ones especially can be tribal as their big goal is to keep the family at the center of the members. I guess it would depend on the type of family :)

robin andrea said...

I've always been drawn to the concept of a tribe, although I have not been part of one. I am also a quiet loner, a reclusive hermit. But I sometimes think there's a place for someone like me in any tribe that has at its core a kind of acknowledgement of our place on the planet as humans. I have said to Roger sometimes that I understand why some people live in quiet contemplative monasteries. I could see that without any religious aspect, but a sense of the holiness of the earth itself.

I am glad you continue to blog. I do feel a sense of community among the long-time bloggers when we tell each other our stories and share the photos of our world.

Dick said...

I also started my blog in 2005 but have pretty much stopped adding to it as the original reason for it no longer applies. Over the years there have been many blogs I've been reading but as of now, only yours is still publishing on a regular basis. I hope you will continue.

I've gotten started reading your first Oregon historical and am enjoying it. The only thing I'd suggest at this point is I wish it had page numbers (Kindle version.)

Rain Trueax said...

It does have chapters though, doesn't it, Dick? I know that the page numbers is one thing I don't like much about Kindles. It does have page numbers on the paperback version at least ;)

Rain Trueax said...

And I will continue with a blog but just wasn't sure which one. I think though it's likely to be this one-- based on seniority ;)

Dick said...

Yes it does have chapters and the Kindle gives you a % figure as to how far you are through the book. I guess I am just old fashioned, used to page numbers, although they often don't match the "pages" on a Kindle since we can so easily change the font size.

Rain Trueax said...

I agree, Dick. I'd prefer them to be page numbered also as when I am told there is a mistake, it's harder to find it this way. My Word doc has them and, of course, they aren't the same and even more so due to different sized kindles. I do though love my Kindle for everything except research. I have learned to highlight with it but still a paper book is easier for me to find things again. I think it's just practice though and it'll work better for me.