Thank you for travelling with E. H. Mann Dirigibles today. Please fasten your seatbelts, note your nearest exits, and tune in for a word from your (more or less competent) pilot.
Who’s that, then?
That would be me. Some people know me as Emma. Some people know me as Hespa. I write as E. H. Mann, because both names are important to me (and there’s probably a future blog post’s worth of explanation there).
I’m thirty-five years old, and this is my first blog since LiveJournal was still a going concern (long before it was taken over by the Russians). In high school I wanted to be a writer. At university I attempted to be one, and broke myself so effectively that I stopped writing fiction almost completely for a decade.
A few years ago I plunged back into fiction-writing, and in late 2017 I made my first fiction sale, which I’m tentatively taking as a very good sign.
That story, by the way, is ‘Arguing With People on the Internet’, and is coming out in the anthology Mother of Invention, from Twelfth Planet Press, in mid-2018. I’ll provide updates on that as it progresses.
In the meantime, here are some other things I do:
♠ Be a park ranger – a job which involves a lot more sweat and a lot less cuddling wildlife than most people seem to think.
♠ Be asexual. It’s a poorly-known sexuality (despite being the orientation of 1% of people at a conservative estimate), but I’m trying to help change that in my own small way, by being open about my own asexuality and willing to talk about my experience of it.
♠ Have way too many hobbies, including at last count: knitting, bushwalking, drumming, costume-making, playing board games, trying new things, and reading other people’s writing and having opinions about it (slush reader for Aurealis magazine).
♠ Engage in an ongoing struggle with my brain weasels. These are yet to be definitively categorised (I’m working on it – finally), but are some variation on generalised anxiety disorder, social anxiety, and depression (possibly bipolar).
Ok, so what’s with the blog?
I used to write, and then I stopped. Coming back to writing is hugely rewarding, but it has been – and continues to be – a difficult process of regaining confidence, finding my voice, and generally becoming comfortable again with the writing process.
Having a blog is a way for me to get more practice at writing regularly, and at writing about the things that are important to me. I’m a strong believer in being open about myself and my world, but as someone with anxiety and self-esteem problems, actually doing so in a public way can be very intimidating. As my fiction writing has already taught me, there’s no better way to make something less scary than to do it, and then do more of it, and keep on doing it until it just becomes Something I Do.
Good for you, but what’s in it for me?
If you stick around, here’s what I hope you’ll get out of my blog:
♠ Be intrigued and delighted! I get very excited about all the fascinating stuff most people don’t know about nature and human history and psychology and and… I also get excited about good news stories, especially the kind where people are making a positive difference to this planet and the various amazing species we share it with. That’s why I plan to post a weekly round-up of cool stuff I have found out about, called This Week I Learned. Expect lots of links.
♠ Learn more about writing. I’m still learning myself (honestly, I’d be suspicious of any writer who says they know it all), and this is where I’ll share tips and techniques I’ve found that work for me.
♠ Learn more about mental health. I will be writing about my experiences, but also about coping mechanisms I have found that help me get through the hard times and might, if you have your own brain weasels, help you.
♠ Learn about the intersection of creativity and mental health, because in my life the two intersect a lot. Again, I will be writing both about my experiences and about techniques I’ve found that help.
♠ Learn more about the environment. Nature is amazing and weird and beautiful, and makes me want to write about it.
♠ Learn more about asexuality. I’ll be posting about my own experiences of it, and maybe some broader-context stuff too.
♠ Maybe get some book recommendations? One of the ways to be a better writer is to read and analyse other people’s writing. I’m good at the first, but tend to forget about the second, so one thing I might use this blog for is reviewing fiction I have read.
Can you summarise that?
Sure! I hope you will enjoy my blog if you’re interested in any of the following:
♠ Mental health
♠ All the surprising ways that the world is a weirder and more interesting place than most people think
♠ Mayyybe speculative fiction book reviews
My initial plan is to post twice a week: on Thursdays I’ll write about one of these topics, and on Sundays I’ll intrigue you with This Week I Learned.
That’s the flight plan – now we find out how well I can actually steer this thing. I hope you’ll come along for the ride.