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Yesterday's Suicide Chart

Yesterday, a suicide chart was placed into a post, because I am now 30:



As you can see, I'm slowly leaving the demographic for killing myself, just as others inform me that the sex is getting better. This is the joy that people share with me when I get older.

I've been running this blog since 2002 (started it in February, but didn't really figure on making it public until the end of that year). That's a lot of blogging, really; and I've managed to do it nearly daily. In that time I've finished a PhD, had a few breakups, gone a few places, made some friends, bought myself a small digital camera to assault all good photography standards, snagged myself a bit of an audience, and gone from somewhere over a dozen or so short fiction publications to something just under fifty. I've even got two books coming out, one of which came entirely out of this blog. I don't pay much attention to the numbers shit in fiction since, really, you might publish a lot, but if the work you're doing is in sub-par venues and is in itself not real interesting, what does it matter? I'm always wary of the writers you meet whose claim to fame is the number of stories published, but that's me, and I know a few who list it down who aren't writing badly. Still, I only noticed the number cause I had to work myself up a detailed list of publications for my CV, and that is the kind of thing you note; I also noted at the same time how many pieces are worthless as work (pretty much everything published before 2001).

Anyhow, during the growth in that, and the general life grind, I've blogged. Maybe it has helped. I imagine it has, really. But I've liked the growth in audience here, and the suicide chart that B (exp_err) put here admist the conversation of better sex and dope smoking trolley riding girls just reminded me of that. So much of this thing gives me a laugh and makes it fun and I'm always learning little bits of things and from people I mostly never met.

It's all cool here.

Comments

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(Anonymous)
Oct. 13th, 2006 02:02 am (UTC)
Birthday
Feliz Navidad belatedly from Nicaragua.

Lucius
benpeek
Oct. 13th, 2006 02:27 am (UTC)
Re: Birthday
thanks :)

(i'm sure it's still the 12th somewhere in the world)
kazzibee
Oct. 13th, 2006 02:16 am (UTC)
well of COURSE the sex gets better... IF YOU CAN GET ANY.
benpeek
Oct. 13th, 2006 02:29 am (UTC)
you should never have given the postie bike away ;)
kazzibee
Oct. 13th, 2006 02:36 am (UTC)
I'm not sure what you're saying here, but I will choose to interpret it as "If I still had the postie bike, I could be riding it instead of waiting around for some sex".

haha :P
benpeek
Oct. 13th, 2006 03:48 am (UTC)
well, you could have always gotten on it and ridden towards sex...
kazzibee
Oct. 13th, 2006 03:55 am (UTC)
Well I would have IF I KNEW WHICH WAY THE SEX WAS.

You're really not making an effort to understand the true travesty that is my life are you? YOU ARE SUCH A BAD FRIEND, BEN.
benpeek
Oct. 13th, 2006 04:02 am (UTC)
i need pictures. a diagram. i imagine they'll be work safe ;)
kazzibee
Oct. 14th, 2006 03:21 am (UTC)
benpeek
Oct. 14th, 2006 05:38 am (UTC)
it's a cute nun at least ;)
lyndarama
Oct. 13th, 2006 03:21 am (UTC)
Ah, with age comes great wisdom...
benpeek
Oct. 13th, 2006 03:50 am (UTC)
i had that same wisdom last week :P
exp_err
Oct. 13th, 2006 04:18 am (UTC)
I'm embarrassed now. Oops. Sending a bloke suicide stats on his birthday.

Still, I can't help myself: you know, the really interesting thing about that chart is that the demographics have changed. In the 30s and 60s, suicide rates were much higher generally, and they consistently rose with age (for men - for women in the 60s, they peaked in mid life when women had easy access to sedatives). If you'd asked me to guess, I would have guessed that the young were always more vulnerable to that sort of thing.
benpeek
Oct. 13th, 2006 04:21 am (UTC)
heh. i wouldn't worry about--i thought it was funny.

anyhow, i'm not surprised, not really. in the thirties, the concept of a teenager wasn't really around, and emphasis on youth, i think, was different.
exp_err
Oct. 13th, 2006 04:29 am (UTC)
True. I've heard my grandfather talk about his youth. He had more responsibility and a harder life, materially - he was working from the age of 10 or 12 and contributing to his family income - but in some ways less pressure (no exams built up to seem as if the rest of his life depended on them, for instance) and certainly more freedom than yong people today (or even in my day) have.
mattdoyle
Oct. 13th, 2006 10:25 am (UTC)
eeek!! I'm in the danger zone at the moment!
as a matter of interest, what did you do your phd on?
benpeek
Oct. 13th, 2006 10:32 am (UTC)
creative writing. wrote a novel set in sydney; the theory side was based round urban readings, and race.
mattdoyle
Oct. 13th, 2006 10:35 am (UTC)
sounds good! im doing an ma in writing atm, doing my phd next year
benpeek
Oct. 13th, 2006 10:39 am (UTC)

where you out at?

(if you search through the comments a few days back, you'll see me and lynda talking bout the lack of respect you get for creative writing in aus, if you haven't seen it)
mattdoyle
Oct. 13th, 2006 10:45 am (UTC)
im at JCU in townsville, moving to brisbane next year for my phd (hopefully UQ). My masters is in creative writing, but my phd is going to be pure research (i won't bore you with it). I haven't noticed any negative things about creative writing in aus; i think it is developing here, but hasn't got the academic respect it does in other places, like the US...this is just my perception; i can't really back that up with any evidence.
benpeek
Oct. 13th, 2006 10:56 am (UTC)
yeah, it's a growing area here. the problem is the creative work simply isn't recognised in the same that academic stuff is. but you know, give it time.
mattdoyle
Oct. 13th, 2006 11:03 am (UTC)
there's a very simple reason (i think) and that is that academics, by their very nature, like to study and research stuff...therefore, when something is just written, without too much research (and let's face it, most creative writing isn't heavy on the research, thank goodness) the academy does not view it equally with "real" postgrad study.

the academy (literary studies) has got this attitude to writers too.."you just keep writing them buddy, and we'll work out what you really mean." this is what their very existence is based on, so i think when writer's come and sniff around on their turf, they get a bit sus.
benpeek
Oct. 13th, 2006 11:11 am (UTC)
i don't think it's that simple, personally. i think it has more to do with tradition, and with the very rigerous ways that you can mark and judge academic work (emperically, i guess would be the word). what seems to bother most, i think, is that the creative element is so difficult to judge: there's a personal level response to work, for example, and there is a measure of your creativity, and how do you really measure that?

the answer is, of course, there are very good and reaosnable ways. find someone with a knowledge of the genre you write in, and youc an guage the originality to a good degree. find someone who kknows the way langauge works, and you can judge the form that they have written in. it's just that there isn't the history that already exists for traditional literary departments.

there is probably also an argument to be made that literary studies is its own, limited field. in comparison, fiction has a huge audience.

but you know, it's just one of those things that'll change over time. more people get into it, the more the perception will alter.
mattdoyle
Oct. 13th, 2006 11:19 am (UTC)
even though i said "simple" i didn't really mean it...it's one of many simple reasons that comprise a complex whole i think, as in everything. I haven't finished my thesis yet, but i am racking my brain already about how the hell i am going to write the exegesis...critical, scholarly essays I have no problem with, but when it applies to the creation of a work, MY work, I just can't think of anything to say...perhaps this shows the difficulties in adapting creative writing to the university mode...or my inability to split my writerly/artistic mind from my scholarly/analytical mind. how did you go on your exegesis/theory?
benpeek
Oct. 13th, 2006 11:24 am (UTC)
i had no problem with it, really. (haven't got the marks back yet, so lets not be too overconfident.) i would have prefered not to write it, but i've no problem talking about my process, and the things i want to do in a piece. a lot of writers are really boring about it, mind, even if they can do it--and maybe i'm the same.

but basically i just found my thread of academic work that i ran through the book, and went from there. it was sort of a loop: write fiction, write academic, write fiction, write academic, each part influencing the other.
mattdoyle
Oct. 13th, 2006 11:55 am (UTC)
as another matter of interest...what about publishing your phd of creative writing? i know university usually binds it and all that, but, what happens after you've got your marks back? can you sell it somewhere?
benpeek
Oct. 13th, 2006 12:04 pm (UTC)
sure.

what you do is simply put in a request for it not to be public for a few years while you go and sell it.
mattdoyle
Oct. 13th, 2006 12:28 pm (UTC)
so are you planning to do that?
benpeek
Oct. 13th, 2006 12:31 pm (UTC)
yep :)
mattdoyle
Oct. 13th, 2006 11:05 am (UTC)
....this from someone who wants to be a writer AND academic...im either going to try and change this attitude, or develop split personality disorder. :D
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