Sunday, November 25, 2018

"No, Mum, I'm Not a Millennial" (an interview with Lara Liz about her move to a new blog)

I know I said I was taking a blogging hiatus in November, but this post was scheduled aaages ago, so really it's like I stepped into a time machine to bring you this extra special blog post. You're reading words written by Kate-from-the-past!

It's been over two years since I last interviewed Lara Liz on my blog, but it seems like yesterday! Lara is a smart, witty, thoughtful, warm, and welcoming blogger and friend. It's always a blast getting to feature her here on "The Magic Violinist" and I hope you'll check out her own blog, too! You may recognize Lara from "Another Teen Reader," where she wrote about books, blogging, and everything in between. Today we're talking about a variety of topics, including her move to a new blog, which is titled "No, Mum, I'm Not a Millennial." Enjoy!

Lara Liz is a teenage blogger, writer and procrastinator who is passionate about education, fascinated by her generational identity, and proudly disabled. She’s a recovering book blogger who tweets @otherteenreader, blogs at the soon-to-be-launched No, Mum, I’m Not A Millennial … and yes. She was named after Lara Croft.


1. Welcome back to the blog, Lara! Changing things up in regards to our online presence is something with which I think all of us bloggers can identify. What prompted the move from one blog to another?
It was kind of bittersweet realisation for me, actually. I'd just finished exams (insert Kate rolling her eyes because I've gone on about these exams approximately ten billion times) and I was starting to realise that, despite the fact I now had the time to read, I didn't really want to. After a few existential crises, I started to realise it was partly because I felt pressure to create some kind of post out of everything I read, and because I'd been posting so little as exams got serious, I wasn't really in the habit of doing that anymore.

I'd been wanting to branch out into other topics and a more typically journalistic style for a while, and I realised that if I wanted to keep loving reading in the way I had since I was a kid, I needed to take that leap. No, Mum, I'm Not A Millennial was a new, shiny thing that I was excited about, and frankly I hadn't been excited about blogging in that way for a really long time.

Also, I got to make a new blog design. I mean, what's not to love?

2. It should be noted that I was not, in fact, rolling my eyes at the mention of exams, but I did giggle at that parenthetical. ;) What theme will your posts focus on?

I'm rather pretentiously calling No, Mum "an account of Generation Z life", so I'll mostly be focusing on the things that I hope everyone in my generation can relate to: school, trying to understand how exactly we're supposed to grow up in a digital age, and the desire to make the world a better place. Posts about blogging were also really popular on Another Teen Reader, so I'll be writing a lot of those too.

3. What are you most excited about with your blog?

Reaching a new audience! As much as I adore the book bloggersphere and everything it's done for me, it does have a tendency to be quite insular: you don't interact with many people who don't write a blog themselves. I'm hoping that because No, Mum deals with topics everyone can relate to - even adults were teenagers at one point or another - I'll get to meet an even larger group of people.

4. Who are some of your favorite bloggers right now?
I'll be honest, Kate, I'm having to work quite hard not to insert a British "u" into the word favourite in the question right now. Hopefully you won't object to me using one or two of them in my answer.

[Ha! No objections here.]
One of the best (and scariest) things I've discovered while developing No, Mum is that I need to find a whole new circle of blogs to read: one that doesn't just deal in books and reading. I mean, Paper Fury and Pages Unbound will always be in my Bloglovin' feed, but lately I've also been loving the work of the team behind Eco Warrior Princess, which is a blog focusing on environmental activism and truly sustainable living. Their pieces are really erudite but still easy to read and identify with - I think the phrase "peak late-stage capitalism" was used in the last post I read, which pretty much says it all. I aspire to create a similar tone at No, Mum, I'm Not A Millennial.

And of course, I'm a religious Magic Violinist reader, but that goes without saying. :-)

[*insert blushing/smiling emoji here*]

5. I know diversity is an important issue to you, so do you have any books, blogs, or other forms of media you can recommend that are written by diverse authors?

I'm probably going to go on a bit of a rant about books in a few questions' time, so I'm going to introduce you to something a bit artistically ... different. She's not a writer as far as I know, but Ali Stroker is always the first person that comes to mind when I think about the fight that many minority groups - especially people with disabilities - have to go through to be seen on an artistic level.

Here she is performing on the Glee Project in 2012:

Ali was the first person to perform on Broadway in a wheelchair. Ever. And at the time I'm writing this, I'm pretty sure no-one in a wheelchair has ever performed on the West End. Disability representation has a long way to go across the arts, from blogging to writing to speed sculpture, but I think musical theatre is one of the most stark illustrations of just how undiverse the world can be sometimes.

6. The title of your blog is so catchy and fascinating! How did you come up with it and what does it mean to you?

Actually, it started while I was sat on a gym mat trying to avoid doing anything in P.E. I was talking to my friend Briony about the potential of our generation (or whether we are actually doomed) and she kept saying "Gen Z".

Gen Z? What the heck is that?

Well, I asked, and was astounded to learn that, contrary to what my family and the internet had always told me, I was not one of those darn millennials. And here's the really cool thing: if you were born after about 1995, neither are you.

It really shook me because I started to understand why I'd never quite identified with the humour and experiences of my generation - the generation I was trying to identify with wasn't actually mine to begin with. What made me laugh, though, was the prospect of trying to explain this minor epiphany to the people around me. Briony just about got it, but my Mum?

And so a blog name was born.

7. Your bio mentions that you're passionate about education. Can you expand on that? What specifically interests you?

A few years ago, I read Malala Yousafzai's autobiography, and it hit me really, really hard. I'd always loved school: I was that nerdy kid who was constantly buried in a book, and up until the age of about eleven, people actually called me Larapedia. I knew I was lucky to like school, and to be good at it, but it had never occurred to me that I was lucky to be there. It had never occurred to me that, because I was white and living in a first world country with a reasonable education system with reasonably well-off parents, I had more opportunities than most people do.

And sure, there's inequality everywhere in the world, and most of it needs tackling, but education inequality is one of the most unfair things to me because schooling is the basis of all of our lives. If a person doesn't get a fair education when they're young, they have less of a chance of getting a good job, of earning money, and sending their children somewhere they can be well educated. Then those children have less of a chance ... and I think you know what I'm getting at.

Education is the best weapon humanity has to break the cycle of inequality. When we educate girls in countries with poor gender rights histories, they have the tools to fight for a seat at the table. When we properly educate and inspire low-income teens in the inner city, they have a way out from the gang violence that threatens their lives. When we invest in the necessary tools to educate disabled children at the same level as their peers, we create a generation that is able to campaign for better access in the whole of society.

That's why I'm passionate about education.

8. And on that passionate note, let's do some top threes! What are your top three favorite books?

Oh, Kate, you know this is hard. I have so many books that I love and would like to shove in the hands of as many people as possible. But I guess there's not much point me telling you how amazing the Harry Potter series is, so here are three books that I love to pieces and you might not have heard of.

1) The First Third by Will Kostakis, which is almost everything I've ever personally wanted in disability representation from the whole of young adult literature. One of its main characters has the same disability as me, and the way it is described in the first few pages of the novel resonated with me on such a personal level that I cried. It's also hilarious, massively Australian, and packed full of amazing descriptions of food, so what's not to love?

2) Waking In Time by Angie Stanton is amazing for three reasons. Firstly, it has one of the best first lines I've read in a really long time, secondly the time travel is amazing (I mean, university in the 50s? Sign me the hell up.) and thirdly ... the love interest is really cute. Don't shame me for that.

3) The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson will always have a special place in my heart because I quite literally found it by pulling random books off the library shelves until I found something that looked morbid enough. And boy, does this deliver. It's not overly gory, so I don't have any qualms about recommending it to people I don't know, but it is a ghostly Jack the Ripper, so exercise caution if you must. What makes it great for me, though, isn't the mystery or the fear factor. It's the characters and the setting, which meld together to create an amazing London-infused cocktail that kept me glued to the page.

Oops. That was a long answer. Sorry, Kate.

9. Top three favorite musical theatre soundtracks?

Right this moment? Honestly, I'm a very basic musical theatre fan, so these won't come as any surprise.

1) Hamilton: An American Musical, words and music by Lin-Manuel Miranda (yes, I can rap the entire thing)

2) Dear Evan Hansen, words and music by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (yes, I flew across the Atlantic to see this last year, and yes, I sobbed through it)

3) Everybody's Talking About Jamie, words by Tom MacRae and music by Dan Gillespie Sells (this is the one you might not have heard of, so I'm going to call it a cross between Bad Education and RuPaul's drag race)

[You would be correct in that I haven't ever heard of that musical, but know that I'm pulling it up on Spotify as we speak!]

10. Top three foods?

1) Sushi (especially when delivered to me via conveyor belt) [Agreed.]
2) Chocolate fondant
3) Any sort of ice cream with cookies or brownie pieces in it

Thank you so much again for visiting the blog, Lara! I encourage all of you lovely, loyal readers to check out "No, Mum, I'm Not a Millennial" and drop a comment to Lara. She's a writer you won't want to miss.

And in this comment section, let me know some of your top threes! Books, musical theatre soundtracks, foods, movies, bloggers, you name it.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Taking a Hiatus Because NaNoWriMo is Intense

I, like many other bloggers and writers, am once again taking on the daunting, difficult, demanding challenge called NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).

Why would I attempt to write 50,000 words during one of the busiest months of the year? Because I'm an overachiever like that. For some reason, thousands of writers around the world find it invigorating to take on the stress and insanity of squeezing 1,667 words a day between all of the other obligations we have.

This month, not only am I doing NaNoWriMo, but I'm also:

-Acting as one of the Municipal Liaisons for my NaNoWriMo regions (seriously, I just can't get enough of it)
-Going to rehearsals four times a week for "Charlotte's Web" (to be performed in December)
-Taking voice lessons and rehearsing for a Christmas cabaret with all of the other vocal students
-Going on two out-of-state trips
-Preparing for Christmas
-Applying to scholarships for college
-Continuing all of my other writing commitments (monthly posts for "The Write Practice," book blurbs for my local library newsletter, etc.)
-I should probably try to do dishes and get dressed and stuff each day? Maybe?
-Something else I'm probably forgetting

So with all that in mind, I'm taking a blogging hiatus until December, because I definitely don't have time to write any other blog posts other than this one. Already, it'll be a miracle if I'm able to get to this stage by the end of the month:

Then again, I'm an extremely competitive person by nature, so I'm determined to finish those 50,000 words, no matter the cost. I've already got great strategies in mind for how to conquer this.

And as I write this post, my NaNo novel is calling to me. I'm at 1,100 words right now, so let's see if I can crank out another 600 before I have to leave for vocal rehearsal. I'll be back in December!

I know it's only day 1, but how's your NaNoWriMo novel going? Are you pumped about the upcoming month or already dreading the next 29 days? Leave a comment!