State of the Blog: The Projects, Publishing and Pop Stars Edition

I know what you’re thinking: “Uh oh. There aren’t any pictures in this post. That’s never good.” But wait! Before you leave for peppier climes, read this one important bit: Over the next few weeks, I will be importing a lot of posts from the old Blogger site to this one. I’ve already imported three, as those of you who read SBBN through an RSS feed already know. The dates on many of these will remain the same as on the old blog, and being backdated means they won’t show up on the front page. However, they will show up as new posts on the RSS feed, so you may get spammed. I’ll try to be responsible with the imports, but after playing around with the import/export functions, I can make you no promises.

And now, very exciting updates about all manner of interesting things, i.e. the part you can skip:

1. The Projects: About a year ago, I abandoned basically all SBBN projects and other various items I was working on. It wasn’t a permanent abandonment, and most of those posts I’m bringing over from the archives are the Bette Davis and Marie Prevost projects, which I am determined to continue, though Marie will be in a limited capacity.

2. Limited Marie: I’ve never made an official announcement, and now is as good a time as any, I guess. I have been working on what will eventually be a book on Marie Prevost. Now, the kicker is that two separate people — at least I think they’re separate — have contacted me wanting more info beyond what I’ve posted. And because I’ve posted so much information they now are going to write a book on her based heavily on my blog posts. They, of course, want all my subsequent (and as-yet unposted) research for free.

That’s the main reason  I haven’t been posting anything for the Marie Project, because there were some obvious decisions I had to make. It was a choice between making this an online only project or going forward with a book idea. Just to be clear, I firmly feel that anyone at all can write as much as they want about Marie Prevost. That’s the absolute truth. I don’t have dibs on the topic. Yet I do think people who want free research out of me or are taking my posts as their own (though the latter is mostly spammers) are acting unscrupulously.

However, I have to protect all the time, money, and effort I’ve put into this, and sadly that means I must stop sharing what I’ve learned and save it for the book. The Project will continue, though no more personal information about Marie beyond what is already out there will be posted. Even if I’ve seen some of the more difficult to find films, I won’t be posting about them beyond sharing pictures and maybe a short blurb.

As a rather humorous protip, though, I would like to point out that a vast majority of the information out there about Marie is wrong. Even some of what I’ve written is wrong, not that I knew it at the time I wrote it, but subsequent investigation revealed errors. Anyone who wants to write about any halfway obscure movie star is going to have to do more than read a few of my blog posts or shell out $20 for a couple of old Screenland Magazines.

3. Speaking Of Money: I write a hell of a lot of stuff, both online and on the book, and I am paid for very little of it. Research costs a lot of money; you’re buying information and paying for access to online archives. Not only that, but regular blogging costs, even if it’s just hosting fees and bandwidth.

It has been a trying few weeks here at Casa de la Stacia. After my husband and I returned home from the only real vacation we had in the 22 years we’ve been together, about a million unexpected and expensive things happened. I was fired (the company was breaking a few laws, the Department of Labor got involved, people got fired). It’s a huge blow, because I worked in a field that is being phased out, so jobs are scarce. Also, I am not employable on any real level, at least not for the kind of jobs found in small-town Kansas. Those who have read SBBN from the beginning know I’m gone for days or weeks on end because of my health; coupled with a lack of advanced degree, I have no chance of being qualified for anything in this town that I could physically handle.

It wasn’t merely getting fired, though. My husband’s company shut down (without pay) because of a few catastrophes during the last month. A cat became expensively ill and my husband is about to undergo another round of very pricey medical tests that our shithole insurance will not cover much of.

Amidst all this though is the realization that, for this one brief moment, I have the opportunity and the time to actually work on making money from my writing. This is not a chance I can pass up. I can’t explain it really, at least not in a quickie post like this, but I put everything in my life, especially my writing, on hold for decades and it can’t wait anymore. Writing and analysis and research are the only things I’m moderately good at. I absolutely have to try to make money at them, though fuck knows how I’ll do it. It’s not for lack of trying, but it is a very difficult field to get in to, plus sometimes I really suck at this.

You have no idea how much I would love to be able to write fiction, which isn’t easy at all, let alone an easy field to get published in. But with fiction I’d have a chance of getting some crazy stupid luck and selling the movie rights to my hot Archie-Bunker-on-Optimus-Prime slashfic to Universal Pictures for $47 million. You don’t get that chance when writing books about silent movie stars that debunk the one salacious thing everyone wants to hear about. You don’t sell movie rights to essays on Neil Diamond taking hotel keys from young blondes in Vegas, or garner a three-book deal after writing about the transphobia in Freebie and the Bean. Sure, there’s a market for that sort of thing, just not a paying market.

That’s why the tip jar has made an appearance on the sidebar. I know no one has any money right now, but if you can spare a few dimes, I would appreciate it greatly.

4. And Now To Ruin Any Sympathy I May Have Generated: The Neil Diamond posts will begin again by the end of the year. I am absolutely dying to get back into the research, hole up in my house with a bare 100-watt bulb burning over me as I suffocate under a mound of late-60s teen magazines and listen to live performances until my eardrums pack up their suitcases, put on their fedoras and storm out of the house.

I keep apologizing for this Diamond thing and putting it off because I know it irks some of you, though I don’t know why I keep apologizing because I’m not doing it for you, I’m doing it for me. That is perhaps a shitty thing to say, but it’s the truth, which I assume mitigates some of the selfishness. There are things going on with Diamond that I have to write about, though, enormous issues of celebrity and fame and commercial art and personal life versus public life and PR image and the role of the critic. Neil Diamond is the perfect subject matter for this, at least for me, for right now. It’s not that I don’t like his music, because I like quite a bit of it, but ultimately I see Diamond as an infinitely interesting guy who also happens to sing.

5. There Is No TL;DR Summary, Except Maybe This One: Blog posts will be moved over and might spam your RSS feed, the Bette Davis Project will continue, the Marie Prevost Project will continue in a limited capacity so I can hoard all my research for myself, I’m going to try to make a living from writing, but also I’m broke so give me your unwanted pennies, plus Neil Diamond posts are happening and bite me if you don’t like it.

The Halloween pictures will continue tomorrow, and now that I’m finally over that virus the Phantom Creeps will finish up, too. After that, there are a lot of ‘thons and theme weeks and articles for Spectrum I’ll be doing at the end of this month. Expect the importing of posts and everything else to start in November. Thanks for reading.


  1. I’m sorry to hear about your troubles. You’ll just have to find a job here in mn :) i have faith in your writing, your quick witted and that’s all it really takes. I just finished reading john dies at the end and if something like that can become popular and garnish a movie deal then i have no doubt you or i can conjure up something crazy and awesome enough to make money.

    1. You know, we need to stop talking about it and actually DO this movie thing. I have maybe three contacts in the biz but I’m also pretty good at the soulful eyes routine, so surely this means I’m halfway to stardom already.

  2. I feel for you, most everyone I know lately, you know, the intelligent interesting folks like yourself, are getting the shitty end of the stick in life. I send lots of good vibes to counteract the shite ones. I hope your writing, which is always excellent, pays off, Stacia, you deserve it.

    1. Thank you for the vibes, Van. And to both you and Gable for the kind words about my writing.

  3. If the tip jar feature worked properly, a tip should be found. Wish it could be more, since I relate a zillion percent to your situation. Your writing is as good as anything that reaps fortunes for others, and we can only hope we all get a shot eventually. You also go easy on El Brendel and Kay Kyser, and that means a lot!

    1. Barry, thank you so much! I’m sending you an email in a few minutes…

      And what can I say, I love El and Kay. Aw, hell, I even love that lunatic Ish Kabibble.

  4. If I can make a living as a freelance writer, you’re going to be a rock star at it! Just don’t give up. Things can build slowly, but suddenly, you’ll realize you’re almost a little too busy. And you will love it!

  5. Absolutely hoard your hard-won Marie materials — that’s a book I want to read, and not from some lazy jackhole who thinks “research” is synonymous with hitting “CNTL-C.” Honestly, the Neil Diamond stuff also seems like the germ of a book, because, as you say, it’s about larger issues than the career of one love-him-or-hate-him singer/songwriter who squatted uneasily atop the cusp of Pop and Rock, and because I had absolutely zero interest in the subject matter — only reading it because I’m a fan of your writing — and yet, still found myself fascinated.

    There’s a handful of people — you, Ivan, Doghouse Riley, s.z. when she was still hammering away everyday — who produce such high quality work that reading it for free on the Internet feels like Theft of Services, and gives me that same jumpy-tummy sensation I’d get at the pharmacy as a child, when I’d wedge myself behind the wire rack filled with Hallmark cards and try to speed-read all the comic books before the stentorian voice of druggist informed me that I was not, in fact, in a library.

    I’m so sorry things have taken this turn (why can’t things turn individually, and at widely staggered intervals? Why must things always turn in unison, like a damn school of fish?).

    1. Scott! Hey Scott! Did you know you are comment #666?

      That might explain why this was sitting in my spam folder but when I went to approve it, it said it was already approved – and it was. Clearly, this comment is as cursed as the mummified paw of a small primate.

      Thank you for the kind words — you are one of my biggest champions, and I can’t tell you how much I need that sometimes. Like right now, so it’s probably a good thing that I didn’t see your comment when it was first published. (Aw yeah, epic rationalization for the win.)

      I was very close to saying that it seemed the bad news had subsided when I was felled by butt pain. No one ever tells you that if you sit and type all day, your butt will hurt. Guess they think it’s common sense or something, I dunno, everything is stupid and my butt hurts.

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