Shutting it down. Kind of.


Guys, I’m shutting down The Garrett.  (That’s what this blog used to be called.) Or, at least, I’m changing it.

When I put this blog together in 2009, back when people were still naming their blogs, it was an appropriate piece of my online platform. Seven years ago blogs were something writers  – especially unpublished writers – were expected to have. It was a way of building an audience, publishing essays, clearing my head before writing fiction and writing online diary entries. And I loved it. I blogged regularly.

That’s no longer true, for the Internet in general, or for me personally. Social media has taken over a lot of the territory once occupied by blogs, and as a freelance writer, I’m less willing to self-publish the essays I could be pitching elsewhere. (Also, now that I have a family and have seen lots of female writers get shouted or threatened off the web, I’m not as willing to write personal diary entries for the world to see. I’m getting old, kids.)

So what happens to the old posts?

What’s going to happen to this space? Well, I’ve already disentangled this blog from my domain name, ajoconnell dot com.

That said, my current plan is to keep the old content, so if you feel the need to discuss Harry Willson Watrous’s painting The Drop Sinister (many visitors do, amazingly) or if you too were a Catholic child plagued by fears of Immaculate Conception, you should still be able to read those posts.

My current plan is to keep all my old content and incorporate it into a new site as a sort of “What I’m Doing Right Now” section. That section probably won’t be the front page, as it is on this site, but it will be an area I can update.

In the meantime, while I’m building, everything should remain as it was and then, one day, when you least expect it: hey presto! New site!

Yeah, but…

“But A.J.,” you may be saying. “That means everything will be pretty much the same, right? Why are you getting so maudlin about it?”

Well, invisible reader in Internetland, let me tell you. Things ARE changing. When this site is reborn — sticky and squalling — as part of a bigger professional writing site, it will lose some of the personal flavor it’s had since 2009. For me, an era will end. A good era.

This blog has been my only website for seven years, and it’s been a part of a community, and although I haven’t blogged regularly in a while, I’ve come to enjoy my interactions with my readers and the informal blogging style I could use here.

So, hey, guys. I don’t know if any of my original readers will see this, but you made The Garrett what it was. Thank you.


Freelance & fiction & the third Resistance book, which is definitely being written.

Just a quick post today: I’m working on freelance projects and prepping the fourth chapter of DinoLand for its publication on Sunday (there will be be big doings in Chapter Four, for those who have been following along. I promise you blood, my friends.)

That’s right, freelance projects! I love teaching as an adjunct, but I’ve been wanting to get back into the freelance world for a while, and I’ve finally had the opportunity to do that. It’s part of my long-term goal: freelance as a writer and editor until my books start earning me money and I can live the life of a full-time author. Then I can just sit in my office, eating bonbons and killing characters all day like George R.R. Martin. george-r-r-martin-meme-generator-have-a-favorite-character-not-anymore-cce918

Speaking of George R.R. Martin, it’s taking me a long time, but I am actually working on the final book in the Resistance series. No really, I am. The last book has a title and a new protagonist and everything. I know that my books are under 100 pages (as opposed to Martin’s 3,000 pages) and you’d think I’d be done by now, but as it turns out I have a lot of loose ends to tie up and I’d like to do that well, so it’s taking longer than I’d like.

What I can tell you is that the new protagonist is male, which is new for me in this series, and that we will finally find out what happened to the mysterious package in Beware the Hawk.

Also, the readers’ survey – I have not forgotten my “What Are You Reading” survey, which still needs a bigger sample size. (A lot of people read literary fiction, and almost no one reads philosophy. Descartes would be disappointed in you guys.)

And that’s it for me. I will post more later. I’ve been working on two posts for several weeks, but work and the baby have gotten in the way. Eventually both posts will see the light of day. At least, I hope so.

Putting the “me” into “meme.”

I’ve been tagged in a meme by the estimable blogger Erin C., and while I don’t like to participate in memes because – like the chain letters of old – I hate passing them on to others, I feel I must acknowledge this one. Why? Because Erin is wonderful, I have a lot of respect for her writing and her work with social media, and because I am not going to Enders Island tomorrow and she is,  and I will miss her and all the other people who are still students with my MFA program. Also because I can’t resist the lure of answering personal questions.

The meme asks each blogger to post 11 things about themselves, to answer questions set by the blogger who tagged them and then to pose 11 questions of their own. So I’m going to meet it half-way. I’m going to list 11 things about me and then have done it with.

Fellow bloggers, if you read this, and you want to participate, consider yourself tagged:

11 Facts About Myself

  1. As a teenager, I spent a lot of time attending and participating in poetry slams.
  2. I’ve lived with  trichotillomania since early childhood.
  3. I once interviewed Bill Cosby and will tell that story to anyone who will listen.
  4. I cannot choose between dogs and cats. I don’t think anyone should have to.
  5. I swear I have a psychic link to world news. Sometimes I think of an event or a person and a story about the event or the person breaks within 24 hours. Unfortunately, I never know which premonition will yield a story.
  6. I hate macaroni and cheese.
  7. I was once in a band. You’ve ever heard of it. With any luck, this is the last you’ll hear of it.
  8. I have an e-book coming out next month.
  9. I have practiced beginners’ yoga for a decade.
  10. I used to speak Spanish. Todavía hablo en español a veces. But not well.
  11. My students spent a semester trying to teach me how to use “swag” in conversation.

Say my name: guest bloggery at

Today, I am the guest blogger of the fabulous Erin Corriveau over at her site Reinventing Erin.

Erin, is a non-fiction writer and a fellow student at Fairfield University’s MFA program. In the last month, she asked a group of bloggers to write guest posts on the theme of self-reinvention. My post explores the moment, 11 years ago, that I decided to choose a pen name, and the ensuing hilarity and confusion of being A.J. at work and Ann at home. It’s why I have two Twitter accounts, two email addresses,  my maiden name and a lot of confused students. Good times!

So check it, y’all. And check out the whole site, poke around, and get to know Erin. She is well worth knowing!

Coming soon – guest bloggery over at

Just a quick update to let you all know that on Monday, I get to be the guest blogger of the fabulous Erin Corriveau over at her site Reinventing Erin.

Erin, a fellow student at Fairfield University’s MFA program, is a veteran blogger and non-fiction writer. She asked a group of bloggers to write guest posts on the theme of self-reinvention. I half-wrote three embarrassing posts about moments of reinvention. One was depressing. One didn’t make any sense whatsoever. My final one though? In the immortal words of Goldilocks, that post was “juuuust right.”

So check her site on Monday. And, if I get a few minutes to search my office this weekend, you may even get to see some silly pictures of me from 10 years ago.