Hailing from Indiana, Elizabeth McQuern moved to Chicago about two years ago to pursue writing and comedy with a vengeance. Between her role as co-editor of the The Bastion (the Chicago branch of the Apiary, a web-pub covering the alternative comedy scene), work-in-progress on a collection of essays and potential books, and a whole lot more, McQuern's life seems jam-packed with just that. As for her personal blog, Bella Rossa, it's a personal outlet. And "if it's funny," she says, "that's just [her] way of processing and relating personal events." All the better to read them.
What's the gist of your blog?
It's a running commentary on what I'm reading and thinking about. Since I left Indiana for Chicago, it's also lots of stories about my adjustment to city life—people I hang out with, places I go, parties, comedy happenings. Lately I've had loads of fun with a game of blog tag that's going around one circle of bloggers I'm connected to. Someone writes about a particular topic and then tags others to do the same. They're "reallife" sorts of stories, and often they're really hilarious. It makes you realize how rich our lives are with unmined stories. It's interesting to see which topics really strike a nerve—I shared a "gross tag" story about my brother's really disgusting dog-sitting experience, and my readers went nuts for it.
If I read your blog today, gimme me one thing I'd learn.
My latest science fiction tear, excursions to Chicago cultural landmarks, cool stuff happening in Chicago comedy, funny little short film projects, whether I had a pistachio or peanut butter cookie at lunch—critically important information like that.
How do you pay the bills?
I am Chief Word Nerd, Synonym Seeker, and Obsessive Proofreader at Bella Media Creative Services.
Your computer is surrounded by…
My laptop gets dragged around a lot, so it's either surrounded by blankets on my couch, coffee cups at java joints around the city, or books at the library. And, often, it's sticky with unidentified crumb particles and smeared with remnants of my last snack.
When you aren't loving blogging, you're loving BLANK in Chicago:
Comedy. Food. Beer. New friends. My wonderful family. And when it's not colder than a polar bear's butt, three things—biking, biking, biking. I love the lakeside trail.
Name a local blogger extraordinaire.
Just to name a few, there's rock star blogger Claire Zulkey. Also, before I knew I would ever meet her, Kristy Mangel's now defunct Five Drink Minimum (which she quit to write for the Bastion) was a fun read. I also read Sloan Taylor, and tons of comedians' blogs—Schadenfreude's is unbelievable —and a couple of writing-related blogs, Nudle and Writing With Nancy.
Jessica Herman likes peeking into other folks' lives, which sure helps when she's grilling hip Chicago bloggers. If you'd like to shower a little love on a local blogger whose antics and anecdotes are your favorite flavor of procrastination, shoot her an email.