Posts Tagged ‘the interwebs’

writing on Writing

Monday, August 13th, 2012

This is not another BlogHer recap post, so don’t run away. It is, sort of, a reaction to BlogHer and the many many BlogHer recap posts that have been written. It’s also about what I learned at BlogHer, what I didn’t learn at BlogHer and what I suspect I will never learn no matter how many BlogHers I attend.

You cannot teach someone to be talented. Talent is something you either have or you don’t have, like a super fast metabolism or a crazy drunk grandmother. You’re either someone who can eat cheeseburgers and ice cream and pop all day and still fit in your high school jeans or more likely you aren’t. One may become thin by exercising and watching what one eats and skipping dessert and working hard but it’s never the same as just having it. Talent is like that. You can foster a love of something and learn the technical aspects and search out things that inspire you and work your ass off – but you will always be at a disadvantage to those who were born with a natural skill.

I do not have a talent for writing. I enjoy writing. I like to think I am pretty good at writing. I once had a creative writing teacher read my essay out loud in class. But that was in 2003 and I’m still bringing it up now so obviously the accolades are few and far between. I have no illusions that I am going to wake up one morning and sit down at my typewriter and pound out the next great American novel. At best I might Instagram a photo of myself sitting in front of my dad’s old typewriter making duck lips and holding a gin & tonic.

My blog isn’t poetry, it isn’t how-to, it isn’t deep thoughts, it isn’t photo essays, it isn’t brilliance. It’s in a no-mans land, a junkyard, an oasis of random – except that there are hundreds of other bloggers here with me. It’s the world’s most crowded deserted island and I feel like we spend half our time sharing coconuts and the other half fighting over who gets to sleep in the cool kid’s hut. We’re all struggling to tell our stories and capture a snapshot of our lives with the words we do know, limited as they may be, so people will stand up with us and say “I share this experience” or “Wow!” or even just “Cool story, bro”. Maybe we’re all crazy narcissists for thinking our lives are worth documenting – but does it make it better if we realize that’s what we are? If I’m willing to acknowledge that I have reached maximum saturation among people who like red headed children, occasional recipes and mediocre photography do I win an award of some kind? If I admit I am not that good do I get to keep writing?

Maybe these words right here are some of the most unnecessary ever posted on the internet. Since the fact that everyone is writing about writing has already been written, why bother to publish my thoughts at all? Why am I asking so many questions I have no intention of answering? Why is the rum gone?

In the end, the thing I love about blogging is my space gets to be mine. I am the captain of my blogging destiny, or at least the only one with the login to my WordPress dashboard. I don’t have to be the greatest. I’m not competing for Babble’s list of the Top 10 Bloggers Whose Posts You Think Are Super Deep But You’re Not Really Sure Because Your Eyes Cross Half Way Through or even just Top 10 Mom Bloggers As Chosen By Their Friends Who Also Work Here. The rules for blogging are not actual rules and there are no blog police who can shut you down for not being good enough.  There is more than enough room on the internet for everyone.

Let’s be friends.

evan and caroline friends

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An Explanation For My Children

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Dear Evan and Caroline and Future Hypothetical Offspring,

Congratulations! You have learned to read and also know about the internet! Those are two of the most important things in life, so excuse me while I pat myself on the back for a minute. I am not a complete failure as a mother! Speaking of which, I’d like to explain to you why you are here, on the website, looking at words and pictures about yourself that you did not give me permission to post, which some might say DOES make me a failure as a mother so I feel like maybe I should elaborate.

This is my blog, a web log if you will, an internet journal of your lives from the moment I knew you were coming until (enter current date and time here). I have shared many things about our lives here for anyone with an internet connection to read. I’ve told the stories of your births, my fears about motherhood, your milestones and birthdays, your favorite things, special days, normal days, good days, bad days and everything in between. Through those stories, I’ve met and connected with a community of women who have become dear friends. You have met some of them already, and probably many more by the time you read this, and even more who love you even though you have never met. I am so happy to share our lives in a way that has made them more joyful.

Some people think this is a very poor choice on my part, that I show a lack of discretion, intelligence and general self-awareness by making our lives public. I absolutely understand their point of view. There are definitely periods of my life – most of 1996 for example – I wouldn’t be thrilled to see on the internet.  When my dad threatened to show my prom date my baby bath time photos I died dead of embarrassment right there in the living room and never even got to GO to prom. Ok, that’s a lie, but I sure wished the earth would swallow me up before Dad got out the pictures. I imagine you feel like this now, seeing dozens of photos of yourself, many of which you probably think are embarrassing.

But now, as a grown up – and I assure you I will do everything in my power to make sure you are a grown-up some day – I cherish every photo, video, scrapbook, postcard, and slide of my own childhood. I check the back of faded prints to see if they are labeled with names and dates and places so I can fit them into my consciousness. I have a terrible memory, so tangible evidence of things I vaguely recall are precious puzzle pieces. I hope this blog can provide you with all that a more. You’ll have access to hundreds of different days in an instant, with places and exact dates and the names of your friends all recorded. You will have details about your childhood I have long forgotten. Someday, if you have kids of your own, you will have a totally comprehensive guidebook explaining everything you need to know about raising them to be perfect, brilliant, successful humans! Because that’s what I did! Or, depending on how you think you turned out, a very serious warning. Either way, I’m being servicey!

More selfishly, I’ve written things about myself. You’ll probably find posts detailing what we ate for dinner and my knitting projects boring now, but someday I hope you’ll read them, eager to know more about the person your mom was when she wasn’t just your mom. It’s a remarkable thing, realizing your parents and grandparents and great-grandparents had lives before you came into the world. Maybe you’ll learn where you got a love for the ocean or why yellow always makes you feel so happy or that your parents were once cool enough to drive a Mustang convertible instead of a minivan.

All that being said, if you decide you are uncomfortable with this – any of this – I will take it down. I’m sure there are posts where I shared more than I should have, told stories that belonged in a baby book instead of a website and forgot you deserve my respect as well as my love. It is just so tempting to shout from the modern-day rooftops that my kids are the cutest and the best and the smartest and the loudest and the most frustrating and the most adored ever. Even though it might be hard for you to believe, sometimes parents make mistakes too, and I apologize if you think this blog is one of mine. Although I’m assuming by now kids get Facebook pages the day they are born and people all wear cameras that record and broadcast their entire life online, Truman Show-style, so my little baby blog is barely a drop in the bucket of your Googleable life. Just please remember the internet is a public place – and I will try to do the same.

I love you,

Mommy

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11 Questions

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Look, it’s one of those ridiculous MySpace surveys I secretly loved reborn as a blog meme! My friend Mandy did it a few days ago and I wanted to play along – and THEN my friend Kristi from The Fischer Family tagged me, so I HAD to do it. Win-win!

Post a picture of yourself, tell us 11 things we might not know about you, then write 11 new questions and tag some friends to play along (let them know you tagged them!)

 

Eleven things about me:

– I’ve been a military dependent my entire life, first because my dad was in (and then retired from) the Coast Guard and then because I married a Navy guy. I can’t imagine a life separate from the military.

– I can play both parts of “Heart and Soul” on the piano at the same time.

– In high school I was seriously into drama and chorus, but haven’t done any acting/singing AT ALL since I graduated. I wish there was an easier way to do that stuff as an adult.

– I played with Barbie dolls until I was 14.

– I have probably never heard of your favorite band because I was too busy listening to my Britney Spears CDs.

– My favorite joke in the whole world: Two pretzels were walking down the street; one was a salted.

– At various points when I was young I was a semi-serious ballerina, gymnast, ice skater and piano player. I always quit right at the point I would need private lessons and/or to practice several hours a day. I wish I had stuck with ONE of them.

– My (not so) secret dream is to run a party planning business.

– From the time I was seven until my freshman semester of college I planned to be a marine biologist. Turns out I love the ocean but hate studying science, so now I just enjoy our aquarium membership.

– An aunt sent me the first Harry Potter book before Harry Potter was A Thing. I read it at the pool hidden behind a Cosmo magazine because I was sooooooo embarrassed to be seen with a kid’s book. She told me it was going to be popular but I didn’t believe her.

– I have a lot of trouble making eye contact with people and use lots of dramatic gestures, facial expressions and hand waving to distract from it.

Here are the questions from Kristi:

  1. Is it soda or pop? And what is your favorite? Soda! Diet Coke, although I’m trying to kick the habit.
  2. What is your go to outfit when you need one? A dress. I LOVE to wear dresses, especially in the summer. I’m looking forward to the end of breastfeeding so I can wear most of my dresses again.
  3. Tell me what you are reading and why? I’m reading a whole pile of parenting books to help me learn to parent my toddler better, and before I fall asleep at night I’ve been reading all the Janet Evanovich Stephanie Plum novels. They’re good fluff.
  4. Name a reality TV show you would like to go on? Top Chef! Except I’m not nearly good enough besides in my dreams.
  5. Tell me the best blog you read that you think I should start reading. I seriously love Heather at The Extraordinary Ordinary.  She’s an amazing writer and story teller and encourages everyone to speak from their heart.
  6. If you had to move out of your current state where would you go? South Carolina. I loved living there. Although if we’re talking dream-place-to-live I’ll take Paris.
  7. Tell me one rule you had growing up that you will never impose on your own kids. The three bites rule – I want my kids to try new food but we had SO many battles over stuff I knew I hated. I’m hoping to
  8. What is one thing you could not live without? (It can’t be a person) An internet connection. Not only because of my online friends but because I use it to stay in touch with my real friends too!
  9. What’s the first thing you do in the morning? Wish I was still asleep? Ha! Most mornings the first thing I do is hand my phone to the toddler so he can sit in the chair and play Angry Birds while I think about getting out of bed.
  10. What would your final meal consist of? Really good pad thai, a cheeseburger, guacamole, red wine, and key lime pie. I would die extremely full.
  11. If you had to pick a song as the “soundtrack of your life what would it be?” It’s not exactly the story of my life but “Ain’t Nothin’ ‘Bout You” by Brooks and Dunn is my all time favorite song. My best friend and I got rose tattoos because of it.

Now here are the 11 questions I came up with:

1. What is your favorite color and has it changed over the years?

2. How well do you remember your first kiss? Details, please.

3. Where is your favorite vacation spot?

4. How many siblings do you have and are they older or younger?

5. What are the baby names you used to LOVE but haven’t/wouldn’t ever use?

6. What was your first car?

7. How do you feel about trivia games?

8. What is the worst job you’ve ever had?

9. What movie do you watch every time it’s on TV (even though you probably own it)?

10. Do you collect anything?

11. What color is your house and would you change it if you could?

Now I’m going to tag…

Amy from BabyBabyLemon

Audrey from Planet Hausfrau

Laura from The Diniwilks

Alena from Charmingly Chandler

Amanda from Funny Days from A to Z

Brigid from Now Showing!

TMae from Life V 2.0

And anyone else who wants to play! If you think this is lame, go ahead and skip it, I won’t be insulted.

 

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Thankful Day 24: You

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

You better go put on your Thanksgiving bib, cause I’m about to spew rainbows and sunshine all over you. This post is the literary equivalent of a unicorn frolicking with sugar-dipped kittens while eating an ice cream sundae topped with rock candy. Your teeth might actually rot from your head before you can even eat your pie. Better have the pie first. I can’t handle that on my conscience.

Today I am thankful for you. YOU. Reading this right now. You are my thankful today and every day. I am thankful for every single person who has ever read my silly words here on my silly blog. I am thankful for the amazing advice I’ve gotten, the friends I’ve made or reconnected with, the support, the encouragement, the happy thoughts, the prayers, and the nudges back from the edge on the days I don’t think I can take it anymore. I am thankful for the people who read every day and the ones who have only read one post. I am so luck to have found a village – even if it’s a virtual village – in my journey as a mother.You have supported causes important to my heart with your time and your wallet. Because you read I get to call myself a blogger (when I’m feeling brave) and a writer (when I’m feeling REALLY brave). There truly are not enough words for me to express how much I love my corner of the internet and it is ONE BAZILLION PERCENT because of you.

I am not the best blogger or the funniest or the coolest or the most generous or the kindest or the most fashionable or the healthiest or the most creative or any sort of superlative at all. But I would like to try to be better at being a friend. If there is anything I can ever do for you – YOU – please let me know.

I hope you’re having a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with as much food, football and family as you can possibly stand.

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There is no way to title this

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

This is the probably-only-funny-to-me-and-one-other-person result of see too many bitches meme/Shakespeare pictures posted on Facebook (PLEASE, SIGN UP FOR PINTEREST ALREADY) and my next door neighbor’s yard sale, which seemed to consist mostly of broken baby crap and the world’s ugliest figurines.

I know you don’t get it, Mom. It’s an internet thing.

Now excuse me, I’ll be over here giggling to myself.

p.s. Yeah, I bought it.

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