writing on Writing
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.