I hesitate to write this, because I hate bloggers who write about blogging. Just like I hate writers who write about writing and singers who sing about being a singer.
Dear Stephen King, We like your stories, but we don’t necessarily want to know what makes you such a great storyteller or how you get the words to the page. Please stop and go back to revolting us with dead babies and clowns in the sewer. We like that. We don’t care how you dreamed that up in your sick mind, just give it.
Dear Jackson Browne, See above letter and replace key points with “we don’t necessarily want to know what it’s like on the bus or backstage with the roadies or anything that happens after we leave the concert and get into our cars and go back to writing songs about . . . never mind, all your songs were about that. Carry on. We like you anyway.”
Dear Anderson Cooper, Stop doing news shows about news shows. Remember, you people aren’t real celebrities. You’re the messenger and the day your message is about being a messenger is the day we flip channels to Will & Grace reruns.
So it is with some trepidation that I write this blog about my blog. This is the only time you’ll have to read about this and, let’s face it, nobody’s forcing you to read this anyway. Free will and all that.
When I started writing this blog two years ago, I only did it because my husband bought me a big, fat package of Mac extras to celebrate our total born-again conversion into Apple geeks. The iWeb program was like a bag of Chili Cheese Fritos being dangled on a stick in front of me. I had wanted to build a Web site but didn’t want to do any actual work involved to make it. I just wanted to push some buttons and have a really artsy, cool site appear with my name on it. Because Apple is almost Satan-like in its ability to deliver your deepest desires, it allowed me to do just that. I hit some keys and I had a Web site.
I didn’t know what to do with it, though. I wasn’t selling anything, even on EBay. I didn’t have a small business or anything to promote or any interest in gaining followers of any kind. (The sad truth about being an unemployed housewife/writer.)
“You should write a blog,” my husband said. So I inserted a blog page to my Web site template and wrote about my oldest son turning 21. It wasn’t funny, it wasn’t interesting, it was accompanied by a not-so-good picture of him blowing out his candles, and yet despite all that I said to myself, “That was really fun. I think I want to do that again.”
My husband read it and said, “That’s craptastic.” I don’t know what that means, even though he uses that word about five times a week. I took it to mean “You’re a fabulous writer. More, dear! More!”
What I write is not really a blog. Blogs are more spontaneous, stream-of-consciousness, reporting-from-the-field-of-life outbursts. What I write is more like a newspaper column that I always wanted but that no one would hire me to write. Newspaper columnists are a thing of the past, but I’m still holding out for Erma Bombeck’s old job. I write this because I can do whatever I want, including living in the ‘60s. No one is paying me and if my readers dwindle down to my husband, two friends and my sisters, it’s really OK. You can’t fire me, I’m not working!
I never wanted to be lumped together with mommy bloggers. They’re great and I’m not saying anything bad about them, because after that one mom took a contract out on the Maytag man when her washer went on the fritz, I’m keeping my opinions to myself about mommy bloggers, but OK, just this one thing I’ve got to say: We all get pissed off about the fact that we’re unappreciated, underpaid and our main job is to clean up after what goes in and out of our kids’ bodies, but do you have to tell everyone in the world how much we drink? That was supposed to be our little secret. Before you mommybloggers started singing like a flock of canaries, I was able to take wine coolers to soccer games in an Igloo, but now, thanks to you and your midlife crisis mommyblawgs, every beverage container brought from home is suspect. I know what’s next: You’re going to start telling what we do in our cars in the pickup line at school. Bitches. But I love you all!
Some fellow bloggers who I’ve become friends with are experts at promoting their blogs and asking for your votes and reminding you that they have a compelling post that you’ve got to read. I think they are former Amway-bots, they are so motivated and psyched. I tried doing that in my own lame, sad way (and still do slip in a second reminder . . . sorry, I’m very sorry) but it felt just wrong for me. I also don’t do give-aways, so if you think you’re going to get a free case of baby formula or Pinot by reading my blog and entering a contest, forget about it. I’ll never be asked to represent bloggers on any talk show. I won’t ever be sent free stuff to blog about. I will never go viral like the guy who found an old JCPenney catalog in an attic and is now on Time Magazine’s list of the World’s Most Influential People.
It used to bother me that I only had a handful of followers, hadn’t won any blog contests, wasn’t very high in rankings that I don’t understand anyway, and got very few comments on my blogs. Some days I felt like I was writing into the wind. There were blog days when I’m certain that the only person reading was Mr. Craptastic. But I have completely changed my tune about that.
Every time I get an email from a stranger or a friend who says they enjoyed reading my blog, I am more thrilled than you can imagine. It makes me want to sit down and write more and be cleverer and funnier and proofread more carefully.
My husband – who, remember, has been there from the beginning – said to me the other day, “You’re lucky. You can spend all day writing whatever you want, post it and not worry about whether it meets the expectations of your boss.” He also told me not to worry about fitting blog posts into “humor” or any other category. We went through a terrible loss and tragedy last summer and I would love to write about it, but didn’t think it would fit the mold. He told me not to worry about that. “It doesn’t have to be the same as your other blogs. It just has to have the same personality.”
So I took that to mean, “You’re a fabulous writer! More, dear, more!” And it inspired me to break all my own rules and write this blog about blogging. If you’ve gotten this far down and are disappointed because it’s another blogging blog, feel free to unread it. But remember, this was the only time I’ll do it. No more. Next blog: The time I was pulled over for DUI when I was actually rushing home to nurse the baby. True story.