When I am interviewed by all of the groupies that live inside my head, one of the questions they invariably ask, besides, of course, do small people have to have their houses custom made so that they can actually cook at the stove, and the infamous, why do dogs eat each other’s poo, is this: why do you blog?
In fact, while I was at BlogHer, I was interviewed by a woman, who, no doubt, felt sort of sorry for me, standing there all bewildered and obviously confused (me, not her) while people darted around me for free pens and samples of detergent, who asked me that very same question: why do you blog?
Unlike when I am asked why I like McDonald’s so much that I might trade one of my kids for a cheeseburger, or why I find Diet Coke to be Nature’s Miracle, I had an answer other than “just because.” It’s one of the few things I can actually answer without having to send them to The Daver.
Hey, I never said I was smart.
Because blogging? Kind of a funny thing when you stop and think about it. I can tell you that it’s not for the fame or notoriety or fame or legions of screaming teenage girls on my lawn. If there does happen to be a gaggle of giggling girls (alliteration much?) near my house, it’s probably because they are hopped up on hormones and trying to get the teenage boys that live on either side of us. Not because Their Beloved Aunt Becky lives there.
(I’m pretty sure teenagers shouldn’t read my blog.)
And shit, anytime I meet a new person and they ask what I do, rather than say “I am a slave” or “I retired several years ago” I feel like I should acknowledge that I do manage to throw something up on a website most days of the week. 500-1200 words a day, pithily typed into a nifty wordpress box, published with nary a thought to The Edit Button.
Technically that’s writing. So is the book proposal I conned some gullible agents into schlepping around to publishers. Which means I could theoretically call myself a writer, which is what The Daver does (calls me that, I mean along with “Fuckface” and “Baby.” He is not a writer), but being A Writer conjures up an image of someone who can properly construct a painstakingly perfect sentence. I imagine A Writer in a chunky cream fisherman’s sweater, sitting in a room with “nice lines” (whatever the fuck that means).
I don’t own a fisherman’s sweater anymore and my room is decorated in kid chic, pretty much the antithesis of “clean lines” and well, I can hardly type out 200 ill-thought out words without having to get up and remove a marble from someone’s orifice. I peck out words between dirty diapers and dream of working quietly although I know fully well that if I tried to go into some silent office to write, I’d have to bring the kids just for some background noise.
So, being A Writer isn’t really what I do.
But what would you think if I introduced myself as A Blogger? Because to me, A Blogger probably looks like he (or she) crawled out of Middle Earth, cupcake frosting glued to her leg, teeth furry with green growth, a fancy camera attached to his (or her) wrist. I have a terrible time telling people proudly that I Blog, not because I’m ashamed of what I do–it IS work and I DO have integrity in what I do–but because it’s a lot of work to explain it so that someone else would understand.
As I was bombarded with this throughout the whole conference, I am well aware that soon enough, most people will have an idea of What Being A Blogger Is, because The Power Of The Blog is obvious in all the attempts for marketers to court We of The Blog.
Probably a good 75% of the blogs I read devote a couple of posts a month to doing reviews, and sadly a lot of ones that I do not read are turning into what appears to be a long press release. This seems to be what marketers want personal blogs to turn into.
But I write here because that is simply what I do. Every day–because if I skip a day, I find it nearly impossible to pick it back up–I come here, pluck out a post, and I write. I’ve done it for years and I will continue to do this until I am done. And when reach the end, I will stop.
I suppose that what I do is somewhere in the middle between A Writer and A Blogger, and while I am conflicted by quantifying what I do, I have no issues explaining why I do it.
First, I cannot stop. I write because I have to. On days that I’ve written something ahead of time and have set it to auto-post, I spend all day feeling out of sorts. Like I’m missing a toe or a finger or a kid or something and I can’t place why until I realize that hey, y’all, I didn’t write.
I write because I must.
Secondly, and probably most important, is that I write and I blog and I read and I comment and I tweet and I Facebook (who knew THAT could be a verb?) because I like people.
When the decision to stay home was made for me, I found myself miserable and alone. I’d gone from a place where I excelled at what I did, I took pride in myself and I did the best job I could, gal-darn-it, I was good enough, smart enough, and well, people liked (or hated) me, to being at home with Ben, my strange son, where no one noticed if I did an exceptional job at scrubbing out a pan, or was particularly efficient about cooking dinner.
I went from having a life to living for other people. And the adjustment was brutal. I was lonely, I was isolated, I felt like my life was turning into a should-have-been.
Years later, I am generally pretty happy to do what I do most days, and somedays, of course, I would happily sell my children UNDER COST WITHOUT A COUPON to a band of roving gypsies and run away with the circus, but mostly, I’m happy. Part of the reason for my happiness is because I’ve met a ton of people whom I now call friends. I have a life, albeit one that exists in the computer, but it’s mine and it’s what I’ve got.
So amidst the circus that was BlogHer, I stood there, while a confused woman in a snazzy suit held a voice recorder thingy in my face (probably regretting approaching me) and I told the tiny box that I blogged because to me, it was all about the community. And it is.
Why do YOU blog?
Because who can resist those rolls? She’s like a mini version of me!
And despite being INCREDIBLY crabby today, you can see that Alex is getting better. You can also see that Alex likes to eat markers AND draw on my arms. Goofy ass kid. Thank you for thinking of him–he was very, very sick.