After spending most of the day imagining many adventures where Mr. Pinchey, my imaginary Monkey Butler and I rode horses through the Australian Outback looking for pirated treasure and eventually roasted some shrimp on the barbie, I got down to some serious thinking. After, of course, I ate a hot dog. Mr. Pinchey stories always makes me hungry.
I’ve been thinking a lot about why we blog.
As my friend Cecily recently pointed out, a lot has changed in the time since we dinosaurs started our dinky blogs. I mean, when I started, WordPress (which I think was Typepad back then) didn’t even have a spell-check feature–which explains the abysmal spelling of many of my imported posts–it had a “BOLD,” “ITALICS” and “STRIKE-THROUGH” button at the top of the post. That’s it.
I started to blog on Mushroom Printing because, as I’ve said many times, it seemed like a good idea at the time. I began Mommy Wants Vodka because I needed a space where I could let it all out. Mushroom Printing was supposed to be a humor blog and once Alex was born, I needed a space where I could talk about my kid, too. Somewhere that I could be Becky, In Real Life, not just Becky, The Motherfucking Clown.
I kept on blogging because I’m a compulsive freak who has to do the same thing every day, lest my brain explode into a pulpy, spattery mass, and I’ve watched as bloggers come and go. Some of them good, some of them great, some of them terrible. I’ve added and deleted links from my blogroll, mourning the dead blogs of my friends while I happily added new ones.
But last night, as I read what Cecily wrote, I found myself nodding along, because she’s right. Memoir-style blogging, blogging where we bare our soul and tell stories and let our ugly warts hang out for the world to see, these blogs seem to be dying.
Instead, I find new blogs (not yours, Pranksters) that present a sanitized version of life, a Palmolive commercial, if I may (and I always may, because this is my blog and I am sponsored by myself and the pennies I find in the couch cushions). Life is good, children are adorable, and wouldn’t you know it, gosh-darnit, Jim, my darling-hubby is just the cutest darn guy on the planet!!!
I get it. I do.
Bloggers don’t want to bare themselves or open themselves up to criticism or scare off potential companies who will be all, “wow, this blogger says, ‘fucking shit,’ we’d better not pay her a boat-load of cash to shill our crappy product!” They don’t want to embarrass their children or spouses by telling the world that hey, you know what? SOMETIMES MY KIDS SUCK, TOO. SOMETIMES, I HATE MY SPOUSE. They don’t want to blog their life as it really is for whatever reason. I get it.
But in turn, that dehumanizes the blog, makes everyone seem like beige paint, and makes me, quite frankly, bored. If I want to watch a commercial about how life is supposed to be, I’ll turn on the television and watch it. I know how my life doesn’t stack up by comparison to the sunny television kitchens, and I don’t care.
I love my imperfect life. Maybe not every single day, but most days, I do. My imperfections are what make me human, and being able to come here every day and be honest about them is why 6 years later, I can still do it.
I don’t make much money off my blog. I’m not sponsored by Colgate or Crest or Palmolive, or even a vodka company. I run ads so that I can pay for hosting for this blog and Mushroom Printing. If I had to change who I was to be more popular or become “Mommy Wants Vodka by…xxxx Big Company,” I wouldn’t do it. Because that’s not me.
I’m ugly in the mornings. I don’t always say the right things. My entries are too long and not always edited and I can’t spell to save myself. I swear. A lot. I’m unapologetically who I am. You probably won’t always like me. I’ll probably always like you.
If I can offer new bloggers one piece of advice it’s this: write hard. Be authentic. Write because you can’t imagine not writing. Write because those beautiful words get stuck in your head like butterflies beating against your skull until you let them out and BAM! there they are on paper, in front of you and it’s perfection.
Even if you’re the only one who reads it: write hard. Do it for yourself. Don’t ever doubt that you can do it or that you should do it. Just do it and stop second guessing. Second guessing is for amateurs and punks.
Write hard, my Pranksters.
So, why do you blog, Pranksters? Alternately, why don’t you? I’m throwing up a Mr. Linky if you want to answer on your own site.