Two weeks ago at our ward's playgroup I got to talking with a fantastic sister whom I'm calling Erma until she actually decides to begin a blog and come up with a more descriptive blognym. Erma has four sons, is in her mid-late thirties, owns a dog, homeschools, dabbles in a bit of writing . . . oh, and she is the oldest of 21 children.
No twins. Same mother. Same father. Really.
The writing that she mostly does is personal essay, though she enjoys performing--doing monologues and such. Erma even had a spot on a local radio show back east a few years ago. Anyway, we were talking about a big writer's conference she attended in Portland just a few weeks ago. She and hubby left the four kidlets with her in-laws and off they went. Ostensibly together, though she admitted that she spent much of her time attending workshops as well as talking to editors and publishers; she received some very positive feedback.
All of the publishing houses were asking their writers if they had a "presence on the web." Erma and I then began talking at length about blogging. Why people do it, if the writing is really all that great, what its role is in the life of somebody who really hopes to write professionally, etc. It seems that the publishers are mainly interested in finding out if you already have an audience for whatever you are doing: a ready-made fan base willing to pony up the cash for something you've written.
It was an interesting conversation. We also talked at length about whether a person's blog persona, particularly if they are working to stay anonymous, is really true to their actual self. It is interesting how you will say things on a blog that you might not actually say in person. For example, some of you here are just casual or occasional observers, yet you might end up knowing way more than you wanted to. I said to Erma that blogging, particularly with strangers, no matter how interesting or wonderful they seem or how many commonalities exist, is a bit, well, voyeuristic. How long can we be entertained with the daily minutiae of other people's lives? When will actual conversation be re-enthroned as a way to become acquainted with people? With everyone able to publish, it seems that people have ceased to edit entirely what they say or write. The reigning attitude seems to be that if a thought occurs to you, then you should absolutely say it! Stream-of-consciousness has reached a whole new level of annoying thanks to the magic of the Internet.
And then I think of the fantastic women I have met doing this (or at least have become better acquainted with). Here is a sampling of you, who never seem to be false, and show in your every post your real thoughts and personalities:
* BelCantoMom and her never-wavering faith
* Caitlin's treatment of life-altering trials as part of every day existence and not complaining a whit about them
* Calm Rapids and her cheery way of approaching a life busier than any I've every imagined
* Christie and her oh-so-clever writing and dogged determinism to whatever attribute needs improvement
* Desmama and her succinct way of sharing exactly what is on her mind, editing herself as carefully as she edits everyone else
* Dickey whose amazing pictures share stories that she doesn't have the words for
* Doreen and her commitment to the things she feels the strongest about
* Foxy J and her quiet reflections that force a mirror in front of my face, causing me to think twice before I make my own judgments about things
* GirlyMomma for the girl-power and kid-love that is a plastered boldly into every post
* Janssen and the way she gleans meaning out of everyday experiences
* KimBlue's quiet dignity, moderate opinions, and carefully reasoned posts
* Miss Nemesis and the snarkiness that has made more than one rainy day turn out hilarious
* Slim and her commitment to her kids and their hobbies as well as her own
* Elastic Waist Band Lady and the laughs she always brings to the table and her highly unusual way of viewing normalish things
*LaJuana and her mellow demeanor about the many trials chasing her down
* Yankee Girl and her love of the best things in life (free or otherwise)
Again, just a sampling. I've learned a lot here in the last two years. (My blog turned 2 on the 15th of this month.) For every five or ten posts, I think I write ONE really good one: a post that makes me think, "Yes! This is EXACTLY what I wanted to say!" This forum has helped to moderate and refine my thinking. It has helped me to take a hard look inside when I am wrong. It has taken some of the frustration out of not publishing. This writing format is easier most days than committing to my novel writing. Mostly, I'm continually amazed at the talents and trials I learn about among those women I count as friends. I'm blessed to share a part of your success and to feel a sense of solidarity with your failures.
Thanks for being a part of my journey.