The first thing I was warned about when I signed with an agent was not to let my blog go dead.
“Oh, I won’t,” I said.
Famous last words.
I suppose you could blame being in the throws of book revision. I suppose you could blame children. Or paid work, blame the paid work, especially.
Because I don’t get paid for this blog right here. I used to earn money with ads and some sponsored posts. But I quit that when I realized that it compromised what I wanted to say. I felt bad getting things in the mail and having to tell the PR people that I couldn’t review them because never in a million years would I buy my children $4/pouch yogurt, or $50 T-shirts for babies (who will crap on them!) because we aren’t freaking Beyonce over here. And neither are you and what the hell? How can I write a post that’s all, “My life is great now that my baby wears clothes worth more than my life!”?
One day, I got so frustrated, I just took the ads down. I let PR people know that I was out of the game, unless they were Coke-a-Cola, or Cheetos (which will never happen, but not because I don’t consume enough of their products, amirite?), I’m done with WRITING A BLOG FOR PROFIT (and I have been for over a year now). And I like that.
There have been a lot of bloggers quitting this year. Big bloggers. Bloggers who made the genre. They are done. They blame the caustic comments and the heavy pressure of putting their lives on display. In the game of click-throughs its easy to lose. Because we all know the formula something racy+list+mom judgement=click gold. Better yet if you can make a passive-aggressively condescending letter out of it. “Dear bitchmom I hate but I’m going to pretend not to hate because I’m a bigger person” is my favorite genre of post. Right next to, “Dear woman I observed doing something normal but inspired me to live more freely and better than you.”
So many blogs and blog style sites I love have fallen victim to and gotten lost in these tropes. Or even lost themselves to a kind of self-parody. Like style aping style. It’s like how my imitation of my mom is more my mom than my actual mom. I’m trying to avoid that.
I have half a mind to start my own mom site, something that is more than “Good Family Meals That Cost A Million Dollars And Have Kale Because It’s On Trend!” And product round ups and baby name round ups with a dash of, “ENJOY EVERY MOMENT BECAUSE ONE DAY YOUR KIDS WILL LEAVE AND YOU’LL HAVE TO ACTUALLY LOOK AT YOUR HUSBAND OMG SAVE US!” Something that is funny and complicated that speaks to the experience of motherhood without being drowned in it. Something that allows women to be who they are as mothers but also the other manifestations of themselves–ghost hunters, witch lovers, historians and whiskey drinkers. But I don’t have the money. That’s really the only thing stopping me.
Plus Dave tells me the internet will end one day after China blows it up.
I have this idea that one day in the far future, I’ll be visited in the old folks home by my great-grandchildren and I’ll be all, “Did granny ever tell you what and internet is?” And they’ll put down their post-apocalyptic hatchets and bonnets and sit still while I tell them of that one time on the Huffington Post when I went viral.
They probably won’t care. And it won’t happen (because they won’t visit, I know them). Nothing is over. Life happens in cycles. It’s boom it’s bust. But people who love writing, who can’t stop writing will always write. Blogging is a genre now, no more, no less. It has its absurdities and its purities. I love it for what it is, a place for me to place things that I cannot place elsewhere. It’s the sum of thoughts and jokes and moments that I want to share.
Last year, I bought two journals to write down memories for my children. The things I won’t share here. Things that might be embarrassing or too intimate to reveal. Or at least, too intimate for me to make that decision to reveal. I’ve been filling them up. I love them. That too is a different genre and a different mindset.
I’ve always said as my children grow older and their stories grow separate from me that I will have to find new ways to talk about them and me, ways that walk a line of respect and love, but also honor the intricacies of our lies. I’m not sure how to find this place. So, I find myself in a time of listening, to my children, to other writers, to ideas and thoughts and voices. And I think of what I want to say here. What do you want to hear here. And I almost feel flummoxed by possibility.
But maybe I hit on it before. Maybe that’s just what I do, keep writing things here that honor motherhood and all the other iterations of self–ghost hunters, witch lovers, historians and whiskey drinkers.
One time, after something I wrote got a lot of attention, someone asked me why I wrote it on my blog. “Because,” I said, “it’s the place I say things that no one will pay me to say.” She was confused and I realized that she wanted me to say that I was inspired by something or another. But I wasn’t really. I had just been wanting to say it for a long time and I kept pitching the essay but no one bought it, so I pooped it out on this blog. Voila.
But I keep going back to that thing I said to her. This is the place I say the things I really want to.
I’ve tried to quit blogging before. Once when I was 20 and my blog had become a little too big for me to handle. I was getting creepy emails and comments that I couldn’t handle at the time, so I shut it down.
I started again a few years later, when I was unemployed and bored. I kept it anonymous because I thought that’s what truly serious people did–they hid themselves. But I gave up that ruse because it was unnecessary cloak and dagger. Say what you need to say, don’t hide it.
Then, I came here. I think I’ll stay here. Even if it takes fits and starts. Even if I pause now and again to do work that actually pays, because, again, I’m not Beyonce, I need the money.
But here, you aren’t money, you aren’t clicks, here we are all just people, eating Cheetos, talking about life in a place where no one pays us to say it.