17 August 2010

Things That Are True - Why I Write Here

As I mentioned in my last post, I've been thinking a fair amount about why I blog. I've attended blogging events, learned a lot about what blogging means to other people, and wrestled with what blogging means to me. I've considered going the route of seeking PR pitches, doing giveaways and reviewing products in this space. Who doesn't want free goodies? I've read with some envy about blogger-freebie events that others have been invited to. Who doesn't want a free trip or spa day? I've thought about what it would take to really promote my blog as a brand, and I've struggled with posting regularly enough to build traffic and be considered for that kind of attention.

But here's the thing - it's just not me.

I write because I can't not write. I don't write often, and often I don't write well, but I can't not write.

For as long as I can remember, I've been a letter writer and a journal keeper, with the same sort of sporadic output as I've had here on my blog so far. I have boxes of old notebooks filled with no doubt mortifying-to-almost-40-year-old-me rants, raves, and anguish filled entries about boys (later men), school (later work), goals, to-do-lists, and passions, however transitory.

Me, Grade 8. Also transitory: fashion.

Those notebooks are the repository of my dreams, however ridiculous, unrealistic, or embarrassing they might be. In rereading some of them, I'm shocked at what 17 year old me had to say about homosexuality, amused by what 22 year old me thought was important in a guy, and embarrassed at the depths of wisdom I spouted about turning a whole quarter of a century old. (Depths so shallow you'd crack your skull open if you tried to dive in.)

But I meant those words at the time. Meant them fervently.

As fervently as I now wish I'd never owned that shirt. Me at 17.

As I get older I tend to forget that I haven't always looked at the world the way I do now. I forget how desperately in love I was with that guy in highschool, the one who didn't know I existed. (And who now, frankly, I'd be embarrassed to be seen with. Facebook can be very good for affirming your life's choices. Yikes.) And it's easy to forget how extraordinarily important little moments can be, both good and bad. Things I don't even remember now that rocked me to my knees as they were happening.

Me at 24. It seems I never did quite get the hang of a hairdo. Also: really? Tie-dye?

Now, as a parent, I'm glad I still have this written record of the passions, angst, and injustices of my childhood, teen, and early adult years. I hope it will remind me, as The Imp grows in and out of the various stages of life, that perception is fluid, that perspectives change, and that yes, he does truly, achingly feel like missing that party will literally end any chance at happiness for the rest of his life. I hope I can look at those snapshots of my younger-self feelings and, after chuckling to myself, still be respectful of his. He's a lot like me; I'm sure his passions will be just as fiery as mine were - and still are. No matter how embarrassing they might be.

But here's another thing: not all of them are embarrassing. I can remember writing several times from the age of about 15 until as recently as my early thirties about how I wanted to get a good camera and learn to take proper pictures instead of unsatisfactory snapshots. It's a recurring theme in my notes to myself. And while I certainly wouldn't call myself a photographer, this space, this very public yet somehow very intimate space, has allowed me to start another blog, filled with photographs I have taken myself.

I also wrote repeatedly and with great longing about wanting to sing, and to learn to play guitar, and to write songs. All of which I've done. Maybe not well, maybe not often, but I've done them. Every night at bedtime, The Imp and I sing our goodnight song, a little tune that came to me in the hazy hours of mid-night breastfeeding. I wrote that, and The Imp asks for it every night.

And the photography and the music, and the writing, oh the writing, have been my solace.

The sleepless night of a highschool broken heart has been replaced by the sleepless night of a feverish toddler. The teenage angst about a boy has been replaced by the complicated business of being married to a man. The goals (go to Paris, buy a guitar, get a job) have been replaced by different goals (go to Paris again, buy another guitar, start my own business). But the writing remains.

And when I can put aside the business of life to post here, I will. And I hope you'll come back to read once in a while.

The schedule: sporadic.
The posts: honest, as real as my limited skill can make them, and probably embarrassing to my 60-year-old self.
Also: there will be swearing.

And so be it.

Me at almost 40, and finally comfortable with who I am.


  1. It's awfully difficult to maintain a blog based on something you're not. To try and chase some free stuff isn't really worth it in the end. I think you're right to do what you want. Be who you are. You're achieving so much in other ways.

    PS. That silver shirt was something else.

  2. Anyway here goes my comments again. I can vividly remember the freedom of reaching and being in my forties. But I am also, at another plateau, being in my 70's, which feels almost the same mentally, emotionally, and spiritually - forget the physical. I have resurrected my easel and note pad to sketch and try a very, very short story. Either I go forward or fall flat on my face trying but forward I go - on all fours if necessary, exaggerating. Thanks. Patti

  3. Brave to post those photos. I feel like I need to come clean on my bad hairdos now! The big question is. Why were not all staring in some cult classic 80s movie?

    Great post ;)

  4. J Osborne Hansen17 August, 2010 21:04

    Thank you for sharing your beauty and magnificence with all of us.
    You've always been interesting and kind, now you are more of that.

  5. You've got to do what feels right for you. That is blogging is at its best. If we all did it the same way, it would be an awfully tedious and boring world.

    Also? I think that school photos are the worst for fashions. Because I always broke out the really 'cool' clothes for them, which in retrospect, were horrifyingly trendy and immediately dated. Fun stuff!

  6. Fabulous post - your honesty and rawness are refreshing, humorous and insightful. Thanks for sharing!