Sunday, June 10, 2007

Meme too, Rhet Style

Why is it I am always the last to answer these things? Does it count that I at least do them even if it is after the fact...

It is my turn to be tagged by the explosive Blog Rhet Meme and since it was Bub & Pie who tagged me and she was my very first comment it really is fitting. I answered many of the questions in a post way back, but I will answer the questions and fill in any missing pieces. I have so enjoyed reading every one's answers and can't believe how many people have similar stories to mine. Then I am enjoying the stories that are completely different from mine too. All around fascinating stuff.

Here we go.

1. Go back to first or early post. How would you describe your voice back in those early days?
Who were you writing to? What was your sense of audience (if any) back then?

Hesitant. On a lark. These are two things that come to mind when I read my very brief first post now. Here is a bit of it:

This blog is simply for me to keep a living diary of everything wonderful and not so wonderful in our family. I was inspired by Catherine and have followed her since her first entry on Baby Center.

This will be my attempt at documenting our life.

For my sister Amy in South Korea a chance to keep track of us in a way only random rantings can.

I was writing to my sister and still am, even though she is nearing the end of her time in Seoul. I was also trying to better capture the fleeting moments - the minutia of daily life with small children. So that has been true to form. What I could have never predicted is what is has brought to me, and done for me. I had no clue of the true sense of audience or even what I was getting into really. I was following a writer I loved and found others I liked an awful lot more too and was just trying to figure out how I could be a part of it. I never dreamed anyone would care to read my blog and that is the truth.

When Catherine Newman left Baby Center I tracked her down and discovered she had a blog. I read her posts, it was just a few then and read her comments with just as much interest. These were people who I already had something in common with, we liked her writing and stories. As I started to check out the comments there were a few that stuck with me, writers I just felt very much at home reading. Bub & Pie was one of those blogs. I decided to try to start my own so I stayed up until 1am one night and poof I had a blog.

Then I stalled-big time. I kept reading my ever growing list of favourites based on Bub & Pie's Blogroll and beginning to comment. I read of blog burnout and became afraid before I even started...I kept thinking if this isn't rewarding or even fun then why do it at all? What have I done? Then I found Alpha DogMa and I felt a little less intimidated, we found each other early in our blogs and became fast bloggy friends. I was encouraged by her interest and could not get enough of her posts either. I struggled though when I read a great post on another blog and I would think this is why I don't need to write anything about anything (except about my family) since there are so many other great blogs out there, where I hear my own voice as I read the magic words.

Then Catherine (Newman) asked her reader's why they blogged and does it effect the way you parent. The answers I came up with actually helped me along in the process of blogging and helped me find my voice.

Some of the answers I came up with...

I started it to keep a living history of our family where everything feels so endless and fleeting all at once. I was completely inspired by Catherine's postings at Baby Center and her new blog. This is a slippery slope I have discovered. After reading only Catherine's posts for so many years I feel a bit like I over ate at the buffet by the gluttony of posts I am trying to read now. I read them because it is so personal and anonymous at the same time. I learn things, relate to people and generally take comfort in the fact that while we may not all be the same we all love our kids to death, are terrified daily of losing them, and generally can't even imagine life before them.

When I read great blogs like Bub and Pie, I constantly nod in agreement and say to myself I so hear you. These postings have always resonated with me in a way that nothing else ever did - kind of a kindred spirits thing without ever having met. These wonderful writers can put into words my feelings of deepest love, silliest worries, darkest thoughts and make it all seem so effortless.

So I guess the answer lies herein, blogs give you a sense of comfort that there are parents all over the planet going through the exact same thing you are going through. Reading and writing blogs heals your soul and is like a nice cool washcloth on your forehead all at the same time.

I KNOW I am a better and more mindful parent for having met these other wonderful families. I try very consciously to be more mindful and to remember we really do hold their hearts in our hands one of the most memorable lines I gleaned from Catherine.

2. Do you remember when you received your first comment? What was it like?
My first comment was from Bub & Pie on my second post aptly titled, "Blog Two" she said some wonderful things of course and I was hooked on the idea of comments. The goal of my early posts was to see if she would come back.

3. Can you point to a stage where you began to feel that your blog might be part of a conversation? Where you might be part of a larger community of interacting writers?

I think this happened for me about two months into my blog, around December 2006. There was huge dialogue happening about community and the debate about the validity of the blogging community. The fact that people were talking about it in such a way made it very clear to me that this was indeed a veritable community. I had a small, but devoted list of bloggers who visited me regularly and even though I knew I could stop at any time and disappear from the blogging world, I knew I never would. I owed my friends more than that and at that point I new I was a part of something larger.

4. Do you think that this sense of audience or community might have affected the way you began to write?

I think the best way to describe it would be to say I was trying harder. I wanted my thoughts to be clear, well-written, entertaining and enjoyable to read. I was much more conscious of trying harder to make everything flow. My voice did not change, nor did the content. Even though I was ultimately writing for myself, I was acutely aware of the fact that I was choosing this medium and not a journal on my night table and for that reason I felt a responsibility to my readers. In that way I suppose it did affect the way I was writing.

This was an interesting process to write about. A part of me is still really surprised sometimes that I have a blog, me a person who considered it a victory when I finally mastered programming the VCR. But, I do and I am proud of it and proud of the community I am a part of now. I have met more smart, savvy, and wonderful women here than I could have ever imagined.

I expect this journey to continue for some time. I fear I get much more than I give from this exchange, that however will not deter me. And if you told me back in October 2006 it would be possible to write an entire post without mentioning my girls I would have laughed. Or, if you told me this would be a place for more than the just the shameless promotion of cuteness again I would have laughed. So ha to all that.

Edited to include a tag for Alpha DogMa...I swear I thought you were tagged already!


bubandpie said...

I had a similar experience - just as I started my blog, there was a rash of posts about blog ennui, blogging being like high school, blogging not being cool anymore... It can be a bit intimidating! And I remember how exciting it was to find someone whose blog was even newer than mine (by, like, a week).

Christine said...

"I fear I get much more than I give from this exchange,"

That is so not true! You give so, so much. Thanks for being part of those whole community, this exchange.

Omaha Mama said...

I know we've talked before about how perceiving an "audience" may change what we say. I still think perhaps I self-edit too much when I worry what others may think.

Well done on this meme. And I thought it was very well-written! :-)

And thanks for the picture, because I love the shameless promotion of cuteness!!!

Mary G said...

I don't think you're the last to do this meme by a long shot -- I am still tracking people's tags. You have really thought a lot about this, and with a rapier sharp brain that impressed the dickens out of me, and I really love it. I too found that the effort I put into writing something increased with an audience, but I didn't think of that until you said it.
Love it, and thanks!
BTW I am compiling a list of answerers so far for BlogRhet, and will post it there today (I hope!) I would be grovellingly grateful if you would run your eye over it and let me know of anyone you saw that I missed.

Mad Hatter said...

I'm all for the shameless promotion of cuteness. It is a rule I live by and the cuteness offered here is ticklish.

It does seem as if there are waves in the parenting blogoshphere: personal posts give way to issue posts that give way to ennui and then the balance rights itself again.

Beck said...

Fun post - I started my blog right when tons of other blogs seemed to be winding down, too.
I really enjoy your blog - you have such a distinctive voice!

Anonymous said...

Hey, I was thinking of you yesterday because CBC aired My Big Fat Greek Wedding! "What do you mean he don't eat no meat? Oh, that's okay. I make lamb." It cracks me up every time.

I remember when you disappeared around Christmas and I was worried. "Where did my Bloggy Buddy go? She can't quit already!"

You're not the last to meme this - nobody has tagged me. (HINT! HINT!)

Jen said...

Consider yourself tagged ADM - I thought I saw you tagged by someone else!

Get on it already.

Alpha DogMa said...


Haley-O said...

You give so much, Jen! :) The more you give the more you get, I find. If not only because the more you give, the more rewarding it is in general (i.e., even within yourself -- not just comments....). I loved this post! It's interesting to reflect on your blogging and how it's evolved, etc., isn't it!

ali said...

i love hearing everyone's answers to these questions! great post!