I’ve been quiet for a while. I know. I could blame it on the holidays or the ending of an old semester and the beginning of the new. I could blame it on a lot of things.
The truth is I was struggling with the concept of blogging. I wasn’t sure what blogging meant to me anymore. I wasn’t sure what it meant to anyone, really. I was tired of the gimmicks I kept reading about to bring more traffic to my page. I didn’t want to write blogs entitled The Five Whatevers of Whatever to get people to click. I wanted to write about what I wanted to write about.
A dear friend and fellow blogger had long discussions with me on the topic. She had a personal blog like this one but has since abandoned it for a blog that is niched, that focuses on one subject, and that subject isn’t her. She figured people weren’t interested in her personal life. Why should they be, after all? Why should anyone be interested in anyone else’s life, especially a complete stranger’s?
So I took a break, because I thought people probably weren’t interested in my life either. And I thought that if I could take the time I was putting into a blog to write more polished pieces that may be published elsewhere, that may be more productive. And that was a great thought, but it never materialized.
In the three months of my silence, a different dear friend decided to take to the internet with her personal life of being a stay-at-home mom to a 1-year-old girl and all the struggles that come along with it like wanting to be healthy and wanting to be a good role model. And I read her blog regularly because I am genuinely interested in her life.
Granted, a blog about those things won’t have any trouble reeling in readers. There are always moms and dads out there who are curious what other moms and dads are up to, and readers love stories about people trying to improve themselves. So I suppose I’m not all surprised to find that her blog was nominated for a Leibster Award by a fellow blogger. Although I was surprised because I didn’t know such an award existed. And then I was even more surprised that she, in turn, nominated me.
For I haven’t been a blogger now for three months, so I feel a little undeserving. And yet both she and I have been “blogging” on and off for well over a decade. Whether we own a blog now or not, whether we write every day or not, it seems to be in our blood. It seems to be something we can’t ever fully turn off. The desire to write on the internet resurfaces in us when our words have been quiet too long.
I know it often feels like everyone and their mother has a blog today. That’s probably not far from the truth. So yes, it is hard to care about everyone’s life that is shared on the internet. But it’s the personal blogs I like the best, above the informative ones, or the ones about Five Whatevers about Whatever. People these days are so willing to be honest about their lives, about their desires and their shortcomings. They’re willing to be honest about what it’s like to be human. And I think we could always use that more of that in the world.
So thanks, Jessie, for giving me a reason to come back to the keyboard. I’m still not sure what the future for this blog holds, but for today, I’m here.
And instead of nominating someone else to receive this award, I’ll instead encourage all you dormant bloggers out there, the ones who haven’t written or the ones who fear no one will hear their voice, to take to your keyboard today and put your life online.
Apparently, part of winning the award is that I have to answer some questions about myself, so here goes…
Why did you decide to start blogging? What makes you keep at it? Ha, well, as you can see from this entry, I don’t always keep at it. And I don’t think there was ever a decision to start—like I said, it’s just kind of engrained in me from my college days when blogging was what you did. But essentially, what keeps me starting new blogs and writing in them is to motivate myself to keep writing and to keep facing my fears of letting people read my writing.
If you only read three books for the rest of your life, what would they be? Oh, God, I hate the idea of only having three books in my possession. I’m not the kind of person who reads things over and over usually. But in this case, I would want the collected stories of Ernest Hemingway, the collected stories of Shirley Jackson, and the collected stories of Grace Paley (Hemingway and Jackson are no-brainers, and I’ve been wanting to spend more time with Paley), and I’d drive myself eventually mad trying to find all the hidden themes and nuances in their writing.
What do you do to overcome writer’s block? I stop writing. Ha. Um, seriously, I do take a break and let my ideas kind of fester is my subconscious. Or I send a draft to a fellow writer and let them pick it apart in hopes that I get inspired by their comments (and I usually do).
What is the most amazing trip you’ve ever taken? I have taken a remarkable amount of remarkable trips, and for that, I’m incredibly blessed. Italy will always win, and each visit holds a unique fondness for me, but my honeymoon in Jamaica was exactly what a vacation should be. And Hawaii was a week of facing pretty much all of my fears.
What’s the most embarrassing thing to ever happen to you? I feel like every single day I embarrass myself at least a million times. Especially as a teacher, I’m always messing up my words or almost falling down. I’m extremely self-conscious and I can usually beat myself up for the stupidest things, but I think teaching is helping me learn how to shake things off.
Is there anyone you used to be close with but don’t speak to? There are a lot of people I used to be close to and don’t speak to anymore. And a lot of those instances are just because time and space created a rift. Part of me has made peace with it—that’s life and that happens and I’ll always have those cherished memories to hang on to. And part of me hasn’t made peace with it at all; I often am sad when I think about how we’re not close anymore.
Are you more of a city or a country person? When I was growing up in the country, I thought I wanted to be a city person. And then I was city person for a while and I thought I wanted to be a country person again. Now I’m a suburb person, and as much as I’m able to see the benefits of living in the country and as much as I hold dear memories of the country, I think I have been transformed into a city person. But it helps that I live in the most beautiful and interesting city in the whole entire world (at least that’s my opinion).
What did you want to be when you grew up? Are you doing it? I wanted to be a lot of different things. When I was younger, I wanted to be a dancer and an astronaut and an artist. I’ve wanted to be a teacher since the seventh grade, and I AM doing that now, and I love it as much as I expected to way back when. I also wanted to be a writer, which in many ways I am, and many ways I am not, but that’s a dream I have yet to entirely give up on.
What do you like to do to de-stress after a rough day? Eat comfort food, put on pajamas, snuggle with my husband. I mean, seriously, it can’t get any better than that.
In an imaginary world where all animals are tame and you could have any one as a pet, what would you choose? For a long time, I wanted a killer whale. I wanted to keep in our swimming pool in my backyard. Then I went into a hedgehog phase, because damnit, those things are adorable. My husband and I are on a duck kick right now. We want ducks—inside ducks that we can pet and hold and that will follow us around. But apparently they poop everywhere, so that probably won’t happen.