People must be thinking, who is this trailblazer of technology starting a blog in the year 2012? Does she live in a spaceship? Can her phone simultaneously send out tweets and make wasabi foam?
Starting a blog now, when being concise is king and character limits are measured like golf scores, seems comical. That is funny shit all by itself. Blogging is retro, and like wearing neon, I am not sure why it was popular to begin with. I have never followed other bloggers, except when I had an office job, and I would read anything. I once spent two days engrossed in the manual to my HP printer (if you ever need your rollers cleaned, just let me know). Now, I have very little “extra” time. I have two children, a husband, an unwritten graduate thesis, and I just started teaching my first composition class. I stopped writing things like “mop kitchen” on my to-do list long ago because, like having a social life, or having kids who brush their teeth, having a clean house is one of those things that has been pushed to the backburner.
I also stopped writing. I had plenty of excuses for not writing: I have to focus on my school work, I have to get the kids fed, I have to finish this six-pack. When in reality, not writing was actually doing me the most harm. In my graduate classes I wrote constantly, but I wasn’t creating anything that seemed like me. Mainly, I was writing literary criticism mixed with some research about composition theory. I was writing as a caricature of myself—the me that is a graduate student—the me that uses words like “marginalized” and “discourse.” While the me that says things like, “drink up, bitches” and “Olive Garden can suck it” was left floundering, gasping for air.
I used to identify myself as a writer, but then other words that seemed so much bigger, words like “mother” and “wife,” clouded that once integral part of my identity. The fact that my writing sparkles when I am the most honest about myself and my personal shortcomings made balancing family life and writing even more difficult. Adrienne Rich, who heralds the importance of subversion in the creative process, describes how the poetry she published after the birth of her first child suffered because if her poetry displayed “periods of null depression or active despairing, these could only mean that [she] was ungrateful, insatiable, perhaps a monster” (23).
Once I had children, I found it increasingly difficult to be truthful in my writing. Sure, it was easier when they were babies, back when we could rock them to sleep while watching The Sopranos, but once my house started to reverberate with the sounds of Thomas the Train and Dora the Explorer, I felt like I needed to clean up my act. Maybe I shouldn’t write about the time(s) I puked up Jell-O shots or about my sheer shirt period (aka the 1990’s). But now my kids are in elementary school, and they watch a show called Adventure Time, which I am pretty sure is meant for stoned teenagers. I figure if they can handle a parody of the exorcist that involves a princess made out of bubblegum, then they can handle their mom spilling the beans on the Internet.
Every time I write, I recreate myself. I change history. I put what got me to this moment into perspective—on my terms. Writing is my Xanax. When I get caught up in the doing of life, and I don’t take time to reflect and to continually renegotiate myself and what I am doing, then I unravel. By starting a blog, I am forcing myself to make time to write, and not just in soundbytes, but laborious, lengthy prose.
Rich, Adrienne. “When We Dead Awaken: Writing as Re-Vision.” College English 34.1 (1972): 18-30. Web. JSTOR. 9 Apr. 2012.