Friday, March 02, 2007

the why behind the words

Julie asked me why I blog. The reasons I blog now might be slightly different than the reasons I started. Or maybe not. Let's see where this goes.

I started blogging last May. A few months earlier I had noticed the blog phenomenon and began as a reader. No commenting or writing, just checking it out.

And then as I read I kept thinking that I had some things of my own to say. I found myself moved by some of what I was reading while simultaneously realizing my own valley had become a desert. I felt foggy, dried up, vast. So I started writing. No one read what I wrote for months. I remember when I got my first comment and was completely freaked out. You mean people are reading this? I hadn't thought that one through.

And then slowly I started finding you while some of you started finding me and that caused the whole thing to stand on it's head.

Community. I had no idea you existed.

I don't consider myself a writer. I can think of many others who have the gift, the way to turn a phrase. A vocabulary and a penchant for the craft. That's not me. I know full well I use too many commas. But I like commas, and that's just the way it's going to be. I almost never research a post, or spend time writing, re-writing or editing. I simply sit down and spill. It shows, I know. The lack of the craft. But that's ok. I don't think that is the muscle I am trying to exercise. Putting my soul to paper, yes. The craft or art behind that, not so much. I am okay with that. I leave that to BubandPie, to you, Julie, to Sage and Deezee.

I have a hard time being funny in my posts. Believe it or not, in real life, people think I'm funny. I don't think that comes across here, although that would be interesting to hear from you if it does. Either way is fine, but I don't think so. At least not in the way KC or Jess or Chick or Shannon are funny. But again, that's okay. I can be funny in real life.

I don't consider myself overly creative. I don't use many pictures or artwork. Again, I leave that to others. To Sin, to Kiki. They create with images, their pictures. I love that.

So as I continue to narrow the path I will say that I blog because I have something to say about our society, about pain and suffering and the beauty that rides alongside it. About my family and how I fit or how I sometimes do not. About things that move me and things that make me stand still. Flutter and Neen come to mind here. Many more. The thinking bloggers I linked a few days ago, too.

I blog because I believe our collective voices can make a difference. That sitting around the fire with so many of you can teach me many things. That there are places I can go and learn, or laugh or be inspired. Where I can go to fall down or stand in the cheering section.

The community is what makes this what it is for me. That is very different from the number of comments or readers, links or views. It's the face behind the makeup that I crave. The way the waitress sits at the end of the night with shoes off and sore feet taking a drag of her cigarette and telling me the truth. I learn how to mother from Meno, or how Mama Tulip reminds me my own mom is still alive and there is still work I need to do. Elder wisdom, whether the woman is my age or older - I can learn just by reading your words. Chani, Mad, Bad, Crazymum and Z. are just a few of you who do that for me.

Simply put, if everyone packed up and left I am not sure I'd stay. I don't know what that means, but I think I am okay with that too. Without knowing it I was looking for community. And I've found it, and I am blessed.

When I started writing this post I didn't realize I'd be doing so much linking, and now feel a bit self-conscious about it because there are many more voices and words I love and the above isn't representative of all that's in my heart and mind. But I am going to leave it, because as I wrote your voices popped into my head, and I think the way my process unfolded answers the question, Julie, as to why I blog, better than anything else I could say. It's the village.

Thank you for being my village.

Speaking of village, it's time for our third Just Post Roundtable. If you have a post of yours or one you've appreciated that was written by someone else, please send them my way (to girlplustwo (at) yahoo(dot) com) by March 8th.

We'll link all posts and anyone who refers one (or more) in our Just Post Roundtable on the 10th. If this is new to you, please feel free to check it out here. Our posts will be featured in the newly redesigned and refocused The Whole Mom webzine, which is pretty freaking money.


Mad Hatter said...

Yes. It is the deversity of voices of styles and of personalities that is so damned alluring. All these freaking amazing women (and some men).

Anonymous said...

That's my reason, too. Despite the all my insecurities, I'd rather show up and hang around than miss out on what everyone is saying and doing.

Mad Hatter said...

Oh and about the craft of language that you are apparently lacking? Take one good look at that waitress analogy and then please eat your words, you crafty, crafty writer.

kristen said...

I'm glad you blog sister and that I found you. xo

Momish said...

Yes, the villiage is the best part by far. And it is the deep, warm and talented inhabitants that make me never want to move from here, even when time and energy pull me away.

P.S. I agree with Mad, you have the craft, my dear.

Laurie said...

You have the craft, girl. No matter, how many, commas, you use.

Thailand Gal said...

Very interesting. This is a form of community, one just as valid as any other gathering of minds.



slouching mom said...

Yes. I too have been thinking about this, and I too posted about it this morning. When I started (two months ago, I'm such a blog newbie), I was under the embarrassing impression that it would not matter to me if no one read my words. I don't know if that's changed because now that I receive comments, I have become addicted to them, or whether I was full of shit in the first place. I started blogging primarily because it gave me an outlet for my writing; I continue to write, and read, and comment because of this remarkable community of bloggers. I was lost, and now I'm found.

metro mama said...

You're welcome. It is a fine village, isn't it!

bubandpie said...

It's so true. Julie admitted to writing for attention, and I think we all feel that way - and get caught up, sometimes, in listening to the voices that tell us that's narcissism. But I don't want to write for an audience - I don't want to get to the point that I'm not clicking back and getting to know the people who come and comment. I'm disapponted, sometimes, when a commenter doesn't have a blog - I want to get to know the people who read me, which sometimes I'm able to do through comments and/or email, even if the reader is a non-blogger.

I'm reading a book right now (I'll post about it soon) that claims that women "tend and befriend" when they feel fear or anxiety; nurturing relationships makes us less afraid. It's a powerful thing we're doing for each other here.

Julie Pippert said...

You have craft. How otherwise could you reach so many so endearingly?

Lovely answer, with much to ponder.

I agree; the community is so valuable for me, and also for the bigger space, as you said.

I wrote an entire post about the push-pull I feel abotu continuing to write as the spirit moves me, which leaves me lower down the chain, versus blogging for popularity. I stick to writing by spirit. I might never be syndicated or earn a single penny this way, but oh my goodness the people I have gotten to know, the discussions we've had, and the comments I get...cannot attach a price tag to that.

I'm always so glad to see someone who blogs from the heart reach so many people, as you do.

mamatulip said...

Such a great post, and thank you for what you said about me. I beg to differ though -- I do think you have the craft. So often your posts stay with me long after I'm done reading. Yours is a blog I look forward to reading every day.

NotSoSage said...

Jen, I can't believe that you would hold my writing, as a craft, above yours. You, my friend, have the power to evoke: anger, sadness, joy, mindfulness...anyone who can do that as well as you do has real talent.

Thank you. This is a wonderful village. One I never expected to find when I thought I'd try my hand at putting a few thoughts down on virtual paper.

The other day I started to feel sheepish that, in my second post, I made this statement about not wanting this to be "just about being a mommy". Sigh. So naive. None of these bloggers, none of these mommies, and especially you, could ever be accused of that.

karrie said...

You're too modest. I personally think the sit-down-and-spill, let'er rip writing style produces the most enjoyable to read and honest blog entries.

Kyla said...

Beautifully said.
I came to the blogosphere for myself, to "put my soul to paper" as you said it. I had just found out about my daughter's delays and medical issues and I didn't know what to do with it all. So I wrote through it. That in itself was a gift, the space to put my feelings into words, but the people I have met along the way? That is the true gift, and that is why I come back to it every day.

Oh, The Joys said...

It is the hugest honor to be part of your community. You are ALL of the things you claim not to be exclusively and that is why we swarm around you like bees to the honey.

Heh. I called you honey. (The Mad Hatter's not going to chase me with a spoon or anything, right?)

ewe are here said...

I like the village analogy. Dead on. And I remember being quite startled as well when someone I didn't know commented on my blog ... didn't know if anyone would be interested. And yet, there they were! ;-)

I'm glad you popped up on my radar... I always look forward to your posts.

flutter said...

I love you. I never thought, in a million years, that would be so buoyed by people I had never laid eyes on. But you, and Jill, and Jess and so many others make the healing and purging and living process such a celebration of the ovary.

Her Bad Mother said...

Just... beautiful, your words. Perfect.

meno said...

I would like to comment on the "funny" thing. I can tell that you are funny, not because your posts are funny, but because you clearly have a sense of humor.

I am using my self as an example, so feel free to throw this away if it doesn't fit. People tell me i am funny too. I tend to use humor instead of connecting with people as well as i should. They make me uncomfortable. When i write i can't zing off the one liners or the silly non-sequitors. It forces me to be a little more real.

Nice post. We need a book with our essays "Why Women Write."

jen said...

that is a really, really good idea.
an anthem of sorts.

thank you, everyone. really.

Ruth Dynamite said...

Yes yes yes. The village. Community.

You say it so well. And that, my friend, is craft.

KC said...

oh jen, Jess is right. Swarming to you like bees to honey.

the purity, great writing, real emotion, humor- I see it-, passion.

The community I've found through you (and that stupid Kaiser-bashing post I wrote), has been unbelieveable.

And about that post not yet written, I've started.

Bob said...

I read your blog (and others like it) and feel like I'm on the outside looking in. I pretend I'm a part of this, but not really. It's like the family get-together where the adults sit at one table and the kids another. I'm definitely at kid table wondering when I'll be old enough to move up.

Maybe one day I will. Until then, I'll read here and learn.

Deezee said...

I refuse to let you demean your writing in any way because it is amongst the most powerful I read, so with that in mind, I am very honored that you tip your hat my way...

jen said...

And I mean this: you are at the big kids table.

I so love that we've connected and are getting to know each other.

Yes, it's woman heavy. yes, we like it that way. But that never, ever means there isn't more room.

Sisters, don't you agree?

Bob said...

thanks, you are sweet to say so. I'm giving it a shot, anyway.

But I still think I'm drinkin' from a sippy cup.

christina said...

Give it up to just wanting to clear our fucking throats!!

I think you're blog rocks and I am glad it exists.

Susanne said...

I'd say I agree with all of the above... The village part of blogging was what I longed for when I started and then I had months of feeling lonely in the blogging world too. And then I found the village. Wow!

Regarding the "not being a writer"-part: we are what we do.

Regarding the sippy cup: no sippy cups here. Even the toddlers get real glasses. At the big table.

scribbit said...

I feel a lot the same way. I look at all these other bloggers and it's easy to see where someone else does something better than you do, but then I don't know that that's not womankind's biggest fault in general anyway.

I just hope you keep at it.

Lillithmother said...

Oh Jen, for someone who just writes without self-editing, you do an absolutely exquisite job at expression yoursef and what impassions your soul.

Like others in your community, I adore you and would be so sad if you left. You are too much a part of my blog tribe...even if sometimes your writing gives me brain cramps! ;-)

*big bear hug*

urban-urchin said...

I'm glad you blog Jen. I've been given the opportunity to get to 'know' people who I may have never met otherwise. When I find a blog like yours there is this bit of excitement that builds inside like when you find a secret little treasure.

Anjali said...

Your words help me find a sense of self. And because of that, to me, you are a writer.