I have an almost total recall for prose which has moved me in some emotional way, whether to tears, laughter, greater empathy or just awe. Am I alone? I often muse upon old posts I read months ago as well as ones I have read today. This is what is so strange and powerful about the written (or typed) word to me: the lasting impact someone can make when one hits the publish button.
Today I was thinking how grateful I am to many bloggers for hitting that “publish now” button. Some of the posts that reverberate in my mind were famous, most weren’t. Some got hundreds of comments (one got thousands) but most didn’t. But what I realized is that validation, something discussed a lot recently in the blogosphere, isn’t just about the immediate impact of that first rush of page views and comments. It’s also the aftermath, the possibility to move someone even years later, to some emotion.
So I’d like to single out these particular posts, some of which are days, months and years old (one is over a decade old), and these particular writers for their work. Thank you for your posts, which had a lasting impact on me. They have changed me or shaped me in some way, or in many cases, provided a much needed laugh. Which may sound trivial but I assure you it’s not: laughter makes my life much better and richer. Some of the writers I know personally, but most of them I do not.
In Alphabetical Order (There are more, but here is Part One):
a little pregnant: In the midst of my pregnancy problems in 2010, I frantically googled “gestational sac small” and came across this post, which both prepared me for the worst and also made me feel less alone. I consumed Julie’s whole blog that day and also discovered Stirrup Queens.
Amalah: “This Mortal Coil” Because nothing is more funny than an oven fire, an inconveniently located fuse box and running into a wall facefirst, right? In Amalah’s hands, a proctology exam would be hysterical. Maybe? Probably.
Ayelet Waldman’s Bad Mother Blog: The only blog I read until 2010, and I didn’t even know it was a blog. I love this post, about how reviews and book signings totally suck for authors.
Bereaved and Blessed: “Gatekeepers” A moving and life-affirming post which asks her viewers two questions: “How are you feeling?” “What are you doing tomorrow?” based on a local hero, Kevin Briggs, who has kept 200 people from jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. I think everyone in Marin County unfortunately could name someone they know or know of who has jumped, so this was very meaningful to me personally.
Bodega Bliss: A pregnancy announcement with a twist: Courtney decides to embrace only the joy in her good news, and enjoy every single day. If you know Courtney’s struggle, you know how extraordinary this is, and how extraordinary she is.
Bloggess: “And that’s why you should learn to pick your battles.” The post which changed the way we all look at big metal chickens. Forever.
Bloodsigns: “The Oleander & the Groves” Haunting, brilliant: about how the very landscape we are in brings about layers of emotions and memories. God, I wish I could write like this.
Dragondreamer’s Lair: In WTF news, I will NEVER forget Kristin’s post about the car decorated with what appears to be…Louis Vuitton stickers? I have no words. Still.
Elphaba: My so-called life: The Sims and their ridiculously easy time with pregnancy causes much jealousy. Funny, funny stuff.
Flotsam: Even thinking about this post, about how the main theme of her decor is “whimsy,” makes me chortle. Alexa Stevenson takes us on a photo tour of her house and the highlights are “elderly, stiffened washclothes” “cat hair tumbleweeds” and “rug last washed during previous administration.” Rad.
Half-Baked Life: God sent Justine down from Heaven to teach us all how to make these chocolate peanut butter pillows.
Infertility Voice: Keiko’s post about how her dad covered 9/11 as a photojournalist was fascinating not just because I am also a daughter of a journalist, but because I loved her dad’s story: unfiltered and honest. The unpublished photo he took of Ground Zero is stunning.
Kir’s Corner: Perspective. I think this post sums up the complicated emotions of parenting after infertility so, so well. This is exactly how I feel, but am unable to articulate.
Life From Here: The most amazing, breathtaking conclusion to a pregnancy and birth story with more twists and turns than a Hitchcock movie. Masterfully told.
Marwil: “Never is a long time” Short. Sad. Sweet.
Maybe Baby: Love > sadness. A mother goes to visit the trees she has planted in memory of her twin daughters with a friend. I had to catch my breath after reading this.
Mommy Odyssey: Mo’s sense of humor is on full display, here, in this post about how her 34 day cycle nearly broke her brain. I laughed so hard, and keep returning to the post to see “ZOMG Teh Drama!” kitten picture, again.
Not a Fertile Myrtle: In honor of 9/11, Suzy decides to challenge herself to be kind to strangers. Her post really made me look at that event differently, and ever since I read that post I have also tried to be more kind to and mindful of strangers.
Road Less Travelled: I will never, ever forget the story of Loribeth’s Christmas Party From Hell. Seriously! The insensitivity, it boggles the mind :(
Smartness: “Sh*t Uncle Paul Says.” Oh my Lordy, teh hilarity. I love Kymberli’s description of Uncle Paul, who she meets for the first time at a family funeral. “Paul looked around at everyone exchanging greetings. He heaved a dramatic sigh and lit a cigarette. ‘Come on, let’s get this funeral on the road. I have compassion, but I don’t have patience.’ Then he gave two snaps up and a little ‘mmmhmmm’ neck roll.”
Stirrup Queens: Mel is hella funny. I know that’s maybe not what she’s known for (and obviously I could go on and on about inspiring things she’s written), but this, about a flakey tooth fairy made me laugh so hard I startled people at Jamba Juice. Close second: the vomit circle of hell, featuring really annoying little ponies. “Mr. Whiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiskers!”
Stumbling Gracefully: “Miscarriages Are Real Losses.” No one could read this and not understand the absolute devastation that a miscarriage causes. Esperanza brilliantly intersperses a clinical voice explaining what a miscarriage is with journal entries of how she felt. “Tell them that, even if you can’t comprehend what they’re going through, you accept it and everything that comes with it; that you acknowledge their loss as significant and real. Because it is.” Amazing.
Tomato Nation: For Thou Art With Us. Yet another account of 9/11, but this one from an eyewitness to the twin towers falling. The eyewitness is a pop culture writer (and she’s not a blogger but has a website) I’ve long admired, Sarah Bunting. Every year I reread her story and it always crushes me on many levels: the mundane (her shoes were too tight that day), the extraordinary, the unimaginable (the piece of burned shirt cuff that lands on her as she’s watching the towers on fire), the hellish, the terrifying, the unexpected friendship: all these elements intertwine to create such an enduring and horrifying tale. It amazes me still that such a writer was there in the epicenter of it all, and was able to tell the story.
Write Mind, Open Heart: The Meadow. Incredible.
As a humble reader, I just wanted to thank you one and all. Your writing has meant a lot to me.
Am I alone? Do you remember posts long after they have been published? Or do they fade away like fog on a San Francisco afternoon after you’ve read them? If you do have posts which you remember long after they were written, please feel free to share them in the comments. I would love to read them.