Tag Archives: blogging

The Problem With Being a “Lady Blogger”

Shall we all retire to our garrets and come out only to discuss ART (and, not Assisted Reproductive Technology) like Flaubert and Proust?

I recently ran into a discussion about how some prominent online women writers loathe the term “lady blogger.”

I must admit I’d never heard the phrase.

Apparently, there is a theory out there (happy to email you guys a link to the article but I don’t want to put it up here for a variety of reasons) that women writers are becoming segregated into a kind of world where the only major issues being discussed are related to “Aunt Flo,” weight, appearance, style, children (or lack thereof) and reproductive politics.

This was interesting to me. I suspect (although I am not sure) that a lot of Adoption/Loss/Infertility bloggers also write OTHER blogs. The ALI world clearly is a place where there is a unique community aspect to our writing: we share information about our own journeys and write where we are in our battle to have children, live childless/childfree or parent after infertility. So, yes: we write about mostly this stuff, the reproductive details of our lives.

But most of us vary it up somewhat. I have seen a wide variety of brilliant, general interest posts over the years on many ALI blogs about many different things: religion, politics, science, truly great non-fiction and of course, humor.

The posts I have highlighted I honestly believe could be published as articles in print media, or on a broader online platform like Huffington Post or even in a literary journal like the New Yorker. To prove my point, one of my best writer buddies HAS been published in a print magazine, about her budgeting project blog.

I guess the theory is, by mostly writing about ONE topic and getting stuck in a niche, do we miss the opportunity to gain a wider audience? Or, do you believe that great, universal posts go viral and gain the acceptance they deserve?

I have to say that while I have seen a few posts that resonated deeply go viral, I have also seen a bunch that also shot me straight in the heart not go viral and I think that is a shame. I guess being a writer means that rejection is the main defining feature of our lives (as my dad always says) but I do have to ask the question:

By writing in one category, do outstanding writers miss larger opportunities for their words to be read? I know most of my readers are very modest, but all of you have written a truly great post. Just like everyone has one book in them, I truly believe that each blogger has at least one truly great post in them. I’ve read too many to dispute that theory…

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For the Love of the Blog, Part Two

I had to share this photo of Darcy, who met his hero Chris Berman. It pretty much made his year. As some wag on Facebook commented, “He seems really engaged.” Heh.

Big round of applause for WordPress: they are listening to us about the commenting! Check it out. Thank you, WordPress. I am impressed. Please add your problems commenting to the thread: they are checking.

I wanted to share Part Two of blog posts which moved me.

From Part One:

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 but most didn’t. 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 without further ado, Part Two.

Apartment Therapy (Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan): Melting the Walls & Opening Up to Love Weekend Meditation. An unexpectedly moving post about walls, physical and otherwise, from a home decor writer. “Unlike in our real house, when we melt our own walls we do not discover that our roof falls in. On the contrary, our entire being opens up to the world again, and the sun comes streaming in.” Love.

Breed ‘Em And Weep: The Big Why. Vivid description of what it’s like to suffer from Bipolar Disorder.

Clay Baboons: “What Not to Say to Someone With an Uncooperative Uterus“. ZOMG: the funny! The wavy frowny line cracks me up, every time. Plus, educational!

Family Building With a Twist: An Open Letter to My Son’s Preschool Teachers. So honest and moving….

Hyperbole and a Half: Depression. Whoa.

Lainey: Yes, I read Lainey 🙂 This was a fascinating look at the way celebrities have influenced mothering and this year’s “mother’s day on steroids.”

Live From the 205: Bookworm. A grandfather imparts a love of reading, via the same leather-bound gold-leafed books my dad gave me, and his granddaughter remembers.

Love That Max: The disturbing results of a quest to educate people not to use the word “retard.”

Miss OhKay: An education about the Democratic Republic of Congo, where Miss E was adopted from. Chilling, informative, unfathomable.

Once a Mother: Tending to Our Wounds tells the story of the “towel baby” and strongly and unforgettably makes the point how important it is to grieve and express yourself.

Pioneer Woman: Ten Important Things I’ve Learned About Blogging. This post is pretty much my blogging manifesto.

Shifty Shadow: The Garden. Achingly poignant analogy about loss.

Suburban Homestead: The Secret Society. Beautifully written piece about, well, you have to read it to find out!

Truth and Cake: What Did You Give Up, To Get What You Got? Tremendous, provoking post about why society expects us to “have it all.”

I hope you enjoy this reading material. I feel like blogging has kind of slowed down in general. Do you agree? Is it the summer doldrums?

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My Article for BlogHer: Is WordPress Scaring Your Commenters Away?

I wrote an article for BlogHer today inspired by Stumbling Gracefully, about how difficult WordPress is making commenting.

Have you noticed a drop-off in comments since the changes WordPress has made?

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Thank You For The Blog Posts: Part One

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.

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Syndicated on BlogHer Today!

Mel and the crew over at BlogHer asked me to write about my experience with my blog going down: please feel free to go over there and LEARN FROM MY NIGHTMARE 🙂 Comments are always appreciated too 🙂

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My Blog Disappeared and I Almost Lost My Mind

I knew that my blog was important to me. I knew that it was responsible for finding good friends, connecting with others in the Adoption/Loss/Infertility community and really coming to terms with my own experience with infertility and loss.

Yesterday I realized my blog is almost a physical part of me. And when it was taken away, I ached. I was numb. I was in shock. I couldn’t sleep.

We unfortunately have been reminded this month that there are many, many worse things than a blog vanishing. I felt silly for having such a reaction.

Here’s how it began:

At about 6:00 PM, I checked my email to see if I needed to approve any comments. There was one, so I clicked the approve comment button. Instead of returning to the dashboard, I saw a notice in bright red letters notifying me that my blog had been deacticated, and I wouldn’t be able to administer it. Shocked, I tried to go to my site, and there was a notice that my blog had basically been suspended for violating the terms of service.

I reeled, and immediately filled out the contact form provided by WordPress requesting my blog be reactivated. I filled out a couple of other forms online. I started to get emails from friends who went to my site and saw that it was down. I went on Twitter and asked others for help. I went on Facebook and did the same.

So many bloggers came through for me. Stirrup Queens worked tirelessly and talked to friends who have a lot of experience with the WordPress platform. She also had saved all my entries and sent them to me in word documents so, worst case scenario, I would have a hard copy of my blog to look at. It made me cry to see my entries all together on actual pages. Mel, you are my fairy godmother. I cannot thank you enough.

A number of bloggers, Keiko, S.I.F, Write Mind Open Heart, SlackieO, Bereaved and Blessed, Once a Mother, Wistful Girl, Keanne and many others helped me by searching for answers, or tweeting and RTing my story copying WordPress. Or simply offered an I’m sorry and a shoulder to cry on. Esperanza issued a couple of fiercely-worded tweets that were very brave and much appreciated.

My husband Darcy, who I must admit is not the biggest fan of my blogging, was full of action and sympathetic and reassuring and supportive. He knew how much of a blow this was to me.

I obsessively checked my email until about 12:30 PM, and with no word from WordPress, I fell into a shallow and restless sleep until I checked my email at about 5 AM and found the note from WordPress that I was looking for: my site had been flogged by automatic anti-spammer controls. They had reviewed my site and corrected this and now my blog was reactivated. They were very sorry that it had happened.

Now in the aftermath, I have learned some valuable lessons.

Back up your blog. You just never know.
– I am looking into self-hosting. It’s time.
– I treated this blog very cavalierly and casually. I haven’t done any updates to it, I didn’t back it up, I used a basic template to create it, I never hired someone to create a cool banner. I thought about it, and promised to do it, but I didn’t. I TOOK MY BLOG FOR GRANTED Y’ALL, like some douchebag boyfriend in college takes his rad girlfriend for granted.

If my blog could sing, it would be singing this Adele song to me:

‘Cause there’s a side to you
That I never knew, never knew,
All the things you’d say,
They were never true, never true,
And the games you play
You would always win, always win.

Lyrics written by Adele and Fraser T. Smith

I’m so sorry, beloved blog. I will never again treat you like Adele’s ex-boyfriend allegedly treated her.

What would YOU do if your blog disappeared? Do you back it up? Feed it, water it? Give it love?

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I’m Syndicated on BlogHer Today!

I am so incredibly proud that today my “Rashomon: The Ill-Fated Blogger Sleepover” post has been syndicated on BlogHer! It’s currently even on the front page. Check it out, here. I can only think of a few things in my life that I have felt more excited about.

Friends, I would seriously love and appreciate any commenting on the BlogHer post or tweeting love you could provide for this.

Thank you, all!

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