Look, I blogged about blogging
In the comments of the last two posts, Andie and Natasha both asked that I explain what I mean about blogging being dead, or how I feel blogging is now.
To me, blogs used to feel like short stories, or diaries. Now they feel more like magazines. Not that I don’t like magazines, but not when I’m in the mood for a short story. The magazination of a lot of blogs I used to read and love sort of bummed me out, and made me lose interest in sharing my thoughts online. (A lot of that was really me choosing to use my time differently, though.)
From what I do see now and then on blogs, it feels like lots of people want to be Oprah now. I’m not interested in everyone being an expert or guru; I just liked the storytelling.
Some people have managed to make their blogs look like pretty magazines but still kept the same voice and tone and personal sharing level. (Holly is a good example of that. Holly is like The New Yorker to me in that sometimes I find myself reading things I wouldn’t think would interest me, but they do because of her writing style.) That impresses me, because it’s rare, keeping that balance. I mean, if I started blogging regularly again, I don’t know if I could maintain the old level of sharing, and my site would still be black and red and ugly.
Don’t get me wrong: I have no issue with people making money from their blogging. It’s not my thing, but if it’s yours, go for it and more power to you. But a lot of times that changes the tone of the site, and then it becomes less a place where you write about your fears or a funny thing that happened to you over the weekend, and becomes more a place where you tell me your favorite kind of jeans and where I can buy them and here’s a code to get 20% off. If that came up in a personal conversation between us, awesome. I mean, am I not human? I buy jeans. I like codes. I read magazines. I want to know where you found that cool thing. But in my free time, when I’m on the internet seeking out the smart funny writers I like, I’m much more interested in hearing the funny story from your weekend.
(I also think being a blogger and being a writer are two very different things, and being one doesn't automatically make you the other, but I’ll save that for another day. I don’t currently call myself a writer, because I am not currently writing. I also can’t really call myself a blogger at the moment either.)
I do have to say though, just in the past two weeks, more than a few old school bloggers I used to love to read have started blogging again. Is there something in the water? I don’t know, but this makes me happy. Maybe I’ll get back into it too. I am enjoying this whole you ask a question in the comments and I write a post answering it thing we’ve been doing. It’s like a prompt from a creative writing class, just a good way to get back into the habit.
I Am Definitely Hanging Out Without You
In the comments of the last post, Alison said: “I did not know I could A Q’s and you would answer them! Frequently! SO WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THAT DAMNED MINDY KALING BOOK?????”
Okay, fair enough. I strongly disliked the Mindy Kaling book. I had reasonably high hopes for it; I read that excerpt last summer that was like “dear guys, all you need to do to look decent is buy some Converse and a peacoat,” and chuckled and added it to my Goodreads to-read shelf. I was into the first few chapters, because if there’s one thing I love, it’s hearing the bittersweet details of anyone’s childhood or adolescence. And I was interested in hearing more about how she broke into being a writer for a successful television show. But then the book trailed off, and farted out some three paragraph chapters that wouldn’t have even counted as blog posts, and then at the end she was publishing tiny black and white self-portrait photos from her Blackberry?! Did she not know she could just make the font Courier New 14 pt to get her page count up? Who slept on editing this thing?
My main issue with the Mindy Kaling book was that it became clear a few chapters in that I don’t think I would like Mindy Kaling. She’s smart, she’s funny, but she’s also way too bossy for me to ever warm to her. Her whole schtick is too… boastingly savvy? I am a grown ass woman, so stop talking to me like everything is gossip or instruction. I started getting this uncomfortable sinking feeling while reading it and realized she was like some girl you befriend at a party in your 20s, because you’re both smart and funny and have had a few drinks and can banter and play off each other and go I KNOW!!! til the cows come home, and then one time, several parties/hang outs later, you’re telling some self-deprecating story about some body hair-removal caper, and it’s a good story, but before you get to the punch line, she cuts you off and says totally seriously, “You would really look a lot better if you waxed your upper lip instead of bleached it, or maybe tried a thinner brow. I can give you the number of the place I go,” and then goes into her own story and you have the social wind knocked out of you (yes I realize that sounds like a fart euphemism) and you stand there blinking, thinking, “Wait, maybe she was trying to be helpful?” but then hours later, when you’re at home, you realize, “But I wasn’t asking for help! I was doing fine, telling my funny story, and she cockblocked my punchline AND insulted me.” Did she do this on purpose? Who knows. Probably not. Maybe she’s very nice and bossy but just not my type. She’s just that kind of person, and I have no use for those people in my life. Just like the Mindy Kaling book, which I threw across the room when I finished and it still sits on my shelf because I refuse to lend it to anyone I love.
To counteract all that negativity, I will tell you a book I loved reading, and that was How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran. This book made me laugh out loud over and over while I read it, and halfway through, I wanted to be best friends with Caitlin Moran. Caitlin Moran wouldn’t undercut your punchline or volunteer that that color didn’t really suit you. Caitlin Moran would buy a round and listen to you tell the story about that faux friend who tried to fix you and go “Oooooh!” at all the right parts. I have bought several copies of this book because I intend to keep a stack of them on a shelf to give away (alongside all my copies of Feminist Ryan Gosling).
I promise I don’t really feel the need to befriend all the authors I read in order to appreciate their writing, but that was the best way for me to break these two down. I also realize I just wrote 700 words after saying yesterday that I couldn’t see myself blogging anymore. That was a fun question to answer, though. Feel free to hit me with another.
1. How are you?
I’m good. Enjoying living in Brooklyn, being married to Nick, reading books, making plans, doing some online shopping where I carefully select several items, put them in my cart, and then close the browser window.
2. Are you still writing?
Not nearly as much as I’d like. There’s been some stuff here and there, and some stuff coming up. If there's something you'd like me to write, email me.
3. I miss your blog!
Thank you, that’s a really nice thing to say. Sometimes I miss my blog too. But I can’t see myself being a part of how blogging is now, in 2012. That’s not a judgment call, it’s just my personal feeling. If you miss reading my half-cocked rants or enjoy reblogged photos of the northern lights, I do update my Tumblr on a regular basis, so there you go.
4. What are you going to do with this site?
I don’t know. I like keeping it here because once in a blue moon I go through the archives and remember fun stuff from the past, and that’s worth the hosting fees to me. Maybe someday I’ll write here again more often.
5. Do you still do Cringe?
Yes, I very much still do Cringe. Cringe happens once a month in both New York and in London. Ana McLaughlin hosts it in London in my absence as she is the only person I’d trust with its safekeeping, and it was such a hit in London, I'd feel bad taking it away. (Ana is the stellar publicist for the UK Cringe book, and shares my love for things like teen angst and Tudor history and Monday night tequila shots.) Next month I’ll get to attend both Cringes, which makes me very happy.
6. Are you going to have children? Here are my opinions on that.
That’s not something I want to share with people I don’t know.
7. Can I email you to say hi, reminisce, or ask questions?
8. Do you know your site still says “Copyright © 2001–2010 by sb” even though it’s 2012?
Yes. Isn’t that annoying?
9. What does your hair look like now? That picture on your About page is from 2005.
10. Who’s the number one rock band in the world?
Blue Oyster Cult, put your dad on the phone.