Monday, October 12, 2009

An excuse, a question, and a clear example of why I should write parenting books

For all those folks who like what happens here…you may have some 'splainin' to do.

Oh yes. You stopped me from quitting blogging. You see, it’s been a touch disheartening around this bare and dusty corner of the internet lately, with traffic dwindling to numbers I’ve not seen in years, with my motivation to post right around ‘meh’ most days (when I used to LOVE to come up with stuff and rattle on), and with a noted lack of anything original.

Sad fact is that other people do it better, more wittily, more stably, and to a far wider audience than I do, which is not a fun place to find oneself.

I confess, I’ve never thought of myself as ordinary, and yet that appears to be what my opinion of NAY is lately. Ordinary. Just one of a million other self-indulgent places of the internet, so tiny as to be forgettable, so middle of the road as to be the blog equivalent of an all-beige home.

It seems that as my life became more and more stable/fun/settled, the need to write was subsumed into living what is an embarrassingly wonderful life. As it has always been, my BEST writing comes from a place of anger or misery, when emotions cause an upwelling of insight and passion that spills over into something readable or that packs a real wallop. Happy times are ridden calmly and happily, the life equivalent of a pony ride versus the bronc-bustin’ thrills that come with difficulty and rage, and life lately has been the equivalent of the fattest little Shetland equine you ever seen...

Another thing is that it’s coming up on 4 years of me keeping NAY, an exercise that started with the desire to create a chronology of my life but rapidly devolved into a gmish of competing content and styles. It’s had it’s ups and down, and at first I was caught up in the heady rush of an increasing reader base, the thrill of seeing the comment count steadily increase, the notion that I might just be able to turn this thing into a cultural meme (I hadn’t yet heard of Dooce, or probably would never have typed the first letter, much less be so brash as to believe I could do something that would garner me ‘household name’ recognition). Gathering up a little clutch of friends and familiar faces was (and is) so full of potential and rich interchange, a learning experience in each pseudonym. But then things leveled off. And then they started to drop off. And drop, until now I don’t check stat counter anymore for fear I’ll find out that most of the hits come from me checking in to see if anyone has comments…the equivalent of calling your voicemail every 5 minutes to see if that cute guy from Bio 101 called you when you stepped out to use the bathroom for 5 minutes 4 hours ago.

Nobody likes to realize they will never be one of the popular kids. Sometimes the best thing to do is have a nice snack, go lie down for a while, and maybe when you’ve had a little nap the world will have turned enough to allow some light into a formerly gloomy room.

Well, in the past few days I’ve apparently been asleep, taking that whole ‘nap’ idea to a ridiculous extent, and the first thought I had once I was ready to form one was ‘I think it’s time to quit.’ This was what I posted on Facebook, a clear pity ploy if ever there was one, but the resounding ‘oh HELL no’ from those who commented were the jostleneeded to fully wake me up to the reality that even if I have a short handful of readers, and even if my name won’t ever be pasted on book covers or BlogHer agendas or billboards, and even if what I do here is as schizophrenic as Sybil on a bad day, there are those folks who like what they find here, and so it’s for them I write incredibly long sentences like this one in thanks.

So, thanks y’all. Just be aware that if what you find here is a big steaming pile of sulfurous reek, it’s all your fault. You’re the ones who asked for it!


Question – anybody interested in seeing the Wordsmiths start up again? I have a teeny tiny feeling that part of my case of the ‘meh’ these days might be in part due to the fact that the storytelling aspect of writing has been absent for a while.

Perhaps it’s just that the holidays are approaching and that’s always a time to start thinking creatively, but dang it I feel like it’s time to spend a few hours dabbling and cutting and pasting and throwing words around so that each and every one of the 500 allowable words is as shiny and perfect as it can be.

So, anyone ELSE up for a revival?


Lastly, it’s once again apparent that I should really be pressing the Nobel committee to initiate a prize in “mother of the year” because I so TOTALLY deserve it.

Exhibit 1: Thing 1 comes home from school Friday with a story of how he tripped over a bunch of backpacks that morning and has since been suffering with a sore ankle. To this new I of course said “there there dear, take some ibuprofen and get in the car, we’re going to go see Grandma.”

Yes, I did. That’s how much I care.

All weekend long Thing 1 suffered with spastic attacks of limping which I as his loving mother attributed to some first-class attention-seeking behavior from any of the gathered relatives. That limp wasn’t consistent, you see, and so I had my suspicions of how genuine it was.

Yesterday on the ride home from our visit there was actual writhing in the back seat as he tried to get comfortable on our 4-hour ride home. “Eh, teenage histrionics!” thought I, once again believing he was looking to get some ‘poor baby’ love from his mama. Oh, I went so far as to ask him how bad it hurt, and if there was any bruising, but I didn’t really get terribly far into any one line of questioning before letting the whole affair drop, for I am a caring and committed mother who was also maybe a little occupied with the fact that Route 8 south in Virginia was trying to kill me absofuckinglutley DEAD with its crazy sloping switchbacks and deathly mountainside drop-offs. When one is facing the very real possibility of becoming the next sad traffic statistic (‘4 dead in flaming 40-foot plunge into the Roanoke River’), random sore ankles don’t really get top billing.

Sometimes? It IS all about me.

Until it’s not, which was last night, when I finally, FINALLY took a close look at the youth's size 13 hoof. Which, as it turns out, was sporting a VERY nice golf-ball sized swelling over the ankle projection. Hey, it turns out the boy really WAS hurt! Color me astonished!

So guess who was the next in the family to get X-rays, require crutches and a fancy new ankle-stabilizing boot, and might just require further orthopedic care if in 2 weeks we see evidence that the sprain actually tore loose bone fragments? If you guess Thing 1, you get a prize.

So yeah, I totally need to talk to those Nobel people. Parenting skillz like I have should be rewarded with a cool million smackeroos, don’t you think? It’d go a long way toward their inevitable counseling bills.

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