18 August 2011

The Why of the Blog

Tonight I was driving Two and his friends to sleep over at Chuck's house. We've known Chuck since kindergarten. He's a good kid-funny, smart, mellow. When he found out I had a twitter account he signed up to follow me, even though he generally only follows sports.

During the drive up to his house, he said, "Oh, Mrs. D, I read your blog now."

"Oh, Chuck," I said, "you don't have to read my blog." I felt like I had pressured him, through our twitter connection.

"No; I like it! I like your writing style."

I told you-he's intelligent.

Then, a voice from the back said, "Wait; you have a blog? What do you blog about?"

"Well, I blog about being the only woman in a house of men. It's also about my writing, and my annoying teenagers."

At that point, Two started quietly groaning.

"Oh, Two," Chuck said, "what do you care? I know, you said 'don't read it, there might be something embarrassing in there about me.' It's your mother; she's not going to embarrass you."

I quickly abandoned my plan to write about Two's hickey-splotched neck.

When I dropped the teenagers at their destination, I thanked Chuck for his compliment, and told him he was allowed to keep reading. But as I drove away, I struggled for a moment with the knowledge that I had acquired teenage readers. I worried it would influence my choice of topics.

Which made me wonder, do I tailor the blog for my audience?

A few weeks ago, I typed lyrics from a Linkin Park song, and I hesitated before adding "motherfucker" at the end. I thought about my mother and aunt wrinkling their noses as they read it, disappointed that I printed the word.

Each time I write Oh My God, I worry I've offended both the Christians and the Pagans-one, for using the Lord's name in vain; the other, for referring to one specific all-powerful deity.

When I write about being uneasy, frustrated, or restless, I'm concerned it I will make my husband anxious.

If I talk about medicating my autistic and ADHD children, I'm certain there are readers who think I should try an alternative.

Every time I detail a fight, or failure, I'm sure someone reading thinks I am a bad parent.

But I can't whitewash or fabricate details, because the posts are the truth. Admittedly, it's my truth, which is subjective. Although I do sometimes think about my readers when I compose, ultimately the blog is just for me. It offers a way for me to sort through my feelings, to organize my thoughts, and to practice my craft.

Is there something you do just for you?


  1. Anonymous18.8.11

    I write mine for me too. If I didn't write, my hair would catch on fire, my head would explode, and all my guts would come gushing out my eyes. Or, ya know, I'd talk Daniel's ears off. Well, I do that anyway, so probably best that I keep blogging.

    I love yours, keep doing what you're doing. It's wonderful.

  2. Write for you.

    I have a couple of former students who read mine. They're both thirteen years old. I'd be lying if I said I didn't keep that in mind. I also feel that, at thirteen, they will either be utterly bored by my pregnancy musings so I figure nothing I said is that potentially scarring.

    It's like dh said when I was teaching and answering a call from a parent and a song came on my itunes that wasn't intended for the kids. He told me: It's not the first time they ever heard "hell". They'll live.

    I like that man's perspective, just saying.

    Your blog is spectacular, btw, and the wise teen who appreciates your writing style is pretty cool too. Plus, feel free to embarrass your kids. They, I'm sure, embarrassed you enough to earn it. :)

  3. I don't know... I don't have kids so there's probably enough of my life that's lived for my own happiness, that I don't need any one outlet to be Purely Moi. If I need to write something completely private then I do so in my computer, but that's rare. And I pray every night--that's completely unedited! ;-)

  4. You worry too much.

    It's your blog, write for you. That said, with the exception of Magnum, my family doesn't read mine. He's pretty much the only person I worry about offending, though, so I just pretend he's my only audience. If others read and are offended, they may feel free to explore the rest of the interwebz. Works for me, anyway.

  5. No matter what you write about, you can offend someone, somewhere. So just let that one go. You write for you, people can choose to read or not and you can delete their obnoxious comments.

    Gotta say, that was quite an image, Julie!!

    And I have always felt that one of the true joys of parenthood was the fun of embarrassing my kids. So far no one has died of it!

  6. Nicole21.8.11

    I'm with Chuck. I really like your writing style. Keep doing what you're doing. I am enjoying it!

  7. @Julie: Oh my! Thank goodness you keep writing-for all us!

    @Lora: Even if I don't use our embarassing moments for the blog, I'm certain I can incorporate them in a book someday. (Evil cackle).

    @Mabel: Prayer is a lovely outlet. I forget to take quiet moments.

    @Delia: It's true-I do worry. But if I DON'T write, then OTHER people worry. The first time I didn't write a daily post, my mother called to find out if I was sick. I'm slowly getting them used to the sporadic posts.

    @Karen: Yes, I anticipate changing the sidebar to "How I Embarrassed Five."

    @Nicole: Welcome! Thanks for the kind words!

  8. Hmm. I teach marketing, so I mutter "know your audience" in my sleep. Having said that, I think there's a difference between worrying about specific audience members (those you know and love) and a faceless group.

    If it were me, I'd try to be truthful, thoughtful and kind in my decisions to write things that affected specific people--which probably includes continuing to embarrass your children. It's your job, after all, to point out that their actions have consequences. ;)


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