I’m teaching a blogging class at Gilda’s club and loving it. A bunch of fabulous women have smart, moving, scary, funny, inspirational, snarky thoughts they’d like to share with the world or with a few friends. Mostly they want to use blogging as a kick-in-the-ass driver for writing. I get to be their ass kicker. They get to be mine.
We’re just starting out – me with my new blog, them with their first blogs, or in one case, a newish direction for an old one. Lots of blogging experts will tell you there’s a format for success. But if that’s not your end goal, or someone else’s definition of success falls too short, or too tall, then you can bin the musts and the shoulds. It just needs to be interesting – to someone, and that someone should at the very least be you, the writer.
This past class we talked about the first piece we post – the piece that tells our reader what to expect from us – more or less. Hi mom, here’s what I’m going to be talking about. Make it broad, or make it narrow. The experts suggest not veering off topic. So if you’re doing a million things to do with duct tape, you shouldn’t suddenly go on a rant about people who don’t pick up after their dogs, although there is a link for sure. Show us the link (the old kind of link where an idea is connected to another idea, not the kind where you click and get blown off to another place entirely but that’s ok too when relevant. I’d suggest an image of the duct-tapped owner, not the dog, but that’s just me).
My blog and my rules celebrate the tangential. In fact I’m thinking of naming the new blog Queen of the Tangent - please don’t steal that - even though experts say one word is best, two is good, three is overweight. Following the less is more rule we get Tangent Queen. There’s a reason Cleopatra wasn’t called Nile Queen.
Anyway, I was reading the class my first blog post ever (well second, the first was a rant about the Harper majority win) on Nothinginmoderation, from May 4, 2011.
I wrote that when I tell people I write memoir, I sometimes get this:
“Memoir?” behind which I’m convinced lies the question, “What have you done that’s worthy of writing a memoir about?” I understand that. Usually people have a big life full of happenings, or do something of particular note and then have what to write about. I imagine from most people’s point of view I’ve had a relatively small life, a bit out of the ordinary, but not much.
I felt myself start to cry. We don’t always want the big life happenings others deem worthy of writing about. Small can be good. It’s all in the telling. Journals, blogs, memoirs, are full of emotional booby traps where our shit, our innocence, our bad choices, our dreams lie in wait to prove us wrong or right. When we’re lucky, the things we never thought we’d survive with any kind of grace or sanity reflect our capable selves back at us. I remember why I love blogging.