Photo: I took this picture a long time ago… Ursa Major must have been one when this photo was taken. A year ago, we were just leaving the community when this photo was taken. A year ago. For ya’ll who have been with me for a while, you understand why that’s a little ridiculous. We’ve been through a lot together since this blog has started, haven’t we?
I’m sorry again about Monday, dear reader. I’m in a funky headspace… it probably doesn’t help that sleep has suddenly turned into a precious commodity here in the house. The boys are currently in the middle of a 4-day nap boycott, and Ursa Major has decided that it is ok to wake up in the middle of the night and scream for his father because… well, we can’t seem to get him to fully articulate what the hell his problem is.
Finally, at around 1:30 after both of us going in there about 5 times, I laid that child down in the crib, kept his eyes focused on me, and had a pretty epic crazy-mom moment: “Let me be very clear. I am the scariest thing in this house right now and you won’t let me sleep.”
It probably wasn’t the best thing I could have done, but it got the freaking point across. The ridiculousness stopped and he went to sleep.
But now I’m sitting here, yawning, and I’ve got a lot to do. I have a mind to wake that child up and make sure he has a regular schedule (thus taking the much needed nap this afternoon) but the only thing worse than a crying toddler at 12:30 is a cranky little punk toddler at 9:30, you know?
Thank you for the support while I took a bloggy day off. To be honest, there was a part of me on Monday that was going to declare this a bloggy week off. Not because I have no words (though I certainly didn’t on Monday) but because I’m trying to decide where I am with this thing, what I get out of it, what you as a reader get out of it, and what it can and should be. I know that there is a core of regular readers who come here and comment, another outer group who pop in from time to time, and there are people who have found a couple articles of my blog because it would seem that my battles with my in-laws are not that uncommon.
If I’m being completely honest, I think that this blog represents something that scares me. And so does the fiction that I’ve been writing. I feel a lot of momentum, I write just about every day, I’m inspired by something constantly and I see my little moleskine full of scribbled notes and ideas… and I’m starting to get pretty sincere, helpful and hopeful feedback and I’m starting to wonder…
what the hell am I doing here?
I wrote a guest post once on another blog about writing for time. I write because I love it, but I also write because I am desperately looking for a way to contribute financially to my family while staying home with my boys. They represent the chief of my passions and their journeys mean more than the world to me. Where my mother and the rest of my family seem to think I’ve lost my ambitious nature, I’ve simply aligned those ambitions very closely with these two little boys, who they are today and who I’d like them to become tomorrow. I know that I’m walking a line. I’m committed to not become a helicopter mom, not a hands-free mom (for the love of God), not quite a tiger mom, but something else. I’m something else.
But all of that being said, again, what the hell am I doing here? That’s what I’ve been asking myself, because I don’t know the answer. I’m convinced that I have the potential to write in a way that can produce a small little something that I can stick in our coffers, but I’m not totally convinced that I have the talent for it. I’m not fishing for compliments–I know that I write words and those words turn into something that people enjoy reading, and you’ve told me as much, and I’m grateful. I’m not talking about the composition, I’m talking about the everything else: The branding, the twittering, the pictures and the graphics with the frilly fonts… the banners and the links, the “blog tours” and the guests posts…
I’m a mom-blogger, but I’m not that kind of mom blogger. It’s not that I don’t like to see those things on other blogs that I visit. I just know that I’m not really into representing myself that way. But is that what I have to do, I wonder?
And then there is the fiction, which I really relish. And I’m wondering if the grind of writing short fiction and submitting it, and having it rejected (or getting no comments at all) is really the best use of my time. Especially when my larger project, which I’m having some folk read right now, is getting such great feedback. Am I just better at writing longer works? But then I remember what I wrote in November and how utterly ineditable it was… I want to see this larger project through to the end, and then I have two more really awesome ideas right behind it. But I need stuff to get these things going. There is an infrastructure that I’m missing and I don’t know how to build….
I’m a writer, but can I be an author?
And then there are the other talents. This house that we’re working on… and the gardening I want to do… the sewing that I’m excited about starting, the knitting projects and the cooking and baking. I know I’ll never be Martha… and I don’t have the capital to be that woman out on the pioneer trail… you’re already reading about the crazy Black lady in the Massachusetts farmhouse… but would you be interested in reading more? If I kept the same pace, if I continued to write about the boys and The Husband and the preschool nonsense and all of the things that brought you here and bring you back…if Quiet Thoughts were still on Friday and you’d indulge me, from time to time, in a rant about race in America…if I pepper you with stories about my moronic inlaws… but then if I put up recipes, or sewing projects, or gardening and flower arraigning… if I wrote about the writing I’m doing, putting up an excerpt now and again… would you still come here? Would it change the tone and tenor of what this space is?
I’m a blogger… right?
I’m asking because I want to experiment, but I don’t want to alienate. I started this blog two years ago in response to a challenge from and good and trusted friend, and that challenge has brought me really far. Closer to my goals than I have ever been, even when, at the time, I didn’t know that this is where I wanted to be. I want to make sure that I’m still meeting that challenge–stepping up to high expectations, meeting them and exceeding them whenever possible. And I don’t want to make changes that are weird and inauthentic. I don’t actually want to do a lot of crap for the sake of “traffic” or “building my brand.” I’m not doing this to get rich. I’m doing this because I love it, and because this is one of the best things I’ve ever done. I don’t want to stop, I just want to get better.
I’m standing on the thin boundary between everything and nothing, wondering what the hell to do next.
See you Friday with some Quiet Thoughts.