Mitchell-Lama Mama’s Blog

an ordinary life in an extraordinary city

Blogging is Weird January 28, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — mitchelllamamama @ 5:27 pm
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Or maybe it’s just that I’m too old to rock-n-roll and too young to die.  

 

Blogging is a completely different medium for me, and I’m continuing to work on figuring it out.  Not just the computer savvy part of it, but exactly what purpose it serves.  I started writing fiction (and poetry during the angsty years) when I was a kid.  I also always had diaries–which I began calling journals during those same self-inflated angsty years.  I have to say, journaling was never for me.  Mostly, those lovely notebooks were 2/3 empty, and half of the 1/3 looked more like date books than anything else.  🙂

 

I remember reading Hugh Prather’s Notes to Myself, and being blown away.  Looking back, I’m not sure if I was blown away by his writing, or the idea that what amounted to someone’s journal was published and being read by others–and not posthumously.

 

I was always afraid someone would find my journal and read it.  So I’d tone down what I wrote, afraid to offend, afraid to get into trouble.  I have met people who have the same fears in their fiction writing.  What?  A sex scene with the bedroom door open? What if my mother reads this?  I never had that issue.  Fiction feels like a very safe way to explore real and honest humanity, without worrying about who is going to read what into which scene.  If readers “recognize” themselves in a character, to me it’s a positive meaning they can identify with that character.

 

In writing groups, books, circles, you hear the phrase plotter vs pantser.  Plotters plan and outline the entire book before writing the first sentence, pantsers have an idea (situation, character, opening scene, etc) and just write, seeing where it takes them.  I’m more of a pantser.  I usually have an idea for a character and an opening scene, make sketchy notes for a rough outline of the character, some more sketchy notes planning the setting or idea behind each scene for the first few chapters, and then just write.  Lather, rinse, repeat for the rest of the manuscript.  Those notes give me some sense of security; yes, this scene does serve a purpose and move the story forward, and I believed those notes helped to prevent me from being blocked.  (Not working for me now, but that’s a whole different post.)  Not having detailed notes gave me the freedom to let the story take an unexpected turn, add a new layer to the story without “ruining” what I had planned for the next 300 pages. 

 

Blogging is a whole different world.  It isn’t journaling, you are putting your thoughts out there for everyone (including mom;) ) to read.  But it isn’t fiction.  I grew up reading George Orwell, and my understanding is that what you put out into cyberspace is there and accessible forever.  Big Brother is watching you. It seems like the best blogs are informative or funny.  This blog certainly isn’t informative; I am just a regular Jane, not a recognized expert in anything.  For anyone whose instinct might be to reassure me that I’m an expert on me, or my children–meh.  😉  I’m too old not to be ok with who I am, even if I don’t want to stay where I am.  I’d like this blog to be entertaining, but funny is a fine line.  Often what’s funny borders on mean spirited, poking at exposed nerves.  We laugh when we can recognize what we’re seeing or reading.   I’d like to develop the skill of allowing readers to recognize the stories I’m sharing without hurting or attacking any individual person.  I guess I still don’t want to offend anyone, not because I’m afraid, but because it seems unnecessary. 

 

I also don’t want this blog to become a laundry list of my days.  I can’t imagine anything more excruciating to read, so before this long winded post deteriorates into me chatting about the dirty bathtub, I’ll sign off.  🙂  

 

Happy Wednesday everyone,

Mama

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10 Responses to “Blogging is Weird”

  1. cmscribbles Says:

    Happy Wednesday to you Mama!

    I can relate to your thoughts on trying to figure out blogging and the purpose that it serves. I have those same feelings right now with facebook. I recently signed up and am already asking myself “what’s the point?” I told a few family members and close friends that I am more than likely going to delete my account. I can’t figure out how the time spent there is worthwhile. I am not one that has to find purpose in every minute either–so it is kind of a weird feeling.

    So, move over mama, I’ll keep you company on your “too old to rock-n-roll and too young to die bench! 😀

  2. shoesan Says:

    Happy Wednesday gals! I took a snowday 😀 Sounds like being a pantser goes back to writers write, SO just write (BOY did that come back to BITE YOU) 😛 j/k
    Ya know there is a saying YOU are never too old to rock and roll!
    Did you know the definition of a blog is an Online journal? I am very entertained and love reading KEEP GOING!!
    Oh and CMscribbles, I am a facebook addict! can’t get enough. I have had it for 3 yrs but it has only become popular in the last 4 months.
    I wrote a few pages of a novel. I have the whole story in my head. I just can’t get it out. I think I will keep it there.

  3. CasaDe Says:

    I think there is a very light grey line between fiction and blogging, but I have an important phone call so I won’t elaborate!

  4. Philly Mom Says:

    LOL on Facebook addiction. I just recently signed up and I’m enjoying it as a way to say hello to friends from high school and grade school and keep in touch with my family yet another way…I even found 2 second cousins I haven’t talked to in awhile and can read what they are up to now whenever I want (and they can do the same on my page). I do not do all the ‘extra’ time wasters and I must admit, it feels narcissistic to update what I’m doing…but I remind myself how much I like to look at the newsfeed page and see what everyone else is up to.

    I do think once I catch up with everyone it will feel less meaningful and fun. At first, I thought I would take my account down, but I kind of like being around for people to chat with when they need a friend. Most moms work in Philly and I need more friends IRL right now…..so for now, I guess it fills a gap for me, too.

    I think it takes courage to blog and let people in like that. I also think it takes courage to write fiction also, and I certainly feel “exposed” when writing fiction, even when I am creating characters that are NOT me or anyone I know….you bring yourself to your writing, much like actors and actresses show some vulnerable, deep places in certain roles they play. Well, that is how I feel. I think it’s neat if you DON’T feel that way and can just let yourself create.. that’s neat.

  5. CasaDe Says:

    I came back (hope nobody minds!).

    I think there is a definite element of fiction in blogging – you don’t want to overexpose, or bring in the drudgery, and probably you highlight particular events, giving them a value they don’t enjoy in real life.

    On the other hand, in fiction, you are free to explore the real you because it’s not actually YOU. It can all hang out and no one will know what parts were you and what parts were not.

    ‘Course I don’t notice a whole lot of main characters in fiction scrubbing the bathtub… 🙂

  6. mitchelllamamama Says:

    Wow! I guess I’ve hit on something with this post, all my buddies are chiming in, and I got more “hits” today than I ever have. 🙂

    cmscribbles, plenty of room for you on my bench–I think it stretches from Manhattan to LA! 🙂 I can’t comment much on Facebook, I’m not so familiar with it. I do know that when I asked around about blog hosts and checked into them, wordpress seemed best suited to what I was looking for.

    Shoesan, keep going with that novel!! Not sure when you’d find the time, but you certainly have a gift for storytelling. ❤ I hope you had a great time with your snow day, you deserve it!

    Phillymom, I agree completely, and did not mean to imply that there is no vulnerability for me in putting fiction "out there." A character I write might be based on an element of myself or someone I’ve met, but would never BE me or that person. Even contemporary fiction has to have characters that are bigger, better, brighter, deeper; while remaining true. Umm, hmm, clear as mud. 😉 I think you hit on one of the major differences btw blogging and writing fiction. I don’t share fiction until I’ve edited and polished several times (with time for the work to "rest" in between), being as sure as I can I have been as clear as possible.

    CasaDe, thanks for coming back! 🙂 A very interesting point that gives me food for thought. There does need to be that element of fiction in blogging, or we’re back to the laundry list or a litany of complaints. Yawn. Funny, isn’t it, how characters are often taking long, luxurious soaks in the tub, but never have to touch the Ajax?

  7. shoesan Says:

    I came back to see if casa came back! I AM Glad you did! You cracked me up! NOW I want to read a novel and find the heroine scrubbing the tub! 😉
    Ahhh, it would be nice about now to be in a tub. Mama, maybe one in front of the tank 😀
    Mama I get the whole character things> Looking back at the novels I enjoyed the most, included characters that were multifaceted (eg. Anna Karenina). It draws you into the book. Keeps me so caught up in the book that I am sad when I finish reading. Get it?

  8. mitchelllamamama Says:

    OK, Shoesan, I’ve got a can of Bon Ami right here for you 😉 A tub in front of the tank sounds like a great idea–if you don’t mind bathing in the middle of the living room. It sure would make water changes easier. : )

    I do get what you’re saying about characters, and prefer character driven novels to plot driven ones. I think this will be the prompt for a blog post soon. Probably not tomorrow, I’m chaperoning a field trip with the girl’s class.

    G’night. : )

  9. cmscribbles Says:

    no pressure mama–but I am so sad when I sign on and there is no new daily blog post! 😦

    c’mon writer write
    LOL!

  10. shoesan Says:

    cmscirbbles I am with you! do we hijack the blog? 😛 we can write about me scrubbing the sink! I have a can of Bon Ami!! 😛

    Mama,I hope you had a very enjoyable trip! It was a little warmer today, no? (may have even hit a high of 45 WOW!)
    Ok maybe NO tub in the middle of the living room but when I build my dream home I will BUILD a REEF tank in wall in my LUXURIOUS Bathroom next to my jacuzzi tub! (HEY when I dream, I DREAM BIG!)
    TGIF tomorrow!!
    nite all!


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