Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Belonging

Blogging. What a funny thing. I blab on and on about my family and expect YOU, potentially someone I don't even know, to read it. And even if I do know you, I expect that you will care enough about my son's poop to read about it on a practically daily basis? Weird.

I was inspired by this post at BlogRhet to opine for a while on my theory of blogging. I will not be particularly coherent, nor will I be able to make intelligent reference to the aforementioned piece because our air conditioning is broken and it is nearing 1500 degrees Farenheit (the temperature at which blogs burn) in my house.

Now, if you look at my archives, you'll see that I am pretty new to this blogging business. I read my first blog in 2002 (shout-out to Lane who, unless I am mistaken, is no longer blogging at all—please let me know if I'm wrong) because it was written by Alex's co-worker (one of three law clerks in a particular judge's office in Fairbanks, Alaska, and pretty much a third of our social circle) and it chronicled a lot of what we did up there. (We were about one-third of his social circle too. He and Sam were best friends for awhile.) Plus he's a fun writer and I genuinely enjoyed what he wrote.

Then I left the blogosphere for awhile, only to return when I was desperately looking for something to read on the computer while The Wonder Pets saved the baby elephant for the 600th time.

After quickly tiring of Perez Hilton and TMZ, and having no interest in the blogs Alex had bookmarked (How Appealing and InstaPundit), I went looking for others. I found Dooce (who didn't?), later started reading Toddler Planet, and browsed around from there.

One day I started my own. Just up and did it. Much to the chagrin of Alex, who was pulling extra parenting duty because of the extra work I was doing with starting my own business and whatnot. I believe his exact words were: "I'm not going to watch the kids while you BLOG!" (Insert disbelieving and insulted tone of voice.) He's since come around and is now one of my biggest fans, but I'm not sure even he totally gets why I do this.

See, I'm not a journaler. I have scads of journals with the first three pages written in, an entry four years after that, and then nothing for the rest of the book. But when I'm writing online for an "audience" (my mom and Alex, pretty much), some days it's hard for me to keep it to one post. For instance, today. And yesterday. (I'm endlessly fascinating to me.)

I've always been a writer. Memoir-style writing is the easiest and most fun for me, and something I think I do with some ability. (Some. Not great amounts. Some.) I also feel that this is a good way to keep my family and friends up to date with my doin's. Perhaps too up to date for some tastes—did I mention I often write about poop? And, in some ways, I'm a bit of an attention hog. (Those ways being a semi-anonymous, writing for strangers, so I'll say whatever jerky thing pops into my head kind of way.)

Anywho. Since starting Stimeyland up, I've been sort of blindly feeling around for the "rules" and "etiquette" of this place. And for the know-how. I don't think I have an RSS feed, and even after Blogging Basics 101 told me why I need one, I'm still not quite sure if I do. I've been trying to figure out trackbacks, pinging, and how lame Blogger is at comments for several months now. I've wrestled with the fact that anyone who really wanted to figure out who I am, show up at my door, and bother my adorable children could, but that I decided to use (most of) our names anyway. I did learn that if I write about dropping my second child off at school that there may be some unsavory Googlers out there visiting Stimeyland. (Go ahead, put his name together with "off" and see where it gets you.)

Here are a couple of my big "I don't knows": First and foremost, I don't know that I "belong" yet. I suppose once I have "2007 (300)" in my archives section and can start my second year, maybe I'll feel I belong more. And what's more, why do I care about belonging? I write almost entirely for myself, and a little bit for my friends and family, and I'm not looking for a book deal or advertisers, plus I can get the same enjoyment out of reading someone else's blog whether they know I exist or not. Why do I have an unhealthy relationship with my sitemeter?

I guess what I may be looking for is community. Because who doesn't love a community? I lived in co-op housing in college, I have belonged to a moms group in every city I've lived in since I had kids, my children go to a co-op preschool. I'm pretty much screaming out for a community, I suppose. And to really get what you need out of a community, you have to put in too. Because giving to others&#8212be it support, friendship, a blog comment, whatever&#8212is one of the best parts of community.

I've found my real-life community that I love. I have a village, I'm part of the village, and we're all working together to keep each other sane, live happily, and raise lovely children. But I'm sort of still looking for the blog community I belong to. I'm a mommy blogger, that's for sure, but I agree with Tere, who wrote that BlogRhet post that there are first, second, third generation mommy bloggers. I'm probably fourth-generation, if that. And I'm totally intimidated by the first-gens (and, honestly, the second and thirds). I'm exploring the autism blogging world, but, Jesus, that's a whole other post, because that community is fractured, confusing, and sort of terrifying, although I have found several interesting sites that I visit regularly. Plus, since we don't have a diagnosis for Jack yet (and who knows if we will), I feel like an imposter there sometimes. I'm a woman blogger. I (try to be) a humor blogger. I'm a working mother blogger and a stay at home mom blogger.

It's an interesting subculture. I think once you delve under the surface of any subculture you find fascinating things about it. the blogosphere is no different. Here's to exploration, my over-the-top self-analyzation, and getting it off your chest.

Thanks to both of you who finished reading this.

13 comments:

  1. oh, but you DO have a RSS feed-- I'm a subscriber! on Bloglines! and have been for a while! (I'm just sort of quiet....I'll be a little noisier so you know I'm here!)
    And I like exclamation points! Obviously!

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  2. Your daily audience also includes your "biggest fan" in MT... I've known you for too long and know too many secrets not to be included...hee hee
    ~C

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  3. No! I have a subscriber? I'm so excited! (I like exclamation points too.) Now I'm going to have to do some extra poking around at Bloglines. Thank you!!

    And, C? C could write a daily blog full of embarrassing secrets from my past. I have to send her monthly checks to keep her quiet.

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  4. If the opinion of a long-time (six years!) blogger matters, then here's my opinion: you're awesome at this. I love reading your writing, and I'd probably enjoy it even if I didn't know you guys.

    Yes, you have an RSS feed (you also have not one, but two, Atom feeds). You just haven't provided a link to it on your main page. The RSS feed link is:
    http://stimeyland.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss
    I auto-discovered it by reading your blog in Firefox, and I read your blog every time you post something new in Google Reader. I don't know if Sitemeter tracks this, but it looks like you've got more than one subscriber. You could use FeedBurner - Google bought it and now it's free.

    Also, I do have a blog! I move it every year or so to keep people guessing. Currently it's here. It is as writing-non-intensive as is humanly possible, and generally comprised of cameraphone non sequiturs. Also the occasional curse word.

    Keep blogging, you. Your stories are heartwarming and hilarious, and there's no other kind of story in the world I'd rather read, unless it's one in which the villian's name is Voldemort.

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  5. I'd rather read about you than Voldemort.

    Ha.

    But now I want to (virtually) meet this Lane character....

    It's so nice to have your company out here in the blogosphere, Stimey... your posts make me laugh, make me cry, and make me say, "Yeah! That's exactly it!"

    Huzzah.

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  6. Thanks, guys! You all are so nice.

    Lane, I'm happy you're still at it. I had you bookmarked at Tumblr and my bookmark stopped linking to you and started linking to a generic Tumbler page. But now I have you again, so I'll try not to lose you.

    And thank you for the RSS feed info. I needed that. I think?

    And, WhyMommy? You know you're a big inspiration. And you should also know that I approve of your use of the word "Huzzah."

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  7. So, it looks as though you have more than two regular readers. And we all enjoy your blog so much! Y.M.

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  8. Hey! I've been reading for awhile... I enjoy your mommy musings, whether as a SAHM, a working mom, or an autism mom. Just delurking to let you know so.

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  9. Thanks, Kal. I checked out your site. Your little guys are so cute. And congrats on your fantastic IEP.

    And, also thanks to Y.M. Who is, in fact, my mother.

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  10. Hey, found you from blogrhet. You might want to check out feedburner for your RSS feed because it now works together with blogger, and you can get stats back from it as well - I've asked a good friend of mine to write a how to article on how to do that, just in case you want to read it. If and when he's done it he'll post a link here.

    Trackbacks are an issue with blogger, there's no way to do it without getting really technical on you. :)

    I liked your blog, and in the spirit of inclusion, I have added you to my google reader (basically a feed reader, if you're not using google reader it's worth checking out), I've stumbled your site with stumbleupon and added you to my Technorati favorites, just so you know. ;)

    I'll also mention you in my weekly wrap up post on Sunday and I'll be putting a link to you into my sidebar list of blogs I read via google reader.

    Yeah, it's all part of the service over at Chez Snoskred. ;) everyone I add to the google reader gets all those things as a part of the package. ;)

    Looking forward to reading more from you! ;) and you'll probably see me commenting here from time to time..

    Snoskred
    http://www.snoskred.org/

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  11. Chez Snoskred sounds lovely. Thanks! I'll be checking you out too. Thanks for your tips also. I'm starting to feel like maybe I DO belong.

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  12. Belong in Ocean Grove next weekend!
    XOX,
    Frogwoman

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  13. Here I am, working my way through your archive, but I had to comment "Me too!" to this one:

    Plus, since we don't have a diagnosis for Jack yet (and who knows if we will), I feel like an imposter there sometimes.

    That is so exactly it.

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Thanks for commenting! May you be visited by unicorns and kittens.