I had a blog. I had a blog that led to the writing career I started dreaming about when I was nine years old.
You might have read that blog, Poppymom.com. It was around for a long time – about a month shy of eight years. It started when my daughter CJ was three months old. My cousin Wendy set it up, christened it, and told me to keep her abreast of every single movement made by my child.
Writing about an infant gets pretty boring, especially for a somewhat ambivalent new parent who was a bit ambushed by motherhood. So I wrote about that, and the gnarly, near-fatal round of postpartum depression/anxiety/batshit insanity it spawned.
It was a good time for mommy blogs and batshit insanity. I had the (mis)fortune of coming along after Dooce, though, who did everything two weeks before me, including birthing her first kid. Still, I mommy blogged away, because it kept my world open and the walls from getting too tight against my skin. I gained a ton of readers after Angela called me a special secret donut, for which I’m eternally grateful – for the readers, the friendship that ensued, the motivation to knit, and for being called a special donut. That’s one of the best things I’ve ever been called.
Blogging through the mid-aughts, through a breakdown, toddlerhood, business closing, selling a terrible house in a ridiculous neighborhood, and everything in between was good stuff. Fun. And fruitful. My blog lead to some paid writing jobs I adored, until I hated them and was able to move on to more writing jobs that were even more fulfilling and challenging.
The more I worked, the less I blogged. Oh, irony.
Then last year, a project didn’t so much fall into my lap as it planted, germinated, and went all kudzu-crazy on me. That project started as a blog to mark American folk music pioneer Woody Guthrie’s centennial. But it sprouted and grew and ensnared, leading me on a journey I never could have planned or predicted at a time in my life when I most needed it.
Did you read it? You can, because I put it all on another blog. Or, you can wait because it’s going to be a book.
No, I don’t have a deal yet. Still working on that and I’m sure you’ll get to read about it with this project. But in the midst of these travels, I realized that, after at least a dozen false starts, I was finally writing my book. Not even on purpose; it just happen. Like writers say it does. The first draft is mostly finished and I’m agent-shopping. Both cautiously optimistic and terrified.
I was so engrossed in this project that, a few weeks after a perfunctory, “This is what I’m doing” post at Poppymom, I forgot to renew my domain name. Forgot for a long time. And didn’t really care. It was time to move on.
But to where?
Last month, CJ – remember when I would call her Clara “ever-changing nickname to suit the situation” Jane in my early blogging days? That turned into a pain in the ass – turned nine. A very private nine. She has her own life and is self-assured, intelligent, articulate, not afraid to stand up for what she thinks is right, compassionate, and just all-around awesome. But again – she’s very private. Obviously her father’s genes at work.
She deserves her privacy, and to not have her pre-pubescent years played out in public against her wishes. I’m sure I’ll write about her on occasion, but not much. The kid had the first eight years of her life broadcast against her will; I owe her control over what she chooses to reveal.
And I’m tired of “mommy blogging.” Whatever the hell that is an ever was.
Turning 40 felt like the milestone it’s cracked up to be. It happened as the biggest writing project of my life was shifting, as my daughter enters the next phase of her life, and as I watch progressions and changes in every part of my life – family, friends, career, my perspective.
I’m not bemoaning 40; I’m just saying that it’s a definite marker that keeps making me think about what it means to be 40 in 2013. It’s different than my mom’s 40 in 1987. I can’t even imagine my grandmother’s 40 in 1966. Or maybe the outside was and expectations were different then, but the feelings were the same. I don’t know. Maybe I’ll find out.
It’s an interesting place to be. I don’t feel like I fit into my age bracket any more than I ever did, but it’s certainly coloring my view. Probably because more than any other time in my life, I have people in my world who span generations in both directions. I find myself spending a lot of time feeling more like shutting up and hearing what the olders and youngers have to say. I’m not always good at it shutting my mouth, but I’m fascinated by the shrinking of the generation gaps and I want to learn more.
I’m finding a kinship with far more people who are 10-15 years younger than me than I ever expected. And with people closer to my parents’ age, especially ones who’ve been active in so many of the Woody Guthrie events I attended. These cross-generational connections continue to stir so many thoughts about how our time shapes who we are.
So. This. It’s a blog. A somewhat focused blog. It’s not going to be an emotional dumping ground or a place to brag about my kid’s awesomeness/bemoaning my parental shortcoming and insecurities. I did that blog already, and it was a good eight years. Instead, I’m going to focus on being here, now. Occasionally slipping back to where I was, then. Forty’s a good age for nostalgia, what with pop culture running in 20-year cycles. I’ll focus on what’s going on in the world. Music. There will certainly be lots of music. Feminism. And you. Because I’m picking brains.
Forty looks okay today. I think we’ll rock this shit.
Oh, and a new look is coming. St. Louis graphic designer and all-around swell gal Emily Leong’s working on some spiffy new graphics.
I’m also getting all organized with my social media and such. So start following, Followers:
Pinterest (It’s a new account, so if you’re following my old one, it’s dead now.)
…and my book project’s blog.