Sometimes I go looking for things to write about. Sometimes I just find them.
Her Bad Mother and GingaJoy are working on a project. And because I would love to be a scholar again someday, I am only too happy to help. Mommyblogging has gone beyond trend; people are studying it. And the questions they are asking are as follows:
Who are we?
Salon.com used to, and may still, have a segment called "Mothers Who Think," and even before I became a I mother I thought "that's going to be me." I'm sure that at the time it was in direct response to the people, mostly women, I seemed to be surrounded by, who could talk of nothing deeper than what they saw on TV the night before. The women I knew who were mothers seemed to talk only, and at every opportunity, about bodily functions; their's and their kids'. There had to be more than this. And in the blogging world, there certainly is.
Demographically speaking, I am white, middle class, privileged in some things. I am just starting to look for blogs that don't fit this mold. I work, mostly out of my home. I am a mother and that may be what got me started blogging, but it is certainly not all I write about.
Who are we writing to?
I am fairly new at this blogging thing and though some of my friends know and read the blog, most do not read it and other than my husband not a single member of my family knows that I am doing this. So I am writing for myself and whoever else is out there. I know there will be people who find this blog because of comments I leave elsewhere, and that's great, but I don't know that they will come back. There will be people who come here because of the Russian adoption aspect of my experience and I hope that they will stay, but my writing goes beyond mothering, because I do.
Why are we writing? What is our purpose?
Although the reason I blog has evolved somewhat over time, I write now because I am, and have been for as long as I can remember, a storyteller. Everything I see and experience is fodder for a story in my own head. And though I have shared a lot of my stories in person with friends, I was never able to adequately release that part of my personality in writing until I found the blog format and medium.
Blogging has the advantage of forcing me to write pretty consistently. When I first started blogging, it was for a group that asked that I participate at least three times a week. That was the kind of structure that I needed, now I try to do at least that. The format works for me because it forces me to organize the thoughts in my head. I no longer ride the commuter rail for an hour each way with my friends, so the debates I would normally have with them end up in the places I write, and I'm much better in writing anyway.
What is our context for writing? What are we saying?
The longer I do this, the more I think that what we are saying is that we have something to say. With publishing and other media consolidations, there was a time there when it was harder and harder for new voices to be heard. Now those same outlets are actively seeking the voices of bloggers through conduits like Blogburst.
How does the medium of blogging affect all of the above (that is, does, or how does, the communication of our messages through blogs, bear upon the message itself?
Is this a chicken and egg question? It took me a while to realize that blogging was a form of conversation. Now, I'm so new to this that there is no one or group of bloggers with whom I consistently exchange ideas, but there is that beauty to the medium. My favorite part of working is the collaboration to see an idea to completion, and that is one of the things I really love about reading a number of interconnected blogs is that there can be an exchange or expansion of themes or ideas. The other two key elements of blogging as a medium are that there are so many stories and each one seems valuable in its own way, and that it enables us to read enjoy and support people who are nothing like us and we would probably not know in real life.
What kind of citizen are you in the parent blogosphere? How and why do you comment? Link? Give awards? How important is 'off-blog' (or inter-blog) activity to the parent blogging community?
At this point, I am still a learner. I have commented, mostly in a show of support, or if either a blogger's post or my comment strikes me a particularly funny. I link to writing that has sent me off on a train of thought of my own, or once in a while to honor someone whose work I appreciate. I hope to get to the point where I do meet other bloggers, but I'm not there yet.
I have had exactly one hangover in my entire life and it was as a result of a shot and a half of some Swedish schnapps that tasted like pepper vodka. That was 15 years ago, so good luck with that.