Why I’m here

No, not the big metaphysical question: WHY AM I HERE? Just a micro-question, a belly-button-gazer: Why am I here, sitting at this keyboard, trying to put together thoughts and tell little stories?

I have to type fast, as it just occurred to me to take on this small question as I was doing the dishes, at 11:45pm. I knew if I didn’t get something down immediately, it would all float away during the night, never to return. And also, I knew I couldn’t wait until Tomorrow Morning, because there’s never time to write anymore during Tomorrow Mornings. During my London Honeymoon, Tomorrow Morning held so much promise– a cup of coffee at the England’s Lane Starbucks, time to write and think and observe people (my favorite!). But tomorrow morning (see what I’m doing here? no caps?) is neither fresh nor full of promise lately. There’s just too dang much mundane stuff to do. I’ve got to find a way to get that magic back.

But I digress. If I’m not careful, all that stuff I just had to sit down and write is going to float away anyway.

I’ve been doing some interesting reading this week. I found a blog called “Momastery” (me and half the known universe, apparently)– and I have been obsessed with it. I gave the link in one of my comments, and I’ll try to remember to put it in here as well. So I’ve been reading all the archives, totally entranced by this lady, Glennon Melton, and, I admit, her family. It really is worth a look– I haven’t read anything I’ve liked close to so much as this in ages. Momastery went viral a couple months ago, I think– it just exploded all over Facebook, etc., and now there are thousands of new readers like me. I was scanning through some of the comments and over and over again, reading things like, “Oh, I just adore you! We think just alike.” or “I just know we would be best friends if it weren’t for geography.” or “Your family is so adorable and your husband is hot!”

Kinda creepy.

So as I’m looking through these comments and wondering if the blogger is feeling slightly stalked and weirded out, something in one of the comments led me to click on the person’s name to see if it went to a website. Sure enough, it went… to a blog on some variation of motherhood and family. Then I followed other links on that site and– by gum! Apparently there are thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of women out there waxing witty and clever and sentimental about the activities nearest and dearest to my heart (you know, motherhood, sister-, friend- and daughter-hood, and wife-hood, of course). There’s a whole industry of it! They have conferences, professional associations, and superstar bloggers! Who knew? (Don’t answer that. Probably everyone but me.)

My first reaction was a panic attack because I can’t possibly read it all! And even if I could read it all, I couldn’t remember it all and reference it appropriately in a conversation, much less figure out how to file it logically in my bookmarks. This is a little problem I’m having with the internet and the information age. I’m considering therapy.

My next reaction was to feel conflicting pulls. Maybe I could make a career of it– change things up… try to get an audience. Or, on the other hand, maybe I shouldn’t even bother to blog anymore– I’m certainly not saying anything that hasn’t been said. I’d be just another voice in a cacophony of bloggers.

Then I realized. That’s not what I’m here for. I sometimes feel like I would give up one or two of my less essential body parts to fulfill my dreams of publishing a book. (Though I am a published author thanks to the years at HBS, that doesn’t quite hit the dream. But a memoir from blogs doesn’t quite cover the dream either. I want to write fiction. I want to create a world that someone– or hopefully many someones– will delight in going to again and again to visit characters she loves in stories that mesmerize her).

But again, I digress. Thinking back, I remember exactly why I am here. It’s because you all are so far away.

First I started the family blog to share pictures and stories with the grandparents and a few close family friends. I made it password-protected because I was afraid of strange, scary people finding us online. I delighted in your comments and the sense of connection the blog let me feel. It was like adaptive technology for me– a natural-born letter-writer with a severe allergy to post offices.

Then I thought, well what if I want to sometimes talk about something besides my family? And what about connecting with friends who might not want to see forty-two snaps of Claire’s 4th birthday party, but might like to stay connected in some small way? So then I started the second blog, originally called Cuppa Chaos. And I set myself some rules for that one, I remember. I wasn’t allowed to take too long writing a post, I wasn’t supposed to edit it (much), and I wasn’t allowed to continue drafting it overnight. I was supposed to pretend I was having coffee with a friend (my mental image was first the Marblehead Starbucks, then later The Atomic Cafe– oh how I miss it). And thinking about all this, I realized, that is still all I really want to do– reach a friend or two I wouldn’t have otherwise talked with in the course of an ordinary day.

Clarity is lovely. Especially at 12:45am, when the keyboard and screen are swimming in and out of focus. I am here writing because I want to share our life with our loved ones despite the distance between us. And I am here because it gives me joy to connect with old friends over (virtual) coffee. I also just really like to write and feel a real pleasure in putting words and pictures together to tell a story– our story.

So I am free to enjoy these new blogs I’ve found without feeling that they threaten the validity of this blog. However much we’re all telling the same story, no one else is telling our story… unless Clay has a blog I don’t know about? That’s the only story I want to tell here, and you and I are the only ones I’m telling it for. Such freedom! Such fun!

It’s good to be back in this space. Hope you will join me. Love from me.

4 thoughts on “Why I’m here

  1. “I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.” Joan Didion      

  2. It’s nice that I can always count on seeing you here, One-time Blogger!  I raise my decaf to you!  Off to Selfridge’s today to buy caffeinated Nespresso pods (and more cold weather gear for Chloe– first crew race tomorrow!).  Have a lovely morning.

  3. Yes, J. Alfred, we had run so low I was down to measuring out my life in coffee spoons with only decaf!  I’m happy to say I’m now back to NOT measuring.  In fact, it’s nearly time for a lungo.

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