Earlier this week, I got a sneak preview of the Lisa Belkin article about mom bloggers running in today’s New York Times Magazine: Queen of the Mommy Bloggers. The reference, of course, is to Heather Armstrong of Dooce, although quite a few other writers are mentioned in the piece.
I read the piece as a fascinating look at someone who has been able to turn the craft of memoir into a living, and the good and bad that comes with that. It’s about the balance between art and commerce, privacy and publicity, truth versus poetic license. Basically, the kinds of things that all bloggers–all memoirists–struggle with to varying degrees.
I thought it was an interesting piece.
Then I had the misfortune to read the comments.
Click on the “reader recommendations” tab for an enlightening look at misogyny, hatred, sanctimony and misplaced anger that maybe we should be used to by now.
I don’t get it. The blogs are not interesting, and I just don’t feel that any of the bloggers have profound or insightful or even amusing things to say.
I doubt if Heather Armstrong would be so successful if she were less physically attractive.
The blogs are not interesting because the subject isn’t interesting.
You can find me at work where I am putting that hard earned Ivy Degree degree to good use as an attorney in a fabulous legal department with interesting challenging work and great co-workers. I can also be found at home spending time with my family making dinner etc.
PLEASE PLEASE stop with the coverage of these silly, narcissistic pseudo-writers. These “blogs” are the reason that civilization is doomed. These women aren’t writers! They are marketers exploiting their families, their privacy and their ideals (or lack thereof).
Rather than sit by a keyboard, I suggest trying to get out more or God forbid, get a job.
You get the drift.
And then I came across the most interesting one of all, in part because of the number of people who recommended it:
I’d much prefer mothers and women become successful because of actually achievements [sic], not because of some amusing dribble [sic] they wrote on their blog.
So there you have it. “Heather in Toronto,” has determined which successes are acceptable for mothers, and which qualify as actual achievements.
(Judging from her other comments on the Times, “Grammarian” is probably not high on the list.)
Here’s the thing, oh mom blog-hating denizens of the internet: Writers write because we are writers. That’s who we are.
If I were a scientist I would do scientist-y things. If I were an artist I would be doing artist-y things. If I had one iota of physical ability I would be doing sports-y things. But what I am is a writer.
I have written about high school dramas. I have written about relationships. I have written about advertising. I have written about food. I have written poetry and screenplays and books. I have written about politics and war. I have written about girlfriends and frienemies. And then, when I had children, I wrote about motherhood.
When I was a freshman in high school, I was a dancer. Not a great one, but a pretty good one. As I started to decide what to be when I grew up–because David Bowie’s girlfriend was off the table– I weighed some kind of career in dance (choreographer? teacher?) with some kind of writing career. When I laid it out side by side, I asked myself: Would you be okay if you never danced again? Would you be okay if you never wrote again?
My friend Lisa remained a dancer. She is a dance therapist to this day and would probably die if she couldn’t dance. Me–I knew I could never give up writing.
So here I am.
And you know what? My story is no more or less valid than any other mother’s here on the web.
If you have never written in your life, if you have never so much as picked up a pen to write anything besides a high school paper and a grocery list, but you have now found your bliss through a blogging platform, you have the right to be here. You have the right to find success with it. You have the right to feel the joy that comes with hitting publish, the satisfaction that comes with connecting with a community, and the thrill of, every so often, reading a comment that says, thank you. Thank you for writing this today. I needed it.
Anyone who says otherwise is, frankly, an asshole.
I accept that what I write about is not for everyone. But then, there’s plenty of writing out there that is not for me. Funny how that works.