EDIT NOTE: In getting an article to print many people are involved. This is no one person’s fault. It makes me uneasy to think any one person would be singled out. This is not my intention and neither should it be the intent of anyone who chooses to comment on this post. Further to that, I have been contacted by the magazine editor and offered a printed correction. I am considering it.
Ah, the things you learn.
Yesterday, along with three other bloggers, who I have great respect for, I was in the Sunday Life Magazine. The article was titled Life on the line.
The article was about blogging. About us as bloggers. Mummy bloggers. Whatever they are.
Sure, back in January when contacted I was more than a little pleased to be asked and interviewed. Flattery is always nice, and if I’m being honest it felt good. I felt validated. The interview took place via phone. It was informal. I rambled, I chatted, I shared. Just like I do on the blog. Note to self, interviews are not blog posts.
This is what I learnt. Never, ever again do an interview. (Because clearly I am an über blogger now, and the journalists will be beating down my door.) *cough*
No. What I learnt was if I ever give another interview, don’t talk like I am blogging. Be more guarded. Open the door but keep the chain lock on. Tomorrow I will line the bottom of a guinea pig cage and life will go on. It was just a little unnerving to see my words as written by someone else.
On this blog the words are mine. I own them. I control them. In that article I did not.
For one thing, my dad is very much alive.
Whether it was bad wording, over editing or oversight, reading this was not the best way to start my day. The first thing I wrote about depression was admitting to it, saying it out loud: “I need a bit of help here.” And it coincided with my dad dying of cancer.
Yes he has terminal cancer. But when I spoke to him yesterday morning on the phone he seemed very much alive. I don’t write about it because it is not my story to tell. It is a fact of my family’s ongoing life. We all deal with it. But we do so privately. It is not for public consumption. I thought I was guarded. I write in public but keep things private.
The article said I write for sympathy. I write with my heart on my sleeve. I also live my life that way. I am not sure how this translates to me writing for sympathy. I do not ask for, nor do I expect it. If I write about a shitty day it is to let people know we all have days we’d rather forget. To let people know they are not the only ones who yell at their kids, make bad parenting decisions, tell their kids to fuck off. Sympathy? No thanks. I hate it. It is false, often unwanted and to me smacks of voyeurism.
Writing with my heart on my sleeve means I open up about myself. About the way I love, the way I cope, or don’t. It is for camaraderie. To say, see, none of us are perfect. Sympathy is the furthest thing from my mind.
That’s the thing about blogging. You open yourself up to the internet. But as the blogger you have the end say. The ultimate control over what is and is not written. The way I see it I have responsibility for what I write and how I write it. I am honest about my life and short comings and am prepared to let people I know, and those I don’t, in to read and comment on it.
It is about trust. Readers trust that what is written here is real. In turn I trust so is what they add in the comments. It is a conversation, like the ones I have with friends around my kitchen table. We support each other most definitely. We can empathise. But sympathy? The word makes me uneasy.
As for being a mummy blogger. I am a mum. I blog. The end. I also post creative writing pieces and about running. I never get called a writing blogger, or a running blogger. I work three days a week. I never get called a working blogger. My blog started when my youngest child was eight. I am not sure you would come here to read about issues if you were an expectant or young mother. Unless you want to be put off, or know what not to do. Some days you might want to vomit because I write about how great things are. While I’m on the subject, not all parents who blog are mothers. Or write about parenting.
I write with my heart on my sleeve because if I am being honest that is my best writing. Funny and witty is great and some bloggers do it so well. But I don’t do my best writing that way. Blog readers are a clever, switched on group of people. They can see bullshit miles away. Sniff it out before they get through the first paragraph. When I write from the heart I get the biggest response. Because it’s honest. I write that way because it is my truth. Not to chase some illusive sympathy comment or response. Shit, I’d write it even if no one read it. Because blogging gets under your skin, like a tattoo. It’s real, it’s honest and it takes guts. Even the light hearted posts.
The final word though, goes to the cost on my family. If I for one moment thought that my being a blogger was at a cost to my children, my husband, my family I would stop. Just like that.
My family are patient. And loving. I may be a blogger but I am their most fierce protector. I may be small but I pack a punch. My words are my fist. I use them sparingly, with thought and with consideration. Perhaps some journalists could learn a thing or two from that and from my fine fellow bloggers.
Last week I wrote about why I blog. About how each post leaves me more open. I said; This does not mean I post about all of my life. Just my own stories. And not even all of them. Many are not mine to tell. I alone do not have the right to them. If I write it, I must own to it, even the posts I’d rather delete. And I do. I own it all.
Today as you read this, I am in a room with twenty five children. None of whom know anything about blogs. They don’t care if I am in a newspaper. I am nothing but Naomi the teacher. Not blogger good or bad. Just Naomi. The noise and the joy will quieten my mind. Take the focus off me and the article. And that is a good thing.
I was going to close comments to this post. Then I realised if I did that it would be the the first time I did. The first time I let something else dictate what I did on my blog. There would be no truth in that.
To all who contacted me yesterday. Thank you.
To twitter and blogosphere you are so awesome.
For more thoughts on the article and blogging there are links below – and to those who wrote the posts, thanks so much.
Carly Findlay On why we need to value bloggers
Alexandra Wrote A Blogger, A Writer. Same Difference
And then read this, from Eden My Life. On the Line.
* please note I linked to the article so those who may want to read it for a clearer idea on this post could. I have not name the journalist. They were doing their job. It’s about my feelings on being in the printed press and assumptions about blogging.
Please be respectful of all people concerned in any comments made here, or they will be deleted.