Photo: I took this picture a long time ago… Ursa Major must have been one when this photo was taken. A year ago, we were just leaving the community when this photo was taken. A year ago. For ya’ll who have been with me for a while, you understand why that’s a little ridiculous. We’ve been through a lot together since this blog has started, haven’t we?

 

I’m sorry again about Monday, dear reader. I’m in a funky headspace… it probably doesn’t help that sleep has suddenly turned into a precious commodity here in the house. The boys are currently in the middle of a 4-day nap boycott, and Ursa Major has decided that it is ok to wake up in the middle of the night and scream for his father because… well, we can’t seem to get him to fully articulate what the hell his problem is.

Finally, at around 1:30 after both of us going in there about 5 times, I laid that child down in the crib, kept his eyes focused on me, and had a pretty epic crazy-mom moment: “Let me be very clear. I am the scariest thing in this house right now and you won’t let me sleep.”

It probably wasn’t the best thing I could have done, but it got the freaking point across. The ridiculousness stopped and he went to sleep.

But now I’m sitting here, yawning, and I’ve got a lot to do. I have a mind to wake that child up and make sure he has a regular schedule (thus taking the much needed nap this afternoon) but the only thing worse than a crying toddler at 12:30 is a cranky little punk toddler at 9:30, you know?

Thank you for the support while I took a bloggy day off. To be honest, there was a part of me on Monday that was going to declare this a bloggy week off. Not because I have no words (though I certainly didn’t on Monday) but because I’m trying to decide where I am with this thing, what I get out of it, what you as a reader get out of it, and what it can and should be. I know that there is a core of regular readers who come here and comment, another outer group who pop in from time to time, and there are people who have found a couple articles of my blog because it would seem that my battles with my in-laws are not that uncommon.

If I’m being completely honest, I think that this blog represents something that scares me. And so does the fiction that I’ve been writing. I feel a lot of momentum, I write just about every day, I’m inspired by something constantly and I see my little moleskine full of scribbled notes and ideas… and I’m starting to get pretty sincere, helpful and hopeful feedback and I’m starting to wonder…

what the hell am I doing here?

I wrote a guest post once on another blog about writing for time. I write because I love it, but I also write because I am desperately looking for a way to contribute financially to my family while staying home with my boys. They represent the chief of my passions and their journeys mean more than the world to me. Where my mother and the rest of my family seem to think I’ve lost my ambitious nature, I’ve simply aligned those ambitions very closely with these two little boys, who they are today and who I’d like them to become tomorrow. I know that I’m walking a line. I’m committed to not become a helicopter mom, not a hands-free mom (for the love of God),  not quite a tiger mom, but something else. I’m something else.

But all of that being said, again, what the hell am I doing here? That’s what I’ve been asking myself, because I don’t know the answer. I’m convinced that I have the potential to write in a way that can produce a small little something that I can stick in our coffers, but I’m not totally convinced that I have the talent for it. I’m not fishing for compliments–I know that I write words and those words turn into something that people enjoy reading, and you’ve told me as much, and I’m grateful. I’m not talking about the composition, I’m talking about the everything else: The branding, the twittering, the pictures and the graphics with the frilly fonts… the banners and the links, the “blog tours” and the guests posts…

I’m a mom-blogger, but I’m not that kind of mom blogger. It’s not that I don’t like to see those things on other blogs that I visit. I just know that I’m not really into representing myself that way. But is that what I have to do, I wonder?

And then there is the fiction, which I really relish. And I’m wondering if the grind of writing short fiction and submitting it, and having it rejected (or getting no comments at all) is really the best use of my time. Especially when my larger project, which I’m having some folk read right now, is getting such great feedback. Am I just better at writing longer works? But then I remember what I wrote in November and how utterly ineditable it was… I want to see this larger project through to the end, and then I have two more really awesome ideas right behind it. But I need stuff to get these things going. There is an infrastructure that I’m missing and I don’t know how to build….

I’m a writer, but can I be an author?

And then there are the other talents. This house that we’re working on… and the gardening I want to do… the sewing that I’m excited about starting, the knitting projects and the cooking and baking. I know I’ll never be Martha… and I don’t have the capital to be that woman out on the pioneer trail… you’re already reading about the crazy Black lady in the Massachusetts farmhouse… but would you be interested in reading more? If I kept the same pace, if I continued to write about the boys and The Husband and the preschool nonsense and all of the things that brought you here and bring you back…if Quiet Thoughts were still on Friday and you’d indulge me, from time to time, in a rant about race in America…if I pepper you with stories about my moronic inlaws… but then if I put up recipes, or sewing projects, or gardening and flower arraigning… if I wrote about the writing I’m doing, putting up an excerpt now and again… would you still come here? Would it change the tone and tenor of what this space is?

I’m a blogger… right?

I’m asking because I want to experiment, but I don’t want to alienate. I started this blog two years ago in response to a challenge from and good and trusted friend, and that challenge has brought me really far. Closer to my goals than I have ever been, even when, at the time, I didn’t know that this is where I wanted to be. I want to make sure that I’m still meeting that challenge–stepping up to high expectations, meeting them and exceeding them whenever possible. And I don’t want to make changes that are weird and inauthentic. I don’t actually want to do a lot of crap for the sake of “traffic” or “building my brand.” I’m not doing this to get rich. I’m doing this because I love it, and because this is one of the best things I’ve ever done. I don’t want to stop, I just want to get better.

I’m standing on the thin boundary between everything and nothing, wondering what the hell to do next.

See you Friday with some Quiet Thoughts.

 

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11 thoughts on “The Thin Boundary between Everything and Nothing

  1. I keep my fiction writing on a separate blog with a link to it from my personal blog so that readers can choose. I have been pleasantly surprised about how many followers each of them has. In the last few months I have changed the emphasis on my personal blog and did wonder if I would start to haemorrhage readers as a result. That doesn’t seem to have happened. Having said all that, I am very small and have never expected to make money from writing.

    • I tried to have a separate blog for the writing, and I found it too much to manage… also, I find that I don’t like to write about -writing-… or at least, not all the time. So then I just let this thing lie fallow for months and it was fairly depressing. I’d love to find a away to put stuff here (or in some other space) without being obnoxious. Maybe. I dunno.

      I would say that I don’t write with the goal of being a bestseller. I don’t really expect to make a lot from words. I know better than to think I ever will. But. If I could make even the smallest contribution, so as to say “I haven’t been ‘just’ a mom during this time period,” that would be ideal for me.

  2. Well, I think you have to be careful about alienating readers. There are possibly thousands of writing blogs pur there and I Do Not read Thema:-) . But this is your blog and ultimately you should write about what you want to write about. Because, you do this for fun, right? And so it should be fun for you. Anyway, I hope you will tell us, when something of your writing gets published somewhere. I am curious to read something one day. (And I’d be very surprised if it was not good.)

    • yeah, I would say that I am not the least bit interested in writing about writing. I tried it once and it was just very blech to me. When I get the courage to press “submit” on this piece, I promise that I will post something about it here. It’s not going to be amazing, though, so I’m going to go ahead and lower your expectations right now!

      I appreciate that you come by and read my words and comment. That’s what really matters to me in the end. I think that what I want most is to keep this blog authentic and interesting, and fully reflect who I am and what I love.

  3. For what it is worth I am a mummy in the UK and I really love your blog and your honesty. I love the way you write! Also as a writer I encourage you to follow your dreams because you have a gift and that is such a precious gift for your beautiful boys to have to hold in future years. God bless, Eily x

    • Aww, thank you! This certainly gives me a boost that I needed! I will continue to write–that’s a given! I just hope to continue to do it in ways that are worthy of your time!

  4. I enjoy reading your blog because it’s a viewpoint on a life I’ll never experience. I find your posts about everyday life interesting because they’re not *my* everyday life. Every time you write about how you perceive your neighbourhood, every time you talk about the boys … it’s something that will never be my life, and therefore I find it fascinating. Does that sound weird? I read this blog for *you* rather than for something in particular, and whatever you write about you do so from your viewpoint, which can impact on how you see things maybe more than most people realise. 🙂

    • Thanks, Miriam! I appreciate that you are always here and commenting, and I am glad that my melodrama brings something interesting to your life whenever you read my posts! I will keep in mind that what I think is sort of ordinary and uninteresting may be something different to someone else! 🙂

      • I think it’s something I need to learn to keep in mind for myself. I judge my own content more strictly than I judge anyone else … a post that I think, “That’s boring, no one’s going to be interested in that,” when I’m writing it is probably no different to the post I read in my email inbox and think, “Wow, that person’s experience is so different to mine…” Blogging’s a personal thing most of the time, and it’s important to remember that. 🙂

  5. I think writing is important to preserve your sense of self. As a black woman, your experience is unique, particularly within your everyday life. As a fellow black woman, it is heartening to see glimpses that you kindly give your readers into the normal, yet extraordinary life of a black woman. I think your writing is an act of standing up to the narrative that the world attempts to impose on you. Ultimately, you should do what’s best for you, as you’re the one facing yourself in the mirror. Hope you get some rest – sleeplessness often has me maudlin so you’re not alone 🙂

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