They’re Not All Gems, But Sometimes They Are

I write a lot.  Empirically it’s true.  For the past few weeks, I have been writing 1000 words a day for Mommyish (Monday through Friday — and if you’ve missed any, check out the WTTM Facebook page, I post them all there).  I also write a fictional story (1200 words) a month for my beloved writing group.  I scribble my crazy thoughts down in my journal almost every day. I am slowly working back to my novel in my mind (I will get there soon, I just know it!).  And yes, I am still a full-time lawyer (more on that soon I hope).  But the point is, I write a lot.  It keeps me sane.

Most of the time, my writing is just in the ordinary course of my life.  Meaning, I spout my opinion about one thing or another, fill in all the SEO requirements, add an appropriately credited picture, hit publish and submit an invoice at the end of the month.  But sometimes I write something that makes me stop and say, “yes!  This is good stuff!”  Sometimes I look at my finished product and I think, “Wow, I really had something to say here.”  Because when I start writing, I never know how it will turn out.  Some pieces I love more than others.  Some just flow almost like an out-of-body experience.  Others I feel so strongly about, but the passion I feel doesn’t come across on the page.  Some things I care less about and just need content.  But I never really know until it’s done.  In the words of one of my favorite funny bloggers, Wendi Aarons, “they’re not all gems.”  And they’re not.

But sometimes they are. Continue reading

The Motherlode in Context: Blog Comments Validate Me, Make Me Think, and Rip Me To Shreds

Even though she warned me, I didn’t listen to my editor and I read the comments on the essay published through the NYT Motherlode.  All 210 (and counting) of them.

Anyone who blogs, or even has ever read a blog, knows comments can get ugly.  It doesn’t matter how simple the subject or how much humor you inject into the piece, people hear and read what they want, not necessarily what you said.  Readers often attach to the line or thought that speaks to them and address only that.  I guess that is human nature.

This week I learned even the NYT comments get ugly.  Many of them were also very smart and true.  I had no choice but to dissect a topic I thought Ian and I had analyzed to death.  What I hadn’t looked at more closely was the context in which this fight came up. These are not excuses and they don’t negate any of the real issues set forth in the Motherlode piece, however they provide insight into why this divisive topic elicited particularly high stakes.  Continue reading

Hello? Is Anybody Listening? Apparently, yes.

Hello?  Is this thing on?

That’s what I used to wonder when I began this blog.  You hit publish and your words disappear off into oblivion.  Sometimes that’s a good thing.  Sometimes we just need to vent, sometimes we want to put things out there just to get them off our chests.  Sometimes a wonderful community surrounds you and supports you on your bad days.

Sometimes you say things because you really mean them and the debate that ensues is uplifting and inspiring.

Sometimes you say things to convey the growing pains of being a parent and people tell you that you are wrong.  Like Lisa Belkin of the Huffington Post.

Belkin has taken issue with my recent post on Mommyish where I explain that I am not a fan of the words win, penis and girlfriend as far as my three-year-old is concerned.  Of course it’s the word penis that is raising eyebrows.  I am being asked to defend my position on Huff Post Live tomorrow, but the article got me all wrong.  I never proposed “banning” those words.  In fact my post said I didn’t think they were “bad words” by any definition.  I simply elected not to introduce them to my son at this age.  That is my choice as a parent.

The thrust of my Mommyish piece is that my son will have influences other than me throughout his life.  I would love to keep him protected forever – from these silly words and so much more – but that isn’t reality.  So now it’s time to roll with it.

How do you think I’ll hold up?  Will I crumble?  Will I have a change of heart?  Will I stand my ground?  What do you think?

The five (misguided) ways I intend to redeem myself at BlogHer

Never one to wallow in my self-made problems, I knew I needed to turn things around.  I’ve been thinking long and hard about the five ways I ruined BlogHer before I even got there, and I’ve come up with some great ways to redeem myself.  Here are my top five strategies building from “as-good-as-George-Bush’s-foreign-policies” to “oh-yeah-that’s-the-one”.

1.  Introduce myself as Kelcey of the Mama Bird Diaries.  Yes, I have four gorgeous children, an awesome husband named Rick and a blog that makes you pee your pants with laughter.  Dead pan.

2. Carry a banner that says “I refuse to go to SparkleCorn.”  Because if one more person tells me I CAN.NOT.MISS.THIS I’m going to throw my copy of 50 Shades of Grey at them.  Wait, I don’t own that book.  Ok, so this tactic is a little risky (not to mention a lot dumb).  I mean, I am beyond excited to go to SparkleCorn and dance the night away.  I’m just really trying to win back those negative points for originality.  You know, the ones I lost when I chose “blah, blah, blah Motherhood” as my blog name.

3.  Show up to the “Come As You Are” bash in all my full naked glory yelling “THIS is how I am baby!”

4. New sash.  One word:  SWAGMASTER.  People will flock me.  I said FLOCK.  (stop thinking about that vibrator giveaway).

5.  Get drunk.  Every post warns the newbies NOT to get drunk, but I think it’s a ruse.  Instead I am going to get the drunkest of all the bloggers, part the dance floor and run fearlessly into my nobody-puts-baby-in-the-corner Dirty Dancing lift moment…only to belly flop on the parquet and have my picture taken thousands of times.  I’ll be infamous.  And probably get Prosecco to sponsor me.  Win-effing-win.


The five ways I’ve ruined BlogHer ’12 before I’ve even arrived

If you don’t blog regularly (or at all) you might not know about the big BlogHer conference next week.  It’s a place where bloggers – famous and unknown – get together in person to share ideas, cultivate business relationships, and solidify online friendships.  And I’ve already ruined it.  How, you ask?

1.  My name.  Parents decision becomes my problem.  My name is Carinn.  It’s not Karen.  It’s not pronounced like Karen.  It’s closer to Corinne, but that’s not quite it either.  Curren?  Ca-Rinn.  Since I don’t even really know how to pronounce it, I will end up saying it not once but twice on our first meeting and several more times over the course of the weekend.  So don’t feel bad about asking again.

2.  My blog name.  Totally my fault.  Welcome To The Motherhood.  It captures the theme of my blog for sure.  As in, Welcome to the Motherhood, bitches.  Prepare to be cold-cocked.  Axl Rose is singing in the background.  It’s perfect for high drama, not so great for introducing yourself at conferences. There also happen to be roughly 20,000 versions of the same ‘hood concept (minus ten points for originality).

3.  My Twitter handle.  I have no problem with the one I chose.  It’s both cute and practical – @MamaHasSnacks – like your favorite pair of ballet flats.  But it doesn’t directly connect to Welcome To The Motherhood – which was too damn long for Twitter (that should have been my first hint?).

4.  I’m a Newbie.  Not just to the conference but to the entire blogging world.  I envision this conversation happening about 6,843 times:

Me:  Hi, I’m Carinn.

Fellow blogger: <blank stare>

Me: Online I’m Welcome To The Motherhood?

Fellow blogger: <blank stare>

Me: I tweet sometimes @MamaHasSnacks

Fellow blogger: <blank stare, increasing discomfort>

Me: how ’bout that swag?

Fellow blogger: ah, yes!  Swag!  LOVE.IT.

5.  I’m clueless – especially about swag.  Every post keeps telling me I need to have a separate suitcase just for all my swag.  What are we talking about here people?  Some T-shirts?  Samples of dog food?  A new toothbrush?  Q-tips?  My guess is that yogurt and sausage links don’t travel well, so what do I need an extra bag for?  You see, I don’t know shit about swag.  What I do know is that my family of four lives in less than 1,000 sq. ft and if I come home with a suitcase full of foam fingers and clap sticks my husband is going to kick me out.

I’m thinking I should just stay home and hug my pretty new business cards for comfort.  There’s no hope for someone who has already sabotaged her experience before she’s even arrived, right?

Anyone else having intense anxiety over BlogHer’12?  If not, please share your tips and advice for playing it cool.  I need all the help I can get.