Tuesday, July 8, 2014

25 Ways to Write a Blog Post. Your Mind Will be BLOWN

I started this post a few weeks ago where I just ranted and ranted and ranted some more about all sorts of things that make me mad. I ranted about the misuse of the phrase, "I am so humbled." I ranted about photos and videos and annoying headlines that promise a lot but deliver so little (see above title). All roads led to Facebook in my rants.

Then I hit pause on the way to the publish button.

Does the world really need another hastily written pile of angry jumble to read? Is this what I want to say?

A friend posted this quotation from Hafiz you have probably seen over and over (in perfect pinnable, slightly annoying, tweetable, designerly jpgs, no less) but for some reason it struck me this time:
"The words you speak become the house you live in."

What words do I want to speak? What house do I want to live in?

Definitely not an angry one. Not one where I slapdash my thoughts together and press publish just because I can. Not a fake one. But not one where I whine about my problems all day either. Not too serious, though. But not too funny.

What is the purpose of this mess of a blog-o-mine? Where did it come from? And where is it going?

A lot of the time I think of blogging as the writing form of a selfie. Who cares what I have to say? And what in heaven's name do I have to say? Do I have anything to say?

I'm not a lifestyle blogger. I don't have any answers on how to decorate or cook or clean or keep budgets or cut children's hair. I'm the definition of a mess in all the ways possible.


When I started this blog I lived in New York. My life was full of other people's stories. Just step out your door and one falls in your lap or pees on your shoe. The man dressed in all white begging for money. The LGBT festival a block over. The comedic act of borrowing an air conditioner for a party when you don't have a car. Chinese grandmothers practicing dancing in the park. Chinese grandfathers practicing sword fighting in the park.

On and on.

After moving to less flashy locales the stories became harder to find. Even in Miami. And then after awhile it became apparent that it's just me. My brain. My thoughts. And my desire to write something.

A desire that existed before blogs and before the internet and even before word processors.

I wanted to write things that people would read. I wanted to share and be published. I guess, though, back in the long long time ago 90's you had to go through the golden gateway of editor approval before someone hit publish.  And now its just you. You are your own approval. You are the floodgate. The desire to write becomes the worth of the writing.

And who is reading this stuff? If anyone? Even this post has reached a length longer than my hummingbird attention span can muster to scan through.

But write I must. And read other blogs that talk about children and home and food and decorating I must. Because I enjoy them almost as much as books.

And I must not worry about the hardest part of writing (or of living really). I must not worry about keeping up with the Joneses. Which is made all the more manifest in the blogging world. The Blogger Joneses. Because they write better than me.  Because they have a more interesting story to tell. Because they most certainly have more beautiful photos to post.

Which leads me to the last important quotation (from poet Mary Oliver) that's been running through my brain:

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
 with your one wild and precious life?

I do not want to keep my house immaculately clean with my one, precious life. I do not want to iron napkins. I barely want to take the time to make a PB&J with my precious life. (But eating does go along with having a precious life.)

I want to read and design and make stuff with my hands. I want to hug my family. Be a better wife and mom. Learn calligraphy. Get better at crossword puzzles. And swim as much as possible. And write about it all.

Thanks for reading.


Here is the full, delightful poem (perfectly titled for a hot July day in Alabama). Maybe I'll design it to be a tweetable gif. (Although it is hard to beat a Katie Daisy illustration)

The Summer Day

Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

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