If you’re not a blogger, you may find this behind-the-scenes ditty interesting. Or not. Each link in here will take you to a wonderful world of reading and/or images. Take a trip down the rabbit hole; you’ll thank me later. If you’re a blogger, you may find yourself nodding your head as you read. I know I’m not the only Bad Blogging Buddy (Yo! Shout out to the BBBs in the house!), or possibly tisk-tisk’ing because you’re a great blog buddy. I can only own my own shit. And yes, this is one mother f’ing long post. I know. It should be 500 words or less, but I can’t own my shit in that many words. (*You may want to bring some food and water though). So here goes…
When I started blogging it never occurred to me that I would meet people on-line, or that I might like some of them, and we might even become blogging friends. Really, I didn’t. Initially, I just wanted to get back to writing. Frankly, I was shocked when a few people I know, in real life, actually read some of my posts. Elizabeth F, you know you were the first. The start was lonely. I hadn’t told too many people I was doing this, and when I ran off to Yellowstone, only a couple of people noticed that I also mentioned something about a blog. That teeny tiny group of two people kept me company, as I struggled with my life and with this new enterprise called blogging. I didn’t know how to post photos; I didn’t have followers; I didn’t know how to do jack shit. In fact, it’s a wonder that anyone ever noticed me– least of all the Word Press Freshly Pressed Gods.
But they did. They sprinkled their fairy dust on my post The Grass Is Always Greener On Someone Else’s Head… and voila! I had a few more people reading my post. For the record (and I know I’ve told this story before…) I was so new at blogging (six weeks in) that I didn’t even know something had happened, until others told me. I was only checking my blog every few days, if that… So, I was seriously shocked when there were comments (450 of them!) and that people were actually reading what I wrote! Well, I’d better write something more, I thought– hoping to hold the attention of a few of those people. Since then, I have often thought that I have written much better posts since then, but that is how the ball got rolling.
In the three years and three months since, I’ve worked hard to build my blog and its following. What started as a “platform” for getting a book published has become something I love and nurture, for its own sake. I love writing Tales From the Motherland. I love that some people read it (though, far fewer than the number who have hit follow). I love the comments that people leave– they challenge me to think about what I write, or they support what I’ve put out there. The comments make me think, and that’s part of why I write. The people who read my work and share their thoughts have been the icing on this cake!
Let me introduce you to some of my friends:
Some people stop by once and say hello, or tell me they liked something I wrote– or something they didn’t– and then they’re gone. I appreciate their feedback; I’m grateful they came. Others come back again and again, and over time we get to know each other in this strange little world of blogging– the blogoshere… And that is where the magic has been. I’ve gotten to know people in a very real and special way through blogging. This too is something I’ve written about; it’s been no secret that I’ve made an effort to meet some of the people who I’ve connected with on-line. Like a benign online dating site, I’ve had dates with Mike and Meagan, to start with. They were local, and having exchanged messages on-line, we took it a step further and met face to face. Pretty soon I was stretching further and meeting bloggers in other places. Heading to New York city? Then I should meet Lisa! we’d been online buddies for ages; I’d been in her anthology Tangerine Tango– so a face to face was clearly in order. In June I was off to North Carolina for a wedding. What better reason for dinner and drink with Jennie, who I’d long had a blog crush on. What a wonderful date that was! She let me sleep over and gave me toffee. My blog crush was officially love.
My son and I headed to Scandinavia this summer, and I decided to take a chance and reach out to Björn, one of my fellow Friday Fictioneers, and someone who has long intrigued me. My son and I had lunch with Björn and the lovely Charlotte, in Stockholm. I learned that he was that much more interesting in person, and oh how I wished for more time!
When I went to BlogHer14 I made sure that I got to hang out with one of my favorite blog crushes, Emily. Emily was there for me when I was in the hospital last December– quietly, tenderly helping me get through a hard time. Her heart and her dry sense of humor were twice as big in person, the Memphis accent was a surprise (um, not sure why ’cause she talks about home all the time!) and we had a grand time! When Amy, the blogger who turned me on to Friday Fictioneers (my weekly flash fiction addiction) said she’d be in town too, the icing was butter cream– which was consumed with the champagne that she, Emily and I had together. They introduced me to Kylie and what a grand night it was!
Then there were the blind dates at BlogHer14– the people I’ve read, but hadn’t really chatted with online. I’ve left a comment there; they’ve left a comment here, but we haven’t gotten to know each other. It was indeed a surreal moment to be in a small hotel room, doing Jello shots with Hedia– even more Geisha-exotic in person– and Aussa looking on! Tonya was a total blindside– a ball of instant dynamo that I am so glad I met, and wish I lived closer to. Chloe snuck up on me in the most delicious and surprising ways, and has left me with a blogger boner that Julie (who was pure delight) predicted. The three of them were part of the first night’s dinner blind date, which ended up being one of the true highlights of the weekend for me. Julie, Chloe and Tonya, thanks for that! I may not have known them when I left home, but now I watch for their posts and I delight in their updates. And of course the mother of all blind side hook ups, The Bloggess. Yes, I know I was just one of the bazillion women (and four men) cheering for her at the BlogHer14 conference, but when I had my book autographed and my picture taken with her, I know she felt something too… aside from me stepping on her pretty red shoes. And admittedly, my heart skipped a beat when she Liked one of my Tweets… but I have no doubt she quickly realized how boring I am on Twitter and flew south. Oh, but the thrill, for that brief, shiny moment in time. (And don’t think I won’t post this treasured photo over and over and over and over… again!)
Perhaps you are now wondering… how does this make Dawn a BBB- Well, because despite all the exciting hook-ups, in the day-to-day I’ve really dropped the ball. Despite all this face to face connecting, I’m actually not a big dater. I’m not that good at the consistent nurturing of blog relationships. My intentions are good, but I get overwhelmed easily. If I hit that follow button on your blog that’s what I do: I follow you. I feel a sincere commitment to read the blogs that come to my in-box, and while that was initially not such a hard thing to do, over time– with so many of you writing really great stuff, I’ve fallen way behind. Recently I had nearly 3,000 emails in my “blogs I follow folder!” (Yes, I really have that) Those waiting posts were making me crazy, and I knew there was no way to read them all! I spent several days, finally, reading what I could (which was a lot of reading!) and guiltily deleting the others. Being away so much this summer, having had a few rough bumps in the spring (to say the least), I’ve dropped the ball, and that ball involves people I really enjoy and care about. For real.
Recently Samara told me not to feel bad, not to apologize, but I do feel badly and I am apologizing. Samara I love your writing and I should engage more, because you’re true blue and you say incredibly nice things like “Please, never apologize! Are you kidding? That you find the time to visit at all is a gift.” Hello? Such gracious kindness! I feel the same way about so many of you who read my blog, but how wonderful to hear that from another blogger! That comment really got me thinking about so many of you who I have not made as much effort with as I’d like– including you Samara!
It is not personal; it’s not you. It’s me. There are lots of excuses: I often feel not cool enough for your witty comment sections (honestly!); I get busy outside my blog and I forget to touch base; I mean to read your work, leave a comment, say that I care (because I do)… and I miss the boat in follow-up– to name a few excuses! I’m sorry for that, even if I don’t have to apologize. Many of you deserve better from me, but I am just over extended.
And so, Sincerely:
KZ, your horror stories are incredible! I should have done more to promote your super scary new book, because you’re a truly gifted writer. Helena, could you be more prolific and amazing? No. Before your self-deprecating self answers that… No. You are so incredibly talented, and I don’t spend nearly enough time basking in your glow. I ordered your book (Volume 1), but I haven’t had the time to read it yet. That said– I need to make the time because I know it’s good, if your blog is even a hint of what’s in there. Rara, I loved your energy and good heart, from the start. If truth be told, certain unpleasant events in our tight blog world rattled me last January and I pulled away from anything I couldn’t be totally sure of. Let me be clear: I’m not stirring that pot again, but it left a scar. I realized that I didn’t really know some of you, as much as I thought I did, and it’s made me a bit more wary when I read. The mere idea of the Rara I like so much in jail is horrible beyond horrible. The only thing more horrible is that I don’t believe everything I read anymore, and I’m just not sure what to think about this whole turn of events. If that doesn’t make me a truly BBB, I don’t know what does. I’m sorry for that. If you clear your name and come back, I hope you’ll understand that my intentions are good, but my guard is up. Twindaddy, I drop by; I love what I find, and then I drop off. Sorry, you deserve better. You’re such a great blog buddy to so many, you are indeed “genuine” and I enjoy your posts. Even more, Toby what a loser of a friend I’ve been to you! You never fail to tweet my posts; you are such a lovely, loyal buddy! You are truly a Fearless Leader, and I have not been there for you. I try, really I do. I stop by and read, but dumb people piss me off, and while I also laugh a lot, I also get irritated by their… dumbass’ness. Clearly thousands (literally, that’s an understatement) of other subscribers know a good thing when they read it; I’m just… lame. You are too good for me, sticking by me the way you do. Forgive me! Cyn, your Cynking Feeling is one I had a million times when my kids were little, and now when they come home in the summer… and I am not dealing with autism. You do it so beautifully, and write about it with candor, humor, and heart. I should read more, but: a) you’re seriously prolific, and I can’t keep up, and b) my babes are grown and I while your writing always pulls me in, I don’t read as much about little ones anymore… just as my older ones are probably very foreign to you as well! Jen, oh how much fun it would be to have a Tonic (with a wee nip of vodka in it) with you! Given geography, I hope it happens one day– sooner than later!
^^^ I apologize for not making more effort to be consistent with all of you! ^^^
Amy, Sara, Annie, Guapo, Susan, Alicia, Claire, Susan, Björn, Adam, Dana, Brenda, Katrina, Heather, Shavawn, Audra (Where have you gone? I miss you!), Eleanor, Nicole, Cindy, Karen, Kat, Deanna, Rochelle, Lesley… All of you, I have enjoyed so many of your stories and posts! Your blogs are the ones I keep going back to over and over– but I acknowledge that I’m terribly inconsistent and annoying in my efforts. For all I know, some of you barely notice when I’m there (or not), and are now wondering why I tagged you, and why am I sniveling away about commitments. But, this is my shit I’m owing here. My inconsistency is not for lack of sincere interest and the real enjoyment I get when I do visit. I love your work; I tell my friends about your blogs, but I get pulled in other directions and I don’t visit as much as I should and want to. Again, that’s me, not a reflection of the great writing I find when I do visit. Those of you who are prolific (posting every day, or multiple times a week), it’s that simple: I can’t keep up! I get overwhelmed–> then I feel guilty –> then I avoid visiting–> then I fall behind –> and it circles back to–> overwhelmed and lame.
Cathy, Jennie, Susan, Melissa (Lyssa), Carrie, Jen, Meagan, Emily, Lisa, Kelly, Mike, Julie (please come back!), Pam, Jolene (you make me break out in song, I mean really, that song was written for you!)– Guys, I’ve got mad love for you and pretty much anything you write or publish. Your words and images have made me cry; made me laugh– until I lose the little bladder control I have; they’ve made me think. When I don’t visit for a while, because I’m busy being a wound-licking mom in the real world, or an over-extended friend/wife/volunteer– I miss you. Really, I miss YOU. It’s not just about your writing anymore. I feel a connection, and when you’re not around, I miss that. I want to hear about your babies; I want to share some coffee or a drink and laugh– put our heads close and share thoughts. I want to go on second and third dates. Ok… maybe I’ve taken this metaphor to a creepy place, but hopefully you get my point. You’re great, and I’m grateful for our connection. Your blogs rock, and your posts have moved and impacted me!
I’ve been a BBB for lots of reasons, and I’m sorry for that. But my heart is sincere and anything I wrote here is because I really feel it. I’ve gotten so much more from this world of blogging than I’ve given. Whether my blog ever ends up being part of that “platform” for getting my book(s)– because yes, there are now two– published, it doesn’t matter anymore. I may not have as many Facebook likes as I want for Tales From the Motherland; I may not be wildly followed on Twitter (and let’s face it, I’m boring there… except for when I’m not); and my blog may be growing but not anywhere near the 10,000 followers that publishing says you need, to be a platform. (Sinks her head and groans) This blog has come to mean so much more than I ever imagined, and so much more than the illusive platform can provide. If it weren’t for this blog I would not have met any of you! Of course I’m glad that some of my posts have resonated with people, and that my writing is appreciated, but let me be clear and say this again: I have gotten so much more in return. And for that, I am very, very grateful.
Final note: It is inevitable– so inevitable that it gives me a knot in my stomach, that I have forgotten someone who I really like. Who knew that there were several hundred-thousand blogs out there (on WordPress alone)?! I haven’t skimmed the surface, and I’m overwhelmed with the great writing I’ve found and enjoyed. So, if I did miss you in the epic Oscar worthy acknowledgement, I am sorry. Truly. Please don’t take it personally; my intentions are good, but Yeah, I’m a Bad Blogging Buddy.
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What do I want? I’d love to see my Tales From the Motherland Facebook page reach 500 likes in 2014. Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter, it’s where I try to be brief. Most importantly, if you like a post hit Like, and leave a comment. I love to hear what readers think. Follow along; you’ll get each new post delivered by email, with no spam. If you see ads on this page, please let me know. They shouldn’t be there. © 2014 Please note, that all content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, please give proper credit. Plagiarism sucks.