01 April 2014

A Month of Scandals

BlogHer, a women's blogging network to which I belong, has issued a challenge to its members: write a new blog post every day in April. The theme is "Scandal." We are supposed to write about scandals. Preferably other people's. Every single day.

Now, I have written about other people before; in fact, I've gotten in huge trouble just for mentioning them in passing. My family doesn't like to be written about. That, to them, is the very definition of scandal. So I guess I have that base covered.

I could write about people I don't know. I could join the chorus of bloggers weighing in on Gwyneth Paltrow's divorce, or her whininess about how difficult her job is. (Ms. Paltrow: your job is not difficult. Try being a junior associate in a large Manhattan law firm, working around the clock for a guy who throws stuff at you, locking yourself in your office with a breast pump while some ass bangs on the door demanding to know EXACTLY WHAT you think you're doing in there, and missing your baby's first smile, first steps, and first words. That, my dear, is difficult.)

Or I could write about the end of "How I Met Your Mother." I have watched several episodes of that show on Netflix, mostly while doing other things, and the only real scandal I can divine from it is the fact that a wildly popular sitcom bases all its jokes on Neil Patrick Harris's character's attempts to get women drunk so he can have sex with them. Having sex with drunk people is rape, folks. (Trust me. I'm a lawyer.) It's really funny until you're the drunk person in question. But I guess that's what our culture laughs at. I'd put that in the scandal column. (And now that a Facebook friend has spoiled the ending of the show, revealing the identity of the mysterious mother upon whose anonymity the entire show is premised, I have no desire to watch the rest of the series.)

I could write about what's been on my mind lately: how difficult it is to find high-quality writing. Back in the old days, you had to be a decent writer to get published. You needed to know the difference between "who's" and "whose," and among "their," "there," and "they're." You needed to know how to spell. Now that anyone with a blog can call herself a writer, and anyone with a slow-cooker and a can of Dr. Pepper is a celebrity chef, the good stuff is nearly impossible to find. There are millions of writers, stylists, and chefs out there, but very, very few of them are any good.

This is why I haven't written much lately. I'm concerned about quality and content, and that concern slows me down significantly. In the quality column, I have to admit that I am very meticulous about the things I write. I'm a grammatical perfectionist. (Some of my friends call me a grammar Nazi. I think that's a little extreme, but I do think that the use of language is a clear window into the soul of the writer, and if you can't use language properly, you are a poor writer. Go ahead and judge me for that.) I try to be funny and entertaining and thought-provoking, but it's hard to do that every single day.

In the content column, I just don't have something new of substance to say every. single. day. People often ask me what my blog is about, and I never have a ready answer. I can't usually write about my work, because of attorney-client confidentiality. If you're not a knitter, you're going to get really tired, really fast, of the pictures of my projects. And I am hesitant to write about my children at length; in this day and age, children have so little privacy, and they need that to grow up. They need to make mistakes and get dirty and dress up and fall down without the whole world knowing about it and seeing it in real time. Some of my favorite blogs are parenting blogs that highlight the lives of families and their small children, but I can't help but wonder what damage is being done to those tiny lives by turning them into celebrities before age 3.

Politics are hard, too. I have strong political beliefs, and I think they are sensible, but I often feel drowned out by the chorus of naysayers. Again, the Internet is at fault, at least partially. Everyone has an opinion, but now everyone has an easy way to express it publicly. There's outrage being provoked at every turn. Friendships are ruined over Facebook posts, ill-advised tweets, innocently expressed thoughts in a blog post or comment. I'm weary of fighting. I do have a lot of thoughts on a wide range of issues, but I'm tired of the type/hit publish/then duck-and-cover lifestyle.

And yet maybe the BlogHer post-a-day challenge is just what I need to combat my ennui. I can't promise daily scandal, but maybe writing daily will help me find my voice, and help me figure out what this blog is about. I'm going to try it. I hope you'll stick with me and read along. I'd love to have a companion or two on the journey.

Jennie

P.S. Serious question for my readers. (Both of you. Ha.) Do you like it when I post knitting pictures here? Or should I set up a separate crafting and knitting blog and keep this blog for more cerebral stuff? What do you think?

Here's a baby blanket I finished this week, for my friends' newborn son.
Maybe I should open an Etsy store instead of blogging?




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