Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Part One of Three

You have come on the right day, my friends, because this post has a GUEST STAR. And SIBLINGS. It’s not everyday I get to interview one of my favorite bloggers and her answers have been so bloggin’ delicious I’ve decided to break them up to give you time to absorb all the calories: Tara Egan of Do These Kids Make Me Look Crazy Dot Com and also a REAL writer/blogger/frosting enthusiast. We met... oh yeah, never, but we've managed to remain friends for about eight years since joining the same baby group when we were all so barely pregnant it's almost shameful how impressed we were with our super powers of procreation 12 days in.

(I feel like I should note here that all those ladies are now social media mavens. What Atari was to my nerd husband is what babycenter.com was to us. We KNEW it was awesome, we just wanted to already be the best at it when everyone else finally caught on.)

Anyway, her blog which I have referenced repeatedly through the years continues to be great source of life and writing inspiration for me and I have asked her if she would mind being "interviewed" here. Because? We're bloggers and we can interview each other if we want to. If this were Vogue or Us Weekly this is the part where I would describe her casual confidant demeanor as I approach the quaint cafe she's been going to for years because they always treat her “like everyone else.” She would have effortless beauty with no make up, and will have ordered one of everything in order to take just one bite.

In reality, we will be emailing this post back and forth and I can only seem to imagine her in some kind sweats configuration and putting back the can of frosting and getting some yogurt to make my previous "frosting enthusiast" comment seem unfounded.

Dear Tara,

Hi! You smell great, is that a new perfume or the hot dinner Meredith brought to feed your children? I love Meredith. You can tell her I said that.

Okay now… I’ll start by saying my questions come from the space in my brain that is still trying to figure out what blogging is, and what it can be. I'm curious to know what blogging has meant to you? When did you start blogging, and why? Like, the day you found yourself jumping through the hoops of sign up, were you already imagining all the ways you could describe cats eating their own eyeballs on your lawn?

(then she makes her entrance and the crowd goes wild )

Tara: First of all, I read your introduction and I need to tell you that I almost never wear sweats. I abhor them simply because they represent motherhood in the most unflattering of terms, as in, "that baby will make you feel so tired that you won't notice the rancid patch of baby puke festering on the sweatpants you've been wearing for the past three days". I didn't want to be that mother. I wanted to be pretty and witty and make motherhood appear effortless.

Anyway, what were we talking about? I lost track of the conversation because I'm trying so hard to take "just one bite" of all these food items, dammit.

When did I start blogging? March 2008, when my daughter was 3 months shy of three years old and my son was a handful of months away from his first birthday. I was all, "I'm tired of writing my boring dissertation", as the main purpose of a dissertation is to write in the most formulaic, unimaginative method possible, and you do it knowing that only one person in the whole word aside from you will read it (your committee chair).

I knew almost nothing about the blogging world. But my real-life friend, Lindsey of A Crunchy Life, was writing interesting posts about things I knew nothing about (knitting, sewing, being green and gardening). And even though we're friends in real life, I recognized that reading her words--learning about her life through her perspective--rather simply observing it through mine--made me develop a feeling of closeness, of intimacy almost, that I wouldn't have developed with her otherwise.

Sometimes, when I take a walk at night through my neighborhood, I'll get a clear view into someone's home. The blinds will be open, the lights will be on. Maybe someone is stirring something at the stove, or sitting on the couch watching TV, or talking to their spouse, all animated and real. And I'll look in and wonder, "Are they happy? Are they in love? Do they feel emotionally safe? Do they feel valued?"

Blogging is like that. It's like looking through the window into someone else's life. And because you feel as though you're only steps away, you somehow imagine yourself to be part of the scene. You're standing in the dark, looking into the light, and they feel larger than life. What's theirs suddenly seems to become yours. Sometimes this is wonderful. Sometimes it's horrifying. But it's always intriguing and it's always worth it.

What a privilege--as a reader--to get to "hear" another person's thoughts, almost as they unfold. Because people will write what they think, even if they would never say their thoughts aloud. People will embrace the feeling of anonymity that the internet provides and their writing will allow their unconscious and conscious worlds to meld. The best writers make you feel as though you know them. The best writers elicit an emotional response in their readers, even if it's only a snorted laugh or a called out, "In a minute" to a child as they devour a compelling blog post at the most inconvenient of times.

I wanted to experience that, I think. Of being the one inside the house--all toasty and warm and well-lit, rather than simply the one standing on a darkened street, chilled and alone. At the time I started blogging, I was a married woman who was completing my doctoral degree, changing diapers, managing a home, and struggling to be an adequate wife to a man who didn't care what I had to say. Now, there is very little about that scenario that's remained the same.

Thank goodness.

And just think; I got to write about it.

(Hmmm, that doesn't answer your question at all, does it?)

Me: More than you know!

And, darn it, you’ve also gone and proved I was right about the two fears I had doing this interview on my blog; I knew you were a better writer than me, but now you're a better person, too?! All these years I've been keen on the zombie apocalypse, specifically the romantic notion of being the survivors who travel around living in other people's houses, and digging through their drawers in the name of "survival". Totally socially acceptable! But of course you're right, blogging is a much more savory way to peer into each others windows. 

(I know, I told you she was awesome. Marinate on that but keep your eyes out for part 2, I’ve got some goodies in my inbox :)

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