Blog Angst

by Marinka on August 13, 2008

Warning: This post contains a lot of navel gazing. At the end, I announce that I am going on vacation for a week and may or may not update during that time because I want a break. Of course whenever I announce that I want a break, it means that I will update constantly, in real time, will upload podcasts and will come over to your house to read blog updates to you. So, if you don’t read about my angst below, I won’t be insulted. But don’t be surprised if you flunk the pop quiz that I have planned mid-September!

I know what you’re thinking–isn’t Marinka too young (of a blogger) and too beautiful (of a person) to be suffering from any kind of angst? You would certainly think so, and yet you would be wrong. Because I have terrible blog angst. I may require medication. Wine, at the very least.

My blog angst runs the gamut of “why am I doing this?” to “what is the point of doing this when there are others out there who do it better, and I wonder if they drink more or less than I do.” (Also, as I’m typing this, I’m eating the mashed potatoes that my husband made, although I am using the term “mashed” in a very loose sense, so I also have ‘will I be the first person in gastronomic history to chip my tooth on mashed potatoes?’ angst. I’m an emotional mess right now.)

When I started this blog, over two months ago, I thought that it would focus on chair massages in New York City. That lasted approximately twelve seconds. Then I just started to blog about things that were on my mind. Like my kids, a lot. Like September 11th, a lot. Like my family, a lot, although my husband prefers to be referred to in passing only, my mother is still unsure what this internet business is about and my father dares me to “write whatever you want, I’ve heard worse about myself.”

(by the way, my husband just put the ice cream into the microwave. We do that a lot around here because we cannot wait for it to soften naturally, but it occurred to me that maybe this isn’t standard in all households and that I should come clean on this. It also reminds me of that joke that Joan Rivers told about Liz Taylor microwaving popcorn and yelling “hurry!”)

I worry that my blog doesn’t have a focus–I don’t concentrate on parenthood, I don’t concentrate on humor and I don’t concentrate on New York. And sometimes my own writing voice really grates on me. That’s normal, right? It grates on you, too, right? I worry about how much to share. Should everything be filtered through humor? Do people want to know about the darker aspects of my life, even when I don’t.

And it’s so hard not to be intimidated. Not just by the superstars, like Jenny the Bloggess, and Wendi Aarons, each of whom cracks me up whenever she posts, but by raw talent and emotion that is out there. It’s Is There Any Mommy Out There, The Redneck Mommy, Baby on Bored, to name a few whose posts are etched in my brain . (You’re welcome for that image, by the way! If you’re not happy with your blog hosting platform, why not consider my brain? Lots of open spaces!) These women whose posts not only entertain but share such a huge part of their lives and themselves that I feel humbled and privileged to read it. They break my heart and I come back for more.

In a way, these women are my Flannery O’Connor. Because in high school I wanted to be a writer (well, what I really wanted to do was be out of high school) and then I read A Good Man is Hard to Find and thought that I could never do that. For some reason, Hawthorne, Melville, Dickens and Salinger did not intimidate me the way that Flannery did. It took me years, decades, to come to terms with it being ok that I couldn’t write like Flannery O’Connor, because no one else could either. There was one Flannery O’Connor, and there’s one Jenny the Bloggess, and one Anymommy, Redneck Mommy, Mama Ginger Tree, and so many of the other bloggers that I adore. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Oh yeah. I’m going on vacation next week and I may not update the whole time. Of course I’ll be with my kids, so I may update constantly. Place your bets now!

One year ago ...

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenny, the Bloggess August 13, 2008 at 3:18 am

It shocks me that anyone would put me on this list because I hate all my writing. I look at it and go “WTF, me? What’s wrong with you?” and am convinced I’m the William Hung of blogging…popular for how bad I am. I think everyone feels like that.

That being said, I think you are amazing and hysterical and I would buy space on your brain.

I’ll be here until you come back…later this afternoon.

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Z August 13, 2008 at 4:40 am

I think blog angst is normal… Or at least it is for me. And yeah, I worry about my focus, too – I skip around, talk about this and that, jump topics, etc. My voice? What voice? It’s just random words spilling onto the page.

For what it’s worth, I love your blog, your voice, and your topics. Yours is one of the first I check every day (well… honesty here… it’s in my reader, and when it shows up with a new post, I immediately check that) I hope you enjoy your vacation, and come back refreshed. Because I’d hate to not have your voice to read!

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Kate August 13, 2008 at 6:29 am

I can totally relate to “I worry that my blog doesn’t have a focus–I don’t concentrate on parenthood, I don’t concentrate on humor and I don’t concentrate on New York.” Except for the New York part.

I didn’t intend to be a mommy blogger – but that seems to be the group that I’d most relate to. But I don’t do this very well (no Wordless Wednesday photography, no etc.). And then trying to be all designy and fashiony and ironic so I can hang out with the 20 something bloggers won’t work because I talk about my kids too much. And also that would be kind of pathetic.

And even though I think I’m really funny – I am well aware that I’m often the only one laughing at my jokes…

Want to start a new blogging genre? Let’s come up with a really catchy name for ourselves – and maybe a mission statement. And hats would be good (t-shits are so over now).

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Mama Ginger Tree August 13, 2008 at 6:50 am

Oh my gosh. I could have written this post.

Except you did.

I feel this way all the time. I think of something to write, then I get discouraged because I start reading all the fabulous bloggers out there that do it so much better than I do. I have a love/hate relationship with your blog. I love reading it, but it makes me feel so unfunny. I enjoy your humorous posts and your serious posts. But neither are as good as your tweets.

I’ll just stop now because there is no way I can make this funnier than Jenny, the Bloggess’ comment.

Just please don’t take an actual vacation, I’d miss you. And don’t ever stop tweeting.

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Kristine August 13, 2008 at 7:14 am

Every time I post something, I think people are going to think I’m totally boring and never come back here.

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Marmite Breath August 13, 2008 at 7:15 am

Whatevs! (as the kids are saying).

I love your writing. And, for the record, I am laughed at in our house for putting ice cream in the microwave, but hard ice cream ain’t right with the Lawd.

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anymommy August 13, 2008 at 8:58 am

What Jenny said. I think I could always write that and it would be appropriate and I could leave behind the pressure to be witty and original and amaze with my razor sharp commenting skills.

I love your blog, your voice and your humor. You are on my ‘almost too intimidated to write anything after reading her awesome writing’ list. So, the fact that I’m any where near yours is just astonishing.

Enjoy your break. You’re going to email right? Because otherwise, I might shrivel up from lack of contact…

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Maggie, Dammit August 13, 2008 at 9:12 am

Oh, dear.

Allow me to share one of my favorite quotes, by my own personal Flannery O’Connor, Ms. Barbara Kingsolver.

“Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.”

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Insta-mom August 13, 2008 at 12:26 pm

I could have said the exact same thing. Except if I had said it, you’d be on the list of blogs that I feel humbled by.

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Cris August 13, 2008 at 3:19 pm

I microwave my ice cream. Totally normal.

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binks August 13, 2008 at 5:19 pm

Hey, you beat me to this blog. I have been thinking the same thing for weeks, feeling like the unpopular girl in high school. But people actually read your blog. It is a great blog and very entertaining and funny. Don’t change a thing. As for the ice cream, in Florida we leave it on the counter for 10 seconds and it’s perfect.

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Mekhismom August 13, 2008 at 7:18 pm

This is my first time visiting and I love your voice. Keep blogging chica there are folks out here like me clamoring for more.

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180/360 August 13, 2008 at 11:28 pm

If it is any consolation, my blog jumps from humor to photography to children to travel and even to bad poetry. 🙂 I like it that way. I’m a bit all over the place, too- so it works.

And as far as feeling intimidated goes, I get that way every now and then. I see so many amazing photographers out there and sometimes it feels overwhelming to be lumped into the middle of all of them.

But I remind myself that there are always people out there that are going to be better- and that’s okay! They aren’t me. They haven’t lived in my shoes. They don’t have the same vision or story or spirit that I have.

If anything, it just inspires me to figure out who I am even more and how I can make better art for myself. Because that is when I feel happiest. Not when I am comparing myself to others.

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Ms Picket To You August 17, 2008 at 8:02 am

what you said. exactly.

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WA August 21, 2008 at 2:36 pm

First of all, thanks for the mention. Second of all, I don’t read many blogs. But I read yours because your voice is accessible and witty. Now knock off the navel gazing and go broil some ice cubes.

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