My Dilemma

I’ve been having a crisis of faith about Uploads & Inserts. Like many things in my creative life, I plowed on in without thinking the entire thing through. I knew I wanted a “professional” Website, where I could keep folks up to date about my many new publications (uh, yeah, about that…), and I wanted to have a space for some information about me, Susie Meserve. My idea, of course, was that this Website would be a valuable tool when I was sending out work and looking for an agent for my memoir. I want to sell a book, yo! And, separately, I knew I wanted to blog. Et voila, I thought, let’s put it all together.

So here we are, and it’s been great fun, but lately a host of concerns has cropped up. I’ve been feeling like I want more privacy. Yes, we all know I have very little trouble oversharing, but believe it or not I too have my moments of shyness. More than that, I’ve been worried about who’s reading. I love that my friends, a few randoms, and my mom (Hi Mom!) are tuning in, but then, what about Internet predators? What about my students? Are they googling me and reading about my every vulnerability? And, about those agents. If one checks out this site, does she learn more about me than maybe she wants to—more than I want her to? Should I maintain this as a professional Website, and keep personal things personal?

Hmm.

Well, but: the overshare has kind of become my genre, so maybe it’s not so wrong to connect the two, my professional Website and my personal blog. After writing poetry for many years, the past few have seen me working almost exclusively on the memoir and other personal essay-type projects. If there is a niche that I’m filling, it might be personal, autobiographical writing (that’s another crisis of faith, but I’ll table that for now). So maybe that isn’t a problem after all.

In any event, two questions came up: should I can this blog, and start another, anonymous blog? A whole separate enterprise, where I don’t name myself at all?

And if I do that, or even if I stay here, what is this blog about? Is it about parenting, writing, anxiety, all of the above? Does that work? Seems awfully unfocused. I’ve been worrying about that.

I brought these concerns to two pals this week, both fellow bloggers: An Honest Mom and Ruth Whippman, who blogs at Calm Down Dear and a few other places. An Honest Mom is a good one to talk to about these things because, like me, she’s trying to sort out her role as a blogger and she’s pretty open to new stuff. So we worked out some things. Then, later that day, Ruth and I had a good chat about it too. Ruth is a good person to talk to about these things because she’s sharp as a tack and she is pretty pragmatic, savvy, and thoughtful about her professional life.

After much thinking, I have a plan. You ready for it?

1. I am thinking maybe, just maybe, I’ll can this blog and keep this site professional. I might even make a tab called “blog,” where I occasionally post bits and pieces of my writing, or news, or share about books I’m reading or literary events I’m attending. You know, writer’s stuff. Low impact.

2. I will start a new blog, but it won’t be anonymous. Because I want to generate interest, right? Interest in the overshare, if you will. Interest in my memoir. Interest in selling a book, yo. This new blog might have a specific kind of a focus, a little more nuance, with a catchy catch phrase (stay tuned!). But it will be the work of me, Susie Meserve, and I will of course link from one to the other. And maybe it won’t be about parenting so much. Or maybe it will.

3. But, because I really do like writing about parenting, a lot, in fact, maybe I’ll find a place to do that if I decide the other blog should have a different bent. Ruth does a lot of guest blogging, and she blogs for the Huffington Post, too. So maybe there’s a place to write about me and my sweet L somewhere.

4. Well, and, cool thing: Ruth invited me to join a group blog that she writes with six other women, all about writing. One dropped out, and I’m taking her place. So now, on a regular basis, I’ll be blogging about writing. I’ll share more details of that once I’m online there. Exciting stuff.

Looks like, instead of one blog, I now have…four.

Shit.

Have I mentioned that I don’t really like blogs that much? I read my friends’ blogs, of course, but in some ways I’m a real luddite. I don’t hold with Kindles, for example. I want me a book in my hands. And, if I’m doing all this blogging, when (the hell) am I going to find time for some of the new projects I’m saving up?

This may be my next dilemma.

And this is the part of the post where I ask, “what do you guys think?” Anyone care to (over)share?

the day I realized the next two years with L will be an exercise in patience, consistency, and trying not to crack up at inappropriate times.

Wednesday. Tantrums start before breakfast.

Time to get your shoes on, L.

Runs away. I act stern. Happens again. Threats. Runs again. Only 8:45.

All morning: Nooo! and But but but but but—

Naptime. More fun to crap in the diaper. Fills his bed with trucks. Then blocks. Me: I do NOT want you to get out of bed again. Confiscate the toys (Hey, Mumma! You’re taking away all my stuff!).

3:00 p.m. In his bed. Footy jams. Pacifier. Shit-eating grin. Blocks all over the bed.

I’m building a house, Mumma. For Dada. And you. And me. And…I’m awake.

Hug.

Daycation, All I Ever Wanted

Well, first things first: my friend Lisa Rosenman, neé Hastings, who blogs here, awarded me the Liebster Award a few weeks ago! What’s the Liebster Award? Recognition of a blog you like with fewer than 200 followers. By the rules, you have to pass it on to five other bloggers with fewer than 200 followers. I think I’m also supposed to tell you a couple things about me that you don’t know, but, well, I’ll assume that in today’s blog post you’ll learn a few new things. In any event, thank you, Lisa!

Here are the five blogs to whom I shall in turn bestow the Liebster Award:

An Honest Mom. Straight shooting talk about parenting, pregnancy, and pranks (read about her April Fool’s snafu!).
Cook with What You Have. A dear old friend who may have more than 200 followers because she’s brilliant, but what the heck, I’ll give it to her anyway.
366in2012. A blog about farming by Laal. I love reading her daily updates about shearing sheep and planting bulbs (as you know, I pine for the “simple” life).
Love and Other Delights. Another cool blog about parenting, by a mom in Brooklyn.
The Cheese Press! Makin’ cheese, makin’ love.

Now, second things second: it’s been a while. Before I went on vacation last week things were crazy, and despite trying to carve out the time to write, I just didn’t. I hoped to blog on vacation, but quite frankly, when you’re in Hawaii with your husband and your kid is at home with your parents for six days, you kind of forget you even have a blog. Yes, Hawaii. The so-called Big Island, which, after six days, begins to feel quite quaint and small. At the same time, it’s a huge place: big mountains, powerful surf, big winds, big legacy. I was so excited to have a few days with B that I didn’t even mind the plane ride, which is usually a real killer for me (half a Xanax and a complementary Mai Tai didn’t hurt either). Once we arrived it was six days of doing whatever we felt like: hiking, snorkeling, eating ice cream, drinking rum punch on the lanai, reading, talking, making out, you know.

Pololu Valley, near Hawi

And it only took me two and a half days to relax. The most memorable day for me was Good Friday, when we drove our rental car south, south, south past all the swanky, overpriced resorts and into the real meat of Hawaii: lush foliage, rain clouds, beater cars, and shacks, and out to a black sand beach with wild winds, crashing surf, and sea turtles snacking on seaweed (the one who was hanging around shore we named Frank, in honor of L, who names everything Frank). The reason that day was most memorable was because I had an important revelation about myself: I have a lot of trouble relaxing. Ha! Understatement! Here I was, on vacation, in Hawaii–and I was basically having a panic attack the whole drive south. I couldn’t even tell you, now, what it was really about (drowning, car crash, something). But at one point B said to me, “I think L takes up so much of your brain space at home that when you have a little time away from him, lots of stuff comes crashing in. You’ll feel better.” Smart man. That afternoon, after we’d had a really wonderful hike in the woods, I did feel better. And on the way up north again we crashed a swanky resort, sat on the terrace about twenty yards from the beach, the wind wild in our hair, and had a $16 cocktail at sunset. I felt it all falling off my shoulders, all of it: schoolwork, the stresses of parenting, self-doubt, static, guilt, etc.

Rope-a-dope

Daycation, all I ever wanted.

Funny story: years ago, my boyfriend A and I were in a Target in Portland, Oregon. A little kid picked up these plastic beach chairs and said, “Mom! Mom! We need these for when we go on daycation!” It stuck.

And am I happy to be back? Yes. Happiest to see my sweet boy, of course, whom I swear is taller and talking in more impressive vocabulary than when we left. And happy that L got to spend a week with my mom and dad, who, despite my worrying, were absolute champs. They had a wonderful week together, playing games, eating good food, going to the playground. My parents managed to get L to nap every day and only fed him ice cream once or twice, and we returned to a happy and healthy kid. I wish my parents lived closer, and I know L does too, but times like these are the stuff of bonding and lifetime closeness. Happy, too, to come back to my incredible community here. I was ruminating yesterday on how fortunate I am. I have all these wonderful friends. I love that friends called my parents to check in and offer help while I was away. I love that in turn, I watched a friend’s son for a few hours on Wednesday. I love that yesterday, after a nice morning with my dear C, I picked up another friend’s son from daycare, took him to my house, where he and L both napped (!), then brought him, and dinner, home. It’s a good feeling to have that proverbial village in your life.

Not that I wouldn’t object to a Mai Tai and no responsibilities, but what can you do?