Um, so first let me tell you that this is us grocery shopping. I start with this so you know some things stay the same. Grocery shopping with the Fosters is and always has been an endurance sport.
Notice my kids are wearing underpants on their heads and have decided to bring half their stuffed animals and carts and strollers, which I ended up having to carry home, along with a full trolley of groceries, because well, bringing all that stuff seemed like a great idea when we started out, but not so much fun a few hours later when everyone was tired and crying.
So yes, these peculiarities of my little family have stayed the same, but how I feel about this blog has changed. I'm sure you noticed that I just stopped writing. I know you noticed because you wrote me e-mails and told me and tried to woo me back with your nice talk and compliments and for this, I am grateful. The blog is the problem. Not you.
Truth is, I had decided to stop writing this blog altogether. Really decided. Firm. A few days ago I was composing my final blog post in my head, trying to figure out why and what I was thinking. I was dreading it. I kept putting it off. That is until someone I didn't know at all left this message in my box:
I know I don't actually know you, but of all the blogs I read (about 20... Yes, I'm ashamed) yours is by far my favorite. You said once before that getting emails helped motivate you so--get posting Girl! :)
So, first - thanks Brande. That was very cool of you. And your e-mail made me realize why I started writing this blog in the first place. I started because I'm a writer and I love to, need to, must write to be happy, sane and not bark at bank tellers and my husband. I started because I love good writing, great stories. I love funny, poignant writing. I wanted to write about this experience and write well. That was all that concerned me.
But the business of blogs has changed over these past years. It has become something else. It is not so much about the writing. It is about getting comments, getting bigger blogs to recognize your work, counting your readers like a neurotic bean counter on Google Analytics. It's about conferences, media appearances, handing out business cards, meet-ups, networking, give-aways, sponsorships.
I realized after reading people's Twitters that there was a whole world out there I didn't even know existed. Food writers, moms, bloggers in general, whatever, were flying all over the country, having meet-ups, attending conferences, meeting each other at bars, solidifying friendships and creating these powerful bonds that they parlayed into greater influence on the net. Yes, much about having a successful blog is luck, but another facet of that is being connected both on the internet and in person. You have to show up.
People take care of their own. This is a natural part of things. It happens here. I support bloggers with whom I have connected. But in the larger world of the web, I'm not very connected. I'm, like, in the AV club in high school. I couldn't be connected, of course, because you can imagine how long it takes us to get the grocery shopping done, I mean, that doesn't leave much time for developing my "Mama Brand", does it?
And really, I guess that's what I figured out in my time of abandoning this blog. I don't want to develop myself as a brand - just a person, a cook, a writer, an author, a mom, a wife, a friend, a person on the hunt for adventures and a person just trying to do everything with passion, instead of flying through it all half-assed, hoping something hits the wall and sticks.
I want to savor every little moment.
I don't want to be on a plane flying all over the country going to conferences and drinking in bars with other cool women, although I'm sure it would be a hoot. I just want to stay around home for this, because I like people who wear underpants on their heads. I like four hour shopping trips that end in tears and crushed eggplant. It makes me happy. I like not missing any of it, or most of it.
I don't want to examine each post I write and wonder if I've supported my mission to conquer the world.
I just want to write well with a quirky, funny take on things. I want to never see ads cluttering up my blog. You should kill me if I ever do a give-away or hold a contest. That stuff is great for other folks, but it just isn't me. And you probably know this, but for the record, I will never let some company pay me and then try to endorse their product in my blog without telling you.
I don't want to think of myself and this blog as some kind of construct or business model. I want to make friends with people because they are cool and share my interests and passions, not because they might be influential in helping me get new readers or extend my presence on the net. I want to help new bloggers and be generous with my time when I can. I want to never be too cool or too big to respond to a new commenter or blogger, even if it takes me forever to do it.
I want people to read my blog, but not because I want to position myself for a two minute stint on Good Morning America, although I would do the stint if offered, it just isn't my raison d'etre. I want to not be one of those irritating bloggers - I've done this before - who drums up sensationalist, nonsensical topics, just to get into the fray, cause a dog fight and then, jump right in. The latest media-driven discussion of what it means to be a "bad mother" comes to mind...ugh, who cares?
I want you all to read. I do not want to write in a vacuum. I do want people to enjoy my writing and I love hearing from people when they do. I also don't mind shitty comments from time to time. That's all part of it. I want to be a part of a community and I want to be as avid a reader of your blogs as I am a writer. I want to be there for you, too. I just want to do it all with some kind of purity of purpose. I want to just be Winnie the Pooh. And be. Not for a purpose or a mission or a goal.
And so, that's what I figured out in my mini-sabbatical. And I'm gonna try to honor it here. If I don't, you have my permission to call me on it. I respect your opinion. You know me very well. You proved that when you picked up falsehoods in the chapter I wrote and posted here. You were straight shooters and I like that.
Just know that I appreciate you coming here. That I consider you friends. That I will try not to disappoint, you or myself. I will also try not to disappear again.