Thursday, June 4, 2009

I've Been Gone Awhile, Haven't I?

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:

Hey Kim!

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! :)

Much Love,

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.

xo YM



SaintTigerlily said...

Wow, just AMEN to all of that. You were missed and I am so glad you are back.

I learn so much from you always, but this was a great mini-clinic in balance, the joys of writing, and the re-affirmation that true happiness is going grocery shopping with underwear on your head.

Sending love to you and yours and hoping we can all get together soon.


Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Kim, you've just listed all the reasons WHY you should blog--because your little corner of the Internet is an honest, BS-free zone where we can gather to be both amused and moved by your stories, no strings attached. But if I see at Pathmark, I will insist that you let me hang out with y'all in the soup aisle--after all, I'm single and you're quite the fireman magnet.

Anonymous said...

You know, this post made me teary and I'll tell you why- you have so succinctly put into words everything I feel about blogging but have never quite been able to say, and I really can't express enough how much I agree with you.

All that other stuff, yeah- agreed- it's great and all, but gads, it's just NOT me. I get frustrated a lot with my blog, and entertain thoughts of quitting ALL THE TIME, but a small handful of good and honest blog-mates keep me grounded to what is real and most important, and that's being true to who you really are. I do that, and for the few people who actually tell me how they feel about it, I feel I am appreciated for not only what I do, but what I refuse to do which is everything you've listed here.

I would miss you if you stopped. I would miss the cheery smiles on your daughters, underpants stories, the chaos of raising young, spirited and engaging children and the joy of being married to a rock-climbing Aussie hunk. Don't go anywhere just yet. And if I ever come to New York, I'll gladly put panties on my head and go shopping with you, happily carrying home toys and strollers and helping keep the eggplant intact.

I'd hug you if I could....

Christine said...

Oh good! You're back. You had me a little worried. You're one of my favorite blogs exactly for the reasons you listed.

(And by the way, the boyfriend was able to find tickets to Kevin Smith tonight and apparently exaggerated about the lack of good Kev. Smith ticks available. I told him that he should totally befriend any random Australian producers with longish blonde hair he finds.) The boyfriend thinks (knows) I am a weirdo.

Allison said...

Well, you don't know me. I don't think I've ever commented before. I have been reading your blog for a long time, though.
I missed you so much! I kept checking how long it'd been since your last post and the weeks kept adding up. I'm really glad that you're back.
I love your stories about your life. I love hearing about your girls and your husband and everything you guys do. Thank you for continuing to write. I'll definitely continue to read.
Lastly, you are one of my favorite bloggers because you're real. A few months back I took a 4-week trip to Europe. Your blog was the only one I checked. I'd retell your stories to my boyfriend as we traipsed around different cities. He got a kick out of them, too.
Thank you thank you thank you!

Caroline in San Francisco said...

Hi Kim,

Welcome back! Although we don't know each other personally (I did write once before to say how much I loved the Thomas Keller roast chicken recipe :), I do enjoy your blog and have started worrying about you after you went AWOL. I totally agree with Cooknkate that I enjoy your blog because you are honest (sometimes brutally) and because you are not in the "business" of running a blog. Post when you can; I understand totally that your family is your priority.

blissmamaof3 said...

Welcome back! You have really been missed, my cooking is suffering. Amen to all you said, it's becoming a strange cyber world out there. I like it here with you. Yours was the second blog I found and started to follow. I really missed you.

Anne Stesney said...

What a relief! I'm not alone! You know I tried to organize some fun, bloggy thing, but I kept pushing it off and pushing it off. There are too many other things I'd much rather do then network for my blog. And you pretty much listed every reason why posting on my blog has seemed like a chore, why I constantly feel pressure for not "branding" myself enough and why I haven't been able to even log on to Twitter for over a month. It's just too much and frankly, not in me.

I'm still insanely envious of the dooce/mightygirl/finslippy clique, but what can I say? An AV Club girl I am and an AV Club girl I'll always be.

Anonymous said...

Yaah! Glad you are back. YOur blog is so genuine and your posts about your children help remind me not to let my temple veins throb and my blood pressure elevate when my daugther insists on riding her scooter to the grocery store and insists on being carried (along with her scooter) on the way home. You handle those situations with such humor and patience that it helps me remember that all these things with kids are just a moment in time. Your writing draws me in.

heather said...

long time lurker, first time commenter...just wanted to say i'm (selfishly) glad you decided to come back, and glad you were able to clarify for yourself what your terms are! good work! :)

Melissa said...

Oh my god, Kim. You just summed up everything I had been feeling in the almost three weeks it had been since I posted. I talked to Krysta about it on the phone and in email as well... I know I know, it's stupid when someone says "I know how you feel." UGH. But you seriously just expressed my inner thoughts so beautifully.

Since the beginning of April, I have dropped 70 blogs off my reader, 30 friends off Facebook and recently deleted my Twitter account. As I said to Krysta (chopped up a bit):

From now on, I only want to blog with people I have a friendship with. I don't care if my comment numbers go down. I want to learn about food and hope I have something new to offer to those sticking around to read me. I want to be inspired and connected, not just obligated.

And it's like my brain is TOO FULL and I need to clear room for what matters...

And for me it's not just food, it's life and love and kids and moments of joy and reflection and amazement and all the perfect stuff life has to offer. That's why I want to blog with people. Not for the fringe benefits or the stats. Ew. Eff this weird part of the blogging world you speak of, which I almost got sucked into myself.

I am so, so glad to see you. I thought about you quite a bit while you were gone (hope you got my email!) and really missed you and David and Lucy and Edie. You are such a beautiful foursome and I would hate to never hear from you again.

But if you ever feel like you need to, then that's what it is too. Just keep being yourself, Kim, because you are definitely one of the... not good ones, BEST ones.

Much love~

Anonymous said...

hooray! great to have you back! I must say what I love about your blog is that it is actually honest. So many other blogs I've read in the past just feel like a complete marketing exercise and very 'pollyanna'. I just can't read that kind of thing long term. I'd much prefer to read something that acknowledges that life isn't perfect but finds the humor in the situation - and with great quality writing. Thanks for all the posts so far and looking forward to more laughs in the future.

Anonymous said...

Hey... again I am one of your silent band of followers who avidly read your posts, like a wonderful true to life novel that continues to unfold , and continues to bring wonderfuly hilarious situations, which I think we can all identify with one way or the other.

I originally found your blog through searching for recipes, but while I usually take the recipe and move on from such blogs, your blog is one of the few blogs that has kept me hanging on.

Please keep writing, whenever you feel like, because I know there will always be an eager audience waiting for the next chapter!

You really are what Blogging should be all about, and I really applaude you.

Please never feel any pressure, continue as you are, becuase it really is so wonderful... and if you ever fancy a break, you know we will all still be here, avidly checking to see if you have posted again!

Just please don't stop writing! (I think I'm addicted!)

Cali said...

Yay! glad everything is ok... i totally hear ya on the whole weirdness of the blogging world. the whole point of a blog is to write what you have to say not to see how many readers you can get...

avra said...

Have you taken a look at my blog lately? There's a whole lot of tubleweeds blowing through it right now. As I read your post, I was nodding in agreement. I started my blog as a way to keep writing while I was home with the kids. I felt the same pressures you felt. Now that I am back at work, I have less time, and the blog--as much as I had fun with it and wanted to build my own little community of like-minded connections--hadto fall to the bottom of the priority list. I'm still planning posts and taking (some) pics, but the reasons that drove me before aren't there the same way.

Your blog has always been on my "to read" list and I will read your posts whenever you choose to write them, and whatever you choose to write about!

Reading the comments here, it sounds like there are a LOT of us like-minded people. We belong to your clique and you belong to ours.

I'd choose you over Dooce any day.

Lorelei said...

And that my dear is exactly why I love your blog over any of the others I read ... welcome back.

Rita said...

Dear Kim:
Sounds like you've been doing some soul searching. Life continues while blogging can be forsaken for a myriad of reasons.

I thought of calling, but instead called your mom who assured me you all were alive and well.

I'm happy you made the decision not to give up the blog. Yours is the only one I read. I enjoy reading about the happenings in your life and especially love the pics. Your girls remind me of another little girl I met when she was about 6years old. You came to Mary's birthday party beaming with a big smile and bigger personality. From then on you and Mary became fast friends. Over the years there were sleepovers, pool parties, camping trips with your parents, lots of laughs and a few tears. Wasn't that just yesterday??
Anyway, that's why I read your blog. Welcome back!! Your've been missed. xxxRita

Anonymous said...

OH. THANK. GOD. (I knew I liked you) Glad you're back, you've been missed. Let's talk soon. XO Diane

ntsc said...

So glad to see you back. Hope it isn't as long till the next time, but if it is, so what.

I write when I want on what I want to. I'm glad for comments, but it isn't why I'm here.

Karen said...

I, too, have been a "long-time lurker". I enjoy your blog specifically because you don't do most of that stuff. I enjoy your writing, hearing about the strange and glorious things your babies do (mine are all grown up - their "strange & glorious" is a whole new world) and seeing the photos of whatever you choose to post.

Your blog is enjoyable. I'm glad you'll continue to write.

The Mulligan Family said...

I just want to throw my two cents into the forum. I've missed you, and all of your adventures. Your writing style is honest and funny and always brightens my day. I'm glad you are not going to end the blog - at least for now. I would be very sad to see you go.

Have a great weekend.
Cheers, Cindy

Cheryl Arkison said...

Oh, I can totally relate to that kind of grocery shopping experience - minus the underpants. We are still negotiating the wearing of 'tanties'.

Funny, I participated in a focus group for some grad student research on blogging and it has focused my time on-line. It got me thinking about why I do it. When I started I never thought about community or ads or anything like that. I got caught up and obsessed with getting comments. Okay, I'll admit it, I still check my site meter. But I realized this week that the reason I do this is because I love to write. And writing is fine, but if no one reads it what's the point? That's like cooking for yourself. Sure, it might be a fabulous dinner, but only your tongue knows that and some things just should be shared.

One other blogging advantage is that my photography skills ramped up. No one will be publishing a book anytime soon, but it has provided another creative outlet.

Hey Chicca, do what you want. Know that I love coming here because you are freakin' hysterical.

Brande said...

The passion, joy, authenticity and purity of intention that you just described are the exact reasons why you're my favorite blog. You're blunt, you're real, you're thrilled by the smallest things, and you've got a hilarious writers voice (The CSFB? An entire tag dedicated to Vaginas? lol!).

I'm SO glad you're back, but please don't ever let yourself feel weighed down by readership and the feeling that you "have" to blog. Everyone needs to charge his or her batteries every now and then, so do it! Skip blogging! Spend a day dancing in the rain with your kids and making paella. That's what life is *really* about.

Maria said...

Oh Kim! I've sent you one or two comments and maybe an email. I love reading your blog because you are real, and funny and make me feel like I can cook a decent meal occasionally, while keeping my twins from drinking cornmeal from the canisters in the pantry.

Write what you want, when you want, why you want. We'll be here reading it, not because you are Miss Blogger USA, but because we like you and your writing.

Smashley said...

Yay! I'm glad you are back! I am glad you aren't one of those drama-llamas, and that's why I love your blog. I still read some of those mainstream drama-blogs, but my favorites are the blogs like yours.

Don't leave!!!

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear you have decided to stay with the blog. Missed reading your stuff, perhaps you need to shake off some of the NY dust at some special island again.

Am I the only reader to notice that one of your children has already picked-up on breast feeding her doll?

Krysta said...

as always i'm late and i'm sorry.

i read every comment and kim you don't know how many times i have wanted to dump my blog down the toilet... the irritation of branding yourself and feeling guilt if i don't post, the time sucking waste it feels like, the creativity that it seems to take away from your brain or soul, the times i can't show up- internet wise- because, well, family comes first, if some person comments they expect a comment and make it known rudely, the tit for tat, please link to me, please shill for me... ugh. anne has it right... it is just too much. and part of me feels like the it's the cool kids then everyone else and that stinks also. so i feel your fustration. i'd beg you not to quit but that would be selfish on my part. so whenever you decide to post i'll read because i love your take on life and cooking. it brings me joy. lots of love-krysta

auntjone said...

I have attempted a blog numerous times and failed numerous times. I don't have enough fodder. I don't have an interesting life that would draw people in. And I suck at pictures. I totally identify with what Kim, Anne and Krysta have said...and I read all of their blogs. Coincidence? I think not.

Anyhoo- welcome back Kim. Blog for yourself, not Corporate America, Blogher or anyone else. I have missed your crazy stories and thought maybe you lost your mind and stayed in Santa Monica permanently.

Minka's Studio said...

Bravo! I love this posting. Thank you for saying what is true.

That said, I hope you continue to post. I do look forward to your adventures and your writing.

Rhia said...


I read blogs through a feed aggregator, so am a seldom commenter, but I wanted to stop in and tell you how much I enjoy your writing and am glad you've decided not to stop.

I would have missed you and the girls if all I had was Twitter!


Roxanne Beckford Hoge said...

Kim -- another total stranger saying "Amen" and so glad you're back. For some reason, I found your blog the day you wrote from Santa Monica. Oh, I remember -- I looked up the term "yummy mummy" because ELEVEN years ago, my hubby and I started a clothing line and it was going to be called that but someone had that name so we went with something else and then a few weeks ago it popped into my head and I thought, "I wonder who has that name now" and I found you and got hooked and wanted to write you directly because your amazing tale about your loss was so touching and reminded me of what we went through when we had two children already so we moved on although my almost-12-year-old son still talks sometimes about Speck but it's no longer sad because we believe that one of our surprise identical twins must be Speck, back with a friend. So I was waiting for your return to write you and then ... nothing. And I was worried, but felt odd about it because I don't even know you and yet you are so familiar to me. So welcome back and good for you to realizing the real priorities in your life. An old friend once said in the midst of (my) tears about juggling kids and acting that she "knew people whose lives didn't change when they had small children, and she didn't like them." So, Bravo! As for the biz of blogging, I can't figure out how to even find my stats! :) And though mine is putatively for my biz, it's really just for me. All writing is, or should be, I think.
Clearly, though, lots of people appreciate you and knowing that they are not alone in this adventure called life, with the triple twisting somersault known as parenting thrown in for good measure.