Meet Rick Tangl. Poor kid; always a scwar trying to fit into a crcol world.
But don’t worry; he’s a dimind in the rough, this one.
First it was the condensed soup fiasco. Now this.
Me: Hey, can I see that toy? (smelling it) Ew. Guys, I don’t think we should play with this anymore. It smells like chemicals.
Micah: (worried) Chemicals? Are we gonna die?
Me: No, but when something smells bad like this you know it’s not good for you.
Micah: (innocently) Oh, does that mean with food too? Like your cooking?
Once upon a time I worked at a university office and helped jumpstart their social media presence. And then I turned into a web copywriter. And then a blogger.
But I’m really bad at it.
See, I used to think that good blogging was all about good writing.
Oh ho ho! Silly me.
Blogging is no longer about sitting in your pj’s with your Chemex-crafted coffee in hand and sunshine spilling through the window, waiting for inspiration to strike. (Although sometimes it is.) It’s about optimizing. And marketing. And branding. And fanbase-building.
I was a salesperson once. Sold Cutco knives. Was pathetic at it so they cut me off (haha!) after two weeks.
I’m not just bad at selling things. I’m also bad at socializing, which I guess is the first ingredient of social media. I mean, I hope I can say I’m nice and friendly and can strike up conversation with anyone, but I was always super shy. Painfully shy. Which probably explains why I love writing, because there’s no one really to talk to but they’re forced to listen to me anyway.
I don’t like the spotlight. My voice gets all shaky when I’m talking to FIVE PEOPLE, for crying out loud. Some people dream of fame. I kinda dread it because I make a lot of mistakes and am not a very approachable or likable person sometimes and still wear my maternity yoga pants. So I’m not the type to put myself out there, especially when I haven’t showered in four days and have cheeto stains on my fingers. Don’t get me wrong, the idea of getting press passes somewhere or networking with influential media mavens sounds like an awesome opportunity, and smart strategy, and something I want to do, but… I have cheeto stains on my fingers.
After thinking about this too much, I think the only conclusion I can come up with is that I’m not wired to be a PR rep or marketing director; some bloggers are, and I admire them and can afford to glean a lot of wisdom from them. All I know is that I love writing, so I’ll keep doing it as best as I know how. Which is to say after much procrastinating and painful self-editing.
So how do you do this social media thing when you’re not very social? Is blogging for blogging’s sake totally dead? Can there be good writing without a gimmick?
What does it mean when the first dinner your husband has gushed about in weeks came straight from a recipe on the back of a condensed soup box?* Not the homemade chicken tikka masala. Or the bulgogi and japchae. Or the salmon-quinoa-kale thing.
I’m stocking up on cream of mushroom soup.
*For the record, it was organic. I don’t know why I’m qualifying that but it somehow makes me feel better.
Remember this guy?
A couple days ago I saw this tribute to Mr. Rogers linked in my Facebook feed. I read it. You should too. There were tears. There will be for you too. Why? It’s such a well-written piece, mostly because the subject matter himself is just so inspiring. A snippet:
He didn’t live in a world full of songs and puppets. He brought songs and puppets to a world that was scared and tired and vulnerable. A lot of people of a lot of faiths are waiting for the Messiah, but even if one arrives, how are you going to tell the difference between him and Fred Rogers?
He explained death and divorce and disease to kids so that they’d learn which fears were justified and which they could relinquish. His job wasn’t only to help children grow up, but to remind adults, always, that they had been children once, and that someone, somewhere, had loved them.
And when he died himself, of stomach cancer — which you might recognize as The Cancer Nobody Deserves, But Especially Not Mr. Rogers — he left us all, yes, poorer, but so much richer. He gave a lot of us the tools to be kind to each other. And any praise would give a short measure of the man, so the only worthy testament to who he was is the life he lived, without judgments, without politics, with selflessness and love. He was our neighbor, and he loved us.
Today is Mr. Roger’s birthday and fittingly Won’t You Be My Neighbor Day. I showed old episodes to Lucas, who instantly fell in love; goes to show that wholesome, slow kids’ entertainment will never go out of style.
Well, until later that night when he woke up crying from nightmares about Lady Elaine who used her Boomerang Toomerang Soomerang to cause trouble. I forgot how scary she was.
Hug a neighbor today! Or maybe a high five if that’s too awkward.
The boys draw as if they were eating candy. In fits of excess, relishing each piece like gluttons. (The amount of paper they burn through could be a deadly sin.)
It’s like their own language: chatting with ink and color, some moments of silence and then explosions of conversation, complete with storytelling and punchlines. Wherever words feel too thin and weak, their art does the talking.
In a lot of ways I feel like they’re closer to God than I am, creating something out of nothing. Emptiness scares me. Now that I think about it, I guess that’s why I get writer’s block: fear of emptiness. Or fear of messing up the emptiness with sub-par creativity. The boys eat emptiness for breakfast.
I think that’s what inspires me so much when I watch them. It’s this confidence and focus they have, this control over the world that they know no one can take away. So even when the floor is littered with half-finished sketches I leave them be in a world where they are kings.