I have started and stopped this post more than a dozen times. Here’s the conversation I hear as I type, delete, type, hit save draft…
Head: “It’s time to write a blog post.”
Heart: “Yeah, probably, but I don’t wanna.”
Head: “You have stuff to say, publications to plug, yadda yadda.”
Heart: “Ugh, I would rather sit under a blanket and watch Scandal, the best show on television.”
Head: “You streamed every episode available. There won’t be a new one until March 21. WRITE THAT POST.”
In last month’s issue of the Minnesota Women’s Press, themed “Matters of the Heart,” I wrote a fan letter to feminist men. It was pretty good, I think–at least good enough to warrant many hetero women to inquire where I found my awesome feminist husband (behind the counter at Cheapo, of course). But I didn’t do the usual thing and hawk it here, for an uncomfortable reason.
My big fat feminist heart is in pieces.
On January 30, my friend Pam Taylor passed away from brain cancer. She died with her family at her side, at home, in typically stubborn fashion–her doctors gave her just weeks to live, but she pushed that out to fourteen months. If you knew Pam, you knew she was not about to leave her two daughters THAT quickly. No way.
Usually, I respond to upheaval by writing. I wrote volumes when my dear friend Liz passed away in 2007, also of cancer, also at home, also leaving behind two young daughters. At the time I kept my blog on MySpace, a charmingly mindless place to vent about the ugliness and unfairness of life. As a plus, you could add the music you were listening to at the time, which in 2007 was always Paul Westerberg’s “Let the Bad Times Roll“:
The good times hide/and so do I/out of my control/I dig a hole/I’m gonna let the bad times roll
It should be noted that this song was released in 2002, a decade before Scandal was available to cheer ol’ Paul up.
In the years (yes, years) that I’ve been working on The Radical Housewife, the book, I’ve utilized the services of a number of industry professionals who advised me that my blog should be a place where I “build my platform,” such as it is. I must be vigorous about promoting myself and my work at the Women’s Press, at MPR, at the Minnesota NOW Times, at any analog and/or digital publication that would have me–nevermind that this is contrary to every introverted cell in my body. I find that this push towards “branding” has strangled my natural impulse to write directly from my heart, whether it’s broken or whole.
And more and more often I see bloggers are clashing with each other (and with their readers, sometimes) over anything and everything. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg seem to have reinvigorated the Mommy Wars for 2013, and every feminist writer I know has taken a side. Page views and well-placed editorials are the reward for the winner, dontcha know! The Feminist Breeder was so fed up she put up a paywall on her site. Kinda makes you wish we were all gluing up zines at Kinko’s doesn’t it?
Goddammit, whatever happened to GIRL POWER?! Forgive us, Bratmobile and Sporty Spice! We need you!
Ultimately, waxing nostalgic for long-lost “good old days” is as unhelpful as wishing very very VERY hard that people wouldn’t die. You can give it a go, just don’t expect results.
The heart is a fragile thing.