Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Wah. Being a writer is wretched.

My writing face, tearing apart an article and trying to put it together again:


Can you see all the red pen marks, the scratch-outs and the desperate "FIX THIS CRAP!" marginalia?

Sample of deathless prose:


Genre develops in response to a social exigence: the new communication form must meet, that is, a pressing and established need. As readers as well as writers, mommy bloggers work to create new structures of community among parents that are not very well provided-for by contemporary Western patterns of work and living. As well as improving their own personal positions, these writers often seek to change the broader public discourse of parenting to ameliorate conditions more generally for all women/mothers. The writer/reader position adopted by the majority of mommy bloggers addresses two linked social exigences.

First, the public understanding of motherhood as an activity undertaken in the privacy of the nuclear family, and the widespread distribution of nuclear families into geographically disparate suburban communities removed from public amenities means that mothers of young children are physically isolated from their existing social networks and contexts.

Second, parenting in these isolated circumstances, many mothers find that they have difficulty developing a strong sense of self in their new roles as mother—the contours and character of this role seem opaque to them. Emblematic of this difficulty is the surprise often expressed in blog comments and posts that a situation the blogger had thought unique to her own family is in fact quite common: these comments often take the form of “You too? I’m so relieved. I thought it was just me …” Maternal rage is an example of a shared experience most bloggers find surprising; the physical pleasure of breastfeeding is another, as is the simultaneous awe-inspiring wonder and mind-numbing boredom of caring for newborns. Corollary to this is a pervasive sense of the loss of the prior adult ‘voice’ or ‘self’, the subjective sense of identity developed prior to childbearing. This problem is particularly acute among contemporary mothers, many of who delay childbearing into their 30s, and who thus have had time and opportunity to develop senses of themselves as adults defined by career, relationship, and lifestyle choices that are radically disrupted by parenthood.

10 comments:

Patti said...

Maybe insert the picture into the article, just for fun? haha

Listen, I'm not even a mommy, only a blogger, and I understood and felt the emotion in those paragraphs. It's all good!

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

Personally I think that blogging serves the needs of mothers of very young children best. As the children become more independent, allowing their mother to reassert/rediscover her selfhood, the mother's compulsion to write fades. We call it blogger burn-out and assume it happens because the writer is tired of writing; but I think what happens is that the "real" world exerts a stronger pull than the virtual world.

Omaha Mama said...

Beautiful words. I love when you blog as Ms. Smarty-Pants Professor. I feel smarter by association. :0) I was going to post about a great fortune I got in my cookie tonight, but may wait until tomorrow to avoid how pale it is by comparison.
I heart your writing.

Bea said...

I've been thinking lately exactly what Jennifer said - that the urgency of blogging has gone in part because the psychological work blogging was doing for me is mostly completed now. Being a mother feels completely normal to me now, and one of the downsides of that is that I no longer feel quite the same kinship with other women simply because their children are the same age as mine. This has affected my blogging behaviour in that I'm less likely to seek out new blogs - I'm perfectly content just to hang out with my ever-shrinking circle of old bloggy friends.

Kyla said...

I think that is my Too Many Math Problems face!

Mimi said...

Jennifer and Bea: You know, I have been harboring the very same suspicion for the last year or so, that there is something about Brand New Motherhood that makes blogging so very compelling for us. In fact, that's what got me on the 'social exigence' idea--new mom bloggers are so very needy, and blogging serves a real purpose. That maybe we outgrow? I don't want to think about that too much, as it makes me sad.

Oh Kyla: exactly right. Too Many Sentence Problems face.

Mandy said...

Um, so the last time I wrote something that wasn't a sentence fragment was before I started blogging. I think.

Jenifer said...

Power reading here! I totally agree with the idea that as the kids get older we don't need blogging as much. I am not looking for someone in the same boat as me, facing the same problem and looking for solutions. Now I blog mostly because I want to keep in touch with the great people I have met.

You make me smarter, I am sure of it.

Bea said...

The other side of it is that our children change, too, as they grow up. I find that I am censoring myself now a bit more - finding something to blog about my kids and then thinking no, that's not something that will spark a chord of recognition, it's just something that's specific to my kids in their particular context and will thus be met with echoing silence. Babies are a lot more alike.

No Mother Earth said...

I couldn't have said it better myself.

Is maternal rage all that common? That would make me feel miles better right now.