Wednesday, February 06, 2008

She's giving me a toothache

There was a time, many, many years ago, when I had a Molly Ringwald perm and 20 pairs of Guess jeans and wore white Keds with everything. I made mix tapes of slow songs from the radio and wrote heartfelt and weepy poetry. I sent rambling notes to friends with cutesy acronyms (KIT, FFE, BFF) and used hearts to punctuate my exclamation points.

Because I was that girl once upon a time, it makes it hard to slam Sneha from Life is Above it All. Oh, she's quite a bit older than I was during the time I'm remembering, and she's a good deal smarter than I was, but that core of innocent youth remains. I don't want to squash that earnest hopefulness.

It's not that this is a hot mess. It's just... young. And fluffy.

To start with she's managed to include two of my pet peeves. There's a huge ass banner that takes up the entire page and I have to scroll for ages to get to content. Why do people do this? Why? Next, she uses ellipses constantly. Look, y'all. There's a time and place for these popular little dots: to indicate the removal of text, to indicate a thought trailing off, or to indicate a pause in speech. And that's about it folks. Overuse can be extremely annoying to read.

Some more problems? Lots and lots of poetry. Sappy, angsty poetry. It's not for me. Some people enjoy it, I'm sure, but I can't get into it. Especially rhyming poetry.

Also, the subtitle portion in the banner means absolutely nothing to me. "Emotion is not a footfall." (Ok, so I thought at first it said "football." Either way, I still don't get it.) What? I'm sure there's a cultural disconnect here as she's Indian and I'm American, but I can't for the life of me understand what she's getting at. And unfortunately that happens a lot for me with this writing. Oh, she's smart. No doubt. And kind and good and sweet and hard-working. But unfortunately for me this blog boils down to a lot of words on a screen. And not much else.

This is a young girl's diary, a smattering of thoughts and poems and daily experiences that, while meaningful to her and her friends, does not lend itself to wider consumption. And maybe that's fine. Maybe that's all she wants. But by submitting her site to be reviewed my guess is maybe she's ready for more. If that's the case, some suggestions:

Tighten up. Edit. Get rid of the ellipses, use proper spacing around punctuation, refrain from using cutesy IM-speak (ur, u, 2, shud, cuz, randomly capped and lowercase words, etc.). Don't write in all lowercase -- e.e. cummings can get away with it, you can't. Write for yourself but consider your audience. What do we want to know? Do we want to read paragraphs and paragraphs of your daily experiences? No, absolutely not. Find something interesting to write about. Boil it down, find the good bits, wrap it up in a bow, be concise.

Find your voice -- right now you're one of thousands of sweet young girls with nothing much to say. What makes you different? What do you have to say? Where is your individuality? I read your whole blog, and I know there's more you're not sharing: you're observant and insightful and you have a charming spirit. But it's flat on the screen. There's no dimension.

Right now it's a

but don't give up. Get cracking on my suggestions and let's see where you end up.


  1. "Poetry is not a surfboard."

  2. well firstly, thanks!
    i did submit it because i wanted to move from writing randomly to something substantial.
    so i appreciate your suggestions and i'll see what i can do with them.

    secondly, i'm sorry to say butits more of a visual disconnect on your part. my banner excessively and unnecessarily large as it may be, reads, 'Life is not a FOOTFALL', not FOOTBALL...

    well, and about my ellipsis- I know they are annoying, but its a habit that will take a while to break out of.

    if i notice any change in my blog after a while i'll definitely resubmit.

    Thanks again.

  3. "Life is not a football" is totally funnier.


Grow a pair.