Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It's the good girls who keep diaries; the bad girls never have the time.

There are these girls I went to school with. You did, too. Good girls. But not the good girls you hate, not the ones who lord it over you or get all self-righteous or run tell their mothers when you say, "fuck." No. They were actually good. Sweet, kind, unpretentious, good-natured, eager to please. They wore loafers and navy polos and pleated skirts and had square cut bangs and their Trapper Keepers were organized by subject and they always crossed their legs and gave thoughtful instructions and wrote their thank you cards on time, not six months later and smudged.

Maybe we ignored those girls. Maybe we discounted them, left them out, barreled over them, forgot their names. Maybe some of them surprised you, though. Maybe her name was Jan, and maybe she played violin and was plain and smart and hardworking and shy. And later, when you both grew up, maybe she surprised you, outstretched you in every avenue. Maybe she got ballsy, maybe she got brave, maybe she got wicked, independent, and unique.

Riverpoet reminds me of those girls, a little, before they surprised you. She seems tidy, organized, and nice. Like maybe she wears mom jeans and drives the speed limit and pays her bills on time and wears sensible underwear.

The blog design is fine, although the banner image is a little large for me. It's not cluttered or busy or ugly, but I like a less severe purple. River, you might think about moving your archives up where they can be found instead of down at the bottom in no-man's land. Also, switch it to a monthly archive rather than weekly. And why is there no blogroll?

She's a writer, but, like so many, her blog could stand some serious editing. I want to like her -- she's sweet like candy -- but I find myself glazing over. Like, here. The story about her mother in a nursing home with her buddy, putting on makeup and sharing their twilight years, could have been touching and poignant. Instead, it just kind of went on and on. And on. Not to mention the longest post ever about cats.

Her tone can be formal (especially toward the beginning of the blog), but I get the feeling she's not a formal person. She writes well -- in terms of construction -- but with little personality. There's often a seriousness to her writing, a ponderous quality, like it's weighted down. And I just want it to lighten up.

But that makes me feel guilty because she's been ill and in pain. There are valid reasons for her to be serious, to question, to feel weighted down and sad. There are lots of posts about medical procedures. I'm sure that's illustrative and helpful for people in the same situation or her close friends and family, or even not so close friends and family, but for me, a heartless bystander, it's just kind of depressing.

There are times when her personality does comes through, when she loosens up a little, and when she does it's nice. But it's seldom. And brief.

She mentions people like we should know who they are, but there's not a lot of back story, and no link to find out more. And Riverpoet, I'll tell you like I've told others -- get rid of the last names and identifying histories. Seriously. I know we all think it won't happen to us, but then it does. Don't make it easy for them.

I like Riverpoet. She's nice and kind and introspective and really kind of zen. But I'm waiting for her to surprise me. I'm waiting for her to do something outrageous or make a stand or reveal a deep dark secret or dance on a table or... something I haven't thought of, something that makes her wicked, and independent, and unique.

But, honestly, I'm not going to wait long, because too often your posts -- while they can be soothing and thoughtful and calm -- put me right to sleep.

Right now your blog is stuck on sick and tired and searching. But because I think you've got it in you, because you post frequently and consistently, and because you're a nice lady with some talent and a couple of readers who I read, too, and I assume maybe they know something I don't, I'm giving you

Also? This was like the hardest blog to review ever for me. I don't know why, but it took me ages to formulate an opinion, and even longer to get that opinion to make it to the screen. Don't get me started on how many times I waffled on my rating. Too, why do I feel like I need to call my mom now? And apologize to all the nice girls out there everywhere who I scoffed at? And organize my sock drawer? If I had a sock drawer instead of the floor.


  1. I like the no blogroll thing. That really takes balls in blog world.

    The purple is a bit too neon for my liking, and she could get rid of one of the titles.

    I ran a mile at the cat post though. Seriously, edit a wee bit.

    But yeah, nice.

  2. Yeah, I couldn't get past the longest post ever about cats. She lost me there.

  3. I couldn't get past the first paragraph of your review because it sounded just a little too much like me.

    It was creepy.

  4. I would have to have an attention span that is 300% longer than my current attention span in order to be a frequent reader. She seems very nice. I prefer train wrecks to nice, though. It makes me feel more comfortable in my own inadequacies.

    Though, I do, at least, have a sock drawer. And a kinky lingerie drawer, for that matter.

  5. Your review, however, does explain why I could never keep a diary.

  6. LB, are you calling me a train wreck? ;)

  7. Betsey, did you end up reading further? I suspect you were one of the surprising ones. ;)

    And LB, you can thank Tallulah Bankhead for that quote.

  8. Doris has commented on my site before and I agree, she seems awfully nice. She has written technical manuals, maybe she needs to shake that off a bit, and yes, editing(me too, so I don't judge).

    She should dig deeper for the juicy bits, even crazy cat ladies have them. And while I can appreciate the updates for family, friends or to vent, I'd keep the medical posts as brief as possible. I liked 'By Way of Explanation' because it was serious, suspenseful, descriptive and I felt like I was there.

    Calamity is right Doris, you are VERY Googleable(if that's a word), I would remove the last name. Wierd people could connect the dots pretty easily and you're too nice to have to deal with some wierdo Mr. Yuk.

  9. Train wreck is a bit strong, but you do have a juicy sex life, at the least.

  10. XBox- I disagree. It isn't ballsy, it's simply a personal choice. I link because I find what I've linked to is good, and I want my readers to know about it. Writers are also readers, and readers love good literature. It's just like recommending a book.

    I don't like the design at all. Her writing is fine, but it doesn't catch me. She doesn't talk about anything which really draws me in. That really isn't a criticism, it's just out of my demographic.

  11. Her blog is very calming and she writes very well.

    The one thing that drives me crazy about the template is that there are no dates on her posts. Or I could be suffering a stroke at the ripe old age of 31.

    There are times... but no dates.

  12. Oh Jesus H. on a hockey stick . . . I am suffering a stroke.

    Under the comments. It would be nicer to have them up top.

  13. Well thanks for that psychic intervention mystic maria.

    Then it's a fucking personal choice, that is ballsy.


  14. I'm not sure how much balls have to do with it, given that this is a woman.

  15. You really have to visit me here in AMsterdam some time...

  16. This is a leap, but I think those "women" would have blogrolls. Don't you?

  17. They certainly have something you could sink your teeth into anyway

  18. If I visited you in Amsterdam, would that mean I could fuck with you in person? Can I bring the original dumpster racoon?

  19. Amsterdam would fuck with you my dear, of that hold no doubt.

    Feel free to bring your furry friend too.

  20. (Quietly interjecting that I think this is my favorite review you've ever done.)

  21. Is it, Mr Lady?? Really? It totally gave me fits. Fits, I say!

    Thanks. :)

  22. I hope it isn't bad etiquette to thank you for my review. Thank you. Sincerely. I did ask, and for good reason.

    I knew there were areas that needed work, but I wasn't sure what those areas were.

    Your suggestions and criticisms are helpful, and I promise that next time you drop by, the template will at least be better.

    But my writing will never be the daily clever quips. I'm just not the girl for that kind of blog. :-)

    As for the no blogroll, it was getting unmanageable - and LONG. And then again, maybe I do have balls. I'm not tellin'!

    Peace - D

  23. River, a suggestion? Keep the blogroll, just move it to a separate page.

  24. River,

    Another suggestion: If you find a post extending a long, long ways, break it up in readable bites. Do a part 1 and part 2. If need be, parts 3, 4, and 5. ;)

  25. She writes well, no doubt about that. And hey... I think her posts are longer than mine too.

    I attribute my lack of a blogroll to pure laziness. I keep telling myself to start one, but then I end up fishing, or golfing, yanno....shit that isn't any fun. ;)

  26. Not a big fan. It reads like a Lifetime movie, and the only one of those I could stand is the one where D.J. Tanner gets raped by Zack Morris and she's all, "No, I said no!" and crying and shit and no one believes her because, I mean, he's Zack fucking Morris.

    Ahhh. Nothing like a funny rape.

  27. Her category cloud gave me a seizure. It's the only workout I have had all week.

  28. Calamity -

    If by surprising you mean "has too many tattoos and swears like a sailor while drinking copious amounts of bad domestic light beer" - then yes, I'm a tad bit surprising.

  29. OH great. Now I'm having an identity crisis. Not that I'm a bad girl, but am I a good one? I can always count on Calamity to make me think. Sure, it might not be about politics or religion, but it's just as important!

    I have a tattoo. The last time I was drunk on tequila I vaguely remember a really hot stranger doing body shots off my stomach. I'd rather die than wear loafers.

    But I've kept a diary since I was fifteen. I still keep one. Also, I have major OCD about things such as my sock drawer.

    I think she writes well. I will probably go back and read her again, but hell will freeze over before I read that cat post. I love my cat more than most of the people in my life, but good grief, woman!

  30. See? This is why you're such an excellent reviewer. Bow bow scrape scrape.


Grow a pair.