Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Little sister don't you do what your big sister done

I grew up with an older brother, he of the interminable Risk games and Rush cranked up to 11 and hours and hours spent on his Atari. I was the pesky little sister, looking up to him in all his nerdy glory, even though he stole my Halloween candy and told me he was always right and never wanted me around, at all, ever. He was still my big brother, and I wanted him to like and respect and include me. He didn't, though, not until he moved out and away and we both grew up and into our own people. Before then I was always vying for attention, being annoying and singing all the damn time and stealing his Star Wars action figures and D&D dice, thinking, I guess, that would get me noticed, that would get me included. Although why I wanted to be included in his geektastic life is beyond me. Still. Big brother, little sister and all that.

Sierra reminds me of that quintessential little sister. Not as annoying as I was (seriously, I sang all the time), but that same eagerness to please, that same look at me look at me I'm playing with the older kids vibe, that wishing and hoping to be included. But it's not the dorky older brother from whom she wants approval, it's bloggers. And not just any bloggers, mommy bloggers in particular. She loves a mommy blog. And she's kind of a mommy blogger in training, a mommy blogger wannabe. I know. It takes all kinds.

My first thought when I went to Sierra's blog was if you can't be bothered to post for a month, why should I bother to review you? Something just petered off for Sierra around December and she's let her blog go by the wayside. She's Twittering up a storm but not blogging.

My second thought was pink! Which is actually fine with me, but be glad you didn't get fluffy-hater LB. She'da ripped you one.

So, for the design... There are 3 columns, and you don't need 'em. Drop down your archives and your categories. I do like the pink and brown, and because I'm a bit girly I like the swirly little flounces, although the large signature and swirl at the end of every post is overdone. Shrink it or get rid of it. I love the font for your section headings, but it gets a little hard to read on your post headings, especially if they're long. And the font for the post text is way small and hurts my eyes. Good for you for having links to About, etc., and putting your blog roll and the rest of those bits on separate pages.

We all have our little blogging peccadilloes, and I HATE little cartoon sassy girls (disregard my avatar because at least I don't have an entire face). Especially if they don't look a thing like the blogger, which seems to be the case here. Who is this girl gazing slyly at us from your header, with her shag hairdo and hip-shot stance? Not you, that's who. Find something more representative.

Sierra is 20. Ah, youth. It's hard not to like her because she's kind of goofy and sweet. And she likes Anne Sexton. Much like yesterday's blogger, she's an awfully pollyanna 20. There's not a post about dicks or booze or booty calls or being busted for breach of peace, which would have been the subject of any blog I might have written around this time in my life.

Instead there are lots of memes and however many things about me (all of them too many) and these are my thoughts and blah, blah, blah. I mean, it's written reasonably well and with an engaging(ish) voice, but the subjects are, like, America's Next Top Model and going vegan and celebrity babies and Post Secret commentary and crap I just don't care about. And there's the Haiku Friday and Thousand Words Thursday and Spit on my Sphincter Saturday (I made that one up -- I needed some crass).

But then there are others, like this, that make me just want to hug her and tell her it'll all be ok.

But then she'll turn around and type things like 'puter and I want to throttle the cutesy right out of her.

She doesn't let us in very far, and when she does she password protects it. Almost all of October 2008 is links to other places, Post Secret crap, or gushing about Ingrid Michaelson. There are no boys on the entire blog. None. Unless they're of the celebrity kind. There's just not a whole lot of exposition going on. What there is is good and I'd like more of it, but ultimately she's writing puff pieces. Amusing puff pieces, but still. There should be some delving, some exposure, some heat.

Sierra, you're 20! Live a little. In your 100 things you say, "I know I’m supposed to enjoy my college years…but I honestly wish that they were over. I just want to have my degree, be working in a good hospital, be married, and have a family. That’s all I really want." This irks me to no end. It shouldn't because, after all, it's your life and you've got to live it how you see fit and not everyone has aspirations toward Olympic gold medals in debauchery. But, jeez. Why succumb to the mundane so easily? Put up a little fight. Just a smidge? For me? For the sake of having anything at all to say on your blog? I'm not saying go out and have a threesome (although, hell, don't rule it out). Just do something and write about it. Unchain yourself from your laptop and get a life so that when you get back to the laptop you have something to say other than "I'm sorry I don't have anything to say."

Sierra, you write about blogging and being a blogger and trying to be a better blogger. Here's a hint from Yoda: There is no try, only do. Forget about all the Dooces or whoever you look up to in the world and just do your thing. It will either be good or it won't, but if it feeds some part of you, it's worth it whether you get a zillion readers or three. Blog because you have to, because you want to, not because you think it's something you ought to do, something you should be good at, or because you admire others for blogging.

I can tell you're big on the community aspect of blogging, and that's fine. Blogging does tend to create microcosms and relationships, and that's part of the draw. But if you write just for that aspect -- while looking up to, and wanting to be included with, the "more successful" bloggers -- you lose some of the guts of writing, the craft and creativity and storytelling and here I am, this is me, whole and unique and in the round. Don't write for the hits or the visits or the stats or the link backs. I know it's hard to avoid, and, yes, that can be a part of your process because it's natural to want to be heard. But when you devote too much of your blogging life to that spotlight urge, your words become hollow, sterile, and canned.

Perhaps you've already decided that the community means more to you than the writing. Maybe that's why you're tweeting instead of blogging. And that's fine, too. But I do think you have an interesting way with words and an engaging voice, so if you can stop giving us filler and fluff and start giving us some real life -- with hurt and anger and fear and delight and dirt and heart -- you could find yourself more "successful" than when you were trying to follow in your big sisters' footsteps.

51 comments:

  1. Jesus, its fucking amateur week, isn't it? Biscotti?

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  2. I dub this week 'Triple Hardcore Suckfest 2009'. The suckage will last all week.

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  3. After the day I've had, I might should up the ante to a dozen Krispy Kremes.

    I said "might should." Hello, my redneck roots are showing.

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  4. Also, 'she'da'. You're a fixin to let your hair down I reckon.

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  5. Fuck me, I'm agreeing with Keywork.

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  6. See, world peace is possible. Not probable, but possible.

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  7. I thought the same first thing when I loaded the blog: No posts for a month? And she wants to be reviewed?

    I could find nothing here to make me care about her. Vapid, shallow, too much video posting... I could go on.

    One star, eh? Feeling generous?

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  8. Wolf, its no secret that Calamity is the 'nice one' around these parts. Rumor has it that she also loves my handcrafted biscotti. Hey!

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  9. Not feeling generous, exactly. I liked some of what she wrote, and she's just so young and sweet. I saw some potential.

    Also, Ann Sexton goes a long way with me.

    I have gone out, a possessed witch,
    haunting the black air, braver at night;
    dreaming evil, I have done my hitch
    over the plain houses, light by light:
    lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.
    A woman like that is not a woman, quite.
    I have been her kind.

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  10. I like them when you wash your hands first.

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  11. Ah, Anne Sexton. The body is a damned hard thing to kill. The Awful Rowing toward God. When the Glass of my Body Broke. LOVE her. This blogger? Not so much. With all the videos, the blogging about blogging, I just couldn't get into it. And I read a fair amount of her posts. But she writes well, I suppose. And who am I to criticize, really? Sometimes I feel bad giving my negative opinion. I'm just...well, me.

    I am confused by the rating. The label says 3 stars but you only gave her 1 star. So is it a 1 star or a 3 star review?

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  12. Either way, too many stars. But I'm a mean, nasty, perverted asshole of the highest calibre, so you don't have to take my word for it.

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  13. Nice review Cal. Her body image post was brutal.

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  14. I liked some of what she wrote too.

    But Charlie Sexton goes a long way with me.


    I'll never kill you this I swear
    Then kill myself just to be fair
    I'll never need another queen
    We'll never face the guillotine

    Love is gentle, love is kind
    Doesn't poison baby's wine
    Isn't jealous or provoked
    Doesn't quit or give up hope

    I am not impressed
    And I love you the best
    I am not impressed

    A long list of victims

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  15. Dammit, I knew I should have had one of Key's biscotti. It should, obviously, be one star rating. Thanks for catching my blunder!

    I just said blunder. What the fuck, man.

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  16. You really are the nice one.

    Somehow, this is starting to resemble work, given that my boss asked me today if I am now the employee channeling the bi-otch vibe. He's such a hipster at 69.

    And the truth is, I am. Supervising people is a pain in the ass.

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  17. Yeah, I don't kick kittens, either. I'm a big softy.

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  18. Nice one or not, I like this review Calamity. I agree that she shouldn't make us dig so much for the good stuff...including that she's the real beauty behind that silly brunette at the top of the home page. I wish she would write more about the things I would have at 20 if I wouldn't have been such a drunk whore.

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  19. What's wrong with "blunder"? It's a perfectly good word.

    You are a "nice" reviewer. But also very well-written and constructive in your criticism. This Sierra girl probably needed a kinder review. I just read her body image post and it made my heart hurt.

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  22. What she's presenting up top there is so very misleading. She's into photography -- she should use something of her own. I'd much rather know who the girl on the About page is than the twit in her header.

    Also, I don't know whether to envy her surety about what she wants for the future or to scold her for pigeonholing herself so early. Maybe both.

    Also also, I kind of think everyone should be a drunken whore at 20. Rights of passage and all that.

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  23. My computer suddenly has a fucking mind of it's own and decides to post a comment 3 times. Or maybe it's the Alzheimers.

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  24. Fucking senior citizens. I bet you still have a drivers license.

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  25. Next I'll be saying, "What calumny! Pardon me while I wait in your commodious parlor for these shenanigans to cease. Egad!"

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  26. Re: the body post. I know. I want her to go back and start over and say something nice about every part of her body. Those hands aren't stubby and fat, they're capable and can type like lightning. Or something.

    There I go being all nice again. Someone malign James Bond or Buffy so I can get all het up and mean.

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  27. Cal, you're right. Most of the women I know talk the same way about their bodies. There's a sickness in our feminine culture and her post is just a small example of it. OK, off my soapbox.

    And YES, GOK, I still have my driver's license. I only had one hit and run last month. Them whippersnappers always getting in the way of my Caddy!

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  28. Gwen - Can I recommend pronouncing it as 'Altheimers'? I just like it better that way. Kind of like when people call Oprah 'Ofra'. It just makes me happy.
    Calamity - yeah, yeah...me too. But today's reviewee really does make me wonder what I could have been thinking about back then. One thing I do remember is learning the term 'esoteric bullshit'when I was 19. Maybe that's what is bothering me?

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  29. Hello, I am Ghost of Keywork. I am currently employed as a tampon in the comments section of a review blog.

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  30. Gwen, you're such a good sport to play along. Biscotti?

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  31. It depends on the biscotti. I like mine with nuts. No, really, I do. Macadamia nuts.

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  32. Well, nuts were involved in making them.

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  33. Because I'm trying to be a better negro during Black History Month I will say this, "True dat Calamity. That bitch's blog is whack".

    I'll be here all week.

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  34. GoK - do you know I always first type your name as 'God'. I might just start calling you that. Well, unless you insist upon remaining a tampon.

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  35. Oh, I really do like that better, MG.

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  36. Are God and tampons mutually exclusive? I say Gok can be both, if he so desires.

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  37. Well, they say I'm omnipresent. I think I'll spend the weekend as a pair of my fiancee's underwear. Now if I can only convince her to start wearing me.

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  38. I thought you might GoK. Now I'm having trouble making that old mistake of typing 'God' first. It seems no non-omni-anything when it isn't an honest mistake. I'll have to shake my head really hard to see if I can't get some old LSD to break loose so I can start calling you God.

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  39. Is god moist and absorbent?

    I'm not sure there is any grosser word than moist.

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  40. No, LB, there is no word grosser.

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  41. She's the co-worker you've been ignoring ever since she started, and then one day you chat and she tells you she has a blog, and you think, "We have a lot in common. Why didn't I ever talk to her before? How many conversations I could have had with people I assumed were lame? What have I done with my life?"

    And then you get home and read the blog and quit your job just so you won't have to talk to her ever again. The end.

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  42. Wants to be a mommy blogger???
    Why would someone want to put themselves into that category on purpose. It's best to just end up there by default because you actually have children. And even then...?

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  43. Yeah aspiring to be a mommy blogger is bizarre to me. I'm a mom and I'm a blogger, but if you call me a mommy blogger I will punch you in the mouth.

    Anyone watch Dead Like Me? George's mother hated the word moist so she would find reasons to say it just to irritate her mother. And then she died and came back as a ghost and wrote the word "moist" on the refrigerator with letter magnets so her mom would know she had been there. But moist is a pretty gross word.

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  44. Moist. Only when associated with a good red velvet cake. Othwise, no.

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  45. Beef curtain, that comment makes me want to slap you in the face with a glove and challenge you to a duel. Skank.

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  46. DPH - I love you too you skanky little whore. Full of denial and such love for your mongoliangirl. xoxo

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  47. I don't know, man. I think smegma beats moist.

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  48. I got suspended in high school for repeatedly saying smegma. It was pretty funny cause they didn't even know what it meant, but I guess they felt like it was enough to suspend me.

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  49. Peopleinthesun-that was hilarious

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Grow a pair.