Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Why Cultivate on Your Face What Grows Wild on Your Bum?

I am guilty of locational friendships. For the sake of my job I was once stuck in a bleak, sheep and wheat ridden town in the middle of Bumfuck Nowhere. I made friends with people I wouldn’t normally and we all played happy. I even fell into the trap of thinking I wasn’t someone else’s zip-code comrade, which was a karmic kick in the crotch when I returned to the big smoke.

Please don’t misinterpret my intentions. I love making friends. I am a big galumphing puppy dog in that way, minus the leg-humping. Friends that are relegated to the locational, well, they don’t start out that way – I always dearly hope there will be something real there for us. So when I meet a new blog or person, I want to like them, relate with them, laugh with them, and if the hero worship is high, be best buddies them.

Reviewing the blogs of others, I am forced into a locational friendship of sorts. I don’t necessarily want to be there but for all intents and purposes I must. I am a beggar but dammit if I am going to give up being choosy. Sure, a lot of the women in this part of BF Nowhere have breasts that are well acquainted with their navels and the men haven’t seen a brush of the tooth or hair variety in years but I must persist. I have to have someone to drink with.

Weary blogger, I ask you this: When a stranger happens upon your blog, do they want to make friends with you or do they cross to the other side of the street muttering ‘don’t make eye contact, don’t make eye contact - I will drink and die alone before I hang out with you’ ?

When I first met Wildhare, I was harangued with this. Here lies an aura of crazy cat lady at the bus stop who practically sits on your knee, offers you a fluff covered butterscotch sweet and proceeds to tell you about the skin tag she has that bears a resemblance to the Virgin Mary. Like the old lady at the bus stop, Wildhare seems to ignore that the person whose lap she has clambered upon has no vested in her life or her history. She may believe that her readers are mostly beleaguered family and friends but I am here to tell her that regardless, she must tell her stories like the person reading them is a stranger.

Peeking into the archives with pinkie finger delicately raised and nosed wrinkled, I saw that Wildhare is only partially a crazy cat lady; she genuinely seems to be a lovely person who keeps some good company. Her posts consist of random lectures, photos of family, outings, trips, garden projects, crafts, recipes, song lyrics and poems. I don’t get why she includes poems and lyrics, finding it redundant and vaguely insulting.

Just in case you were wondering, this mutual circle jerk and part-time review site is called ‘I Will Fucking Tear You Apart’. This is not scrap-booker hipster code for ‘Here is a lovely pattern for you to tear out and keep – enjoy!’ Some of Wildhare’s stuff is cute and all, but it is for a specific audience and I am at a loss to why she asked for a review from here. Even so, I was impressed with her wares and skills. (And fuck it if I don’t want one of these bunnies now).

Wildhare isn’t just about the crafty stuff. In her ‘about me’ she writes: I am a wife, a daughter, a mother, a grandmother, a pet owner, a nature lover. I enjoy reading and writing, working with my hands, crafting, creating, holding fine papers and marking them with fine inks. I am enamored with science, physics, facts. I love the complex, the mysterious, the simple, and the sublime. I am a reader of hard science fiction, an admirer of chaos theory, a lover of mathematics and art.... and so on.

This all may well be true, however in my thorough archive dive I didn’t see sufficient evidence of this interesting person; it hasn’t translated to her writing. She loves the complex, simple, sublime - to be fair that doesn’t mean she has to BE those things. But happy snaps and birthday wishes to family members does not an appealing blog make. This meme shows us a bit more about her. I want to hear these stories in detail, with nary a dot point to be seen.

Wildhare mentions she is gearing up for her second NaNoWriMo. Why in the name of Charles Dickens does she not use her blog to hone her writing skills? Are they a finite resource to be saved for these future novels rather than her loyal blog readers? Why write about thievery in numerical dot points? Does she lack the writerly wherewithal to meld all of these into a story that has her reader boo-hooing into their banana bread, instead of a staccato, seemingly contradictory lecture? The story about her brother’s death is rife with an undercurrent of disharmony; what is she not telling us? That is what us nosey bastards want to know. And why the ‘egad’? I have respect and sadness for her loss but why not chuck in a ‘gadzooks’ while she’s at it?

I am as full of ego as the next person. I have been guilty of bloggy locational friendships, adding blogs to my roll just because a blogger had paid me a bit of attention. Starved for companionship I clung to the crumbs handed out by the bedraggled and droopy-boobed. I was soon cured of that fool-hardy venture when I realised that I would be judged on the company I keep. (It is okay, I am at peace with my shallow nature.)

When it comes down to it, I was happy to keep the company of Wildhare for the duration of this review. She has a gift for craft, a nice life, a loving, talented family and I am genuinely happy for her. But this, my dear, is where the friendship ends.

A meh because, well, meh.

And this one because I wanted to be part of her family, just a little bit.

And this one? Not for Wildhare but for Blogger, for fucking with the head of this techno-lame Wordpress user. It took me over an hour to figure out how to post the bastard. Editing, what editing?


  1. I sure do like that post about the stages of grief, and agree with the reviewee that seventh stage of acceptance and hope is a good one.
    I mean, I certainly did go through quite the difficult process as I read through her blog and found that hope returned the moment I clicked away.

  2. Why ask? To get better. To challenge myself to deeper truth and more relevence. So THANKS for the words, for the totally honest review. Seriously apprecite it - and your time. Honestly don't write the truth because of being afraid, but value the critical insight that it is apparent. So did you read the "story we need to keep?" Would have loved to hear your thoughts there. More where I need to go, to your many points.

  3. I love her blog title. Love it. And I love her puppy, and the Maine coon.

    I hate the way she spells "doozy," and I can find no evidence of her apparent agility at critical thinking.

    Then again, I was all distracted, like OMG PUPPIES

  4. Your best review yet, Reaper. =)

    And I agree about Blogger being a pain in the ass. It took me forever to post my first review.

  5. ooh ooh - I saw the puppy too! I LOVE puppies.

  6. I also like the story about her brother.

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  8. Ah, you did. You read lots of entries, lots. I took some time to page through the years tonight looking at the entries with a more detached eye. So thanks again, glad you found hope at some point, even if upon leaving!

    The blog has transformed from a blah blah of craft posts to something that occasionaly shares a real moment with lots of family stories interspersed. Thanks for the good point on people I don't know reading the blog - fair. Not knowing me, I can see that you would miss the reference in "gone in an instant" with the collapse of Wachovia Corporation in a weekend, and the deepening of the financial crisis. Why didn't I write all about it instead of make vauge references? Excellent question. Chicken shit, is all I can some up with.

    The puppy is indeed so sweet and completely distracting. So y'all come over and have family dinner and play with the puppy and the kids, and I will take pictures of your smiling faces and post them with what are sure to be interesting stories of our visit - and until then I will internalize your feedback and spend some much needed time writing and editing.

  9. Wildhare: you are indeed a gracious lady, as I imagined you would be. I pretty much read every single post of yours - you have some fantastic stories to tell, but to put it bluntly they need to be told better. Your style can be quite conversational, which has its place, but often lacks the emotional kick in the guts we want.

    I hope you can find it in yourself to be braver and say the things which you think others believe should be left unsaid.

    And I would love to come over for dinner, though a rather considerable distance would inhibit the proceedings ;)

    Shagnasty: thanks. And I tell you - putting that shit up was nervous break-down material. Shiner thought it would make me stronger or some shit. It worked. I guess.

  10. Invite me too - I wanna pat the puppy and eat some of that cake. And play in that effing awesome treehouse.


Grow a pair.