Thursday, October 4, 2007

:: Unarticulatably: Use It In A Sentence Today ::

I’m contemplating some big changes around here. When I started this blog, I only posted occasionally and mostly to keep my family up-to-date on my dissertation progress, what I was up to, etc. Then I got pregnant. Then I had a baby. Then I started writing a lot and more, and more people started reading.

This blog has become very important to me. It’s a creative outlet, but it’s also a way for me to participate in a community of (mostly) women who are both like and unlike me. Women who have advice for me when I need it and who inspire me when I read their own words. Women who believe in approaching their lives with thought, insight, and a sense of humor. Women who are, by and large, a heckuvalot more intellectual than many of the folks I spend my Ph.D.-seeking days with.

My husband reads my blog and tells me he is proud of what I write, of the fact that I write. And I’m proud, too. More proud of this than anything else I’ve done in awhile, which I hope doesn’t sound too sad. I’ve received emails from friends – and from strangers who are becoming friends – thanking me for writing, telling me that I am putting things into words for them that they weren’t able to articulate themselves, expressing gratitude for various posts here and there. All I’m really doing is trying to be honest about my life and it makes me unarticulatably proud (not the same as inarticulate, but dangerously close) and just plain happy that people appreciate my words.

But then I sit here and look at my blog and think of all the things I’ve wanted to say but have censored. My students potentially read this. And Brian’s co-workers. My advisors at school. I work hard to balance my desire to speak honestly with my need for discretion.

And then there’s the fact that I sometimes wish I had some focus or purpose other than simply writing about parenting, mothering, and family life. I mean yes, I write about all kinds of things. But I feel on the one hand too focused and on the other hand not focused enough. Try to ignore it though many of us bloggers may, every word we write instantiates our writing selves – our blogging personas. Bubandpie wrote recently about blog gossip and tested her readers by essentially naming blog persona traits and asking them to "name that blogger." The answers were astoundingly similar – people knew who she was referring to based on what I felt were fairly open-ended descriptors.

So of course I keep wondering: how would someone describe my own writing persona? How would I describe myself? My bio (at top left on this page) is about as generic as generic gets. So fact-driven and so little of me. But if I were to rewrite it, what would I write? I have tried and tried in the last few weeks but I feel stuck. I don’t know how to write that bio.

This is, of course, not an issue that is limited to my blogging life. I am equally unable to describe myself interestingly in person. I absolutely delight in having friends describe other people they know because I am enthralled by the act of describing someone. I have always wanted to know how people describe me. Once, my sister told me that she described me to her boyfriend as “so jumpy it seems fake, but it isn’t.” I startle easily. I just thought this was the most interesting way to describe me. Hearing it was like getting a small taste of crack – I wanted more.

So anyway, changes are around the bend, I think, dear readers. New bio, new look, new purpose. Maybe a new name. New location, even, I think. I’m feeling fettered and I think the best way to loosen the shackles is to start fresh someplace where my students – and others – won’t be able to find me.

But then of course I am preoccupied by trying to figure out how you will find me. Hmm.

* * * * *

P.S. Anyone have thoughts on Typepad or Wordpress versus Blogger? I've read some interesting comparisons online but I'd like to know what YOU think.


Patois October 4, 2007 at 6:22 AM  

I just recently found you. You can't go away now! You could always send the faithful -- and newly faithful -- your new URL. I wouldn't out you to anyone!

bubandpie October 4, 2007 at 6:40 AM  

Come and comment - I will follow.

And those bios are the devil. I hates them.

Christina October 4, 2007 at 4:56 PM  

A lot of people like Wordpress, but I like the simplicity of Blogger.

I worry about being "outed" everyday, but it happens and then isn't as bad as I thought it would be. My husband sent practically everyone we know the link to the post I wrote on Cordy's evaluation results. I was terrified of some family members reading my personal thoughts, but thankfully I was applauded for my writing and encouraged to keep going. Still, I'm not offering up reminders of the link to my blog.

I never expected my blog to be as important to me, either. Yet now I've been to two blogging conferences and I talk to many of my blog friends more than some of my real-life friends. (And those two categories have merged, too.) Plus I find myself more outspoken than I used to be.

Julie October 5, 2007 at 4:29 AM  

I don't care much who knows about my personal life, but it is inappropriate for me as a teacher to write about certain things. I would not only feel uncomfortable having my students know certain things but I could also get into big trouble.

Plus with Brian being in state government, working for the Secretary of State and all, I just feel the desire (not always the need) to be a bit self-censoring. Politics is a scary thing.

Tere October 5, 2007 at 9:43 AM  

I stick to Blogger because it's good for simpletons like me. The other platforms require more savvy and time than I possess!

Christina October 6, 2007 at 5:12 PM  

Julie - I understand the need to be careful when someone works in a sensitive position, like at the state. My husband works 36 floors above your husband's office. :)

I've wanted to write about his work or some of my own political issues before, but since the Board of Regents just became a political one (now the Chancellor is a member of the governor's cabinet), I have to self-censor just a little.

Toni October 8, 2007 at 9:46 AM  

I completely understand where you are coming from. Sometimes I too contemplate having an anonymous blog. Please do drop my a line if you move. :)

About your question - I use Wordpress which I love because there are all sorts of cool widgets and such and a great support community. Even so, I do my actually writing with Windows Live Writer because it is much easier to use than the Wordpress interface. Hope that helps.

genevieve October 8, 2007 at 9:46 AM  

I'm a grad student at OSU too and actually found your blog while applying here. It was really nice to know that there was at least normal-seeming person at the institution I was thinking of committing four or five years of my life to. I sympathize with you--my solution has been to not write about students or the classes I'm teaching at all except maybe an it's going just fine post.

Re wordpress, the blog I write is on wordpress and no one comments because they have to create an account. Blogger is easier and I think it creates more of a community because so many people are on blogger.

I hope you don't just go underground. I would miss you. :o)