Can I Get a "Kumbaya?"

I gotta say, I'm completely digging the comaraderie I'm seeing in the blogworld these days. Not the support for me and my amateurish parenting decisions per se, but the whole let's prick our fingers and rub the blood together while singing You've Got a Friend and braiding each other's hair vibe that's going around.

It's as if these warm fuzzies we're giving one another across the ether is as good as calling up all those tv reporters, all those journalists perpetrating this absurd mommywar non-story and saying Ha! I spit on your divisive propaganda! Although I'd say it with some sort of indistinct European accent, so it would come out more like I speet on your deeviseef propagahnda! Just for effect.

When I started Mom-101 three months ago to the day, I approached it like a columnist. I figured it was like scoring an editorial job (okay, unpaid internship) without having to endure a scary interview where I'd have to suck in my stomach for 45 minutes and discuss my "vision." I knew blogging would give me a forum in which to write; I had no idea it would give me a community. If you had told me a few months back that I'd be headed to a conference this summer? To discuss blogging? With BLOGGERS? I'd have laughed. Laughed out loud and rolled my eyes and made that gutteral Yiddish chhhhhhh sound that Nate makes when I tell him he's handsome.

And yet, here you are. The Community.

What you have to know is that you do more for me than you can imagine, really. Beyond the advice, beyond the stimulating debate, beyond the grace with which you permit me to continue believing that I have the cutest, smartest, most delightful child who ever graced this planet or any other--you give me the impetus to continue writing. And this last little bit is what keeps my soul alive.

Or, as they said back in the old country, Mommywars my tuchus.

Your participation here is invaluable because, as I've mentioned before, I'm not the kind of writer who can create just for myself. I have stacks of dusty journals filled with idea starters, creative sparks, writing germs that never went beyond that initial flush of excitement that conjoined pen and paper for a few brief moments.

It kills me to admit this, by the way. To acknowledge that I'm not more inner-directed is like admitting I'm not a Real Writer. A Real Writer is angry and independent, free from social expectations. A Real Writer hates parties. (And she has bad hair anyway, so who would want her at their parties?) A Real Writer is reclusive and asocial; she will shut herself away in a friend's lakeside cabin, happy to see noone but the ashen-faced postman for weeks on end until she finishes her manuscript or runs out of Camel unfiltereds, whichever comes first. A Real Writer, or so I was led to believe by misguided writing instructors, doesn't care what you think about anything she has to say.

But we live by our own rules, we writers of the blog world. Especially we mommy (or insert word of choice meaning female parental figure) bloggers. Women bond. We share. We discuss. That's who we are. It's in our DNA. I would venture to guess that most of us need approval in some way or another. Who amongst us doesn't get a little thrill from a sitemeter bump or a new blogroll mention?

And this is why I love the monthly Perfect Post award. It gives me a chance to pay the kindness forward by calling your attention to writers with audiences disproportionate to the size of their talent.

This month I was torn between two Perfect Posts. And so Lucinda and MamaK, the originators of this wonderful honor, have allowed me to nominate both of them.

First I'd like to introduce you to the lovely and prolific Siobhan Connally (aka ToyFoto) if you are not yet acquainted. Her essay, The Other Mommy has stayed with me since I read it several weeks ago. Inspired by the feminism discussions of the past month, Siobhan offers a refreshing perspective with this wonderful, almost supernatural story of how her children's caretaker came into their lives. Besides, is that like the coolest name ever? Siobhan? Don't you totally want to meet someone named Siobhan? It's not even pronounced Sy-oh-ban, which makes it all the more intriguing.

Secondly, if you haven't blogmarked 8 Hours, you're missing out. Binky is one of the first bloggers I discovered on my first day at it, and she has yet to disappoint. Lifestyles of the Penniless and Overlooked is as good as any Augusten Burroughs memoir, with lines like It's a sad state of affairs when my husband and I are the rock that keeps an entire neighborhood from blowing away in a gust of crazy. Every comment I seem to write to her these days is some variation of "More! More!" so I invite you to say something better. Frankly, I think she's getting a little sick of the repetition.

Go. Enjoy. Be nice. You know you want to.


Edited to add: Okay, so my dad constantly reminds me that what goes around comes around. But I always assumed that the coming around part took some time. You know, for the universe to process the reward system or whatnot. I stand corrected. WordGirl, another wonderful writer in her own right, has nominated one of my posts for A Perfect Post. Who knew? Prizes for everyone!

If you've already read it (or even if you haven't), go visit WordGirl instead. She's smart, she's funny, and she looks like Candice Bergen. Jealous much? Yes, I am.


Blogger R. Sherman said...

I thought it was spelled "tookus." But again, that maybe just us/we in the Ozarks.


P.S. For what it's worth I have a link to you on my woefully inadequate site.

5/1/06, 1:25 AM  
Blogger Krisco said...

Well, for what it's worth, I'm *adding* you as a link on my woefully inadequate site.

5/1/06, 1:30 AM  
Blogger ms blue said...

I love to support the bloggers that I have become addicted to. (Which of course, you should know that you are Waaaaaaay up there...)

And by golly, if you are not a real writer, there is no hope for the rest of us. Good hair and all.

5/1/06, 2:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of us believe that the word is a hostile, unforgiving place. These are people who act as if there is not enough to go around. They hold their victories close to their chest. (We call it the Queen Bee Syndrome: "If I can make it on my own, so can everyone else." Ha.)

Thank the goddesses that you are definitely not one of those people. You clearly believe that the world is an abundant place. There is enough to go around. You seem to understand that you have a responsibilty to give back, to share, and to let others know that you know.

Thanks for sharing these two beautiful bloggers with us.

5/1/06, 6:01 AM  
Blogger Sandra said...

What a great post as usual. I had no idea the blogging community existed before 2 months ago and I am blown away. Sincerely.

Thanks for introducing us to those 2 great sites.

And Mom 101, if you are not a Real Writer - I don't know who is!

5/1/06, 6:10 AM  
Blogger Blog Antagonist said...

Absolutely great writing. Definitely bookmark worthy! Thanks for sharing.

5/1/06, 6:59 AM  
Blogger Robin said...

On another topic, I noticed that your pic of Joan Baez was from Wolfville, Nova Scotia... where I went to Acadia University. It's only about 40 minutes away from me here. Wolfville's a tiny little town that doubles in population when school is in. I'm surprised to see that she was there. Neat.

I don't know what a "real writer" is... but I do like your posts. I particularly enjoy seeing your voyage of self-discovery as a new parent, which I recall very strongly. If I never had kids, I swear I don't know what kind of a person I'd be now!

5/1/06, 7:57 AM  
Blogger kim said...

I also have the dusty journals full of ideas and a computer full of novels I started only to discard. You are an inspiration not only as a writer, but as a person. I realize that many criticize the blog or internet world for the mask it allows. I realize that you could be a three hundred pound sanitation worker named Ralph. The thing is there is truth in your writing and a person we all should be. So I'll keep coming back Mom 101 or Ralph or whoever you are. I know good writing and good people when I read them. I finally figured out how to blogroll you too.

5/1/06, 8:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Inner schminner... I mean, you write what comes to you - regardless of where it's from.

I love Binky and I'm excited about reading NEW stuff.

and ps... You look great in a purple bow. Are you bringing the guitar to blogher? :)

5/1/06, 8:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I as well love to get support and give support....sometimes it's just nice knowing you're not alone...and sometimes though, it's even better to communicate with those who are going through the same things as you...great post.

- Jon
- Daddy Detective
- www.daddydetective.com

5/1/06, 8:44 AM  
Blogger doggerelblogger said...

I absolutely cannot believe you've only been doing this for three months. Excellent blog, great comments.

All I can say is WOW.

5/1/06, 9:15 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Yeah, the camaraderie, she is suh-weet. I never, ever would have guessed, before wandering into this sweet territory that is parent blogging, how fun and warm and welcoming and supportive and fun it is. And, like you, if someone had told me that I'd be going to a blogger conference just to gets me some more of that sweet goodness, well... let's just say that I would have fixed you with a LOOK. A what-choo-talkin'-'bout look.

So, three cheers for spreading that goodness around. And for being nice ('cause, as you know, I've been getting a taste of the not-so-nice these days, too). I'm off to check out your recommendations for more blogroll fodder and to spread the loooove...

5/1/06, 10:38 AM  
Blogger zinalasvegas said...

Perfect: "...you give me the impetus to continue writing. And this last little bit is what keeps my soul alive."

Thanks for the recs--I'll check 'em out! (but yer still my fave).

5/1/06, 10:40 AM  
Blogger DaniGirl said...

Like you, I approached the idea of blogging as an opportunity to write a column without all those minor annoyances like editors and contracts (let alone publishers and publications that would have me!) but fell completely in love the the blogging community along the way.

I'm so jealous of everyone going to BlogHer. Should be a most excellent experience for all. And thanks for the ideas for new blogs. I am already reading way. too. many blogs, but somehow always find room in my heart for new ones.

5/1/06, 10:48 AM  
Blogger Kristi said...

Blogging has turned out to be so much more than I figured it was going to be. A place to write? Sure. A place to feel inspired? Yes. A place to vent? Of course. But a place to feel welcomed? I never thought about that when I started. I'm certainly glad I found the group I did, because you all are great.

5/1/06, 10:53 AM  
Blogger Redneck Mommy said...

Blogging has helped me survive the turmoil of the past few months. Writers like you and Binky, as well as a host of others, have become the community which reminds me life marches on, and not all is bad. It is good to be reminded that while there is pain in parenting, in life, there is joy too!

Thanks for that.

5/1/06, 11:13 AM  
Blogger Binky said...

I haven't gotten sick of the repetition yet!

Here's the thing about Real Writers that always tripped me up: Real Writers actually WRITE. See, until I started my blog, I didn't even have that going for me on a consistent basis--though I still liked to consider myself a writer. I'm hoping that the motivation and dedication I (try to) channel into my blog will help me in other literary pursuits. Support and encouragement from other bloggers like you really helps. Thank you so much! And congrats on your own perfect posts. All of them!

5/1/06, 11:57 AM  
Blogger j.sterling said...

i think you just called us all hippies who don't shave their armpits. LOL

5/1/06, 12:39 PM  
Blogger nonlineargirl said...

Three months? Is that all? You've definitely got a distinctive (and entertaining) voice. Keep it up.

5/1/06, 12:46 PM  
Blogger toyfoto said...

I write for a living (kind of) and I have trouble identifying myself as a writer. I tend to think of myself as a photographer who got sidetracked. Thanks for the blog nod, it truly means a lot to me. And thanks for your posts, every single perfect one of them. They make for lots of food for thought.

5/1/06, 12:48 PM  
Blogger Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

Ditto almost everything you just said.

I'll see you at BlogHer.

5/1/06, 1:06 PM  
Blogger Chicky Chicky Baby said...

Congrats on the perfect post. You deserve it because you are a writer, and a damn good one at that.

5/1/06, 1:24 PM  
Blogger Cristina said...

I feel the same way about writing. For some reason, I have to write for an audience. If I don't, all that seems to come out is dribble. And I also really love this community of women bloggers. I'm just starting to meet them, but I have yet to meet one that isn't kind, witty, and intelligent to boot.

P.S. I love this perfect post idea! I am off to visit your awardees.

5/1/06, 2:32 PM  
Blogger Shalee said...

Now what you seem to be missing is that fact that you are a real writer. You have an audience who loves to read you, a following who tunes in each day to see what word plays you will create for our benefit, groupies that wish that they were as expressive and funny as you, but who are satisfied that you have these talents.

That's a writers job, isn't it? To pull people in and to make them not want to let go? To keep them coming back for more?

Just remember this quote when you doubt your writing influence:

"Writing is easy. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein." - Red Smith

So what if it is not on paper. So what if it is at a computer. You're in print... and you are being read.

Just remember, I'm here with the transfusion when you feel you are running low. And so are all your other fans.

5/1/06, 2:49 PM  
Blogger Stacy said...

This is my first perfect post award and I am having a love/hate relationship with it. I love the idea and all the blogs involved. I hate that I don't have time to read them all. Yikes!

5/1/06, 2:53 PM  
Blogger wordgirl said...

You are too kind...and Candace would never stop power-vomiting if she knew comparisons were being made. That said, as a teenager I worked at Six Flags Over Texas with a girl named Siobhan. Tragically, I thought it was pronounced "see-OB-han" until someone finally said her name out loud.

5/1/06, 2:55 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...

It was satisfying to finally get paid for something I'd written, but having people comment on my blog is just as rewarding... So thanks for that, MOM101!

5/1/06, 3:02 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

You know, I often ask myself if I'm a writer. At the moment, I feel like I'm not a writer, because there's no way I write for the sake of writing. I want to be read, I want to be liked for my writing, or at least make people think.

Plus, some days I have trouble getting a single coherent thought out of my head. See, you're a writer - your posts are brilliant.

I am diggin' all the love in the mommy blog world, though. It's pretty awesome.

5/1/06, 6:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why so humble, Mom101? You are a writing wiz. It's beautiful to behold. Props to you. And thanks for being a good sharer. Your daughter is going to benefit from a trait like that.

5/1/06, 6:41 PM  
Blogger Kristi said...

8 hours post? Too funny! She'll be in my link list as soon as I get to it. I agreed with you, a novel in the making.

I also enjoyed The Other Mommy post. Thanks for sharing these sites.

Congrats on your award. I think ALL your posts deserve one.

5/1/06, 7:25 PM  
Blogger MrsFortune said...

I actually think I should start a new award. The imperfect post. Because, pshh... the "perfect" post thing, well that's just too much pressure. :0)

5/1/06, 7:31 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Ah Liz, I'll hold your hand and sing We shall overcome at blogher - cause you know I know all the words.

5/1/06, 9:27 PM  
Blogger Suburban Turmoil said...

Mommy Wars? Feh. I totally missed it. I keep reading that they exist, but I haven't been able to find one. It's like I'm stationed in Germany or something!

Shove-on, right? For Siobhan. I love saying it right. (Gosh. I hope that's right).

Anyway, your Perfect Post choices were superb. I enjoyed both of them immensely. And congrats on your award. You deserved it- You are an AMAZING writer!

5/1/06, 9:55 PM  
Blogger Kimberly said...

If you're not a "real writer" then I don't know one. Your post here is inspiring, unifying and very damn well said. Thank you for being a part of our awards - on both ends. Congrats!

PS- I am a hellva french-braider ;-)

5/1/06, 9:57 PM  
Blogger kevin black said...

Geeky as this sounds, I relished the opportunity to reply to your tag of coming up with six weird slash intersting things about me.

Set the trends. People will follow.

5/1/06, 10:03 PM  
Blogger josetteplank.com said...

What?! No parties?!

Pssssshtttt..."real" writers. Get a haircut and have a mojito.

Will read bloggy awarded writing. Thanks for the leads.

5/1/06, 11:06 PM  
Blogger josetteplank.com said...

BTW, if you're not a real writer, I'll eat my keyboard. And while sober.

5/1/06, 11:08 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

great post choices... thank you for the tip!

5/1/06, 11:32 PM  
Blogger Jess Riley said...

I always find something wonderful and informative here. Bravo, Liz! :)

5/1/06, 11:41 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Can't wait to check out the links that you've mentioned.

And yes, the reasons you've stated are the reasons why I adore blogging.

5/2/06, 12:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so hoping to check out those links. You read my blog so I know you have great taste :P I love your writing style... you write therefore you are a writer!

5/2/06, 12:53 AM  
Blogger J at www.jellyjules.com said...

I totally loved that post you sent us to...I'm gonna have to blogroll her, for sure. :) Thanks.

And yeah, the niceness rocks. Hate it when I see people get mean and cruel, and thankfully, that seems to be the exception rather than the rule.

5/2/06, 9:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recently had a similar experience and found that the fatherhood blogging community is a pretty cool one - better than any I have found in the non-blog world, sadly. There is something about people, like you, who are driven to write from their heart and soul instead of writing because of a specific topic. Sharing your heart and soul makes it so much easier for us to connect to you and clearly a lot of people do. This was my first time here, but I'll be back.

5/2/06, 9:52 AM  
Blogger Tori said...

Totally agree with you!
Well said Mom 101.
Girls Rule
Boys Drool!
Will check out your nominations.

5/2/06, 11:26 AM  
Blogger Carolyn S. said...

I can't wait to visit all of those links. Thanks for your support with the race. It's great to have my community of blog friends cheering for me!

5/2/06, 11:36 AM  
Blogger Andrea said...

Lately, my writing has sucked. It feels like the words coming out of my fingers to the keyboard are vomit-covered nuggets no one in their right mind would read. Except I have visitors to my blog, people who tell me they like it, that I have written something that made them laugh, that they identify with me. The fact that they are also Mamas with real children who throw tantrums and wipe boogers on their shirts endears them to me that much more. I have few Real Life friends with whom I identify as well as I do some of the women on my blogroll. I feel like I have stumbled blearily into a crowd of women who put their arms around me and tell me I'm not alone, I'm feeling things they know very well, and they're willing to share their stories with me also, their weaker moments as well as triumphs that inspire me. I haven't felt so accepted, so validated in my entire life as I have since I started blogging.

And you're one of those women. So thanks.

5/2/06, 11:36 AM  
Blogger gingajoy said...

oooh, thanks for the delicious links to more stuff I can use to procrastinate with. NICE!

Your reason for blogging--could not have put it better myself, although I am full of lameness in writing regard these days. But I guess that's part of the cycle too, right? (she said, desparately)

5/2/06, 11:52 AM  
Blogger Wendy Boucher said...

You are spot-on about the women blogger community. I can't wait for the conference! I too would have laughed at such a notion just a few months ago. With such a supportive group, I may even endeavor my first karaoke song.

5/2/06, 1:04 PM  
Blogger tracey clark said...

Can I get a friggin' AMEN?
Fantastic post.

5/2/06, 1:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

KUMBAYA sista!!!

5/2/06, 3:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel the urge to relive the whole Hands Across America event. Maybe Bloggers Holding Hands Across America??? or... something.

Thanks for the recommendations, I always love finding new blogs.

5/2/06, 9:00 PM  
Blogger Amy Jo said...

Isn't it nice that sometimes women can actually *gasp* support each other instead of breaking each other down? Love your blog, BTW!

5/2/06, 9:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My first time here as I've only just begun my blogging journey, but I am LOVING what I'm reading and can't wait to read more! So many phenomenal women out there with such great insight and humor! I am shoutin' an AMEN for Tracey!

5/3/06, 1:42 PM  
Blogger macboudica said...

I am with you, I was never motivated to write until I started a blog. The community is very motivating.

5/4/06, 12:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, yes, yes! What a lovely post. I've been a "real" writer (whatever that is) for years and have always lamented how isolating it can be at times. Now, with blogging, writing has become a conversation and a place to meet people right at the heart of things. Blogging is the most enjoyable writing I have ever done, and I sometimes wonder how I made it thru early motherhood without it.

5/4/06, 3:31 PM  
Blogger Table4Five said...

I can't believe you've only been blogging for three months! You do some damn fine blogging for a "newbie" LOL

I applied for the "Send a blogger to BlogHer" scholarship at Mommybloggers, and I had to submit an essay entitled "How is your blog changing your world?". It wasn't hard to come up with those 500 words let me tell you. It's more like, how ISN'T my blog changing my world? You just said it a lot better than I did.

5/4/06, 6:30 PM  

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