You know that blog list over to the right of my page? Well, I really do read all those blogs. They're kind of a weird mixture of things: humor, inspiration, decorating, wellness, and deal-spotting. But, that makes sense since I'm a only a little bit interested in a lot of different things. I've spent my life being a dilettante without giving it much thought or without it causing any demonstrable problems. Recently though, I've been thinking more about my lack of focus and whether it's an asset or a liability.
Remember that blogging workshop that Bluemopheads Maureen and I went to with the locally famous female writer and her anal pillow companion? Well, the big stars of the class were the people with the blogs that were laser-focused on a particular topic. For instance, one lady was very into art journaling. She said that all menopausal women are art journaling these days, so I have that to look forward to, along with possibly still growing a mustache. In case you are interested, here is the art journaling lady's favorite blog. Another lady (they were all ladies, as I said) was very interested in shamanism and specifically the intersection between shamanism and ecology. Our workshop leaders practically squealed in glee over this focused topic. I have to confess that I have no idea what shamanism is all about or what you find at the intersection of shamanism and ecology other than some trees and someone chanting. But, it was clear that it was only this kind of arcane and obscure topic that would satisfy our leaders.
When my turn came up to have my blog critiqued by our instructors it went pretty much as I imagined. They scrolled through my posts quickly and the female writer said something like, "You're just journaling. You're just writing about what you do every day." Well, yes and no, but I didn't want to waste time splitting hairs on that, so I just let her keep going. "So, you're a mom with three kids. But, what makes you different from other moms who blog? What makes you special? What would be missing from this world if your voice didn't exist."
Well, crap. I didn't know. I said some incoherent things about not being perfect and screwing up a lot and having kids who got sick and that I was trying to make people feel like things might suck sometimes, but that's okay because there's something funny in jumping a curb in your car, or leaving your kids' lovies in another state so that they have to turn koosh balls into their new Mexican/Hungarian lovie. I think I saw her eyes glaze over about five seconds into my stream of consciousness.
"You know, we had a lady in here who had a mom blog, but her thing was that she was a closet drinker. Do you have something like that? Like being a secret drinker?" "No," I admitted, sadly, "I'm not a closet drinker." It's probably the only time that someone has thought, "Damn, things would be so much easier if I were a closet drinker!" Disappointed in my lack of closeted skeletons and specialness, the workshop leader moved on to the woman to my left who was an African American lesbian, with M.S. who used to be a member of the Pentecostal Church.
I totally understand the point that successful people are, by in large, experts or specialists in a particular area. My blogging "friends," for example, all have a hook. Glennon at Momastery had substance abuse and food issues before she married, had children, and found God (though not necessarily in that order). Jenny at the Bloggess, along with being very funny, has struggled with mental illness. Carmel at Our Fifth House is a creative DIY-er extraordinaire. My blogging friend Erica at EricaFinds (no quotes because we are real-life friends) is a marathoner and has a lot of knowledge about different ways to cross-train and stay fit. In short, they are all special in some way.
So, now I'm stuck thinking about my specialness and that maybe my specialness comes from not being special. I'm sorry to break the news, but by my blogging teacher's definition who among us is special? Cull out the ones who can ride a unicycle or speak seven languages or are eco-shamans, and you're left with 85% of the population. Maybe I'm the everywoman of the blog world. Maybe I am the freaking Jimmy Stewart of the blogosphere. Sakes alive, maybe I'm the Sarah Palin of blogs! Remember the scene in the movie "Singles" when Campbell Scott is hitting on Mrs. Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgewick, and claims to have "no act." Kyra calls him out on it by saying, "I think that a) you have an act, and that, b) not having an act is your act." So, maybe my act is having no act. It has to be that because I just can't compete with an ex-Pentacostal, African American lesbian, with M.S., especially if she's a secret drinker.