Sunday, December 23, 2007

Blogs, Books, Music, and Such

I believe they call them the Mommy Blogs, this whole genre of blogs that are by and for moms and very different from teenagers' xangas and political blogs and whatever else is out there. Among the most famous ones are Rocks in my Dryer and Barbara Curtis's blog and Life in the

I think this blog would qualify as a Mommy Blog.

Which, I suppose, is why I can't stand to read the others much. You wouldn't believe the level of cleverness on some of these blogs, the turns of phrase, the snarky little insinuations, the depth, the humor, the cool photos, the sheer good quality.

It doesn't take too much reading and I start thinking rather self-absorbed inferior thoughts such as, "Oh my word, what am I pretending here, putting stuff on the internet when there's so much better stuff out there. I couldn't have put that so cleverly in a hundred years."

I also find I do much better if I read books totally unlike the ones I write. Fiction is fine, inspirational is ok, history, biography, and so on. But memoirs and especially short-piece books for women, such as Karen Scalf Linamen's, send me into vats of self-doubt.

Now before you comment and recommend a counsellor, let me say that Jane Kirkpatrick herself admits to walking into a bookstore, looking around, and thinking, "Oh my, a hundred thousand books are being published this year. What am I playing at, to think I have anything to say that hasn't already been said?"

I wonder if this is why I listen to music more than any of my musical in-laws. It seems odd to me that they can sing operatically and distinguish among the finest variations of tone and pitch and technique, and yet they don't listen to music just for enjoyment very much. I on the other hand am hard put to tell you who sings which part in the famous A Capella Harmony Quartet, or frankly to remember what the four parts are in a men's quartet, but I love to put on an AHQ cd and just hear them.

I wonder, do woodworkers avoid furniture shops and teachers stay away from other classrooms and preachers feel self-doubt when they hear someone else's sermon?

And if so, why?

Edited to add: Paul read this and gently said that I sound like I'm fishing for compliments. (Red face emoticon). Ok, sorry. Really, I was just wondering if this is universal, to not like to see/read/listen to too many others of your own expertise. And why singers don't listen to music--I don't get that one at all.

Quote of the Day:
"That's so nice. . . your oldest daughter and your youngest daughter. . . and they love each other. That's great."
--Junior and Dee Baker, after church this morning during which Amy and Jenny sat together on the front bench and warmed my heart (and Jr. and Dee's, evidently) with their obvious sisterly attachment


  1. As a wannabe writer, I know exactly what you mean. Even though I am working on a Christian YA Fantasy, a genre that is still in its infancy, I read blogs and forums with all the other people trying to fit in this same niche and feel redundant. Then the Lord is gracious to remind me that He has given me a story all my own to write, and maybe I should be working on it, rather than reading other people's websites that make me feel bad :). There's nothing like a little slap on the hand from the Lord.

    As for other Mom Blogs(I haven't read the ones you mentioned, but others like you describe), I much prefer you. When I read your blog I feel like I am sitting on your front porch with you having a cup of tea, those others make me feel like I am in a stand-up comedy club watching a performance. I guess I feel like I'm reading the real you. You have a knack of sharing the funny, the mundane, and the tragic in a way that allows me to share those emotions with you.

    So thank you for your honesty and transparancy, I value those things so much more than a good laugh(Which you also frequently provide).

  2. Merry Christmas to the Smucker family from Texas!

    You are where you are and "is who you is" prepared by God Himself to do and be exactly what and who you are! Long winded way of saying, you are the apple of God's eye and a daughter of the King!

    Self-reflection and humilty are good for one's soul and character. I feel likewise at times, kind of insignificant when I compare myself to others. I forget to see myself as God sees me.

    I clean houses which is hardly extraordinary but I will say that it is difficult to remain motivated, keeping up my own. That's an interesting thought though about avoiding the comparison game in your field of expertise. I hadn't thought of that before.

    I've enjoyed visiting your blog this past year and reading about your little slice of heaven in your corner of the world. thanks for the encouragement, tickled funny-bones, honesty and humor I've received here.

    Merry Christmas,
    Connie Hopkins

  3. Wait. So many people enjoy your blog and you have doubts?

  4. Ahhh... the comparison thing. You are not alone in it. I am a photographer and I notice other people's work compared to mine and think I come up wanting. :)

    You do stay away from devotional books too, right? :)

    Have a wonderful Christmas with your family!


  5. I think you have a point about humans being particularly vulnerable to insecurity in their own area of expertise.

    As for writing, I love your work and Karen Scalf Linamen's for very different reasons. There's no either or. I need you both!

    When you first started talking about the comparisson/inferiority thing, I was thinking "let it go sister" THEN you had to go and ask if teachers (MY profession)felt that way in other classrooms!!! Thanks for the reality check!

    Also thanks for mentioning AHQ! I went to their website and am listenting to their online songs
    Now I just need to decide which cd of theirs to purchase :-D

  6. I think you're right, Dorcas, that being too close to something makes it harder to see it from a distance that might allow for greater enjoyment. I want you to know I adore your writing. Your wit and love for your family and faith shine through. Merry Christmas to you!

  7. Since everyone has pretty well expressed my thoughts already, I'll just add that a music teacher of mine said she can never just listen to music anymore--she can't disengage her mind long enough to simply enjoy it.

    But one of the great things about blogging is the understanding that it's not "professional." You can play around with ideas, and if someone has a problem with them, then too bad--they can just move on! :)

  8. I'm honored that you listen to AHQ, Dorcas. Thank you!

    I should like to point out that I listen to music a lot of the time. Just for the fun of it. If I'm not listening to music there's a good chance I'm singing to myself or with someone else, for whatever it's worth. :-) But maybe I'm the exception rather than the norm.

  9. Of course preachers and speakers have the same insecurities as others about their own skills in comparison to others.

    This past Sunday after church one couple who attends our church was telling me that they watched the Hour of Power before church, and Max Lucado was speaking at the Crystal Cathedral. They were saying what a good speaker he is, and told a story he used as an illustration. They never mentioned anything about my message that morning. I began to feel rather small and insignificant. I went home and read twice the Christmas card from one of our member families thanking me for my wonderful teaching.

    However, it is good to be reminded that we are not the greatest and the best. Sometimes I feel that our Mennonite statements of humility are really a rather thin cover over our arrogance, and feeling that we are really the best, but people just don't realize it.

  10. I'm glad you wrote and addressed this issue. It's a feeling I've had repeatedly, and rather unexpectedly, as I've found such entertaining and brilliant bloggers and their writings. I have to remind myself of the reason I began my blog in the first place. I began it as a chronicle of my own life, namely a particular slice of my life having to do with our attempts to find a homestead and transition, and then hopefully flourish in, a simpler yet quite different lifestyle than we have right now. Your story is like no one else's, and your voice is yours, and ultimately its uniqueness is a gift that radiates the distinctive qualities the Almighty assembled in the package that is YOU :) That's all we really need, isn't it..whether anyone thinks it's here or there is secondary. From what I see, you're in a fantastic online community and have a great dialogue through your blog. Good work!! :)

  11. I at least used to be a singer and I love to listen to music. And I'm married to an incredible singer and she loves to listen to music too! And the singers that I know like to listen to music! So I must say that I don't go along with that particular thesis of yours.

  12. Well, Byran, I guess I stand corrected. Maybe I based this theory on just one example, your Aunt Rosie.

  13. I guess I'll have to talk to Rosie and ask her what her problem is!? :-)